Insulin 100 News

“It Works! Now What?” by Christopher Rutty

Photograph of the Connaught Laboratories ca. 1923 [UToronto, Insulin collection]

Congratulations to Christopher Rutty whose new article ““It Works! Now What?” Insulin Development, Production, and Distribution at Connaught Laboratories, University of Toronto, 1922–24″ appears in the Canadian Journal of Health History.

Chris’ article focuses on Connaught’s intimate involvement in the history of insulin from January 1922 through the summer of 1924, tracing the challenges and innovations of developing larger-scale production methods, the establishment and expansion of Canadian insulin production capacity, and the key role the labs played in spearheading the global distribution of insulin.

Insulin 100 News

Heritage Toronto Award Nomination for The Discovery of Insulin: Special Centenary Edition

The Special Centenary Edition of Michael Bliss’s The Discovery of Insulin has been nominated for a Heritage Toronto Award in the Book category. This edition features a new preface by the late Michael Bliss and a new foreword by Alison Li.

The Heritage Toronto Awards is the city’s premiere heritage event which showcases achievements in the heritage sector. Winners will be announced live at the Heritage Toronto Awards, which will be held on Monday, October 17, 2022 at the Carlu (444 Yonge Street). 

Insulin 100 News

“Insulin: the discovery that transformed diabetic care” on BBC World Service

Charles Herbert Best, Canadian physiologist who assisted Frederick Banting to isolate Insulin, in his laboratory. Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Alison Li joins Victor Joergens and Kersten Hall in a panel discussion hosted by Bridget Kendall of the BBC World Service – The Forum. They discuss the twists and turns in the story of the discovery and development of insulin.

Broadcasts May 26 at 5:06 and 19:06 local time and May 29 9:06 local time or visit The Forum to listen.

Free podcast/download through iTunes:

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The Artist Behind Insulin

Christopher Rutty appears in episode 3 of University of Toronto Old School Stories which looks at the artistic side of Frederick Banting. Also interviewed in this video are Bob Banting, Banting family historian and host of The Life and Times of Sir Frederick Banting podcast, and Barbara Fischer, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.

Insulin 100 News

Rethinking the “discovery” of insulin

JJR Macleod, Charles Best, Frederick Banting, JB Collip [UT Insulin]

Alison Li has two new articles offering perspectives on the discovery of insulin during this year’s centenary celebrations.

“Rethinking the ‘discovery’ of insulin” appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, 25 October 2021

“Insulin’s centenary: complexity and collaboration” appeared in The Lancet, 13 November 2021, as part of an issue on the challenging theme: “100 years of insulin: technical success but access failure.”

Insulin 100 News

Banting Podcast for World Diabetes Day

In this special World Diabetes Day episode, created in partnership with Defining Moments Canada, Jim and Bob Banting host multiple guests to discuss the heritage and legacy of insulin after 100 years. Featured are medical historians Dr. Alison Li and Dr. Christopher Rutty, Grant Maltman, the curator of the Banting House National Historic Site, as well as Defining Moments Canada Director Jennifer Terry.

We have dedicated this episode to the memory of historian Michael Bliss whose scholarship and insights have helped to reshape our understanding of the discovery of insulin.

Please visit the Defining Moments Canada website to listen to this podcast.

Insulin 100 News

Belleville Honours J.B. Collip

Mayor Mitch Panciuk, Richard Hughes, and Ian Sullivan unveil monument in honour of J.B. Collip (Photo: Quinte News)

Club members Alison Li and Christopher Rutty served as keynote speakers at the day-long celebrations marking the unveiling of a new monument in honour of Dr. James Bertram Collip in his hometown of Belleville, Ontario. Collip played a pivotal role in the discovery of insulin in 1921-22, along with co-discoverers Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and J.J.R. Macleod.

Dignitaries including Mayor Mitch Panciuk and other city, provincial, and federal officials, along with descendants of Collip who journeyed from San Antonio, Texas. The “Dr James Bertram Collip Memorial Committee” Rowland Tipper, Richard Hughes, and Ian Sullivan are to be congratulated for their efforts in bringing this effort to fruition.

Insulin 100 News

Walk in the Footsteps of Banting

[Photo: Banting Legacy Foundation]

The Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation invites you to join them at the birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin. “Walk in the Footsteps of Banting” is a Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation celebration event in collaboration with the Banting Research Foundation, Charles H. Best Foundation and Royal Canadian Institute for Science

Friday or Saturday or Sunday, August 20 – 22, 2021
Two ‘repeat’ sessions each day: 10:30 am and 1:30 pm

See new narrated videos; new exhibits in the historic Farmhouse; and new legacy garden permanent monument, a Salute to the Discovery Team

Enjoy the free refreshments and collect your special Discovery of Insulin commemorative memorabilia.

Space is limited.
REGISTER online now at

Insulin 100 News

The Discovery of Insulin Special Centenary Edition

The University of Toronto Press announces the publication of a special century edition of Michael Bliss’s The Discovery of Insulin to be published September 1, 2021. With a new preface by Michael Bliss and a foreword by Alison Li, this edition honours the one hundredth anniversary of insulin’s discovery and its continued significance a century later. Pre-order now and save up to 35%.

The Discovery of Insulin Special Centenary Edition

The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–22 was one of the most dramatic events in the history of the treatment of disease. Insulin, discovered by the Canadian research team of Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip, and John Macleod, was a wonder drug with the ability to bring diabetes patients back from the very brink of death. It was no surprise that in 1923 the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded for its discovery.

In this engaging and award-winning account, historian Michael Bliss draws on archival records and personal adventures to recount the fascinating story behind the discovery of insulin – a story as much filled with fiery confrontation and intense competition as medical dedication and scientific genius.