Remembering Yoshio Masui, renowned cell biologist and longtime U of T professor

Professor Emeritus Yoshio Masui's career at U of T spanned more than half a century

Professor Emeritus Yoshio Masui is credited with helping make developmental biology an essential discipline (supplied image)

The University of Toronto is mourning the death of Yoshio Masui, a professor emeritus in the departments of zoology (1968 to 2006) and cell and systems biology (2006 to 2024) in the Faculty of Arts & Science and a celebrated cell biologist who spent more than half a century at the university. 

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1931, Masui earned undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in Kyoto University before coming to U of T in 1968, driven by a desire for “freedom for research – neither interference with nor solicitation for choices of research projects”.

Masui made several important discoveries, including revealing details on how eggs mature and uncovering clues as to how cancer can arise from uncontrolled cell growth. He played a key role in making developmental biology an essential discipline, and earned numerous honours including the Order of Canada, Albert Lasker Medical Research Award and Gairdner International Award.

Described as “one of Canada’s finest scientists” by the Order of Canada, Masui was revered by colleagues and students for his wisdom, curiosity and generosity. He died on April 18 at the age of 93.

Read the Faculty of Arts & Science article about Professor Emeritus Yoshio Masui

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