November 12, 1880

(Dijon, France)


May 11, 1959


MD, University of Paris; Pasteur Institute (1909)

Awards & Honours:

Picture of Pierre Masson, MD

Became one of Canada’s most distinguished histopathologists of his generation

Sketch of Pierre Masson

An innovator and the father of histopathology education in Canada

Dr. Charles L. Pierre Masson pioneered revolutionary processes in histology and created one of the most brilliant schools of pathology of the 20th century. He was best known for his pioneering investigations of tumours of the brain and nervous system and for his histological techniques, such as the trichrome stain. Of particular importance was his work with the nervous system of the neuro-nevi, nerve lesions of the appendix and studies of specific types of brain tumours. He remained a modest man, completely devoted to histological research and the pursuit of improving, inventing and performing his laboratory techniques.

Key Facts

Gained international recognition for his ground breaking investigations of the brain and nervous system

Was the first to describe the concept of neurocrine secretion, which led to modern neuroendocrinology

The “Masson trichrome stain” became the standard in all pathology laboratories

Published over 120 important scientific articles, in addition to his seminal textbook

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Masson died in 1959, but his influence persists in the respected legacy of scientific originality he leaves behind, and in his innovative interpretations of lesions and tumours based on remarkably precise histological sections. For example, his work on fixation, colouration and argentation are important methods still in use today. Throughout his career, Dr. Masson gave pathology a new vitality that undoubtedly permeates through the generations of scientists touched by his mentorship.

Picture of Pierre Masson, MD


  • Pierre Masson posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Dr. Masson remained chair of the Department of Pathology for nearly three decades until his retirement in 1954

    He was a mentor of numerous young graduates who, upon his recommendation, were accepted in leading medical schools in North America and Europe.

  • Dr. Pierre Masson was invited by the Université de Montréal to be Chair of the Department of Pathology

    Health and Medical Education & Training

    Once in Montreal, he developed a new curriculum for the teaching of pathology and reorganized the pathology laboratories at the Notre-Dame, Hôtel-Dieu and Ste-Justine hospitals.

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

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    The book was considered an influential manuscript at the time and included his original histopathological methods, and his many important scientific findings in the field.

  • Dr. Masson gained a reputation for his expert skill and proficient methodology in histology and pathology

    Despite his youthful age and inexperience, he was offered the Chair of Pathology at the University of Strasbourg.

  • Deciding on a medical career at a young age, Dr. Pierre Masson received his MD from the University of Paris in 1909

    He continued his studies at the Pasteur Institute in Paris between 1909 and 1914.


He had insights into processes that only his brilliance could make possible.