mthompsonIt is with great sadness, we inform you about the loss of Dr. Margaret W. Thompson at the age of 94. She wrote the widely used textbook, Genetics in Medicine, originally co-authored with her husband, James Scott Thompson. She founded the genetic counselling service at the University of Alberta Hospital (1956) and later, she joined the Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in 1963-88 as staff.

Dr. Brian Lowry kindly provided CCMG with the following personal recollection: “Peggy Thompson was one of the distinguished group of students of the late Norma Ford Walker, all of whom had a great impact on the development of medical genetics in Canada. The others were Irene Uchida, Nancy Simpson, Jim Miller and Hubert Soltan. My first contact with Peggy was in 1959 when I was a general practitioner in Fort Macleod AB. I sought her help as a result of seeing so many Hutterite patients with diabetes mellitus. She had started an Hereditary Genetic Counselling clinic in the Dept of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta (1957-61). Help was readily given but I did not pursue the topic as I was planning to enter pediatric residency at Sick Kids. I got to know her well when she was on the Board of the CCMG and later President (1983-84). I was Secretary-Treasurer(1980-84) and we worked closely together. Peggy had very high standards, especially with the written word, and I can recall her excellence as a proof reader and editor. At the same time she was very fair minded and it was a pleasure to work with her and learn from her. She was a major force in the establishment of the CCMG.”

Obituary written by the her family: Obituary

Janet Buchanan is gathering input from colleagues of Dr. Thompson, in order to put together a brief biography for later distribution. Please forward any remembrance of Peggy, or suggestions, to janet.buchanan@sickkids.ca.


Departmental Acknowledgement: William Foulkes

50 new Fellows were inducted to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2014. The distinctive competencies of these distinguished individuals have led to accomplishments and academic service to the full breadth of academic health sciences that is truly remarkable. The Induction Ceremony, led this year by Linda Rabeneck and Louise Potvin, celebrated their remarkable personal contributions, which included the induction of one of our own, Dr. William Foulkes.



(Photo: Jaesung Kim, Alison Brebner, Moria Belanger, Peg Illson, Lena Dolman, Tracy Wang, Kush Prithipaul, Wayne Mah, Francis Petrella)

Message from Moria Belanger:

Hi Everyone,

I would like to thank everyone who came out to skate, cheer, and donate on Saturday for the Free Skate/Shootout to support CanSupport. It was immensely successful and over $300 were raised! Special thanks to Francis for being our goalie and for booking the ice time, as well as to everyone who brought extra skates and helmets for people to use. I had a great time and I hope that everyone else did too! Congratulations on the trophy Alison! Hip hip hooray! I hope we can do this again!




Mutations in NMNAT1 cause Leber congenital amaurosis and identify a new disease pathway for retinal degeneration

Scientists’ gene discovery could help reverse childhood blindness disease






Having climbed as high as he could at McGill, the time has come for Thomas to move on. His last day in the office will be Tuesday, July 31.



The annual Department of Human Genetics Teaching Award is given to one member of the clinical faculty and one member of the research faculty to recognize their contributions in the teaching, supervision and mentorship of students.

This year’s winners were chosen from among several nominations submitted by students, residents and faculty members, and were announced at the Department meeting on March 14th and at the Graduate Student research Day on June 21st.

David Rosenblatt, MD

Patricia Tonin, PhD

Congratulations to the winners!

Please keep your ideas in mind for next year’s award nominees.

The Faculty Awards Committee:

Ken Dewar
Jennifer Fitzpatrick
Pablo Lopez
Aimee Ryan
Yannis Trakadis


Congratulations to the Winners of our Research Day Prizes:

Xiaoyang Liu – 1st prize, oral presentation

Jaeseung Kim – 1st prize, poster presentation

Juan Pablo Lopez – 2nd prize, oral presentation

Lena Dolman – 2nd prize, poster presentation

Gregory Boivin – 3rd prize, oral presentation

Jeremy Saban – 3rd prize, poster presentation


It is our pleasure to announce that Bartha Maria Knoppers, Director of the Centre of Genomics & Policy and Professor in the Department of Human genetics received the Order of Québec on June 7th, 2012 in Québec City. Please see her profile here.


 David L. Rimoin, MD, PhD

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Mourns the Loss of Founding President and Genetics Pioneer David L. Rimoin, MD, PhD


After a career that spanned nearly half a century, Dr. David L. Rimoin, founding president of ACMG and in many ways the founder of one of the most fast- paced specialties in modern clinical medicine, passed away on Sunday May 27, 2012 in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer, which had only been diagnosed a few days before.

Dr. Rimoin was a giant in the field of medical genetics. He leaves not only an enduring legacy but also a void in the hearts of the many who loved him, including his beloved wife Ann of 32 years and their three cherished children, Anne, Michael and Lauren.


Click here to read full tribute


Clarke Fraser

Clarke Fraser was inducted to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012 http://www.cdnmedhall.org/list-name?year=2012

If you haven’t heard it already, Dr. Fraser was interviewed by CBC radio.  The podcast can be heard here (fast forward to about 19 minutes 30 seconds) http://podcast.cbc.ca/w6/worldatsix.mp3

 Nada Jabado

On April 24, during a ceremony at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Mary Argent-Katwala, Director of Research at the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, presented the William E. Rawls Prize to Dr Nada Jabado, researcher at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at McGill University.


The Canadian Cancer Society wants to recognize “Dr Nada Jabado’s remarkable contribution to our understanding of brain cancers in children in the last decade,” Mary Argent-Katwala said at the award ceremony.

At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Dr Jabado diagnoses fatal tumours. Brain cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among children because existing treatments are often ineffective. A caring doctor, Dr Jabado focuses on research to one day give hope to the children she treats. “What I am hopeful and proud of is that my work might one day help cure these cancers,” the researcher said.

Innovative in her research, Dr Jabado established a multidisciplinary team composed of pediatric oncologists, bioinformaticians, pathologists and basic scientists. She then equipped the laboratory with a database of childhood tumours, thanks to the collaboration of her peers in Canada and abroad.

To this day, her work has led to great progress in the understanding of brain cancers in children and paved the way for promising treatments. Dr Jabado’s team has most notably identified a genetic mutation present in 40% of glioblastomas, a type of brain cancer. It explains the resistance of glioblastomas to radiation and chemotherapy.

Her recent work has also been the subject of several articles, notably two that appeared in Nature magazine (January and February 2012 issues).

She also won the Maude Abbott prize which was established in 2010 by the Faculty of Medicine in order to recognize outstanding female Faculty Members who excel in Education, Research or Administration with a focus at the early career stage.