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Visiting Researchers and Students in Residence

Dr. Shamy: University of Calgary Visiting Researcher Dr. Michel Shamy

Dr. Michel Shamy is a Clinical Fellow in Vascular Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He holds a B.A. cum laude in History from Yale, and an MD from Queen's University, Ontario. He completed specialty training in Neurology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Shamy is interested in studying the historical and philosophical aspects of contemporary neurologic practice. His current research project focuses on Understanding the Historical, Ethical and Epistemological Context of Treating Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke with the intravenous medicine tPA.


Current Research Projects by Visiting Student Researchers and Summer Students in Residence (selection):

Calgary Isolation Hospital -- 1905: 13th Ave & 16th St SW (Courtesy of AHS Archives)Calgary Isolation Hospital -- 1905: 13th Ave & 16th St SW (Courtesy of AHS Archives)

Mr. Chinmaya Mishra, currently a second-year BSc student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Calgary, is conducting research on “Psychiatry, Eugenics and The Albertan Public- Analyzing the Public Perception of Early Forced Sterilization Programs from a Historical Viewpoint” (under the supervision of Dr. Frank Stahnisch). The project is based on collaboration with members of the History of Neuroscience Interest Group at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Alberta Health Services Archives, as well as support from the Glenboe Museum and additional University of Calgary affiliates.


Dr. Bob Gordon, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas: Mackie Family Collection in the History of NeuroscienceDr. Bob Gordon, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas

Ms. Nicole Lefebvre’s (a first-year BSc student in Neuroscience) project is based on "the Mackie Family Collection in the History of Neuroscience at the UofC Health Sciences Library" and the catalogue created by Robert Gordon, MD (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas) that is associated with it. For the catalogue, Nicole Lefebvre begins to correct any spelling, grammatical, or factual mistakes contained. For the collection, she creates an annotated bibliography of the books in the collection. The annotations would include biographical information on the author, a description of the material contained in the book, and the condition of the book. She will consult Webb Haymaker’s and Francis Schiller’s “Founders of Neurology” (1970) and Stanley Finger’s “Minds Behind the Brain” (2000) when completing these tasks. Through working through the books, Nicole Lefebvre will attempt to determine the major trends in the history of neurology and neuroscience found in the collection as well as provide a critical appraisal of the books themselves.


Mr. Aravind Ganesh (a final-year MD student in the Calgary UME program) has been awarded a Hannah Studentship in the History of Medicine in the year 2011. His research project “Emergence, Evolution, and Resolution: The History of Multiple Sclerosis Investigations in Canada Between 1850 and 1950” analyzes the modern medical profession’s quandaries with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). His Project intends to provide an overview of the century of research (1850-1950) that followed the emergence of this clinical entity, described by Hans Lassmann (born 1949) as a ‘golden centenium’ for the evolution of medical understanding of MS, with a focus on the Canadian perspective. Using journal articles, reviews, and case studies, this paper outlines the diagnostic challenges that confronted early Canadian neurologists in their encounters with MS, as well as their attempts to understand its aetiology. These activities were influenced by developments in the field in Europe and the United States. Since MS initially emerged from the nosological category of Paralysis Agitans (“Parkinson’s Complex”), one of the major challenges encountered was the discrimination between these two conditions. Ultimately, the advancements made in the characterization of MS and the resolution of its differential diagnoses, set the stage for the modern era of immunologic and therapeutic research.


Schopenhauer: Philosophy of MindArthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Mr. Claudio Flores Martinez (a second-year BSc student in Biology) is a Visiting Student Researcher from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. His research project “The Visual Culture of the Neurosciences from a Hyperrealist Perspective” focuses on the nature of images produced with modern neuroscience imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI, PET-scans.  The “products” of neuroimaging are an information-derived process, which goes often beyond the specific influence and reach of human perception and decision-making. Almost two hundred years ago, in his main work, “The World as Will and Representation”, philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) criticized the phenomenological and epistemic limitations of the prevailing natural sciences by emphasizing their inextricable attachment to mere appearances.  From this perspective, Schopenhauer is here regarded a forerunner of the philosophy of mind and its most striking issue – the “hard problem”.


Former Research Projects Conducted by Visiting Student Researchers and Field Practicum Students in the Calgary History of Medicine and Health Care Program included (selection):

Ms. Theresa Bruncke, a third-year BSc Student in (Neuro-)Biology from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) has joined the Calgary History of Medicine and Health Care Program through the international research exchange program RISE! sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in New York. During her Internship between Aug-15 and Oct-15, 2010, she had worked on a subproject of a larger research program on "The Emergence of Brain Imaging - Analyzing the Visual Culture of the Neurosciences from a Theoretical and Historical Perspective" (under the direction of Dr. Frank Stahnisch and with the supervisory input from members of the History of Neuroscience interest Group at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute as well as other partners at the University of Calgary).

To read a synopsis of this project, please click here.


Ms. Yasmin Mayne and Karolina Kowalewski, third-year students in the Health and Society stream of the BHSc program, were our first students in residence between October 2008 and April 2009. They worked on a research project entitled, "Mapping Public Mental Health in the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan during the First Half of the 20th Century" (under the direction of Drs. Frank Stahnisch and Ardene Vollman -- both in the Department of Community Health Sciences). To read a synopsis of their project, please click here.


Chris Noss, BScPT (now a MD at the University of Calgary), then a 2nd year medical student at Queens University (Kingston, Ontario), had been in residence between May and July 2009 and worked on a project regarding historical aspects of "Myofascial Pain Theories in the 20th Century". Chris Noss graduated, in 2001, from the UofA in Edmonton with a BScPT. He practiced as a physiotherapist in private practice during the following eight years. Initially, his practice was primarily in the areas of sports therapy and occupational rehabilitation, but his post-graduate education focused on courses in manual therapy and intramuscular stimulation (IMS). Chris Noss' practice eventually became focused around manipulation, exercise and IMS. This orientation lends itself nicely to the management of chronic spinal dysfunction and he found his practice growing in that area. During the past four years, his practice has been located in a multidisciplinary clinic, where he works primarily with Chiropractic and Massage in the management of chronic spinal pain cases. In 2007, he began medical school at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, where he currently resides.

Project Information

Chris Noss' interest in the history of theories and management of chronic pain conditions stemmed from his years of practice as a physiotherapist. He had chosen to focus on the history of myofascial and neuropathic pain with particular attention to the contributions made by Canadian neurophysiologist and practicioner Dr. Chan Gunn and his collaborators. During the past fourty years, Dr. Gunn has worked exclusively with these patients and has developed a very unique theory and treatment technique for their management. This oral history project explored what influence his upbringing in Malaysia has had on the development of his theory, which blends Western Neuroscience with an Ancient Acupuncture Technique. The scope of Chris Noss' project was to research and author a paper on these subjects, by drawing on relevant research publications, grey literature from related research institutions, and oral history interviews with working groups in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada.

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