Molly S. Shoichet

Headshot of Professor Molly ShoichetUniversity Professor
B.Sc. (MIT), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Massachusetts)
Michael E. Charles Chair in Chemical Engineering
Principal InvestigatorShoichet Lab
Room: 160 College Street, Room 514 | Tel: 416-978-1460 | Email:



  • Controlled Release Society, 2021 New College of Fellows, 2021
  • Chemical Institute of Canada Medal, 2021
  • Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, 2020
  • Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal, 2020
  • Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize, 2020
  • Fellow, The Royal Society, 2019
  • Controlled Release Society, Women in Sciences Award, 2019
  • IUPAC 2019 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering – one of ten women identified internationally and only woman from Canada
  • Order of Canada, Officer, 2018
  • Canada Council for the Arts, Killam Prize, Engineering, 2017
  • Chemical Institute of Canada, Kalev Pugi Award for innovation in research, 2017
  • Till & McCulloch Award for advances in stem cell biology & engineering, 2016
  • Royal Canadian Institute for Science, Fleming Medal, 2015
  • Foreign Member, US National Academy of Engineering, 2016
  • L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America, 2015
  • Senior Scientist Award, 2014 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Americas, 2014
  • University Professor, University of Toronto (<2% of faculty have this distinction), 2014
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award, 2013
  • International Fellows of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (FTERM), 2013
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, 2012-present
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2012-present
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division, 2008-present
  • Connaught Innovation of the Year Award, University of Toronto, 2012; 2019
  • Society for Biomaterials (USA), Clemson Award for Contributions to Literature, 2012
  • Order of Ontario, 2011
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011
  • Woman of Action, Israel Cancer Research Fund, 2010 (one of 4 women honored for contributions to the advancement of knowledge)
  • Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowship. 2008-2010
  • Clara Benson Award, Canadian Society for Chemistry, 2009
  • Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE), 2008-present
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council: Steacie Fellowship, 2003-2005
  • Royal Society of Canada, Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry, 2006
  • Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, Tier I, 2006-2013; 2013-2020
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 2006-present
  • UK-Canada WISET lectureship, Royal Society of Canada, 2005
  • McLean Award, University of Toronto, 2004
  • Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, Tier II, 2001-2006
  • Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering: Syncrude Canada Innovation Award, 2003
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation: Career Award, 2003
  • Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Young Explorer’s Award, 2002 (to top 20 researchers in Canada aged 40 and under)
  • Canada’s Top 40 under 40, 2001 (awarded 2002) – for innovation and leadership
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council: University Faculty Award, 1995-2000


Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, President of TERMIS-Americas (TERMIS-AM)
American Chemical Society
Society for Biomaterials
Canadian Biomaterials Society
Chemical Institute of Canada
Society for Neuroscience

Research Interests

Biomaterials: Polymer Science for Tissue Engineering

Our research program requires a cross disciplinary approach where aspects of engineering, chemistry, and biology are applied to the fields of Regenerative Medicine, Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery. We approach unsolved problems in biology and medicine by creating a series of design criteria which we then use to formulate solutions.

Our laboratory has designed novel injectable hydrogels for local delivery of biomolecules, stem cells and their progenitors to the injured spinal cord, brain and retina. We have created novel, stable colloidal drug aggregates and innovative targeting strategies for delivery in cancer. We have pursued tissue engineered 3-dimensional constructs comprised of novel hydrogels to control cell fate including spatial control of cell differentiation, using multiphoton laser excitation and advanced photochemistry Our laboratory is pursuing a diversity of projects, which are linked by the common theme of polymeric design to solve unanswered problems in biology.

Our multidisciplinary projects have collaborators with complementary expertise, in stem cell biology, neuroscience, neurosurgery and cancer. Our laboratory is funded primarily by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund via Medicine by Design, the Krembil Foundation, McEwen Foundation, among others.

Targeted Delivery: We turn nuisance to nuance with the design of stable colloidal drug aggregates for targeted delivery in cancer. We investigate RNA delivery with multiple delivery platforms.

Injectable Hydrogels: Using novel hydrogels, we achieve local and sustained delivery of biomolecules to the central nervous system – the brain, spinal cord and retina – going from innovative chemistry to udemonstrating tissue and functional repair.

3-D Scaffolds: To better mimic the cellular microenvironment, we investigate the biochemical and mechanical properties of hydrogels and other cell types that influence cell fate. This allows us to discover new therapeutics for further testing in diseases like glioblastoma, lymphoma and lung disease.

Cell Delivery: Two key challenges in stem cell transplantation are cell survival and cell integration. Through careful design of the environment in which cells are transplanted, we have achieved greater success in cell transplantation to the eye, brain and spinal cord for application in blindness, stroke and spinal cord injury, respectively.

