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Till was born in Saskatchewan, Canada at Lloydminster, which is located on the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta. The family farm was located north of Lloydminster, in Alberta; the eastern margin of the farm was the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary.
He studied science at the University of Saskatchewan, finishing his bachelor's degree in 1952 and his master's in physics in 1954. Some of this early work was with Harold E. Johns, a pioneer in cobalt-60 radiotherapy.
Till completed his Ph.D. in biophysics at Yale University in 1957.
Harold Johns recruited Till to the Ontario Cancer Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital shortly after he completed his work at Yale. Subsequently, Till chose to work with Ernest McCulloch. Thus, the older physician's insight was combined with the younger physicist's rigorous and thorough nature.
In the early 1960s, McCulloch and Till started a series of experiments that involved injecting bone marrow cells into irradiated mice. They observed that small raised lumps grew on the spleens of the mice, in proportion to the number of bone marrow cells injected. Till and McCulloch dubbed the lumps 'spleen colonies', and speculated that each lump arose from a single marrow cell: perhaps a stem cell.
In later work, Till and McCulloch were joined by graduate student Andy Becker. They cemented their stem cell theory and in 1963 published their results in Nature. In the same year, in collaboration with Lou Siminovitch, a trailblazer for molecular biology in Canada, they obtained evidence that these same marrow cells were capable of self-renewal, a crucial aspect of the functional definition of stem cells that they had formulated.
In 1969, Till became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
In the 1980s Till's focus shifted, moving gradually into evaluation of cancer therapies, quality of life issues, and Internet research, including Internet research ethics and the ethics of List mining.
Till holds the distinguished title of University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.
Recently, Till has been a vocal proponent of Open Access to scientific publications.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "James_Till". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|