Molly Shoichet is an expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. She is the Michael E Charles Professor in Chemical Engineering and held the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering (2001-2020). Professor Shoichet was recruited to the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1995 with a NSERC University Faculty Award, after completing her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Chemistry, 1987), her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Polymer Science & Engineering, 1992), and three years at CytoTherapeutics Inc.
Professor Shoichet is the recipient of 54 prestigious national and international awards. She 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). 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. In 2011, Professor Shoichet was awarded the Order of Ontario, Ontario’s highest civilian honour. In 2013, her contributions to Canada’s innovation agenda and the advancement of knowledge were recognized with the QEII Diamond Jubilee Award. In 2014, Professor Shoichet was appointed University Professor in recognition of her dedication to the advancement of knowledge and her excellence as a teacher, mentor and researcher. This is the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, and is held by less than 2% of the faculty. In 2015, Professor Shoichet was the North American Laureate for the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science and in 2016, she was named foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2017, Professor Shoichet won the Killam Prize in Engineering, the most important engineering prize in Canada. In 2018, Professor Shoichet served as Ontario’s first Chief Scientist and was also inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada – one of the highest distinctions for a Canadian. Professor Shoichet was elected to the Royal Society (UK) in 2019 and awarded the NSERC Herzberg God Medal in 2020 – the top prize in science and engineering in Canada.
Professor Shoichet aims to advance the basic science and enabling technologies of tissue engineering and drug delivery. She is a world leader in the areas of polymer synthesis, biomaterials design and drug delivery in the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, retina) and 3D hydrogel culture systems to model cancer. Her research program is unique in its breadth, focusing on strategies to promote tissue repair after traumatic spinal cord injury, stroke and blindness and enhance both tumour targeting through innovative strategies and drug screening via 3D cell culture with new hydrogel design strategies. The impact of her brain research was recognized with the prestigious Margolese Brain Disorders Prize in 2020.
Professor Shoichet has published over 650 papers, patents and abstracts, has given over 430 lectures worldwide and has trained over 220 scientists in the past 26 years. Her students are pursuing careers in academia, industry and government. She founded four spin-off companies and is actively engaged in translational research and science outreach. In 2015, Professor Shoichet launched a national social media initiative, Research2Reality, which shines a spotlight on Canadian research, thereby engaging the public in the importance of research. Professor Shoichet served as an inaugural member on the Science, Technology & Innovation Council, providing strategic guidance to the Prime Minister of Canada (for 6 years), the Ontario Research & Innovation Council (for 2 years), the Board of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (for 6 years) and the Board of the Ontario Science Centre (for 3 years). She was Senior Advisor on Science & Engineering Engagement at U of T (for 4 years). Professor Shoichet now serves on the Boards of Martinrea Inc. – a nearly $4 billion autoparts manufacturer and MaRS – one of the largest tech incubators in North America.