Chemical engineering professor receives prestigious NSERC fellowship – Faculty of Engineering

Chemical engineering professor receives prestigious NSERC fellowship

A McMaster Engineering professor has been recognized with a prestigious award given to outstanding chemists and research leaders.

Two McMaster Professor working in a lab

Todd Hoare has earned an E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which is bestowed to outstanding and highly promising university faculty who are earning a strong international reputation for original research.

Hoare, an associate professor of chemical engineering and Canada Research Chair in Engineered Smart Materials, is a renowned expert in the development of “smart” hydrogels and nanogels.

Hoare’s lab has devised hydrogels that can be injected into a person but then degrade after treatment has run its course. Now, he and his team are working toward developing “on-demand” hydrogels that can be triggered to shrink or swell by a safe and non-invasive stimulus like a magnet or low-power ultrasound.

These gels could transform the way some common treatments are administered. 

“This award is a huge honour and will give me both the time and the resources to pursue some creative research ideas that we hope in the future will lead to more effective drugs, better tissue replacements, and more effective and environmentally-friendly agricultural chemicals,” Hoare said.

Every year NSERC awards up to six Steacie Fellowships that are held for a two-year period. Successful fellows are relieved of teaching and administrative duties, so that they can devote all their time and energy to research. The Fellowships are held at a Canadian university or affiliated research institution. Each fellow receives a research grant of $250,000 over two years.

“Each year, every year, NSERC bestows its highest honours on select individuals at different stages of their research careers. NSERC award winners have demonstrated their critical thinking and creativity to produce breakthrough findings in response to new but also timeless research questions. We are extremely pleased to valorize their accomplishments as NSERC marks its own achievements in service of Canada and Canadians over the past 40 years,” said Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERDC.

Among other recognitions, Hoare has won the John Charles Polanyi Prize in Chemistry in 2009, received the 2016 Early Career Investigator Award from the Canadian Biomaterials Society and an Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario. His work has also been profiled by Maclean’s, Popular Science and the BBC.

“In addition to being a world-class researcher, Todd is a superb teacher and a generous colleague. It is difficult to understand how he can do it all at such a high level – he is an inspiration to all his colleagues in Chemical Engineering. This well deserved recognition could not have been given to a nicer person,” said Carlos Filipe, Chair of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University. 

The Steacie award honours the memory of Dr. Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made major contributions to the development of science in Canada during, and immediately following, World War II.

Dr. Steacie believed that young researchers are a great national asset and should be given every opportunity to develop their own ideas.