James Edgar Till, 1931- and Earnest A. McCulloch, 1926-2011
The 'Fathers of Stem Cell Science', Till and McCulloch published their discovery of stem cells in 1961. Further research, in consort with Dr. Andrew Becker and Dr. Louis Siminovitch, defined the key properties of stem cells: stem cells have the capacity for self-renewal, and stem cells can differentiate into more specialized cells. Till, pictured first, later pursued work on the evaluation of cancer therapies and quality of life issues.
Dr. McCulloch was a physician wanting to use radiation in his experiments. At that time he was required to partner with a physicist to allow that to happen. Till was the physicist who volunteered to work with him. In McCulloch's words "we have never looked back". McCulloch continued to work on cellular and molecular mechanisms affecting the growth of malignant blast stem cells from the blood of patients with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia.
Till and McCulloch have received tremendous recognition, with induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, awards as Officers of the Order of Canada and the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. The Till and McCulloch Award and Till and McCulloch Meetings have been named in their honour.