Louis "Lou" Siminovitch, PhD
May 1, 1920 - April 6, 2021
Described as the architect and father of the application of genetics and microbiology, Dr. Louis Siminovitch “Lou” significantly advanced our understanding of the genetic basis of muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and the genetic roots of cancer. A skilled leader and mentor, he paved the way for future scientists and subsequent discoveries over a career spanning more than fifty years. Dr. Henry Friesen, 2001 CMHF Laureate and former president of the Medical Research Council, said, “We can only stand in awe of the profound influence Lou had in inspiring so many young scientists, building and developing major institutions and offering decision-makers wise counsel on enriching the funding of research and cultivating a more robust science culture in Canada.”
Former University of Toronto President and 2016 CMHF Laureate, Dr. David Naylor remembers Lou as "a truly remarkable individual who has played a pivotal role in evolving the history of medical science on a provincial, national and international scale." Dr. Siminovitch was one of Canada’s most renowned medical scientists and scientific builders, who was fundamental in the establishment and development of three of the most outstanding medical research environments in Canada, especially in genetics: the Ontario Cancer Institute (1956-1969), the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute (1970-1985), and the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto (1983-1994). "He worked tirelessly to share his vision with others and lived a life so rich and impactful."
Dr. Siminovitch was determined to look forward, to seek out people of the next generation, to mentor and encourage them to never stand still, to state their mind and to celebrate excellence wherever they see it. Dr. Calvin Stiller, Founder and Laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame said, "to the end, Lou insisted on making anything and everyone he encountered better." Dr. Siminovitch pursued a lifelong, relentless, unapologetic quest for scientific excellence. As a result, he became a master builder of research in Canada and a mentor to today’s leaders in scientific discovery, many of whom are Laureates of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.