1980s and earlier
McGill chemist Bernard Belleau discovers 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.
Shortly after researchers in France and the United States identify the
virus that causes AIDS, McGill researchers become the first in Canada to
Neuroscientist Albert Aguayo of the Montreal General
Hospital presents the first evidence that damaged nerve cells in animals
can regenerate and form new connections.
McGill researchers Sam Freedman and Phil
Gold discover 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
Determined to push the frontiers of science, undergraduate Thomas
Chang, now the Director of McGill's Artificial Cells and Organs
Research Centre, builds a makeshift lab inside his McGill dormitory room
and invents the world's first artificial cell.
In a landmark event in neuroscience, the Montreal Neurological Institute's
K.A.C. Elliot leads a team of researchers to the discovery
of the first inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Neuropsychologist Brenda Milner of the Montreal
Neurological Institute discovers that the hippocampus is largely
responsible for how brains memorize facts and transform short-term memories
for long-term retention.
Researcher Heinz Lehmann, working at the Douglas Hospital,
begins his pioneering work on chlorpromazine, a drug for schizophrenia.
Through extensive clinical trials, the drug is proven to effectively
alleviate symptoms, helping many patients return to a normal life.
Researcher Frank Clarke Fraser establishes the first
medical genetics clinic in a Canadian hospital at the Montreal Children's
Hospital almost immediately after graduation from medical school.