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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 23, 2012

A Fine Day for Discovery

One fine day in 1989 a group of researchers, including Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, a scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) at the time, discovered the genetic cause for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). On March 21, a fine day in 2012, Dr. Tsui, now Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Hong Kong, celebrated his induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame with a special event at SickKids.  

Members of the Toronto research community celebrated the impact of the discovery on cystic fibrosis and genomics research. The cystic fibrosis gene discovery was the first time that a disease gene was identified, paving the way for the mapping of the human genome, which began in 1990.

SickKids President and CEO, Mary Jo Haddad gave opening remarks, welcoming Dr. Tsui back to SickKids as the guest of honour. She was followed by SickKids’ Dr. Stephen Scherer, a former trainee of Dr. Tsui’s and now a leader in genomics research, who discussed how that discovery significantly contributed to continued advancement in genomics. Invited guest Dr. Eric Sorscher, Director of the Gregory Flemming James Cystic Fibrosis Centre at the University of Alabama, then discussed how the 1989 discovery has greatly contributed to the advancements of CF research and treatment. SickKids’ Senior Scientist Dr. Johanna Rommens,  who was part of the CF gene discovery team in 1989, talked about some of her recent research, including a paper that will be published shortly in Nature Genetics, which is further advancing our understanding of CF.

In a celebration of science and the impact of the CF gene discovery, both those who were present for the 1989 discovery, as well as the next generation of SickKids researchers were honoured to spend an afternoon with Dr. Tsui looking back to this remarkable discovery and the developments in research and treatment it has since enabled.

Additional Resources

To learn more about this historic discovery, check out these externally produced videos.

Finding the First Gene

The Dawn of Personalized Medicine