Charles Philippe Leblond Cell Biology

Improved the resolution of radioautography

The Story

Leblond received his MD from the University of Paris (1934), DSc from the Sorbonne, Paris (1945) and a PhD at McGill University, Montreal (1942). In 1946, Leblond with L. F. Bélanger started experimenting to improve the resolution of radioautography—a method of using radioactive tracer elements to create images of biological tissues. Photographic emulsion was melted and poured on the tissue section so as to make a thin coat that hardened as it cooled and acted as a photographic plate to the radioactive parts of the tissue section. The method became widely utilized as a tool in cell study and is now used in the electron microscope. The method can trace the activity of substances in the body. Leblond’s experiments challenged much of established cell theory at that time. For example, he demonstrated that cells are continuously active, and do not alternate between repose and activity, as was thought. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize and received many honorary degrees and awards, including the Gairdner Foundation Award of Merit and the Royal Society of Canada’s Flavelle Medal in 1961.

Sources: American Men in Science; Canadian Who’s Who 1993; The McGill Reporter, January 25, 1996

The Person

February 5, 1910
Lille, France
Professor of Anatomy
McGill University
Last Updated
October 15, 2001

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