J.B. Collip and the Development of Medical Research in Canada

J.B. Collip and the Development of Medical Research in Canada: Extracts and Enterprise

ALISON LI
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80gdv
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  • Book Info
    J.B. Collip and the Development of Medical Research in Canada
    Book Description:

    Collip was known for his remarkable skills in making hormone extracts, many of which proved to have therapeutic, and therefore commercial, value. At McGill University in the 1930s he headed a thriving research group that carried out investigations of the pituitary and sex hormones, including development of one of the first orally active estrogen products. Collip's story sheds light on early negotiations between academic science and the pharmaceutical industry and on the complexities of sustaining a research laboratory before the rise of government funding. As the head of the National Research Council's medical research division during its formative years, Collip helped shape the foundations of organized support for medical research in Canada.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7145-7
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    Historical accounts of medical research in Canada almost inevitably begin with a proud reference to the isolation of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921-22. The insulin discovery, a dramatic triumph of science over dread disease, had powerful repercussions in the lives of those who were touched by it. Diabetics and their doctors suddenly gained a potent tool in treating a deadly condition. The Canadian public was given a vivid demonstration that its medical scientists could rank among the best in the world. The subsequent burst of enthusiasm for medical research brought an infusion of young investigators and funds...

  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. 1 The Research Ideal, 1892–1920
    (pp. 3-18)

    In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the township of Thurlow, Ontario, hummed with prosperity. It was enviably situated atop finequality loam, its landscape undulating and its climate agreeable. The river Moira and its tributaries flowed through the township and then continued a short distance southwest towards the city of Belleville, itself located midway on the main route between Toronto and Montreal. A century before, the area had become home to United Empire Loyalists seeking refuge in British North America after the American Revolution. An enterprising loyalist captain had set up the first saw and grist mills in the...

  7. 2 The Discovery of Insulin, 1921–1922
    (pp. 19-33)

    The Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship gave Collip a chance to set aside his teaching duties for fifteen months. During this time, he would visit and study with distinguished scientists and devote himself to the research he loved so much. When the award was announced in November 1920, Collip began to make his plans. He considered travelling to work with men such as Sir Henry Dale and William Bayliss in London, Benjamin Moore in Oxford, Donald van Slyke at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, Yandell Henderson of Yale, and J.J.R. Macleod in Toronto. He hoped to spend this time learning more...

  8. 3 The Parathyroid Hormone Controversy, 1923–1927: A Question of Priority
    (pp. 34-58)

    Collip’s career had taken a dramatic turn with the discovery of insulin. From that point on, he would be assured a place in the research world, but now he had to capitalize on the advantages he had gained. Over the next years, he worked assiduously to create another triumph like insulin, his research program turning decisively towards the extraction and characterization of hormones of therapeutic value. In his pursuit of this goal, he demonstrated the many lessons he had learned from his Toronto experience.

    When Collip returned to the University of Alberta in the summer of 1922, he knew that...

  9. 4 Rebuilding Medicine at McGill, 1928–1933
    (pp. 59-88)

    In 1928 Collip accepted a call to succeed A.B. Macallum in the chair of biochemistry at McGill University. Collip’s appointment was part of an overall plan by McGill’s administrators to rebuild the reputation of its medical school. For Collip, the move to Montreal ushered in a period of unprecedented activity. His next successful endeavour was one of the first fruits of McGill’s ambitious scheme.

    At McGill, Collip turned his attention to the complex and rapidly expanding field of the sex hormones. This was a highly competitive arena worldwide, one in which theoretical issues and questions of priority were hotly debated....

  10. 5 The Great Years, 1934–1941
    (pp. 89-112)

    The 1930s have been called the great years of Collip’s research career. During this decade, he and his staff produced important contributions to the understanding of the anterior pituitary hormones. Collip was able to make the transition from working with one or two associates to heading up a large laboratory group, a configuration that was to become characteristic of modern medical research. The scientific successes of this group depended on Collip’s ability to create an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork.

    The biochemistry department was a hub of activity throughout this period. The small permanent staff of five or six was...

  11. 6 The Private Funding of Research, 1928–1947: Patents, Grants, and Institutes
    (pp. 113-147)

    Scientific knowledge is a product not only of experiments and ideas but also of institutions and financial resources. During the period he was at McGill, Collip had a distinct vision for his research enterprise and was continually engaged in negotiations with parties both inside and outside the university to make this dream a reality. In the mid- to late 1930s, one of Collip’s prime concerns was to ensure the financial stability of his laboratory group. To this end, he and Charles Martin made a bid to the Rockefeller Foundation for a research grant. Collip was also engaged in a series...

  12. 7 The Rise of Public Funding, 1938–1968: Medical Research on a National Level
    (pp. 148-166)

    Since his days as a graduate student at the University of Toronto, Collip had been a dedicated scientist who loved nothing more than working away at some new problem late into the night. He had continually struggled to arrange his working conditions so that he could devote himself exclusively to research. His perspective on medical research began to broaden, however, when he accepted the invitation to sit on the National Research Council’s Associate Committee on Medical Research in 1938. Collip’s colleagues were surprised by how enthusiastically he took to the intensive committee work because he had previously shown very little...

  13. 8 Dean of Medicine, 1947–1965
    (pp. 167-171)

    Collip spent the remainder of his career in London as dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario.² The postwar period was a time of active expansion in the medical school at Western, just as it was at other medical schools across the country. The size of the medical class grew, as did the number of graduate students. An honours course in the basic medical sciences was instituted. Collip oversaw the expansion in facilities and led the medical school in its move from its old location across town to the main university campus. Collip was still active, restless, and...

  14. Conclusion: The Transformation of the Research Enterprise
    (pp. 172-178)

    In the early decades of the twentieth century, medical research in Canada was the pursuit of an exceptional few. By mid-century, it had burgeoned into a systematic, large-scale enterprise involving teams of professional scientists and dozens of laboratories in universities, government, and industry. J.B. Collip – driven, devoted, and marvelously skilled in drawing biological gold from dross – was a noteworthy part of this change. His story gives us some insight into the forces that transformed the landscape of Canadian medical research.

    Collip’s life and scientific work stretched across a key period in the development of medical research in Canada....

  15. Notes
    (pp. 179-216)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 217-236)
  17. Index
    (pp. 237-244)