Facebook Pixel Code
Section banner image
Paediatric Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Laurence E. Becker

Dr. Laurence Baker Image

(March 1943 - July 2002) 

Laurence E. Becker was the Founding Chief of the Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine (DPLM) at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. He spent his entire career at SickKids, which began in 1972 as a resident in Neuropathology.

Laurence (Larry) Becker graduated from the University of Alberta Medical School in 1967. In 1974, following a postgraduate specialization in neuropathology at the University of Toronto and at the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, he joined the staff at SickKids as a neuropathologist. He was appointed Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology and Paediatrics at the University of Toronto in 1980, and Pathologist-In-Chief at SickKids in 1994. In 1996, after 22 years at SickKids, he became the first Chief of the Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine.

At SickKids, Dr. Becker’s passion was evident in his leadership of the Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine, and in the diagnostic work he carried out behind the scenes. As a neuropathologist, his caseload was always up to date, and he unfailingly assisted members of the paediatric and surgical medical staff at all hours when his advice was needed. As Chief of DPLM, Dr. Becker never tired of explaining and arguing for the importance of paediatric laboratory medicine and the specialized knowledge that is required to support an effective diagnostic service for children.

Dr. Becker was considered a world-leading authority on childhood neuropathology. He will be particularly remembered for advancing knowledge of paediatric cerebral tumours and sudden infant death syndrome. Dr. Becker held research grants from a wide variety of Canadian and international sources. He was an invited speaker at scientific meetings around the world and received many awards and honours. He authored more than 325 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, 44 book chapters, and more than 300 brief communications.

Dr. Becker founded the DPLM Symposium in 1997 to showcase advances in paediatric laboratory medicine and highlight achievements of the amalgamated department. Since 2003, the Symposium has been named ‘Laurence E. Becker Symposium’ in honour of Dr. Becker’s outstanding contribution to SickKids and the medical profession. This annual symposium is supported in part by the Laurence Becker Fund through The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.