Understanding the Body and Disease Process

Basic science research (sometimes called bench research) comprises disciplines such as biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, and pharmacology and focuses on determining the causal mechanisms behind the functioning of the human body in health and illness.

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  1. 1913

    After a number of years in medical practice, Dr. Oswald Avery pursued medical research

  2. 1920

  3. 1923

    Dr. Pierre Masson's early research led to the publication of his classic text "Les Tumeurs Humaines"

  4. 1930

  5. 1940

  6. 1940s

    At McGill, Dr. Charles Leblond found the opportunity to attempt his autoradiography experiment again, this time using an isotope with a longer half-life

  7. 1944

    The Journal of Experimental Medicine published the breakthrough discovery of Avery, MacLeod and McCarty

  8. 1948

    Drs. Barr and Bertram made a ground-breaking discovery later referred to as the Barr body

  9. 1950

  10. 1953

    Along with his student Yves Clermont, Dr. Charles Leblond discovered the first mammalian stem cells

  11. 1953

    Watson and Crick discover the structure of DNA

  12. 1955

    With Dr. K.L. Moore, Dr. Barr developed the buccal smear test, a non-invasive method of gathering human cells from the lining of the mouth for genetic testing

  13. 1956

    Louis Siminovitch joins the Ontario Cancer Institute

  14. 1960

  15. 1960's

    For the next 15 years, Drs. McCulloch and Till pursued stem-cell research

  16. 1961

    Till and McCulloch published their original paper describing stem cells in Radiation Research

  17. 1963

    Ernest McCulloch and James Till published their findings in "Nature"

  18. 1969

    Dr. MacLennan began his studies of the SR—a calcium storage and release compartment inside muscle cells

  19. 1970

  20. 1970s

    Dr. Michael Smith focused his research on the human genome and on developing methods to sequence DNA molecules called oligonucleotides

  21. 1971

    Dr. Worton returned to Canada and joined the Department of Genetics at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto as Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory

  22. 1979

    Dr. John Bienenstock was one of the first to identify the T cell-dependent mucosal mast cell as a major effector cell of parasite gut immunity

  23. 1979

    Dr. Michael Hayden established the 1st Huntington’s Disease Clinic in South Africa

  24. 1980

  25. 1981

    Dr. Eaves co-founded the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency

  26. 1982

    Dr. Worton devised a five year research plan to identify the gene responsible for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy using DNA from Dr. Verellen's patient.

  27. 1984

    Known as the “holy grail” of immunology, Dr. Mak discovered the structure of the T-Cell captor for antigens

  28. 1985

    Dr. Worton began a ten-year term as Geneticist-in-Chief at the Hospital for Sick Children. That same year he, along with colleague Dr. Peter Ray, identified a portion of the X chromosome containing…

  29. 1986

    Dr. Pawson developed the concept of signaling proteins and identified the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain as the prototypic protein-interaction module

  30. 1986

    To facilitate increased scientific collaboration, Dr. Hayden established the Canadian Collaborative Network on Predictive Testing for Huntington's Disease

  31. 1989

    Along with Dr. Michael Hayden, Dr. Worton developed the successful proposal to create the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network (a Network of Centres of Excellence) and served as its Associate Director…

  32. 1989

    Dr. John Dick developed the first xenograft assay (the implantation of human tumour cells into immunocompromised mice) for human leukemia cells

  33. 1989

    Dr. Worton joined a small group of geneticists in Geneva to create HUGO, the international Human Genome Organisation.

  34. 1989

    The discovery of the CFTR gene defective in cystic fibrosis was published in three foundational papers in Science magazine and received worldwide acclaim as the first disease gene to be identified…

  35. 1990

  36. 1990

    The Human Genome Project began

  37. 1992

    Dr. Worton was appointed Director of the Canadian Genome Analysis and Technology Program which was the forerunner of Genome Canada established seven years later

  38. 1996

    As part of an effort to translate scientific discoveries into commercial products, Dr. Hayden established NeuroVir Pharmaceutic

  39. 1997

    Dr. Finlay and his team published a seminal paper that showed Salmonella resides inside host cells during infections

  40. 1997

    The Finlay Group showed how enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) injects its own receptor into host cells

  41. 2000

  42. 2000

    Learning from the success of the South Africa Clinic, Dr. Hayden founded BC’s first Huntington’s Disease Clinic

  43. 2000

    Ron Worton elected President of the American Society for Human Genetics

  44. 2000

    A great mentor, Michael Smith hand-picked Marco Marra to succeed him as Director of the GSC

  45. 2001

    Connie Eaves became the first researcher in Vancouver to commence investigations of human embryonic stem cells (ES) and human induced pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)

  46. 2002

    Dr. Finlay co-founded Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biopharmaceutical company to facilitate shifting lab work into accessible products

  47. 2003

    At the height of the SARS outbreak Marco Marra and his team of researchers successfully sequenced the SARS coronavirus, providing a basis for both vaccine development and diagnostic testing

  48. 2004

    Along with Dr. Bruce Carleton, Dr. Hayden created Genotype-Specific Approaches to Therapy in Childhood

  49. 2004

    Dr. John Dick identified cancer stem cells in human colon cancer

  50. 2005

    David MacLennan published his research on the Ca2+ATPase in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1970

  51. 2006

    Onpattro developed to treat transthyretin induced amyloidosis (hATTR), a previously fatal hereditary condition that affects some 50,000 people worldwid

  52. 2010

  53. 2012

    The Personalized Oncogenomics (POG) project at BC Cancer was established under Marco Marra’s leadership

  54. 2016

    Dr. John Dick provided the first evidence that leukemia stem cell gene expression signatures are clinically relevant

  55. 2018

    Dr. John Dick demonstrated that detection of pre-leukemia haematopoietic stem cells can predict individuals at risk for progression to acute myeloid leukemia up to a decade in advance

  56. 2018

    Nanomedicine-based drug Onpattro approved by the FDA

Explore themes from Understanding the body and disease process

Cells, Genetics & Genomics

Cells are the smallest units of life and are often called the "building blocks of life". The study of cells…

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Lab worker holding blood sample

The Vital Flow: Blood is a liquid medium that delivers nutrients and oxygen to our cells and…

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Brain & Mind

The brain is the central processing unit of the body and plays a key role in translating the content of the…

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Doctor and patient
Heart & Vessels

The heart is the hardest working muscle in the human body and pumps more than 8500 litres of blood every day. The…

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Respiratory device

The lungs are the centre of the respiratory (breathing) system. All our cells need oxygen, and our bodies need to…

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Skin, Bones, Muscles & Joints

Musculoskeletal and skin systems represent the framework of our bodies and fundamental to good health.  Bones,…

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Hormones are produced by glands or special cells and are sent into the bloodstream to various tissues in our bodies…

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Doctor and patient

Cancer is a group of diseases that involves abnormal growth of cells in potentially every…

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Diabete testing

Diabetes is a disease marked by persistently high levels of blood sugar caused by inadequate or ineffective insulin, a…

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quarantine zone
Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity

The immune system fights infection (microbes) through special organs, cells and chemicals.  The immunology…

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Doctor and students

Our digestive system breaks our food into parts small enough for our body to absorb and…

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Genitourinary Tract

This includes the diagnosis of disorders and diseases of the entire urinary tract and the male genital tract.

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Female Reproduction

Female reproduction includes the internal and external organs that function in reproduction of new offspring. 

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About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON.