Nothing Derrick Rossi ever does surprises his mother Agnes.

“When he was in his early 20s he adored butterflies ... and so he went off to Africa and collected butterflies,” she says.

“When Derrick puts his mind to something, Derrick does it.”

Now the Toronto-born, Harvard University researcher may well have devised the best method yet to create personalized stem cells — ones that could eventually lead to the creation of transplant organs like hearts and lungs that would carry no risk of rejection.

In a transformative study released Thursday, the 45-year-old biologist presents a new method to create embryonic stem cells from adult skin cells.

Indeed, in one fell swoop, the former Agincourt kid has surmounted the four major hurdles that have plagued the creation and usefulness of such cells since the ability to make them was announced to the world five years ago.

“All scientists that hear this story get excited about (it),” Rossi says.

“Now we have an experimental (method) for generating patient-specific (stem) cells, highly efficiently and safely, and also taking those cells towards clinically useful cell types,” he said in a teleconference interview.

Rossi’s breakthrough study is being published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.