UTM professor wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

Scott Prosser
Monday, May 8, 2017 - 11:15am
UTM News

Professor Scott Prosser, a specialist in molecular biophysics at the University of Toronto Mississauga, has been awarded the 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Jeremy Knowles Award.

The Jeremy Knowles Award is awarded to recognize and promote the importance of inter- and multidisciplinary research between chemistry and the life sciences. The RSC, which is more than 175 years old, has more than 50,000 members around the world.

“I feel extremely honoured to have been selected to receive the Jeremy Knowles Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry,” says Prosser, a professor in the Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences. “On some level, life is quite simply a matter of chemistry, and the study of complex phenomena such as the workings of protein ‘machines’ is something that has drawn our fascination for generations.”

“This award is also personally very meaningful to me, as I feel that our research is inspired by many of the ideas and contributions of Jeremy Knowles and his contemporaries,” says Prosser. Knowles' enzymatic research at Harvard University was fundamental for understanding enzyme function in illnesses; this knowledge is used to advance ideas relating to drug discovery. 

Prosser’s work focuses on understanding the structure of key proteins in the body to help design more effective pharmaceuticals or therapeutic strategies. In particular, his work explores the biophysical processes involved in membrane receptors called “G protein coupled receptors” (GPCRs). Prosser feels that the convergence of new ideas regarding computational chemistry, molecular biology and spectroscopy in the scientific community will revolutionize our understanding of the behaviour of these complex proteins.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Prosser has held an interest in science since his youth, which he spent in New Brunswick. He is also an avid cyclist, cross-country skiing enthusiast and distance swimmer and enjoys great challenges both in and out of the lab.

Winners of the Jeremy Knowles Award disseminate their research in a lecture circuit around the United Kingdom over the following year. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes and awards recognize achievements by individuals, teams and organizations in advancing the chemical sciences. More information about the Jeremy Knowles Award is available on the RSC website.