Gaduate Alumni Dr. Adam Shuhendler Receives 2015 Polanyi Prize for Chemistry

Dr. Adam J. Shuhendler was recently recognized as one of Ontario’s brightest young researchers when he was named as one of five winners of the prestigious John Charles Polanyi Prizes for 2015.

Established by the government of Ontario in honour of John Charles Polanyi, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Polanyi Prize is awarded annually to five researchers in the early stages of their careers at Ontario universities.

Dr. Shuhendler, recently appointed an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Ottawa, received the Polanyi Prize in Chemistry for his outstanding research achievements. His research examines the therapy response to common diseases, taking a personalized approach to the study of treatment. Using medical imaging technologies like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) as an alternative to biopsies, Dr. Shuhendler is exploring ways to help doctors see what’s happening at the subcellular level in an area of concern without having to break the skin. 

In particular, he is using imaging to study the molecular level changes that occur in cancerous tumours during treatment, measuring the therapy response in as close to real time as possible. By examining the active enzymes in tumour cells, he is able to determine how active they are, allowing physicians to gauge how an individual’s cells are reacting to the chemotherapy or radiation treatments and adjust treatment accordingly. 

Dr. Shuhendler received his MSc and PhD degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences under the supervision of Professor Shirley X.Y. Wu in the Advanced Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. During his graduate studies, he made several discoveries and devised a number of nanoparticle systems for imaging and drug combination therapy, and is a co-inventor of several pending patents resulting form his postdoctoral and PhD research concerning new nanoparticle systems for molecular imaging.

Congratulations, Dr. Shuhendler, on this tremendous recognition.