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John Macleod

John MacleodAKA John James Rickard Macleod

Born: 6-Sep-1876
Birthplace: Cluny, Scotland
Died: 16-Mar-1935
Location of death: Aberdeen, Scotland
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: Scotland
Executive summary: Helped discover insulin

John Macleod was part of the team of researchers who isolated insulin in 1922, a discovery which has saved countless millions of lives. Macleod was a Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto when he was approached by physician Frederick G. Banting, who had an idea for studying the hypothetical internal secretion of the animal pancreases to unravel the riddles of diabetes. Macleod gave Banting permission to use his laboratory and equipment, and offered his advice and the services of one of his student assistants, Charles Best.

When Banting and Best made a promising breakthrough, isolating insulin in dog pancreases, Banting helped analyze their data and brought in biochemist James Collip, who found a practical means to extract the newly discovered hormone from cattle. Macleod also worked diligently to promote the distribution of insulin, and wrote numerous papers on its use and actions.

Macleod and Banting were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923, but Macleod's inclusion and Best's exclusion from the Nobel honors have long been considered controversial. Banting openly complained that Best's contributions were far more crucial, and even shared half his Nobel endowment with Best. Macleod shared his half of the Nobel Prize payment with Collip. The general consensus of those who have studied the controversy is that Banting and Best, while eager, lacked the research background to appreciate the value of the Macleod's guidance and contributions.

Father: Robert Macleod (minister)
Wife: Mary McWalter

    High School: Aberdeen Grammar School, Aberdeen, Scotland
    Medical School: MD, University of Aberdeen (1898)
    Scholar: Physiology, University of Leipzig (1898-99)
    Teacher: Physiology, London Hospital Medical School (1899-1902)
    Teacher: Biochemistry, London Hospital Medical School (1902-03)
    Professor: Physiology, Case Western Reserve University (1903-18)
    Professor: Physiology, McGill University (1916)
    Professor: Physiology, University of Toronto (1918-28)
    Professor: Physiology, University of Aberdeen (1928-35)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1923 (with Frederick G. Banting)
    Royal Society of Canada 1919
    Royal Society 1923
    Royal College of Physicians 1930
    Royal Society of Edinburgh 1932
    American Physiological Society (President, 1921-23)

Author of books:
Practical Physiology (1902, research)
Recent Advances in Physiology (1905, research, with Sir Leonard Hill)
Physiology and Biochemistry of Modern Medicine (1918, textbook)
Diabetes: Its Pathological Physiology (1925, research)
Carbohydrate Metabolism and Insulin (1926, research)
Fuel of Life (1928, collected lectures)


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