Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“The pace of discovery is continuing to accelerate.”

© Steve Tracy and CMHF
2014 Inductee

Max Cynader PhD

February 24, 1947, Berlin, Germany
PhD - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Max Cynader is a world renowned neuroscientist who has made vital contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms by which early use or misuse of our brain affects its functioning for the rest of our life. He has shown the extreme importance of the plasticity of the developing brain on processes as diverse as developing stereoscopic binocular vision, learning to speak a new language, learning to read, and developing the capacity for making moral judgments. This work has been widely cited and much of the recent emphasis on the importance of the first few years of life and early childhood learning in current public policy and in the media is underpinned by the research of Dr. Cynader and his colleagues.

Dr. Cynader obtained his BSc at McGill University in 1967 and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. Following postdoctoral training, Dr. Cynader held positions at Dalhousie University in Halifax and joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) as Professor and Director of the Ophthalmology Research Group in 1988. He was appointed Founding Director of the Brain Research Centre in 1998 and more recently, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC, which he helped build.

Dr. Cynader has authored more than 200 articles published in scientific journals, has presented more than 350 papers at national and international scientific meetings, and is the holder of several patents. He has made important contributions to technology development and to the commercialization of research results including the development of gene therapy products to treat brain diseases. Dr. Cynader’s work in understanding how sound is processed by the brain was used to develop a new “listening chip” which has found many applications from intelligent hearing aids to advanced dictation systems. In founding and successfully nurturing various companies, Dr. Cynader has contributed to the development of Canada’s high tech and biotech communities.

Dr. Cynader is a passionate spokesperson for brain health, often using his unique ability to explain complex concepts in lay terms to capture the interest of local, national and international audiences.

Recognition for his many achievements includes the Order of Canada, Order of British Columbia, Researcher of the Year from Life Sciences BC, Science and Technology Champion award by Innovation BC, Canada Research Chair, Gold Medal in Health Sciences, Killam Research Prize and E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship), among others. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada and The Canadian Academy for Health Sciences and a Principal Investigator in Canada’s Network of Excellence in Stroke.


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