McMaster chemical engineer wins Polanyi Prize

November 30, 2010

    Todd Hoare, who specializes in nano and microtechnology, has been awarded the Polanyi Prize for chemistry. The prestigious award recognizes five researchers in the early stages of their careers in the fields of chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature, physics and economics. File photo.

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A researcher who specializes in the ultra-small has earned some very big recognition.

Todd Hoare, assistant
professor of chemical
engineering at McMaster, has been awarded the Polanyi Prize in chemistry by the
Government of Ontario. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of
chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature, physics and economics.

"It's a tremendous honour," said Hoare. "It feels great to be recognized with such a
prestigious award."

Hoare's research focuses on the development of gel-based nanoparticles for the
delivery of drugs. His research group is currently developing a biodegradable,
microgel-based system which can be injected into the body as a liquid and "sets" as a
hydrogel. The system could then be triggered when required to release medication at
desired intervals, creating "on-demand", patient-regulated treatment. Other technology
his group is developing has the potential to seek out particular sites in the body, such
as tumours, to help medications better treat specific illnesses.

"As more stress is placed on the health care system, technologies such as these will
become much more important because they'll allow patients to control their own
treatment," said Hoare.

David Wilkinson, dean of engineering, said that Hoare is representative of the modern
engineer, performing research that will have an important impact on society.

"Todd is engaged in very relevant and innovative research in the field of nano and
microtechnology, so this recognition is very well-deserved. He should be proud of his
accomplishments."

This year's award recipients will be honoured Tuesday at a ceremony at Massey College
in Toronto. The award includes a prize of $20,000.

The Polanyi Prizes were established in 1987 by the Ontario government to honour the
achievements of John Charles Polanyi, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize
in chemistry. Five prizes are awarded annually to outstanding young researchers in the
early stages of their careers at Ontario universities.

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