Dr. Dick’s research has focused on understanding normal and leukemic human stem cells. One of the most important achievements was developing a system for transplanting normal and leukemic human stem cells into immune-deficient mice; an assay that has revolutionized the study of human hematopoiesis. His group characterized many of the properties of normal repopulating cells with this assay system. His lab also established that only a small proportion of human leukemic cells were capable of initiating human leukemia within the immune-deficient mice. Purifiying these leukemia-initiating cells provided direct evidence for the cancer stem cell hypothesis.
Dr. Dick is currently Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and, since October 2002, a Senior Scientist of the University Health Network in the Research Institutes of the Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine. He is also Director of the Program in Cancer Stem Cells at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR). Dr. Dick’s seminal contributions to the fields of molecular hematology, stem cell biology and oncology have been recognized by numerous prestigious awards at the provincial, national and international levels including the W. Dameshek Prize (2005) and E. Donnall Thomas Prize (2009) from the American Society of Hematology; the G.H.A Clowes Memorial Award from American Association for Cancer Research (2008); the Clifford Prize for Cancer Research (2009) from Australia, and Noble Prize from National Cancer Institute of Canada (2000) and the Diamond Jubilee Award (2007) (with Drs. J.E. Till and E.A. McCulloch) from the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Dr. Dick was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.