Dr. Murray Barr
© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
© Irma Coucill and the CMHF

Born: June 20, 1908, Belmont, Ontario
Died: May 4, 1995
Education: M.D. - University of Western Ontario, 1933
Category: Medical Research

Dr. Murray Llewellyn Barr had a remarkable medical career beginning when he identified the sex chromatin body, now known as the Barr body. With this discovery, he initiated a new era in research and diagnosis of genetic disorders. Medical genetics and cytogenetics form part of the foundation that helps us to understand the basis of several disorders and diseases. Specifically, Barr's work with sex chromatin bodies led to a greater understanding and ability to manage certain disorders that are associated with mental retardation.

Barr was the recipient of many honours and awards, national and international. The most notable include the nomination for a Nobel Prize, the Gairdner Award of Merit, the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation International Award and one of the first appointments as an Officer of the Order of Canada. Barr died in 1995 but the legacy of his discovery and his devotion as a teacher to generations of medical graduates will live on.