Thomas Ming Swi Chang Cell Biology

Inventor of the artificial cell

The Story

In 1957 while still an undergraduate at McGill, Chang invented the world’s first artificial cell. His idea was to make tiny, ultrathin plastic microcapsules that could hold biological agents such as enzymes. If he could control the permeability of the plastic membrane, he could control what passed through the wall of his artificial cell, and thus mimic many of the functions of real cells. After earning his PhD in physiology, Chang developed the first artificial blood and a new cellular-based approach to an artificial kidney, liver and pancreas. Chang's work on a safe blood substitute gained recognition during the tainted blood tragedy of the 1980s and '90s, which saw over 60,000 people in the Western world infected with the AIDS virus. He has published more than 400 scientific papers and 21 books. While various drawbacks persist, Chang’s inventions have proved useful as temporary measures for clearing toxic substances from liver and kidney failure patient’s blood streams. Chang is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Sources: McGill Office of Media and Public Relations

The Person

Birthplace
Swatow, China
Title
Professor of Physiology, Medicine & Biomedical Engineering; Director, Artificial Cells and Organs Research Centre
Office
McGill University, Montréal
Status
Working
Degrees
  • B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D., O.C., C.M., F.R.C.P.(C).
Awards
  • Order of Canada
Last Updated
September 11, 2001
Popularity
29673
Profile viewed 29673 times

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