Charles Philippe Leblond

Charles Philippe Leblond bigraphy, stories - cell biology researcher, professor

Charles Philippe Leblond : biography

February 5, 1910 – April 10, 2007

Charles Philippe Leblond, (February 5, 1910 – April 10, 2007) was a pioneer of cell biology and stem cell research and a former Canadian professor of anatomy. Leblond is notable for developing autoradiography and his work showing how cells continuously renew themselves, regardless of age.


Periodic acid Schiff stain whose lively purple-magenta coloring of carbohydrate 1-2-glycol groups20,21 inspired Leblond’s Golgi and cell coat discoveries also elegantly inspired the Leblond wardrobe, automobile and even home interior and country home name – Val Mauve.

One of Leblond’s continuing interest was his endeavour to ensure the usage of the correct name for the technique which he had spent a lifetime developing. In a review chapter written in 1987, entitled: “Radioautography: The role played by anatomists in the development and application of the technique.”,C.P. Leblond. Radioautography: the role played by anatomists in the development and application of the technique. In: The American Association of Anatomists, 1888-1987. Essays on the History of Anatomy in America and a Report on the Membership – past and present. John E. Pauly, ed. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1987, pp 89-103 he writes: The reasons why the term “radioautography” is preferred to “autoradiography” for the detection of radioactive elements by photographic emulsion are as follows. The term “autoradiography” is a compound word including the term “radiography”. This term is defined as a picture produced by an x-ray beam that has passed through an object. Since this object, for instance a bone examined after a fracture, is located between the source of radiation and the emulsion, it appears white in the emulsion; that is, it is seen as a negative image. In contrast, when radioactive elements are seen in sections, the object under study is itself the source of the radiation that influences the emulsion. The black image thus produced is a photographic positive. It may be referred to as an autograph, that is “the reproduction of form or outline of anything by an impression from the thing itself” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1975). Hence, the author called it initially a “radioactive autograph”. Later, on the advice of an editor, he condensed these two words into “radioautograph”. The procedure is often called “autoradiography” but “radioautography” is the correct term.

Leblond had 4 children for which, in a true Cartesian manner, he chose names starting with the letter "P": Philippe, Paul, Pierre and (Marie)-Pascale. He also had 7 grandchildren.


Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Sciences

  • Acadia University, 1972
  • McGill University, 1982
  • University of Montreal, 1985
  • York University, 1986
  • Sherbrooke University, 1988


  • Prix Saintour, French Academy, 1935
  • Gairdner Foundation International Award, 1965
  • Isaac Schour Award, International Association for Dental Research, 1974
  • Henry Grey Award, American Association of Anatomists, 1978
  • J.C.B. Grant Award, Canadian Association of Anatomists, 1979
  • E-B Wilson Award, American Society for Cell Biology, 1982
  • Duncan Graham Award, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, 1986
  • Centennial Award, American Association of Anatomists, 1979
  • Prix Marie-Victorin, Quebec Province, 1992


  • Flavelle Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1961
  • Medal Léo-Pariseau, «Assoc. Canadienne Française pour l’Avancement des Sciences», 1962
  • McLaughlin Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1983
  • George Gomori Medal, Histochemical Society, 1988

Other honours

  • 1951 – Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
  • 1965 – Fellow of the Royal Society, London, UK
  • 1970 – American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1988 – Royal Microscopical Society, UK, 1988
  • 1995 – Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
  • 2000 – Companion, Order of Canada
  • 2001 – Grand Officer, National Order of Quebec