Charles Herbert Best, physiologist, co-discoverer of insulin (b at West Pembroke, Maine 27 Feb 1899; d at Toronto 31 Mar 1978).
Charles Herbert Best, physiologist, co-discoverer of insulin (b at West Pembroke, Maine 27 Feb 1899; d at Toronto 31 Mar 1978). The son of a Canadian-born physician, Charles Best had just completed his BA in physiology and biochemistry at University of Toronto in the spring of 1921, when his summer employer, Professor J.J.R. MacLeod, assigned him to work on a project devised by Frederick Banting. Best won a coin toss with one of his classmates to see who would start with Banting; later the other student was not interested in taking Best's place.
Banting and Best's exciting experiments in the summer of 1921 persuaded Macleod to support and expand the research, and by the spring of 1922 a well-trained, well-funded team of researchers, including Macleod, Banting, J.B. Collip and Best, had discovered the internal secretion of the pancreas, which they named insulin. As corecipient (with Macleod) of the 1923 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for the discovery of insulin, Banting announced that he would share his half of the prize money with Best.
After graduate training in England, Best succeeded Macleod as professor of physiology at University of Toronto in 1929. He was an active researcher and director of students, publishing important studies of choline, heparin and histaminase, as well as much further work on carbohydrate metabolism. He coauthored a widely used physiology textbook and in later life was honoured throughout the world for his contribution to the discovery of insulin.