Born:

February 12, 1941

(Naicam, Saskatchewan)

Education:

MD, University of Saskatchewan (1965)

Awards & Honours:

2016: Honorary DSc, University of British Columbia

2011: Officer of the Order of Canada

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Picture of Calvin Stiller

Championed innovation in health and biomedical research and pioneered multi-organ transplantation

Portrait of Dr. Cal Stiller

A leading authority on immunology and organ transplantation

Dr. Stiller’s magic touch as a builder pervades every phase of his career. A physician, scientist, administrator, policy innovator and entrepreneur, Dr. Stiller developed one of the most dynamic organ transplant programs in the nation and championed countless other initiatives that have enriched research enterprise in Canada. It was Dr. Stiller who, in the late 1970’s, obtained the promising new drug cyclosporine and organized its first multi-centre clinical trial in kidney transplantation in North America, creating the foundation for subsequent studies that put Canada on the world stage. He was responsible for the ground-breaking research that showed that cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant, could halt the progression of Type 1 Diabetes – demonstrating that it was an immune disorder.

Key Facts

Cyclosporine remains today as the drug of choice to combat tissue rejection after transplantation

Founded Transplant International, the first organization of its kind in Canada

Popularized the term “Gift of Life” and initiated the Organ Donor Card attached to drivers’ licences

Co-founded science-based venture capital funds and several of Canada’s largest medical and scientific organizations including the MaRS Centre and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Stiller’s ground-breaking research and tireless promotion of organ transplantation continues to sustain life-saving work. When Dr. Stiller began his career in medicine, less than 50 organ transplants were performed in London each year. As of 2004, there were over 200 and in 2019 there were over 3,000 across Canada. Additionally, in a lifetime an individual might be successful in creating one institution or program. Dr. Stiller has been the architect of many, including the Medical Hall of Fame. His visionary building of public and private institutions has created a legacy that for many years will advance Canadian research, employ thousands of individuals, and raise the profile of Canadian innovation around the world.

Picture of Calvin Stiller

2010

  • Dr. Stiller

    Calvin Stiller inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Calgary, Alberta

  • Named Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year

    As of 2018, over 17,000 people are employed by MaRS-supported companies.

  • The Canadian Medical Discovery Fund was established

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    Convinced that there was a serious lack of capital available to Canadian bioscientists, Dr. Stiller honed his idea of involving the private sector in stimulating a real Canadian-grown life sciences industry.

  • Appointed to the board of the Medical Research Council of Canada

    This appointment coincided with his shift towards medical entrepreneurship.

  • Dr. Calvin Stiller established and led the Multi-Organ Transplant Service at University Hospital

    Patient Care

    The Service was the first of its kind in Canada and one of the first in the world.

  • Cyclosporine was discovered

    Infectious Disease, Allergy & Immunity, Evidence-based Medicine & Clinical Trials

    As a result of Dr. Stiller’s leadership, University Hospital in London was selected as one of only a few centres in the world to conduct clinical studies with this new drug.

  • Returned to Western University

    In 1972, he was appointed Chief of Nephrology and Transplantation and, later, Director of Immunology at the John P. Robarts Institute.

  • At the age of 20, entered medical school at the University of Saskatchewan

    After graduation in 1965, he completed 5 years of post-graduate fellowships and the University of Western Ontario and the University of Alberta where he specialized in kidney disease, transplantation immunology and infection.

1960

Once seized with an idea, he is a force to be reckoned with.