The Ernest C. Mercier Lecture considers the power of ‘What if?’ questions in research

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As Ontario’s first chief scientist in 2018, Molly Shoichet worked to enhance the culture of science in the province. On Monday, Dec. 6, Shoichet will present the Ernest C. Mercier Lecture in Entrepreneurial Science.

Molly Shoichet. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe
Molly Shoichet. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Shoichet is a professor at the University of Toronto and the co-founder of four spin-off companies. The Ernest C. Mercier Lecture in Entrepreneurial Science will take place from 6:15 to 8 p.m. at the Robert R. McEwen Auditorium in the Seymour Schulich Building on York University’s Keele Campus. This lecture is presented by the Lassonde School of Engineering, the Schulich School of Business and the BEST Program. All are welcome, registration is required and can be completed here.

In her lecture titled, “Research to Reality: from Asking the ‘What If’ to Clinical Testing,” Shoichet will highlight how a series of “I wonder if?” questions led her research to design a completely new way for target discovery and drug screening in cancer. She will show how a new way of delivering therapeutics locally to the spinal cord and brain led to the invention of a new biomaterial that has been tested clinically. She will describe how her research purposely designed a new vitreous substitute to overcome an unmet need and the path to translation.

She currently leads a laboratory of 30 and has graduated 220 researchers. Her research is focused on drug and cell delivery strategies in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, retina) and 3D hydrogel culture systems to model cancer. Shoichet is actively engaged in translational research and science outreach. She has published more than 650 papers, patents and abstracts and has given over 420 lectures worldwide.

She is the recipient of many prestigious distinctions and is the only person to be inducted into The Royal Society of Canada, The Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2018, Shoichet was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2011, she was awarded the Order of Ontario. Shoichet was the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America in 2015, elected foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2016, won the Killam Prize in Engineering in 2017 and elected to the Royal Society in the United Kingdom in 2019. In 2020, She was awarded the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal and won the Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize.

The lecture will be held in person, doors open at 6:15 p.m. and organizers encourage guests to engage in the Q-and-A session and the networking reception following the lecture. Face coverings or masks are required on campus.