Prof. Dr. Frank W. Stahnisch

Focus area:

Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences and Neurosciences


Frank W. Stahnisch is Alberta Medical Foundation/Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine and Health Care at the University of Calgary, Canada. His research interests cover the history of neuroscience, psychiatry, public mental health as well as the emergence of physiological research from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Following his dissertation on the French experimental physiologist François Magendie (1783–1855) at the Freie Universität Berlin 2001, he worked at Humboldt University in Berlin, Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg, and Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.  Since 2006 he has been a professor in Canada, first at McGill University in Montreal, Québec, and since then at the University of Calgary, Alberta. In 2010 he joined the Division III of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger) to conduct research on the history of the German morphological neurosciences, 1910–1945. Since 2015 he has been editor of the international Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (Taylor & Francis/Routledge).  

For the GMPG program, his research focus is on the MPG regaining a position in globally leading neuroscientific research.

Selected Publications

Stahnisch, Frank W.: Medicine, Life and Function. Experimental Strategies and Medical Modernity at the Intersection of Pathology and Physiology. Bochum: Projektverlag 2012.

Stahnisch, Frank W. and Guel Russell (eds.): New Perspectives on Forced Migration in the History of Twentieth-Century Neuroscience. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis 2016.

Stahnisch, Frank W. (ed.): Probing the Limits of Method in the Neurosciences. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press 2016

Stahnisch, Frank W. and Dorothy Potter (eds.): Trading Zones and Boundary Work in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press 2015.

Hoffmann, Thomas and Frank W. Stahnisch (eds.): Kurt Goldstein – Der Aufbau des Organismus. Einführung in die Biologie unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Erfahrungen am kranken Menschen. Paderborn: Fink 2014.

more publications


Endowed Lecture: Rhea and Louis D. Boshes Lectureship in the History of Neurology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, IL (USA)
'What Were They Really, Americans Asked: Neurologists, Psychologists, or Philosophers?' The Fate of 'Holist Neurology' in Kurt Goldstein, Walther Riese, and Hartwig Kuhlenbeck

Symposium: "Persecution, Forced Migration and Resettlement of Medical Practitioners, Medical Scientists, and Healthcare Occupations 1930s/40s," Leopoldina – German National Academy of Science, Halle/Saale
Why has the 'Brain Gain Thesis' been so pervasive? Noteworthy Counter-Examples from Refugee Neurologists and Psychiatrists in North America

21st Annual Conference of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences at the University of Maastricht, Maastricht
The Political Reorganization of "Grossforschungsanstrengungen" in Nazi-Dominated Neurosciences: The Examples of Strasburg and Leipzig, 1933–1945

more presentations