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Milestones in research

Faculty of Medicine 1829
1829 Founded by four Scottish physicians, the Faculty of Medicine is not only McGill College's first faculty, but the first medical faculty to be established in all of Canada.

Sir William Osler
1872 Regarded as McGill's most eminent medical graduate, Sir William Osler obtained his degree and was, at the time of his death, also the best known and best loved physician in the English-speaking world.

Maude Abbott
1898 Pathologist Maude Abbott began work on her book, The Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease, in which she described her new classification system for congenital heart illnesses. The atlas, published in 1936, was later described as a monumental contribution to the study of cardiac disease.

Ernest Rutherford
1899 The principal founder of the field of atomic physics, McGill physics professor Ernest Rutherford discovered a radioactive gas, later known as radon, widely used for many decades to treat cancer by radiotherapy.

Wilder Penfield
1930s Wilder Penfield, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, revolutionized our understanding of the human brain. Penfield developed the "Montreal procedure" as a new neurological approach to eliminating epileptic seizures.

1940 McGill professor Herbert Jasper was the first to use electro-encephalography (EEG) to study the electrical activity of the brain. To this day, the EEG continues to be an important diagnostic tool for epilepsy.

Charles-Philippe Leblond
1945 Charles-Philippe Leblond, professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, developed the process called radioautography, which involves injecting radioactive material into organisms to study where and how cells and molecular processes take place.

Arthur Vineberg
1946 Arthur Vineberg pioneered revascularization of the heart by developing a surgical procedure, aptly named the "Vineberg Procedure," that involved implanting the left mammary artery into the left ventricle of the heart.

Leo Yaffe
1952 Nuclear chemist Leo Yaffe established Canada's foremost university research lab for radiochemistry at McGill. Yaffe pioneered research into the peaceful application of nuclear technology, including the treatment of cancer, and radioactive tracers for medical diagnosis and research.

Sam Freedman
1965 McGill researchers Sam Freedman and Phil Gold discovered carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA), a type of protein often found in the blood of people who have certain kinds of cancers. Today CEA is the most frequently used antigen in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

Ronald Melzack
1971 Psychology Professor Ronald Melzack changed the face of pain forever, first with his Gate Control Theory and later the McGill Pain Questionnaire, which remains a widely used clinical tool to evaluate pain in patients around the world.

Albert Aguayo
1980 McGill neuroscientist Albert Aguayo of the Montreal General Hospital presented the first evidence that damaged nerve cells in animals can regenerate and form new connections.

Kelvin K. Ogilvie
1980 McGill biotechnology professor Kelvin K. Ogilvie invented the automated gene synthesizer, or "gene machine," which makes it possible to build DNA sequences in a matter of hours rather than months. Later, in 1986, Ogilvie becomes famous for synthesizing RNA, which enables the development of many new drugs.

AIDS ribbon
1984 Shortly after researchers in France and the United States identified the virus that causes AIDS, McGill researchers become the first in Canada to culture HIV.

Bernard Belleau
1989 McGill chemist Bernard Belleau discovered the new compound 3TC, which Mark Wainberg, now the Director of the McGill AIDS Centre, tests and identifies as an effective antiretroviral drug in the battle against AIDS.

Emil Skamene
1993 McGill researchers Philippe Gros and Emil Skamene isolated a gene in the mouse that acts as a defence against a number of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and leprosy.

Genetic structure of yeast
1996 After 13 years of investigation, McGill biologist Howard Bussey was instrumental in mapping the genetic structure of yeast, which shares a similar cell structure to humans and may prove a powerful tool in unraveling the genetics of complex human diseases.

Michael Meaney and Moshe Szyf
2004 Michael Meaney, Moshe Szyf and Ian Weaver uncovered an epigenetic mechanism in response to maternal care that can profoundly affect gene expression during early childhood, ultimately providing a paradigm on how "nurture" alters "nature."

Genetic basis for a type of hereditary colon cancer
2005 Working with colleagues in Australia and Japan, gastrointestinal pathologist Jeremy Jass of the McGill University Health Centre identified the genetic basis for a type of hereditary colon cancer, the second most fatal form of cancer in the industrialized world.

Morag Park
2008 A team led by Morag Park, Director of the Molecular Oncology Group of the McGill University Health Centre, identified 26 genes in the tissues surrounding a breast cancer tumour that could be used to predict how patients will respond to different treatments.