Helen Irene Battle Zoology, Animals, Physiology, Metabolism

Pioneered the idea of using fish eggs to study the effects of cancer causing substances on cell growth.

The Story

Helen Irene Battle was the first woman in Canada to earn a Ph.D. in marine biology. She then returned to her hometown of London, Ontario and taught at the University of Western Ontario. Her teaching career spanned over 50 years and was her passion. Many student awards and a memorial lecture are named in her honour at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Battle specialized in the physiology, embryology, morphology and ecology of marine organisms. She did her research for the National Fisheries Research Board, the Ohio State Fisheries Lab, the Atlantic Biological Station in St. Andrews, N.B., and the Marine Biological Lab in Plymouth, England.

In 1961, she co-founded the Canadian Society of Zoologists and became its President in 1962-1963.

Dr. Battle also fought for improving the position of women in universities and encouraged girls to study science.


Helen I. Battle A profile from the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Battle’s career and major accomplishments

Battle, Helen Irene A short profile from the Canadian Encyclopedia

H. I. Battle: founding member and Vice-President

Image: Canadian Society of Zoologists



The Person

August 31, 1903
London, Ontario
Date of Death
June 17, 1994
Place of Death
London, Ontario
Emeritus Professor of Zoology
  • B.A. Honors (Biology) University of Western Ontario, 1923
  • M.A. University of Western Ontario,1924
  • Ph.D. University of Toronto, 1928
  • Helen Battle Award named, 1991
  • Canadian Society of Zoologists Honorary Member, 1967
  • F. E. J. Fry Medal, 1977
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Canadian Centennial Medal, 1967
Last Updated
September 17, 2015

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