Introduction
  Contact
  History
  Faculty
   
 

The Banting and Best Department of Medical Research

Your browser may not support display of this image. 

Introduction

The Banting and Best Department of Medical Research (BBDMR) at the University of Toronto is named after Drs. Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best, who discovered insulin while working with J.J. Macleod, a Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto.  Banting and MacLeod subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1923) for their ground-breaking work.  In 1950, the Best Institute was constructed beside and connected to the Banting Institute on College Street.  For many years, the Best Institute was home to a dedicated team of biomedical researchers who were members of the BBDMR, and the Institute enjoyed a proud history as a preeminent Canadian biomedical research centre.

Contact

Best Institute 
112 College Street 
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L6

Annie Chan:
Tel: (416) 978-8861
Fax: (416) 978-8287


A Proud History

Your browser may not support display of this image.

The Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto was created in response to the discovery of insulin in Toronto.

The discovery of insulin in 1921 by two young investigators at the University of Toronto, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, was one of the most important medical achievements of the twentieth century. This discovery brought worldwide acclaim to Frederick G. Banting and his colleagues, Charles H. Best and James Collip, and to their adviser John J.R. MacLeod. Banting and MacLeod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1923. Prior to the discovery of insulin there was no way to treat diabetics. Today, the lives of millions worldwide are saved through the use of this hormone.

“The Banting and Best Medical Research Act”, passed in 1923 by the legislature of the Province of Ontario, stipulated that an annual grant would be provided to the Board of Governors of the University of Toronto for the establishment of the “Banting and Best Research Fund”.  In response to this, the University established the Banting and Best Chair of Medical Research and Frederick Banting was appointed the first Research Professor in Canada. Financial support was obtained not only from the Ontario Provincial grant but also from Connaught Laboratories and from private donations. In 1930, the University of Toronto officially changed the status of Banting’s “Chair” and established the “Banting and Best Department of Medical Research.” Charles Best held the post of “Honorary Research Associate in the BBDMR” from the time of its inception. In 1941, following Banting’s death, Best was appointed Chair of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, a position he held until retirement in 1967.

Locations Changes for the BBDMR

The BBDMR moved locations three times between 1923 and 1954. The first home was in the Pharmacology Department of the Old Medical Building, in which Banting and Best had performed their initial experiments. This structure was eventually demolished to provide a site for the massive Medical Sciences Building, which now houses many of the basic sciences departments in the Faculty of Medicine.

In 1930,the BBDMR was relocated to the Banting Institute at 100 College Street.  It moved again in the 1950s to a new building, the Charles H. Best Institute at 112 College St.  Since 2005, the Department has enjoyed a significant expansion due to the opening of the Donnelly Centre, a new interdisciplinary research institute that was the vision of two former Department Chairs, James Friesen and Cecil Yip. Most of the Department now resides in the Donnelly Centre, along with colleagues from other Departments in the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculties of Applied Sciences & Engineering, Pharmacy and Arts &Science.

Past Department Chairs

Charles Best:   1923 – 1967 First director/ chair of the Department
Irving Fritz:   1968 – 1978
David MacLennan:   Acting Chairman from 1978 -1980, Chair 1980 - 1992
Cecil Yip:   1993 - 1995
Jim Friesen:   1996-2004 
Brenda Andrews:   2004 – Present

Dr. Andrews is also the Director of the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. 

2005, a Celebration of History and Progress

The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research opened its doors in 2005, and many members of the BBDMR moved into the new state-of-the art research facility, along with colleagues from other Departments and Faculties at the University of Toronto. The Faculties of Medicine and Applied Science and Engineering are known as the "Partners" or "Partner Faculties" of the Donnelly Centre.

BBDMR Faculty at the Donnelly Centre:

Emeritus Professor:

James D.Friesen Professor Emeritus,
Banting and Best Department
of Medical Research
Donnelly Centre for Cellular
and Biomolecular Research
160 College Street
Rm 916
University of Toronto
M5S 3E1
Toronto ON Canada

416 946 3016

james.friesen@utoronto.ca

BBDMR Faculty at the Best Institute:

BBDMR Professors:

Aled Edwards
C. James Ingles

University Professor:

David MacLennan

Emeritus Professors:

Clelia Ganoza
Arnis Kuksis
Alexander Marks
Bernard Schimmer 

BBDMR Faculty with Space Elsewhere:

Cheryl Arrowsmith
Chi-Hung Siu
Brendan Frey