Professor Donald Stuss

Department of Medicine (Neurology, Rehabilitation Science), Faculty of Medicine and Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Science

Appointed a University Professor in 2004

Professor Donald Stuss is one of the world’s foremost neuropsychologists.  At a general level, his work is concerned with understanding the human mind through the study of brain-damaged patients.  Over the past 25 years his publications and conference presentations have made an increasingly powerful impact on both the theoretical and practical aspects of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience.  In particular, Professor Stuss has been at the forefront of research into the functions of the frontal lobes of the brain.  His work has fused a profound understanding of key theoretical issues in human cognition with classical approaches drawn from neuropsychology and neuroanatomy.

Professor Stuss has three major research interests: the functions of the frontal lobes and their role in subserving cognitive processes, and the experience of conscious awareness of feelings of self; second, the effects of traumatic brain injury on these functions; and third, the effects of normal aging on cognitive abilities and conscious experience. 

Professor Stuss has systematically increased the understanding of the many vexing problems that surround frontal lobe dysfunction.  His book with D. Frank Benson on The Frontal Lobes published in 1986 remains a landmark volume in summarizing research on frontal lobe organization, function, and manifestations of frontal lobe abnormalities in disease states.  Professor Stuss also has a major research program focused on understanding the deficits following traumatic brain injury.  His work on concussion has been influential in showing the extended duration of dysfunction after acquiring a mild concussion, and the recovery course.  This has also led to methods of longer-term prediction, particularly in relation to functional outcome.  His research on aging parallels the work on brain injury.  Again, the focus is on determining the areas of the brain that are most affected by aging, and then linking these foci of brain inefficiency to inefficiencies in aspects of cognitive performance.  One further contribution in this regard is Professor Stuss’ work on the validation of different behavioural tests of “frontal lobe functioning”. 

Professor Stuss’ teaching contributions are legendary.  He has made substantial contributions to the training of young researchers through his supervision of numerous graduate students and postdoctoral students.  Professor Stuss has also demonstrated a significant leadership role in research administration and management both nationally and internationally. 

Professor Stuss has served as the President of the International Neuropsychological Society (1994) and is the founding and current director of one of the world’s most prestigious neuroscience research institutes.  He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association.  In 2001 he received the Order of Ontario and in 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor Stuss obtained undergraduate degrees in Philosophy from Ottawa University and St. Paul’s University (1967) and worked for four years as a high school teacher.  He holds an MA (1974) and a PhD (1976), both in Psychology, from Ottawa University.  Since 1989 Professor Stuss has been a Professor of Psychology and Medicine (Neurology) with a later cross appointment to Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto, and has been affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Aging.  He is the first recipient of the Reva James Leeds Chair in Neuroscience and Research Leadership at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. 

May 2004