Biomedical engineer Molly Shoichet wins Canada's most prestigious science prize for 'hydrogels'
The hydrogels are a 3D growing medium developed for use in biomedical research
The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering was awarded this week to University of Toronto researcher Molly Shoichet.
NSERC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, awards the annual prize, which comes with one million dollars in research funding.
Shoichet is Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is professor of chemical engineering & applied chemistry and biomaterials & biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto.
Her work involves developing designer jello-like hydrogel materials for biomedical research. Shoichet's lab has demonstrated a range of applications for these materials.
These include pioneering work developing three-dimensional tissue-like materials in which to culture cells. This allows more realistic understanding of how things like cancer cells grow and invade compared to standard culturing in a petri dish.
She's also worked on hydrogels that can deliver drugs past the blood-brain barrier, which have potential for treating stroke and brain injury, and gels that can act as carriers and "incubators" for cell transplantation, a technology that's been explored for transplanting retinal cells to treat progressive blindness.
Produced and written by Jim Lebans