1995 INDUCTEE Charles P. Leblond, MD PhD Cells, Genetics & Genomics


February 5, 1910

(Lille, France)


April 10, 2007


MD, University of Paris (1934)

PhD, McGill University (1942)

Awards & Honours:

2001: Grand Officer of the Ordre National du Québec

1999: Companion of the Order of Canada

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Picture of Charles P. Leblond, MD

Developed a ground-breaking technique to visualize radioactive tissues and cells

Charles Leblond, MD

A Canadian leader in cell biology and anatomy

Dr. Leblond was responsible for the development of a number of essential techniques advancing the field of anatomy and cell biology. In particular, the technique of autoradiography has been critical in allowing researchers to visualize radioactively labelled tissues and/or cells under the microscope. Many of his concepts were considered to be unconventional at the time, but his progressive thought and meticulous methodology endured. His discoveries had a tremendous impact on the scientific community and led to many important discoveries that fundamentally advanced our understanding of anatomy and cell biology.

Key Facts

Identified stem cells and their significant implications in clinical research

Discovered the Golgi Apparatus’ functional role in living cells

Developed a new understanding of the cell cycle

Demonstrated that cells undergo continuous renewal and continually synthesize proteins

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Leblond was a prolific researcher and authored more than 430 publications throughout his distinguished career. His work profoundly changed the understanding of cell biology and laid an important foundation for future generations of scientists. His innovative technique, developed decades ago, remains a relevant technique for modern molecular biologists even today.

Picture of Charles P. Leblond, MD


  • Charles Leblond inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Leblond remained a leader in cell biology and anatomy for over four decades

    He made particularly important contributions in understanding iodine metabolism and the function and turnover of cells lining the interior wall of the intestines.

  • Dr. Charles Leblond and Dr. Yves Clermont

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

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    That same year, they presented their theory of stem cell renewal that argued differential cells divided to produce undifferentiated cells, which they called stem cells. This discovery played a key role in the development of the field of regenerative medicine.

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

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    This study showed that all cells incorporated radioactive labels, allowing scientists to view cells under a microscope to study cell function and development, as well as the observation of many dynamic biological processes.

  • Dr. Charles Leblond

    Leblond arrived in Montreal with his family and began a long and successful career as a professor and researcher at McGill University.

    He served as chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1957 to 1974.

  • In France, Leblond conducted his first experiment to label radioactive molecules in the thyroid.

    Using autoradiography, a method of localizing radioactive elements on tissue, he found that he must use a radioisotope with a longer half-life for his future studies.

  • After securing a Rockefeller postdoctoral fellowship, Leblond attended Yale University.

    In the Department of Anatomy, he developed an interest in radioisotopes. It was this particular interest that took him back to France.

  • He graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Paris in 1934.


He is recognized as Canada’s leader in biology and anatomy.