Molly S. Shoichet

Molly Shoichet newUniversity Professor
B.Sc. (MIT), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Massachusetts)
Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering
Principal Investigator
Shoichet Lab
Room: 160 College Street, Room 514 | Tel: 416-978-1460 | Fax: 416-978-8287 |


  • 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, 2008-present
  • Innovation of the Year Award, University of Toronto, 2012
  • 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
  • Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowship. 2008-2010
  • Woman of Action, Israel Cancer Research Fund, 2010 (one of 4 women honored for contributions to the advancement of knowledge)
  • 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; 2013-2019
  • 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


Heart and Stroke Foundation Center for Stroke Recovery

American Institute of Chemical Engineering

American Chemical Society

Society for Biomaterials

Canadian Biomaterials Society

Chemical Institute of Canada

Society for Neuroscience

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society

Materials Research Society:1990-1991, 2000

National Honor’s Chemistry Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon

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 to the injured spinal cord, brain and retina. And we have created novel polymeric nanoparticles for targeted delivery in cancer. We have pursued tissue engineered 3-dimensional constructs to spatially control cell differentiation, using multiphoton laser excitation and advanced photochemistry to design defined chemical matrices. And we have explored cell transplantation strategies using injectable materials. While the laboratory is pursuing a diversity of projects, they are linked by the common theme of polymeric design for biological and medical application.

The multidisciplinary projects have collaborators with complementary expertise, in stem cell biology, neurosurgery and cancer. The laboratory is funded primarily by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Research Foundation, the Heart & Stroke Foundation (Ontario), among others.

Targeted Delivery: With the synthesis of a novel biodegradable polymer that self-assembles in water to nanoparticles, we have investigated the power of click chemistry for the immobilization of antibodies and siRNA and their targeted delivery in breast cancer with chemotherapeutics.

Injectable Hydrogels: Using a physical blend of hyaluronan and methyl cellulose, we have achieved local and sustained delivery to the injured spinal cord and stroke-injured brain, demonstrating some therapeutic and tissue benefit.

3-D Scaffolds: To Better mimic the cellular microenvironment, we have incorporated both haptotactic and chemotactic cues into 3-dimensional hydrogels using bio-orthogonal chemistry, photochemistry and multiphoton lasers. Haptotactic cues include cell adhesive peptides. Chemotactic cues include concentration gradients of growth factors.

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

Fisher, S.; Anandakumaran P.; Owen, S.C.; Shoichet, M.S. 2015 “Tuning the microenvironment: click-crosslinked hyaluronic acid based hydrogels provide a platform for studying breast cancer cell invasion”, Advanced Functional Materials, in press xx1-x10; doi: 10.1002/adfm.201502778

Tuladhar, A.; Morshead, C.M.; Shoichet, M.S. 2015 “Circumventing the blood-brain barrier: local delivery of Cyclosporin A stimulates stem cells in stroke-injured rat brain”, J. Controlled Release, 215: 1-11; doi: 1016/j.jconrel.2015.07.023

Pakulska, M.; Vulic, K.; Tam, R.Y.; Shoichet, M.S. 2015 “Hybrid crosslinked methylcellulose
hydrogel: a predictable and tunable platform for local drug delivery”, Advanced Materials 27: 5002-08; doi: 10.1002/adma.201502767

Logie, J.; McLaughlin, C.K.; Tam, R.Y., Shoichet, M.S. 2015 “Innovative use of the taxol binding peptide overcomes key challenges of stable and high drug loading in polymeric nanomicelles”, Chemical Communications, 51: 12000-03; doi: 10.1039/C5CC04282H

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