Commemorating the Scientific Contributions of Dr. Jack Diamond: The 2nd Annual Jack Diamond Memorial Lecture

Date: May 25th, 2017 @ 3 pm in MDCL 1105

AUTHOR: Crystal Mahadeo

This year marks the second annual memorial lecture in honour of Dr. Jack Diamond. Dr. Diamond was a world-renowned neuroscientist who graduated from University College London (UK) with both medical and doctoral (Physiology) degrees. He continued in research, obtaining a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University and then a position in the Physiology Department at University College before joining McMaster in 1970 as the first Chair of the Department of Neuroscience (now the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences). He is remembered for his energetic speaking style, quick wit and enthusiastic love of science. For those who never had the pleasure of meeting him, his colleagues describe him as a larger-than-life presence. He was an outspoken, hard task master who expected a lot from his students but knew how to have fun with them as well. He had the opportunity to work at a dynamic time in science in the fledgling field of neuroscience.    

        A leader in his field, he focused on developmental neuroscience and worked to understand the maintenance and development of the nervous system and its degeneration in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Among his many accomplishments was serving as one of the founders of the Society for Neuroscience and, later, as the Scientific Director for the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.  He traveled widely as a spokesperson for basic research in Alzheimer’s disease and neuroscience in general, galvanizing the public with his enthusiasm. Whether it was playing squash with his colleagues, working on a research project or trying to get an extension for a grant deadline, Dr. Diamond brought passion and determination to everything that he did.  After Dr. Diamond’s passing in August of 2014, a generous gift from his wife Dusica was matched by his department to support a memorial lecture annually in Dr. Diamond’s honor. This lecture is organized by students from the MiNDS Neuroscience program, with the help of his colleague, Dr. Margaret Fahnestock, to host guest speakers whose work reflects Dr. Diamond’s passion for neuroscience. The lecture is a tribute to Dr. Diamond’s extensive career and body of work, but is also a tribute to a special man from his family- his children, Alison (Jorge) and Gareth (Debbie), grandchildren and his stepchildren Matthew, Michael and Laura Marks.

In May 2016, the inaugural Jack Diamond Memorial lecture was held at McMaster with Dr. Robert Malenka from Stanford University as our first honoured guest speaker. Dr. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and deputy director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. His talk, “Exploring circuits underlying reward and aversion” gave us a wonderful insight into his work and was received enthusiastically by a large audience of researchers and students.

This year we are thrilled to have Dr. Bernardo Sabatini, the Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, as our guest speaker. His research examines the relationship between synapse function and animal behaviour.  Specifically, his lab studies how multi- and single- synaptic circuits develop and function. 


Please join us in celebrating a research career that spanned a half-century with visiting lecturer Dr. Bernardo Sabatini’s talk, “Multi-transmitter neurons in the mammalian brain: more than just an oddity”. All are invited to attend.


The 2nd Annual Jack Diamond Memorial Lecture will be held May 25th at 3 pm in the Michael G. DeGroote Center for Learning and Discovery (MDCL) Room 1105. More details will be sent out in the following weeks. We hope to see you all there.