Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“He has a remarkable intellect with boundless enthusiasm.”

© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
2004 Inductee

Dr. James Till

Born: 
August 25, 1931, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
Education: 
PhD - Yale University
In collaboration, Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch established the concept of stem cells and set the framework in which stem cells are studied today. This work continues to influence the research of investigators world-wide in many fields of study. Resulting from Dr.Till's research was a 1961 original paper published in Radiation Research on the radiation sensitivity of normal mouse bone marrow cells. The publication, produced jointly with his colleague, Dr.McCulloch, was a ground-breaking paper in stem cell biology because it established for the first time a quantitative method to study individual stem cells in adult bone marrow. Over the next decade, Drs. Till and McCulloch made many contributions to the understanding of normal and abnormal blood cell development.

Dr. Till completed his PhD at Yale University in 1957, and relocated to Toronto where he focused his studies on cell biology and the radiation sensitivity of mammalian cells. 

Since the 1980s, Dr. Till’s sphere of research expanded to include quality of life research, clinical and epidemiological studies, research ethics, decision making behaviours of cancer patients and those at high risk of cancer, and the influence of the Internet as a source for information, support and advocacy.

Besides his research accomplishments, Dr. Till served on many national and international committees and in numerous leadership positions, including ones at the Ontario Cancer Institute (now part of the University Health Network), the University of Toronto and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. In 1969, he was awarded the Gairdner Foundation International Award (with Dr. McCulloch) and in 1994 he became an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London.

Dr. Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch were jointly nominated and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Visit the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation website for more about Canada's contribution to stem cell science.