C James Ingles, Professor Emeritus from the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research,the Departments of Medical Genetics, Biochemistry at the University of Toronto (1971 to 2013)
Art work: https://jiminglesart.weebly.com/


2018.12.12 16:00-17:30


Upper Hall 315


I am a semi-retired Professor Emeritus from the University of Toronto and a Visiting Professor at Zhiyuan College, SJTU. My route to becoming a Biochemist and Molecular Geneticist had its beginning when I first had an interest in Biology and studies of nature. A keen birdwatcher as a youth, I might have kept this interest in nature merely a hobby, but while in high-school I had my first Chemistry classes and realized that Biology + Chemistry = Biochemistry and I was hooked. An undergraduate BSc degree from the University of Toronto in Biochemistry and Physiology was followed by graduate studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada. I had the great fortune to have Drs. Michael Smith and Gordon Dixon as my PhD co-supervisors and my career benefitted immensely from the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry later to Michael Smith in 1993 for his discovery of site-specific mutagenesis. My PhD dissertation concerning DNA-binding proteins expressed during spermatogenesis, was followed by postdoctoral studies in the UK and at UCSF in the USA. After I became a Professor in the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto, the control of gene expression became the focus for most of the research in my laboratory. The enzyme RNA polymerase, which synthesizes RNAs, is a key player in this process and it soon became my major interest. My laboratory described the first mutations in this enzyme, isolated and sequenced its DNA, and discovered perhaps the most unusual protein domain of all, its terminal repeating heptapeptide, up to 52 repeats of the amino acid sequence YSPTSPS. This domain has since been shown to control many aspects of RNA synthesis, acting as a landing pad for a host of other gene regulators.

Over the years I had the good fortune to attract a small number of outstanding students to my laboratory and I am proud of their accomplishments since graduating. Although I remained an enthusiastic researcher and teacher, I also always made time for other interests. Extensive travels led to a passion for photography which then led, when there was time, to my slowly becoming an artist. My first landscapes were painted around 1970, but as my career as a researcher wound down and my role as a teacher increased there was more time to paint. My art has included landscape paintings, non-objective abstracts and more recently paper collage studies. I have also continued to make time for travel, always a rewarding experience. Perhaps the highlight of my travels came about when nearing retirement age, I took the opportunity of a sabbatical to go to Africa, intending to contribute to laboratory capacity-building in the fight against HIV/AIDS. A visit to Moi University in Kenya, however gave changed all that and I ended up teaching Medical Genetics to Kenyan MD residents from 2007 to 2015. This extremely fulfilling experience also gave me the opportunity to travel widely throughout the beautiful continent of Africa.

I have been blessed all my life by the many opportunities to pursue my varied passions, as a nature lover, a Biochemist and Medical Researcher, a teacher and an Artist. My good fortune continues to this day as I come annually to teach at Zhiyuan College.


Dr C James Ingles is a Professor Emeritus from the Banting and Best Department of Molecular Research, and the Departments of Medical Genetics and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He holds a BSc from the University of Toronto, a PhD from the University of British Columbia and held postdoctoral fellowships in the UK and at UCSF. Research in his laboratory was continuously funded by grants from the CIHR and NCIC in Canada from 1971 to 2013. His interests were focused on eukaryotic gene expression and control, DNA repair mechanisms and more recently on aspects of genomics and functional genetics. He has published over 60 papers, many in high profile journals such as Nature and Cell. In 2009 he was awarded UofT’s W.T. Aikins Award for Individual Teaching Performance for his commitment to and excellence in undergraduate medical education. He has been a Visiting Professor at UCSF, Moi University in Kenya and at Zhiyuan College SJTU.

Art work: https://jiminglesart.weebly.com/