Lab Canada

Steacie Prize awarded for nanotech-enabled disease diagnosis

Toronto, ON – Professor Shana Kelley, of the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, is the winner of the 2011 Steacie Prize.

“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 Faculty of Medicine, and cross-appointed at the Department of Chemistry and the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering.

Dr 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 her 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, her 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 EWR Steacie Memorial Fund, a private fund dedicated to advancing science and engineering in Canada. The prize is an award of $10,000.