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.


After the Pandemic

Major twentieth-century disease outbreaks in Canada included influenza, smallpox, diphtheria, and polio. [Photographic Illustration by James Gillespie, Canada's History]

Chris Rutty has a new article “After the Pandemic” in Canada’s History about how Canada’s experience of past disease outbreaks may provide clues to the post-pandemic future.

Past events

Tribute to Louis Siminovitch

Louis Siminovitch [Canadian Medical Hall of Fame]

The Toronto Medical Historical Club and the Department of Molecular Genetics of the University of Toronto paid tribute to Dr. Louis Siminovitch in honour of his 100th birthday. Colleagues, friends, and family shared fond memories and spoke to the highlights of his illustrious career in genetics.

Insulin 100 News

J.B. Collip and the discovery of insulin

J.B. Collip [UT Insulin collection]

On May 19, 2021, Alison Li spoke at a symposium (via Zoom) to be held by the McGill University Division of Endocrinology to commemorate the discovery of insulin. She focussed on the role of J.B. Collip in the coming of insulin and his contribution to the flourishing of endocrine research at McGill during the 1930s and 40s.

On June 16, 2021, she participated in 100 Years of Insulin, a half-day seminar held by the Alberta Diabetes Institute to celebrate the anniversary. The talk highlighted the connection of Collip’s experiences at the University of Alberta to his contributions to the insulin research. This half-day seminar included talks by several speakers including Ray Rajotte and James Shapiro of the team that developed the “Edmonton Protocol” for islet transplantation.

Her article “Success Has Many Parents: J. B. Collip’s Role in the Discovery of Insulin” appears on the Defining Moments Canada website.


Leone Norwood Farrell and the Salk Vaccine

Dr. Leone Farrell, c. 1950s (courtesy Sanofi Pasteur Canada Archives, Connaught Campus)

Christopher Rutty has written an entry for the The Canadian Encyclopedia on the biochemist and microbiologist, Leone Norwood Farrell. Farrell was a pioneer in vaccine development. Her “Toronto Method” made possible the large-scale production of the Salk Vaccine for polio

Insulin 100 News

Manufacturing Hope

Teddy Ryder, a five-year-old American boy, was among the first to receive insulin treatments in 1922. On the left, he is seen weighing only twenty-seven pounds prior to treatment. A year after his treatment in Toronto, he is seen at right weighing forty-five pounds. Insulin Library Toronto P10037/P10139

The discovery of insulin a century ago saved the lives of millions of diabetics

Club member, historian Christoper Rutty was interviewed in this recent article in Canada’s History by John Lorinc. The story captures the drama, conflict, and competition in the discovery of insulin.

Insulin 100 News

Canada Post unveils Insulin, 1921-2021 commemorative stamp

Canada Post has unveiled a commemorative stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip and John Macleod at the University of Toronto. The ground-breaking discovery of insulin put Canada, Canadian researchers, and the University of Toronto’s medical school on the world stage. The stamp goes on sale April 15, available at select post offices and online at