Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, IBBME) was appointed University Professor this week, a title bestowed by the university in recognition of unusual scholarly achievement and pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge. The title is held by fewer than two percent of tenured faculty.
Professor Shoichet is a leading expert and pioneer in the study and design of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Her work cuts across traditional medical and engineering research areas and requires a rare combination of expertise in polymer science and engineering, drug delivery, cell biology and surgery. Her research program encompasses a wide range of important health challenges, including strategies to promote tissue repair in the central nervous system after traumatic spinal cord injury, stroke and blindness. The goal is to study the microenviroment of cellular processes and use this fundamental knowledge to engineer devices that can promote tissue regeneration. In recent years, Professor Shoichet has expanded her research focus to also include breast cancer, bringing her core expertise in the polymer design for use in medicine to a new range of applications. Her team is working on innovative drug delivery systems, for example to target only cancerous cells, leaving the healthy tissue intact, and thus reducing the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy drugs.
Among her many accomplishments, Professor Shoichet holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and 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, 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.
“We are very proud to celebrate Professor Shoichet’s tremendous achievement. This is a well-deserved accolade for a true pioneer in applying the principles of chemical engineering and applied chemistry to biomedical challenges,” said ChemE Chair Grant Allen. “Her dedication to excellence in research and education outstanding and it is my great pleasure to offer heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry.”
Read an interview with Professor Shoichet to learn more about her research.