2007 INDUCTEE Jean Dussault, MD Hormones, Global Health


April 6, 1941

(Québec City, Québec)


March 23, 2003


MD, Université Laval (1965)

Awards & Honours:

2000: National Order of Quebec

1999: Robert Guthrie Award, International Society of Neonatal Screening

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Picture of Jean Dussault

Discovered a ground-breaking screening test for congenital hypothyroidism

Sketch of Jean Dussaut

Improved the lives of millions of children around the globe

The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism is one in 4,000 births. With Dr. Dussault’s simple test, using a small heel prick within two weeks of birth, thyroid deficient states can be detected in newborns to avoid varying degrees of intellectual disabilities and to increase the chance of leading a normal life. This application of scientific discovery to eliminate a serious global health problem is an outstanding example of the finest tradition of public health.

Despite Dr. Dussault’s extraordinary achievement, he remained a compassionate, gentle and modest man. An outstanding teacher and dedicated clinician, numerous researchers trained by Dr. Dussault can now be found in leading endocrine laboratories around the world.

Key Facts

Nominated for the Nobel Prize at the age of 42

Published over 200 papers and gave numerous lectures at national and international conferences

Over the course of his lifetime, the thyroid deficiency condition of cretinism was removed from textbooks

Repeatedly declined to apply for a patent for the neonatal blood test because he believed his discovery was part of public domain

Made pioneering contributions in areas ranging from basic mechanisms of thyroid hormone action in the developing brain to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid dysfunction

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Jean Dussault’s contribution to humanity through his application of medical research is nothing short of monumental. He developed a neonatal diagnostic test for congenital hypothyroidism that has been used on over 300 million infants around the world and has saved an estimated 100,000 children from irreversible intellectual disabilities. Dr. Dussault’s legacy is truly remarkable.

Picture of Jean Dussault


  • Representative of Dr. Dussault

    Jean Dussault posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Dr. Dussault purified thyroid receptor proteins


    As a result, he produced the first monoclonal antibody against the thyroid hormone receptor, which has been used by many groups to study the cellular localization of thyroid receptors.

  • Dr. Dussault became Director of the Unit of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval (CHUL)

    He served in this position until 1996.

  • Dr. Dussault was appointed Director of the Screening Program of Congenital hypothyroidism with the Quebec Network for Genetic Disease

    He also continued his research on the biochemical consequences of neonatal thyroid hormone deficiency in the developing brain.

  • Dr. Jean Dussault developed a blood test for congenital hypothyroidism


    This discovery was followed by a neonatal screening program. Later, Dr. Dussault continued to research clinical disorders of the thyroid.

  • Returned to Quebec City and joined the Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine

    Dr. Dussault spent the next 32 years as an active professor and scientist.

  • Dr. Dussault took his residency in endocrinology at Enfant-Jesus Hospital in Quebec City

    He then pursued additional training at the University of Toronto under the direction of Dr. R. Volpe and then in the Department of Pediatrics and Medicine at UCLA.


His discovery eliminated a serious global health problem.