Ernest "Bun" McCulloch

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Biography

Ernest McCulloch, nicknamed “Bun” or “Bunny,” was born in Toronto in 1926.  He earned an MD in 1948 and trained in hematology, with a special interest in plasma proteins, at the Lister Institute of London.  In 1952, McCulloch joined the Faculty of Medicine at Sunnybrook, and at age 31 was at the ground floor in the Division of Biological Research at the Ontario Cancer Institute where he studied the function of bone marrow by transplanting marrow cells into irradiated hosts.  A year later, in 1958, he became a founding member of the Department of Medical Biophysics at U of T and met James Till, a physicist from Yale. Along with Till, McCulloch began research on the biological effects of radiation on cancer cells by replacing dead bone marrow cells with healthy cells. They observed that the transplanted cells developed “colony forming units” that proved to be self-renewing precursors of new blood cells, later called a “stem cell.” 

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