Sir Frederick Grant Banting (November 14, 1891 - February 21, 1941) was a Canadian medical scientist and Nobel laureate.
Banting was born in Alliston, Ontario. After studying medicine at the University of Toronto, he served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during World War I.
When the war ended in 1919, Banting returned to Canada and was for a short time a medical practitioner at London, Ontario. He studied orthopedic medicine and was, during the year 1919-1920, Resident Surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. From 1920 until 1921 he did parttime teaching in orthopaedics at the University of Western Ontario in London, besides his general practice, and from 1921 until 1922 he was Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto. In 1922 he was awarded his M.D. degree, together with a gold medal.
In 1922, while doing research at a University of Toronto laboratory, he and his young assistant Charles Best discovered the pancreatic hormone insulin, one of the most significant advances in medicine at the time. Until this time, the millions of people worldwide who suffered from the endocrine disease diabetes mellitus could not be treated and had a very poor prognosis. People suffered from problems with fat and protein metabolism, leading to blindness and then death only a short time after the onset of the illness.
In 1923 Dr. Banting would receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry. He shared the award money with Best. In 1934 King George V bestowed a knighthood on him, making him Sir Frederick Banting.
In the 1930s war was looming in Europe, and Dr. Banting was alarmed by the rise of Nazi Germany. He started several war research efforts, including playing a major role in the creation of the first production G-suit, which would be used by Royal Air Force pilots during the war. He was also involved in research in biological weapons, both in terms of countermeasures and methods for mass production of anthrax, although the exact nature of this research remains unclear even today.
At the pinnacle of his brilliant career, Dr. Banting was killed on February 21, 1941, when the Lockheed Hudson patrol bomber he was travelling to England in crashed shortly after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland. The exact purpose of his flight to England remains a mystery, but it appears likely he was going to meet with counterparts in an effort to convince them to produce biological weapons as a last-ditch weapon in case of a German invasion of England.
He is interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. His name is immortalized in the yearly Banting Lecture, given by an expert in diabetes.