Professor Molly Shoichet

ShoichetthumbProfessor Molly Shoichet is an expert in the study of Polymers for Drug Delivery & Tissue Regeneration. She holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and is Professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Chemistry and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.  She was recruited to the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1995 with an NSERC University Faculty Award, after completing her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Chemistry (1987); her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Polymer Science and Engineering (1992); and spending three years as a Scientist in industry at CytoTherapeutics Inc. Dr. Shoichet was promoted to Full Professor in 2004, after being named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 (2002), and receiving CIFAR’s Young Explorer’s Award (to the top 20 scientists under 40 in Canada, 2002) and NSERC’s Steacie Research Fellowship (2003-2005).  This significant recognition from her peers has continued throughout Dr. Shoichet’s career.

Tissue engineering cuts across traditionally distinct research areas encompassing fundamental research at the interface of polymer science & engineering, drug delivery, cell biology and surgery.  Professor Molly Shoichet directs one of the world’s leading laboratories at this interface, with a specific focus on the central nervous system.  The objectives of her research are to advance the basic science and enabling technologies of tissue engineering.  Her goal is to understand the cellular microenvironment and to translate this fundamental knowledge to the design and creation of devices that will provide an environment suitable for tissue regeneration. Few in the world share Shoichet’s expertise in polymer synthesis, biomaterials design and drug delivery in the nervous system.  Her research program is unique in its breadth, focused on strategies to promote tissue repair in the central nervous system after traumatic spinal cord injury, stroke and blindness.  Her laboratory is recognized as one of the best internationally in neural tissue engineering.  Shoichet has expanded her research horizons to include breast cancer in recent years, taking advantage of her core expertise in the design of polymers for applications in medicine.  Shoichet collaborates with world-renowned surgeons and scientists both locally and globally to advance her research to its greatest impact.

The high caliber of Professor Shoichet’s research is reflected in her H-index of 59 [Google Scholar] and evidenced by her scholarly activities:

  • 305 invited seminars at leading institutions worldwide, including numerous named, keynote and plenary addresses at Oxford, Harvard, MIT and international conferences, among others;
  • 202 peer-reviewed papers in leading journals, including Nature Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials, Biomaterials, among others;
  • 32 patents/patent applications and founder of 2 spin-off companies;
  • 34 distinguished awards and significant funding from NSERC, CIHR, DoD, Heart & Stroke Foundation, CFI, among others. 

Moreover, she supervises a laboratory of 23 currently and has trained 115 scientists over the past 19 years: 14 post-doctoral fellows, 46 graduate students (22 PhDs and 24 Master’s degrees) and 55 Bachelor’s thesis projects.  Professor Shoichet’s dedication to the advancement of knowledge and the University’s academic mission is unparalleled.

In addition to being an excellent teacher, mentor and researcher, Dr. Shoichet is dedicated to her university, province and country, as demonstrated by her significant service and volunteerism.  Professor Shoichet is serving (for the second time) on the search committee for the next President of the University of Toronto. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Centre of Excellence, after having served on the Ontario Research and Innovation Council – an advisory panel to then Premier Dalton McGuinty. Professor Shoichet is an active member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, which provides strategic advice to the Federal Minister of Industry. 

Professor Shoichet is the recipient of 34 prestigious national and international distinctions. She is the only person ever to be inducted into all three of Canada’s National Academies: the Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  Moreover, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and winner of the American Society for Biomaterials’ Clemson Award and the Canada Council for the Arts’ Killam Research Fellowship, among many others.  In 2011, Dr. Shoichet was appointed to the Order of Ontario, Ontario’s highest honour. In 2013, her contributions to Canada’s innovation agenda and the advancement of knowledge were recognized with the QEII Diamond Jubilee Award.