Culture

Aberdonian John Macleod Joint Discoverer of Insulin

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.”


Local MSP David Stewart, Labour, is keen to nominate John Macleod for the new Bank of England £50 note which will feature a scientist.

John Macleod 1928

John Macleod 1928 (University of Toronto)

David Stewart who is a Diabetes Champion in the Scottish Parliament said:

” I would like to nominate the late scientist John Macleod, an Aberdonian, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, a young Canadian physician, for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–1922

“On 8 November 1920, John, the educated Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, met for the first time a young Canadian physician, Frederick Banting. Banting hoped Macleod would help him try out a research idea aimed at isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas. Macleod agreed to take Banting into his department and together they worked on a research plan along with their Assistants.

“On 3 May 1922, John Macleod read a paper to the American Association of Physicians, co-authored by Banting and called ‘The Effect Produced on Diabetes by Extracts of Pancreas’. The audience, which included America’s leading diabetologists, gave him a standing ovation for the work they had done in isolating the pancreatic hormone that controlled metabolism, which they named ‘insulin’.

“In October 1923 it was announced in Stockholm that Frederick Banting and John Macleod would share the 1923 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

“As some will be aware  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. The cells in your body need sugar for energy.

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.

David Stewart MSP“Alarmingly one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes which is now effectively treated by Insulin.

“As Parliamentary Diabetes Champion this is an issue close to my heart and I think the late John MacLeod, a forgotten medical hero is the perfect nominee to appear on the front of the new £50”


2 replies »

  1. Yes David, he would be a worthy scientist to put forward but I believe he is trumped by James Clerk Maxwell regarded by many eminent Physicists including Hertz, Einstein etc as the father of 20th century physics. In fact we would not be in this way without him, so if you’re thinking of anybody then it should be Maxwell.

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