Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“The legacy of the Barr body and his devotion to teaching live on.”

© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
1998 Inductee

Dr. Murray Barr

Born: 
June 20, 1908, Belmont, Ontario
Died: 
May 4, 1995
Education: 
MD - The University of Western Ontario
Dr. Murray Barr had a remarkable medical career beginning when he co-discovered the sex chromatin body with his colleague Dr. Ewart Bertram, which is 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.

Murray Llewellyn Barr received his doctorate from The University of Western Ontario in 1933. He would later serve as a member of the university’s faculty from 1937 until 1977. In addition to his medical career, Barr also served as a Wing Commander with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. 

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.