Professor Cecil C. Yip (Insulin Research; Discovery of Proinsulin)
Professor Cecil C. Yip (University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario)
Professor Cecil C. Yip is cited for his significant contributions to the field of insulin research, including the discovery of the proinsulin molecule, as well as the insulin receptor sites. In addition he was the driving force in the establishment of the Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and providing for its funding and programs.
Professor Yip graduated with B Sc. Degree at the McMaster University in 1959. He then obtained his Ph.D. degree from the then Rockefeller Institute (now University) in New York in 1963, for his studies of the biosynthesis of thyroxine.
Professor Yip started his work and research at the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto. In 1987 he was named the Charles H. Best Professor of Medical Research, a post he holds to this day. He rose through the ranks to become the Department Chair in 1990, and in 1993, he was made a Vice-Dean of Research in the Faculty of Medicine. He was named to the prestigious Royal Society of Canada in 2002.
Professor Yip brought his enthusiasm in the lab to administration, where he played a leading role in the establishment of the Centre for Cellular and Biomedical Research. This new center is centred on the Human Genome Project, and is a new concept in biomedical research, gathering under one roof, researchers from widely different backgrounds, who will be able to interact with one another freely and collaborate. He worked tirelessly to enhance research, and he was key in attracting funding from government sources totaling over $55 million. He is now the Co-Director of the Centre, and since 2002 he is also the Chief Scientific Officer of the Ontario Genomics Institute.
Professor Yip research endeavors resulted in the discovery of proinsulin and its conversion to insulin. He was the first to use photoaffinity to demonstrate the subunit structure of the insulin receptor. These findings were fundamental to the study of diabetes and its treatment. The insulin receptor model can also be seen as a model to a better understanding of Cancer.
Professor Yip has published more than 119 research papers in prestigious journals. He is also widely sought after as guest speakers at conferences and symposiums as an expert on insulin and diabetes. He was on the editorial boards of Diabetes and Biochemistry, and he sat on the Medical Review Committee of the Gairdner Foundation and the Grant Committee of the MRC. He has supervised 7 Ph.D. and 3 Master students, and 12 postdoctoral fellows have worked in his lab. His strong administrative skills have been in great demand at the University of Toronto, and he has chaired and sat on numerous committees including being President of the Faculty Association and the Co-chair of the United Way.