Selected Publications

Bahlmann, L.C.; Baker, A.E.G.; Xue, A.; Liu, S.; Meier- Merziger, M.; Karakas, D.; Zhu, L.; Co, I.; Zhao, S.; Chin, A.A.; McGuigan, A.; Kuruvilla, J.; Laister, R.C.; Shoichet, M.S. 2021 “Gelatin-hyaluronan click-crosslinked cryogels elucidate human macrophage invasion behaviour” Advanced Functional Materials, 2008400: 1-18;

Hettiaratchi, M.H.; O’Meara, M.J.; O’Meara, T.R.; Pickering, A.J.; Letko-Khait, N.; Shoichet, M.S. 2020 “Re-engineering biocatalysts: computational redesign of chondroitinase ABC improves efficacy and stability”, Science Advances, 6: eabc6378 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abc6378

Baker, A.E.G.; Bahlmann, L.C.; Tam, R.Y.; Liu, J.C.; Ganesh, A.N.; Mitrousis, N.; Marcellus, R.; Spears, M.; Bartlett, M.S.; Cescon, D.W.; Bader, G.D.; Shoichet, M.S. 2019 “Benchmarking to the gold standard: hyaluronan-oxime hydrogels recapitulate xenograft models with in vitro breast cancer spheroid culture”, Advanced Materials, 31: e1901166; doi: 10.1002/adma.201901166

Delplace, V.; Ortin-Martinez, A.; Tsai, E.L.S.; Amin, A.N.; Wallace, V.; Shoichet, M.S. 2019 “Controlled release strategy designed for intravitreal protein delivery to the retina”, J.Controlled Release, 293: 10-20; doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.11.012

Tam, R.Y.; Yockell-Lelievre, J.; Smith, L.J.; Julian, L.M.; Choey, C.; Baker, A.E.G.; Hasim, M.S.; Dimitroulakos, J.; Stanford, W.L.; Shoichet, M.S. 2018 “Rationally designed 3D hydrogels model invasive lung diseases enabling high-content drug screening”, Advanced Materials, 1806214: 1-9; doi: 10.1002/adma.201806214

Führmann, T.; Anandakumaran, P.N.; Payne, S.L.; Pakulska, M.M.; Varga, B.V.; Nagy, A.; Tator, C.H.; Shoichet, M.S. 2018 “Combined delivery of chondroitinase ABC and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neuroepithelial cells promote tissue repair in an animal model of spinal cord injury”, Biomedical Materials, 13: 024103; doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/aa96dc

Pakulska M.M.; Miersch, S.; Shoichet, M.S. 2016 “Designer protein delivery: from natural occurring to engineered affinity controlled release systems”, Science, 351(6279):aac4750; doi: 10.1126/science.aac4750

Pakulska, M.M.; Elliott Donaghue, I.; Obermeyer, J.; Tuladhar, A.; McLaughlin, C.K.; Shoichet, M.S. 2016 “Encapsulation-free controlled release: electrostatic interactions eliminate the need for protein encapsulation in PLGA nanoparticles”, Science Advances, 2, e1600519 doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600519

Ganesh, A.N.; McLaughlin, C.K.; Duan, D.; Shoichet, B.K.; Shoichet, M.S. 2017 “A new spin on antibody-drug conjugates: trastuzumab-fulvestrant colloidal drug aggregates target HER2-positive cells”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9: 12195-202; doi: 10.1021/acsami.6b15987

Fisher, S.A.; Tam, R.Y.; Fokina, A.; Mahmoodi, M.M.; Distefano, M.D.; Shoichet, M.S. 2018 “Photo-immobilized EGF chemical gradients differentially impact breast cancer cell invasion and drug response in defined 3D hydrogels” Biomaterials, 178: 751-66; doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.01.032

Arnold, A.E.; Malek-Adamian, E.; Lee, P.U.; Meng, A.; Martinez-Montero, S.; Petrecca, K.; Damha, M.J.; Shoichet, M.S. 2018 “Antibody-antisense oligonucleotide conjugate downregulates a key gene in glioblastoma stem cells”, Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids, 11: 518-27; doi: 10.1016/j.omtn.2018.04.004

Ballios, B.G.; Cooke, M.J.; Clarke, L.; Cole, B.; Morshead, C.M.; van der Kooy, D.; Shoichet, M.S. 2015 “A hyaluronan based injectable hydrogel improves the survival and integration of stem cell progeny following transplantation” Stem Cell Reports, 4: 1031-45; doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.04.008