Chris Buckle - Dissertation du lauréat, 2004

Interests in psychiatry and neurology started in high school out of volunteer work at a mental health center in Toronto. Helping drug addicts with their literacy skills and providing social support to patients with schizophrenia revealed a passion for a career that could combine the science of the brain with the art of the mind for the benefit of the mentally ill.

I pursued this interest studying cognitive science at McGill University on scholarship. Courses in neuroscience and psychology taught me about the normal functions of the human mind-brain. Tutoring children with behavioral problems, running weekly bingo for patients with Alzheimer's disease and serving meals to homeless people with mental illness testified to the social consequences of the mind and brain in disease. They provided an impetus to do summer research on the neurobiology of schizophrenia (published in the European Journal of Pharmacology), the neural networks of memory and the molecular mechanisms of stroke. In the summer of 2002, I drew on these experiences trying to de-stigmatize mental illness, by teaching courses in neurology and psychiatry to pre college students at Yale.

I came to medical school hoping to be a neuropsychiatrist. Now in my third year, I have done electives in both fields and spent last summer in Singapore doing research in cross-cultural psychiatry. By giving me the means to present this work at conferences in Calgary and San Francisco, the Mensa Scholarship would bring me one step closer to realizing a career I have dreamt about since high school.