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 honour. 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.