Drs James Till and Ernest McCulloch were two Canadian scientists who pioneered the field of stem cell research with the discovery of a method to detect cells able to restore blood production in transplanted irradiated mice. This finding prompted the later identification of cells able to regenerate other tissues, including skin, muscle and brain. This has led to advances in research and treatment of cancer.
The bronze sculptures of Drs Till and McCulloch created by artist Ruth Abernethy, installed outside our entrance were a gift to Science World from STEMCELL Technologies Inc. to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the discovery of stem cells, a field of scientific study that is distinctly Canadian in origin. As a charitable organization, Science World values donations from the community to help promote science literacy across the province.
Till and McCulloch represent a proud moment in Canadian scientific history. These sculptures recognize Canadians as the forerunners of stem cell research. Their scientific research has been embraced and continues to be developed by researchers all over the world, such as the research by Dr Connie Eaves, of the BC Cancer Research Centre, who worked with Dr Till.
The bronze sculpture installation is also the perfect opportunity to initiate important dialogue about diversity in the scientific community and celebrate the proud moments of all Canadians. Young scientists from diverse backgrounds can engage with the piece on the three “empty” stools. Such an act can celebrate the past, challenge the present and look towards a brighter future. Till and McCulloch's pioneering stem cell research, and many other types of important scientific research, inspires scientists of diverse genders, ethnicities and experiences all over the world to use these discoveries to understand and conquer many human diseases that affect us all.