Press Enter to skip to navigation for Network

McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Newsmagazine — Volume 8, Issue 1, Fall 2014

World-class scientist was known for her enthusiasm

Irene Uchida
Irene Uchida

As well as her superb scientific mind, McMaster professor emerita Irene Uchida will be remembered for her feistiness, her sense of humour, her love of music and her insistence on proper grammar.

During the 1960s, the genetics researcher made scientific history when she discovered a link between women's exposure to radiation and Down syndrome in their children. Her chromosome research changed medical practice and led to limiting x-rays on women while providing a greater understanding of the causes of Down syndrome.

She died at age 96 after a long illness. Arriving at McMaster in 1969, Uchida was a professor for the departments of pediatrics¬†and pathology and director of the cytogenetic laboratory until retirement in 1985.

Uchida's published more than 95 scientific papers during a 50-year career, and she received many distinctions and honors. Those awards included Officer of the Order of Canada, honorary degrees from McMaster and Western universities; Woman of the Century 1867 to 1967 for Manitoba and the Founders Award, Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.