Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association

August 10, 2005 17:00 ET

CMA: Dr. Lou Siminovitch to Receive the CMA Medal of Honour

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 10, 2005) - On August 17, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) will present the 2005 CMA Medal of Honour to Dr. Lou Siminovitch from Toronto, a remarkable researcher who over a five-decade career has left an important watermark on biomedical science and health research in Canada.

The CMA's Medal of Honour recognizes personal contributions to: advancing medical research, medical education, health care organization and health education of the public; service to the people of Canada in raising the standards of health care delivery in Canada; and service to the profession in the field of medical organization.

"It is always a pleasure to be recognized by the award of a prestigious prize," said Dr. Siminovitch. "But, as a fundamental scientist, it is especially gratifying to be so honoured by another prestigious organization such as the Canadian Medical Association."

Born in Montreal in 1920 to parents of Eastern European heritage, Dr. Siminovitch won a scholarship to McGill University to study chemistry. After graduating with his doctorate in 1944 and three years working at the atomic energy establishment at Chalk River, he accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute Pasteur where he focused his studies on genetics and biology. Working in collaboration with the exceptional biologists at the Paris institute, he was involved in studies of bacterial viruses that provided insights into fundamental mechanisms of genetic regulation.

He returned to Canada in 1953 to join the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Toronto, where he became interested in mammalian cell biology. Three years later he joined the newly created Ontario Cancer Institute and became one of the founders of its Department of Medical Biophysics. This department became a pioneer in several developments in genetics, molecular biology, cancer research and imaging. He later developed a very large team in the field of somatic cell genetics in Toronto which attracted considerable attention all over the world. Eventually, under his leadership, Toronto became one of the most prominent centers for such studies, and this technology is now an integral facet of biological and medical research worldwide.

In 1966, Dr. Siminovitch became the first and founding chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He was also the founding Geneticist in Chief at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and was appointed as a University Professor. After retiring from the Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Siminovitch became the founding director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. Lou Siminovitch is the 22nd recipient of the CMA Medal of Honour, the highest award bestowed upon a person who is not a member of the medical profession. He will receive this award at a special ceremony at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton as part of the CMA's 138th annual meeting.

(Visit the CMA website at for full biographical notes on Dr. Lou Siminovitch)

Contact Information

  • Canadian Medical Association
    Carole Lavigne
    Manager, Media Relations
    (613) 731-8610 or 1-800-663-7336 ext. 1266