Pioneering spirit: McGill University’s medical miracle makers

C2 Editorial Team
Pioneering spirit: McGill University’s medical miracle makers

Where can you find researchers who change the course of medicine, award-winning physicists who identify the building blocks of the universe, iconic urban architects and the next generation of astronauts? On the side of a mountain in Montreal, where innovation has been woven into the DNA of McGill University for nearly two centuries.

This rich environment is where you’ll find C2 Montréal taking root in 2020.Just as C2 Montréal brings bright minds and diverse thinkers together in unexpected ways, McGill continues to expand on its storied history of encouraging curiosity and discovery across disciplines in ways that have a tangible impact on the way we live in, and think about, the world today. And perhaps nowhere has that impact been more apparent, and its effects more widely felt, than in the field of medicine.


A legacy of life-changing discovery

McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and the McGill University Health Centre have been at the forefront of medical breakthroughs in cancer research, heart disease, epigenetics and beyond. A pioneering cardiologist and one of the first women in medicine in Canada, Maude Abbott earned her Bachelor’s degree from McGill in 1890 and went on to write the Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease in 1936, an essential resource for cardiac surgeons.

Always up for a challenge, McGill researchers set out to culture and conquer HIV in 1984. McGill chemist Dr. Bernard Belleau’s highly creative work led to the discovery 3TC in 1989, a compound that HIV/AIDS researcher, and later Director of the McGill AIDS Centre, Dr. Mark Wainberg tested and identified as an effective antiretroviral drug. Dr. Wainberg revolutionized the understanding of HIV/AIDS at medical, epidemiological and political levels while helping to save millions of lives in the process.

Researchers Yves Clermont and Charles Leblond launched their award-winning Stem Cell Renewal Theory at McGill, spurring new research into the application of stem cells in addressing cancer, degenerative diseases, neurology and beyond. Pharmacologist Moshe Szyf and neuroscientist Michael Meaney teamed up to find definitive evidence that genes can be influenced and shaped by environmental factors. Phil Gold and Samuel Freedman created the first blood test for cancer. Dr. Brenda Milner discovered that the brain has multiple, separate memory systems. And so on and so forth… The list of McGill’s achievements in the service of healthcare is long and illustrious, and the school continues to serve as a model for change-making innovation in the field of medicine. 

In its two centuries of championing knowledge that leads to new ideas, McGill University remains at the forefront of future-shaping higher education, a place where a culture of innovation sparks inspiration, and where, without a doubt, many of the next generation of groundbreaking pioneers and change-making leaders are getting ready to make their mark.


Take your business to school

You and your team can see McGill like you’ve never seen it before at C2 Montréal, May 27-29, 2020.



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