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A legacy of game-changers

  • John Smol pioneered many of the approaches used to study the long-term impact of stressors on lake ecosystems, including core sampling and sediment analysis techniques.
  • Elizabeth Eisenhauer discovered how to administer a commonly used chemotherapy drug in a way that reduces its toxicity.
  • Susan Cole has shown that a multidrug resistant protein (MRP) prevents chemotherapy from working by pumping the drugs out of cancer cells.
  • Roger Deeley has shown that a multidrug resistant protein (MRP) prevents chemotherapy from working by pumping the drugs out of cancer cells.
  • In 1982, engineer Henk Wevers designed a secure wheelchair restraint system for use in buses and vans.
  • John McGarry’s work has helped shape political institutions and policing in societies experiencing ethnic and national conflict.
  • Jacalyn Duffin's expert medical testimony helped make the case for the first Canadian-born saint.
  • SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics.
  • Herbert Kalmus patented the colour motion picture process Technicolor in 1916.

The Council of Ontario Universities’ Research Matters program is celebrating the top 50 game-changing historical moments in research over the past 100 years. Queen’s University has cemented its research legacy with eight of those 50 moments – including one that revolutionized the movie industry.

The colour motion picture process Technicolor was patented in 1916 by Herbert Kalmus, an MIT graduate who came to Queen's University in 1913 as a physics professor in the then-School of Mining. Though told by colleagues he was wasting his time, Dr. Kalmus continued to work on refining the technology while teaching at Queen’s.

Technicolor was incorporated in 1915 by a company founded by Dr. Kalmus and his business partners Daniel F. Comstock and W. Burton Wescott.

“Changing films from black and white to colour was a major shift in the way movies were made,” says Blaine Allan, an associate professor in Queen’s Film and Media Department. “This was an important discovery at a very important time. It was similar to sound in movies – it was a key technological change.”

Becky Sharp was the first Hollywood feature entirely shot in three-strip Technicolor using Dr. Kalmus’ technology in 1935.

“Technicolor was still quite rare among major studio films and only used for Hollywood spectaculars or big budget movies like The Wizard of Oz. It changed the industry,” Mr. Allan says.

Dr. Kalmus earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film industry.

"The 50 game-changing research discoveries represent some of the most defining moments in our nation's history over the last century, and Ontarians should be proud," says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).  "The prominence of Queen's on this list is a true testament to the sustained innovation and creativity demonstrated by our scholars in tackling some of the world's biggest questions, and contributing to a wide variety of advances and achievements."

The other Queen’s research highlighted in the Top 50 historical moments include:

Vote Now!
To vote for your top game-changer, visit the Research Matters website. The top five vote-getters will be announced at a later date. 

Elizabeth Eisenhauer - While leading a clinical trial conducted in Canada and Europe, Dr. Eisenhauer discovered how to administer a commonly used chemotherapy drug in a way that reduces its toxicity. Her 1990 discovery also shortened the delivery time of the drug Taxol from 24 to three hours. Today, her method is the global standard for administering Taxol to patients with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and AIDS-related Kaposi's Sarcoma.

John Smol – Dr. Smol pioneered many of the approaches used to study the long-term impact of stressors on lake ecosystems, including core sampling and sediment analysis techniques.  His research has allowed scientists to identify changes resulting from human and natural causes. Dr. Smol has informed environmental policy by establishing a baseline for work on water quality, acidification, contaminant transport, climate change and changing wildlife stocks in critically important ecosystems. 

Susan Cole and Roger Deeley - Dr. Cole and Dr. Deeley have shown that a multidrug resistant protein (MRP) prevents chemotherapy from working by pumping the drugs out of cancer cells. They discovered the gene that codes for MRP, giving drug researchers a target for solving the problem. Their paradigm-shifting discovery led to a subsequent explosion in research on multidrug resistance in humans and other animals.

Q-Straint Systems Inc. - In 1982, engineer Henk Wevers designed a secure wheelchair restraint system for use in buses and vans. It formed the basis of Q'Straint Systems Inc., the world's leading wheelchair securement company. His pioneering work in addressing the problem of keeping wheelchair-bound passengers  safe while in transit has saved countless lives.

John McGarry - Dr. McGarry’s work has helped shape political institutions and policing in societies experiencing ethnic and national conflict. His expertise in constitutional design and power-sharing has had a significant influence on the United Nations and public policy in a number of countries. His publications have created new possibilities for peace and democracy around the world. Dr. McGarry's work on policing in Northern Ireland, for example, had a crucial impact on the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing Reform, representing a major step in Northern Ireland’s peace process.

Jacalyn Duffin - In 1987 Dr. Duffin, a hematologist and medical historian, was asked to read, under the microscope, a stack of bone marrow samples without being told why. She saw acute leukemia cells and concluded the patient must be dead. Unbeknownst to Duffin, the patient was still alive claiming to have been cured through the intercession of a long-dead Montrealer, Marie-Marguerite d'Youville. Only afterwards did Dr. Duffin learn that her findings had been sent to the Vatican and applied to the cause for canonization of d'Youville. Dr. Duffin's expert medical testimony helped make the case for the first Canadian-born saint.

SNOLAB - SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. Located two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine located near Sudbury, Ont., SNOLAB is an expansion of the existing facilities constructed for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment. The project was jointly proposed by Queen’s, Carleton University, Laurentian University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Guelph and the Université de Montreal.

To vote for your top game-changer, visit the Research Matters website. The top five vote-getters will be highlighted on the website.