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Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize for the Discovery of Insulin to Banting and Macleod: Impact and Legacy

Nobel Laureate Dr Arthur Mcdonald; Professor Erling Norrby of Stockholm; Her Excellency Signe Burgstaller, Ambassador of Sweden to Canada; Nobel Laureate John Polanyi; Dr John Dirks

On November 27, 2023, the Toronto Medical Historical Club hosted a successful symposium celebrating the 100th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Frederick Banting and JJR Macleod for the discovery of insulin. The event brought together a distinguished panel of speakers to reflect on the impact and legacy of the insulin discovery and to inspire future research advancement.

Video recordings of the symposium, photos of the event, and the texts of the dinner speeches can be found here >>


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Prize Fight: Canada’s First Nobel Prize

Banquet in the Great Hall of Hart House, University of Toronto, 26 November 1923 in honour of FG Banting and JJR Macleod jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Ivan Semeniuk has an excellent article in today’s Globe & Mail titled “Prize Fight: One century later, experts revisit the hidden feud behind Canada’s First Nobel,” describing the complex history behind the award to Banting and Macleod for the discovery of insulin. Semeniuk attended the symposium hosted by the Toronto Medical Historical Club last month and describes the hidden tensions among the key figures as well as the evolution of the story of the discovery over the past 100 years. Several speakers at the symposium, John Dirks, James Wright, and Ken McHardy, are interviewed in the article.

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Smallpox Eradication

This sketch, called 'Incident of the Smallpox Epidemic, Montreal,' by Robert Harris, shows the violence with which the sanitary police removed smallpox patients from the public to quarantine them. The illustration was first published in Harper's Weekly, on Nov. 28, 1885. PHOTO BY ROBERT HARRIS

In today’s Ottawa Citizen, Ryan Briggs and Christopher Rutty argue for the declaration of “Smallpox Eradication Day.” In the context of COVID-19, which reminded the world of the power of a novel virus to bring illness and death, Briggs and Rutty make the case that it is important to remember what was accomplished on Dec. 9, 1979.

You can read more in Chris’s article titled “Smallpox: ‘The Speckled Monster'” which was written for the University of Toronto Connaught Fund website for his series on the Connaught Laboratories.

Insulin 100 News

First Canadian Nobel Prize is 100 years old

Christopher Rutty is interviewed in this article “L’insuline, découverte vitale et bisbille créatrice : le 1er Nobel canadien a 100 ans” at CBC/Radio-Canada. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Frederick Banting and JJR Macleod for the discovery of insulin.

Chris is also featured in the television story on the centenary that is available here.

Insulin 100 News

Unveiling of JJR Macleod Memorial Statue in Aberdeen

John Dirks travelled to Aberdeen to speak at the unveiling of a memorial statue commemorating John James Rickard Macleod, co-discoverer of insulin. Over 300 people attended the luncheon and unveiling of the statue.

The JJR Macleod Memorial Statue Society has been working for over a year to raise the funds and commission a sculpture by Ayrshire-based sculptor John McKenna. The statue is located at Aberdeen’s Duthie Park and will be the first “storytelling statue” in Scotland. Visitors will be able to scan a QR code to hear a brief recording of an actor speaking as Macleod.