Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“You have to be a scientific entrepreneur.”

© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
1997 Inductee

Dr. Louis Siminovitch

Born: 
May 1, 1920, Montreal, Quebec
Education: 
PhD - McGill University
Dr. Louis Siminovitch played a fundamental role in the establishment and development of three of the most outstanding medical research environments in Canada, especially in genetics: the Ontario Cancer Institute (1956-1969), the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute (1970-1985), and the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto (1983-1994). He also held positions at the University of Toronto, as Chairman and builder of the Departments of Medical Biophysics (1969-1972) and Medical Genetics (1972-1979), teaching in the Department of Pediatrics (1972-1978), and as "University Professor" (1976-1985). As a scientist, Dr. Siminovitch made important contributions to bacterial and animal virus genetics, somatic cell and human genetics and cancer research. As a teacher, he influenced and trained two generations of Canadian biomedical researchers.

Dr. Louis Siminovitch studied chemistry at McGill University, earning his PhD in 1944. Research fellowships at the National Research Council Research Council in Ottawa (1944-47) and at the Institut Pasteur in Paris (1947-53) followed.

During the early 1950s Dr. Siminovitch was a National Cancer Institute of Canada Fellow at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories in the University of Toronto, after which he joined the staff of the University's Department of Medical Biophysics. From this foundation, Dr. Siminovitch assumed a key leadership position as one of Canada's most renowned medical scientists and scientific builders.

Dr. Siminovitch has received a long list of scientific and other awards including many honorary degrees, the Flavelle Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Canada (1978) and the Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award (1981). He also has been made both an Officer and Companion of the Order of Canada (1980; 1989). Dr. Siminovitch has published 195 papers and has also been instrumental in establishing and editing many professional medical journals. He also sits on a large number of public and private medical research advisory boards in Canada. Dr. "Lou" Siminovitch is clearly a master builder of Canada's health care system and a visionary in the advance of scientific medicine.