Research Matters announces Ontario’s five favourite game-changing research discoveries

The votes are in and the top-five favourite game-changing Ontario research discoveries, as voted on by the public, were announced by Research Matters on November 12. Amongst the favourites are discoveries made by Frederick Banting and Fred Possmayer, PhD'65.

In 1921, Frederick Banting, who taught at Western University at the time, came up with the idea of extracting insulin from the pancreas. He worked with Charles Best, J.J.R. Macleod and J.B. Collip in a lab at the University of Toronto to obtain insulin in a form consistently effective for treating diabetes. Banting and Macleod received the 1923 Nobel Prize for their efforts.

In 1981, Fred Possmayer, who recently received a 2015 Alumni of Distinction Award, developed a solution for premature babies who suffered from respiratory distress. He came up with a technique to purify and sterilize lung surfactant — a substance that allows lungs to expand and breathe. The surfactant is extracted from a cow’s lung and is known as bovine lipid extract surfactant. It is made in London and used by nearly all neonatal intensive care units in Canada.

The contest ran from April to October and more than 4,000 votes were collected.