Professor Arthur A. Axelrad
Faculty of Medicine | Department of Molecular Genetics | Department of Medical Biophysics | Institute of Medical Science
Appointed University Professor 1988
Professor Arthur A. Axelrad joined the University of Toronto in 1967 after earning MD and PhD degrees at McGill University. He was a member of the departments of Molecular Genetics and Medical Biophysics, as well as the Institute of Medical Science. Over his 34 years as a faculty member, he published 25 book chapters and more than 65 papers.
In 1988, he was named a University Professor — the highest honour U of T bestows upon a faculty member. This designation recognizes “scholarly achievement and pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge.”
Axelrad's research focused on chronic myeloproliferative disorders — or MPDs — which cause excess cells to be produced in bone marrow. This can lead to acute myeloid leukemia. His work focused on understanding the underlying cellular and molecular causes. Working with Professor Paulo Correa, he developed a serum-free method for identifying hypersensitivity to Insulin-like Growth Factor I in patients with Polycythemia vera, which is a precancerous blood condition.
“Professor Axelrad was an international leader in leukemia research and a distinguished member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto,” said Professor Trevor Young, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “We know that his work will live on through the students he trained and the patients he helped.”
In addition to being a Fellow of the Royal Society, he was presented with its Thomas W. Eadie Medal in 1988. The medal recognizes contributions in engineering and applied science.
“Arthur’s work changed our understanding of myeloproliferative disorders. He not only advanced understanding of the fundamental biology of these diseases, but also how they can be identified and treated,” said Professor Peter Burns, Chair of the Department of Medical Biophysics. “His contributions were substantial. He leaves a very distinguished research legacy.”