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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 19, 2011

Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

It was a landmark discovery at the time. Now, more than 20 years later, this remarkable moment in 20th century medical history is understood to be one of the most significant breakthroughs in human genetics in 50 years -- the discovery of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis.

Today, news that Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, Adjunct Scientist, SickKids Research Institute, is being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012 for his extraordinary contributions to science is taking many of us at SickKids back to that day in 1989.

Lap Chee Tsui and colleagues 1989
Lap-Chee Tsui, centre, with Francis Collins and John Riordan, on that special day in 1989

It was in August of that year that a team of scientists led by Tsui discovered that a mutation in the CF trans-membrane regulator (CFTR) gene is responsible for cystic fibrosis, the most common fatal genetic disease affecting young people in Canada.

“This discovery was a moment of great pride for all connected with SickKids and will forever be a part of our legacy of important research discoveries that profoundly impact child health,” says Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO. “This is a wonderful and well-deserved honour for Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui.”

Tsui joins SickKids legends Dr. William Gallie, Dr. William Mustard, Dr. Robert Bruce Salter and Dr. Louis Siminovitch in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

“The SickKids research community is delighted by this recognition of Lap-Chee Tsui's outstanding contributions to human genetics and genomics,” says Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research, SickKids. “His discovery of the gene for cystic fibrosis still resonates today as a tour de force of genetic discovery and his influence on the growth of genetics research at SickKids is extraordinary.”

Tsui began his SickKids career in 1981 as a fellow in the Department of Genetics and was a member of the Research Institute scientific staff from 1983 to 2002. He was Geneticist-in-Chief and Head of the Genetics and Genome Biology Program of the Research Institute, as well as holder of the H.E. Sellers Chair in Cystic Fibrosis at the University of Toronto. In 2002, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Hong Kong, a role he continues today.

The seven inductees announced today will join the ranks of 88 laureates who have been similarly honoured since 1994. Read the press release from the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for more on this year’s inductees.