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Historical Timeline

1960’s

1960’s

Dr. Jack Laidlaw identifies the need for a more flexible and multidisciplinary approach to training clinicians interested in research and for providing members of clinical departments an opportunity to supervise graduate students. He joins forces with Dr. Ernest McCulloch to create the Institute of Medical Science (IMS). (Photo: Jack Laidlaw as a medical student at UofT.)

1967

1967

The IMS is established within the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto (UofT) and serves as the graduate arm for the Clinical Departments in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Jack Laidlaw becomes its first Director.

1968

1968

The IMS receives approval from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

1969

1969

The IMS has 55 faculty members and offers 17 courses. The first IMS graduate, Dr. Claude Morin, receives his Master’s degree.

1975

1975

Dr. Ernest McCulloch, previously IMS Graduate Secretary (now termed Graduate Coordinator), becomes the new Director. Dr. McCulloch and his colleague, Dr. James Till, were the first to identify and establish the properties of stem cells. Their groundbreaking and now famous research established the framework in which stem cells are studied. (Photo: James Till and Ernest McCulloch).

1980

1980

Dr. Daniel Roncari becomes Director of the IMS.

1983

1983

Dr. Aubie Angel steps in as IMS Director. The IMS initiates a highly successful summer undergraduate research program (SURP). Under Dr. Angel’s leadership, there is a proliferation of initiatives. Dr. Bernard Langer and Dr. Steven Strasberg develop the Surgeon-Scientist Training Program. (Photo: Bernard Langer operating).

1989

1989

Dr. Fred Lowy launches the Centre for Bioethics and serves as its first Director. The Centre offers the first Canadian graduate program in bioethics.

1991

1991

Dr. Mel Silverman becomes IMS Director. He further enhances the academic standards of the IMS, expanding curriculum and increasing student enrolment (particularly MD enrolment) and faculty appointments.

1994

1994

The Master of Science in Biomedical Communications program is established. Dr. Linda Wilson-Pauwels plays a key role in elevating the program from BSc to MSc. Currently directed by Nick Woolridge, it is one of the top accredited graduate programs in biomedical communications in the world. The annual IMS Scientific Day is launched. (Illustration: Overview of Trigeminal Nerve by Linda Wilson-Pauwels in Cranial Nerves, 3rd Edition).

1995

1995

Together with Dr. Bernard Langer, Dr. Mel Silverman founds the University of Toronto Clinician Investigator Program (CIP), recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, which has been instrumental in communicating standards of rigorous scholarly research to the clinical sector, and in highlighting the unique requirements of the training and career development of clinician investigators. The majority of the trainees in the CIP program are from the IMS. The following annual awards are created – Alan Wu Poster Prize, Laidlaw Manuscript Award, Siminovitch-Salter Award for outstanding scholarly research by a PhD student and the Roncari Book Prize for a student who has made significant contributions to the academic experience of graduate students.

1998

1998

The Bernard Langer Annual Lecture in Health Sciences is established as the keynote address at Scientific Day.  

2000

2000

Dr. Ori Rotstein takes over as IMS Director. Under his Directorship the IMS continues to expand dramatically, becoming the largest graduate unit in the Faculty of Medicine. Student enrolment surpasses 300.

2001

2001

The Mel Silverman Mentorship award is created to recognize faculty who have served as outstanding mentors and role models to graduate students.

2003

2003

The first international students from National Chiao Tung University of Taiwan participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Students from all over the world continue to travel to Toronto to participate in this immersive program. The Whiteside Award is established to honour the contributions of Dr. Catharine Whiteside (former Graduate Coordinator and Dean of Faculty of Medicine 2005-2014) and is presented annually to a graduating Master of Science student who has made outstanding scholarly contributions. (Photo: SURP students with current program Director Dr. Vasu Venkateswaran).

2004

2004

The IMS Course Director and Course Lecturer Awards are established to recognize excellence in graduate teaching and course development.

2007

2007

Dr. Karen Davis and Dr. Mary Seeman (Graduate Coordinators), Dr. Ori Rotstein (IMS Director) and Josie Chapman (IMS Business Officer) create the graduate student oath, which is recited voluntarily at each year’s new student orientation. The oath emphasizes three aspects of scientific training at the graduate level: community, professionalism, and ethical conduct, through declarations of pride, integrity, and pursuit. It is published in Science (2008) and has now been adopted by many universities around the world.

2009

2009

Dr. Pam Catton and Nicole Harnett develop the Masters of Health Science in Medical Radiation Science program. It is the first graduate program for radiation therapists in North America. (Photo: Pam Catton).

2011

2011

Dr. Allan Kaplan becomes IMS Director. The Ori Rotstein Lectureship in Translational Research is established to recognize Dr. Rotstein’s 25-year engagement with the IMS. The student-run IMS Magazine, founded by PhD student Natalie Venier, releases its first issue. The Sara Al-Bader Award is created.

2012

2012

A 5-year strategic plan is created, rooted in the IMS’ vision to be a global leader in graduate education to improve human health through translational research. PhD student David Kideckel serves as president of the IMS Students’ Association and revitalizes the student group, helping to bring together IMS students from across all the research sites. Subsequent presidents have continued to help students thrive by building a strong community filled with meaningful activities and relationships.

2015

2015

Dr. Mingyao Liu becomes IMS Director. Together with a new leadership team, he refocuses on the new priority areas – Uniqueness, Connectedness, Presence, Belonging, and Engagement. The MHSc in Translational Research program is launched, under the leadership of the program’s Director, Dr. Joseph Ferenbok. This unique program encourages students to integrate their domain expertise to carry out projects that emphasize experiential learning and translational thinking in order to innovate healthcare. The Student, Alumni, and Faculty Engagement (SAFE) Committee is established to connect all members of the IMS to foster an engaged community.

2016

2016

The student-run Raw Talk podcast is launched. This popular program features faculty, students and alumni from across the Faculty of Medicine and has now reached listeners in over 60 countries.

2018

2018

The IMS turns 50 years old and now has over 500 students and 600 faculty members, takes part in 18 collaborative specializations and offers 90 courses across its doctoral stream and 2 professional masters programs. The IMS launches the Graduate Diploma in Health Research – a two year research program for undergraduate medical students – in partnership with the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and under the leadership of Dr. Neil Sweezey.  The IMS50 Stories online initiative is debuted, showcasing the diversity and excellence of IMS students, alumni, faculty, staff and programs and initiatives. The IMS50 International Conference on Graduate Education in Medical Science will be held in October 2018 to help the IMS prepare for the future.