Born on a farm, he taught school before going to U of T to graduate in natural sciences in 1880. With Professor Robert Ramsay WRIGHT, he carried out research while teaching high school, returning to U of T in 1883 to lecture in biology and work toward both a doctorate (Johns Hopkins, 1888) and a medical degree (U of T, 1889). As professor of physiology (1890-1908) and of the new science of biochemistry (1908-16), he included among his students Maud L. Menten and James Bertram COLLIP. In 1917 he became the first chairman of the wartime Advisory Council on Scientific and Industrial Research (later the NRC), and in 1920 went to McGill as professor of biochemistry, retiring in 1928 after a distinguished scientific career.
Macallum's early research was on the microchemical distribution of inorganic ions (especially iron and potassium) within cells. Later, as an active member of the Biological Board of Canada (FISHERIES RESEARCH BOARD), he carried out fieldwork at its marine stations, and developed his theory that the body fluids of animals represent living "fossil" evidence of the ancient ocean environments in which they had evolved.
Author SANDRA F. MCRAE