May 1, 1920

(Montréal, Québec)


April 6, 2021


PhD, McGill University (1944)

Awards & Honours:

1989: Companion of the Order of Canada

1986: R.P. Taylor Award, Canadian Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute of Canada

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Picture of Louis Siminovitch, PhD

Became the architect and father of the application of genetics and microbiology in Canada

Portrait of Lou Siminovitch

A molecular biologist, scientific leader and genetics pioneer

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. In addition, his strength in leadership enabled the formation of a constellation of notable research institutes including the Ontario Cancer Institute, the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. 

Key Facts

Made important contributions to bacterial and animal virus genetics, somatic cell and human genetics and cancer research

Published more than 200 scientific papers and journal articles

Was a key leader in the establishment of five international medical journals 

One of few Canadians elected to both the Royal Society of the U.K. and the U.S. National Academy

Served on a number of boards in both the private and public sectors

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Louis Siminovitch worked tirelessly on behalf of the Medical Research Council of Canada, the National Cancer Institute of Canada, the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundations and many other agencies. As a result, he became a builder of research in Canada and a mentor to today’s leaders in scientific research, many of whom are Laureates of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. His high standards of excellence and innovative thinking continues to influence the focus on Canadian biomedical research in Canada. Even as he approached his 100th birthday, Louis Siminovitch continued to serve as a consultant to the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.  

Picture of Louis Siminovitch, PhD


  • Lou Siminovitch with family posing for photograph

    Lou Siminovitch inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Siminovitch retired as research director of the LTRI

    He remained connected to medical research as an advisor to the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and the Loeb Research Institute in Ottawa.

  • Siminovitch is a dedicated family man, a strong supporter of culture and an arts enthusiast along with his late wife Elinore

    The Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre was established in 2000 (now the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre), and is granted annually to an individual in recognition of their excellence and innovation in Canadian theatre.

  • As an innovative builder again, Siminovitch developed a research institute at Mount Sinai Hospital

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    Within a decade, the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute was one of Canada’s preeminent medical research institutions.

  • Siminovitch was honoured with the title of University Professor

    In his various capacities, his passion for medical education instilled the pursuit of excellence in at least two generations of active biomedical scientists.

  • Dr. Lou Siminovitch moved to The Hospital for Sick Children

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    His leadership as Geneticist-in-Chief helped to strengthen the institutions’ research capacity.

  • Throughout his career, many leaders and organizations sought out Siminovitch’s advice

    In 1970, he served as the first head of the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Research Advisory Group. Later, in 1982, he became its President.

  • Lou Siminovitch joined the faculty at the University of Toronto

    Health and Medical Education & Training

    As a professor, he helped to found the Department of Medical Biophysics. Eight years later, he became founding chair of the Department of Medical Genetics.

  • Louis Siminovitch joins the Ontario Cancer Institute

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    Appointed head of biological research in 1963, he contributed critical knowledge to the field of stem cell and cancer research. Under his leadership, the Institute became a leader in North American cancer research.

  • Siminovitch returned to Canada as a fellow of the National Cancer Institute of Canada

    He completed his fellowship at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories in the University of Toronto.

  • Upon completion of his PhD in Chemistry from McGill University, Siminovitch shifted his focus to the life sciences

    After three years with the National Research Council in Ottawa, Siminovitch received a Royal Society fellowship to train alongside André Lwoff, Jacques Monod and Franҫois Jacob at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.


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