A molecular biologist, scientific leader and genetics pioneer
It would be hard to overestimate the profound influence Dr. Lou Siminovitch had on the scientific enterprise in Canada and beyond. From his early days in Paris studying how bacterial viruses (phage) infected and controlled bacterial cells, to his Toronto-based pioneering studies of induced mutations in mammalian cells, Lou constantly went where no-one had gone before to unearth new insights into the molecular basis of cell growth and its dysregulation in cancer cells. His insight extended not only to his own work, but also to the many young scientists he hired, mentored, and supported, first at the Ontario Cancer Institute, then at a new Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto, then at the Hospital for Sick Children Genetics Department and finally at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital. For more than 60 years Lou was relentless in his pursuit of excellence in science, and at the age of 100 was still writing letters to key political figures agitating for more research funding and for higher standards of excellence.