Media Releases

2011 Steacie Prize awarded for nanotechnology-enabled disease diagnosis

December 13, 2011

Toron­to, Ontario – Pro­fes­sor Shana Kel­ley of the Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy is the win­ner of the 2011 Stea­cie Prize, mark­ing the third con­sec­u­tive year that a Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to pro­fes­sor has received this pres­ti­gious award.

“It’s won­der­ful and at the same time hum­bling to get this type of recog­ni­tion – which is real­ly recog­ni­tion of the tal­ents of all of the past and present mem­bers of my research group,” said Pro­fes­sor Kel­ley, who is also a pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Bio­chem­istry in the Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine, and cross-appoint­ed at the Depart­ment of Chem­istry and the Insti­tute of Bio­ma­te­ri­als & Bio­med­ical Engi­neer­ing.

Kelley’s research cen­tres on the devel­op­ment of nano­ma­te­r­i­al-based detec­tion sys­tems that can track minis­cule quan­ti­ties of bio­mol­e­c­u­lar ana­lytes. The high­ly sen­si­tive DNA and RNA detec­tion sys­tems devel­oped by Kel­ley are pow­er­ful new tools for can­cer and infec­tious dis­ease iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, and rep­re­sent a major advance over the cur­rent time con­sum­ing and painful meth­ods.

Using small, non-inva­sive sam­ples, Kelley’s diag­nos­tic tool is able to iden­ti­fy minute lev­els of the bio­mark­ers of dis­ease. This tech­nol­o­gy is able to pro­vide dis­ease diag­no­sis at a frac­tion of the costs and in a frac­tion of the time of cur­rent meth­ods, and is able to do so ten times ear­li­er than cur­rent prac­tices allow.

“I can think of no oth­er more deserv­ing can­di­date than Dr. Kel­ley to receive the Stea­cie Prize,” said Pro­fes­sor Hen­ry Mann, Dean, Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy. “She is a high­ly cre­ative and inter­dis­ci­pli­nary sci­en­tist who unites mate­ri­als chem­istry, ana­lyt­i­cal chem­istry, and mol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gy to sense bio­log­i­cal mol­e­cules with unprece­dent­ed sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Her proven track record of exe­cut­ing inno­v­a­tive and ground­break­ing research cer­tain­ly aligns her work with the goals of the pres­ti­gious Stea­cie Prize.”

The Stea­cie Prize rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing Cana­di­an research in sci­ence and engi­neer­ing. Win­ners are select­ed by a pan­el appoint­ed by the E.W.R. Stea­cie Memo­r­i­al Fund, a pri­vate fund ded­i­cat­ed to advanc­ing sci­ence and engi­neer­ing in Cana­da.

“Pro­fes­sor Kelley’s research has always been on the cut­ting edge of nan­otech­nol­o­gy,” not­ed Pro­fes­sor Paul Young, Vice Pres­i­dent, Research. “Her work devel­op­ing fast, low-cost meth­ods for dis­ease detec­tion and diag­no­sis will save lives across the world. We’ve always been proud to have Pro­fes­sor Kel­ley as a fac­ul­ty mem­ber at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and on behalf of the insti­tu­tion, I extend my con­grat­u­la­tions to her on win­ning the Stea­cie Prize. It is rich­ly deserved.”

Professor Shana Kelley

Pro­fes­sor Shana Kel­ley

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About Phar­ma­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

The Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is Canada’s largest fac­ul­ty of phar­ma­cy, an inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized leader in phar­ma­cy edu­ca­tion and pre-emi­nent cen­tre for inno­va­tion and dis­cov­ery in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sci­ences.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Jef Ekins
Man­ag­er, Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Office: 416–946-7036