Ulrich Krull

Ulrich Krull
Affiliation: 
Interim Vice-President and Principal
Place of Birth: 
Berlin, Germany
First Year Employed at UTM/U of T: 
1985
Department / Division: 
Chemical and Physical Sciences

I get a kick out of seeing opportunities and potential turn into reality. I am amazed by the creativity and capacity of humans to create change.

The reason I’m interested in industry collaboration is to see the realization of research potential.

Ulrich Krull

Ulrich Krull, a world-renowned analytical chemist who is serving as U of T Mississauga’s interim vice-president and principal, moved his research to UTM in 1984 because there wasn’t enough room to house it on the St. George campus. It was a fortuitous pairing that has lasted for Krull’s entire career.

“We gambled and bought a house near the campus, expecting that a full-time position would open up,” said Krull, who was initially working on contract.

He has since forged a stellar research career at UTM, along with an equally impressive role in university administration. Krull, who holds the first endowed chair at UTM, the AstraZeneca Chair in Biotechnology, has also served as vice-principal, special initiatives (2012-2016); vice-principal, research (2003-2013); vice-dean, graduate (2006-2008); and associate dean of sciences (1994-1999).

Under his aegis, UTM created the thriving Master of Biotechnology program, forged links with local government through the proposal for a Healthy Cities Stewardship Centre and created the first iteration of the area’s business accelerator, working closely with industry. He was involved in laying the groundwork for UTM’s Institute for Management and Innovation, and the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, the program that offers UTM-based medical school.

“I love strategy and putting all these pieces together,” Krull said.

On the research front, Krull’s work on artificial cell membranes attracted industry attention while he was still a PhD student at U of T, landing him and his faculty supervisor a large commercial contract that eventually brought Krull to UTM.

“I’ve been lucky in my career,” he said. “How often do you have research money, as well as a position available in the right place at the right time?”

Krull’s research dovetails nicely with his efforts to promote innovation. He has helped launch four start-up companies and is listed on more than a dozen patents. His recent work has focused on molecular diagnostics technology for biomedical and environmental applications. He uses nanotechnology and microfluidics technologies to detect DNA and RNA markers of disease and for drug delivery, making personalized medicine possible. He is also exploring portable diagnostic techniques that make use of cellphones and their cameras.

“I’ve never looked back,” Krull said. “It has been a great ride.”

 

Selected Awards:

Maxxam Award, 2002, Chemical Institute of Canada; top award for analytical chemistry in Canada

U of T Faculty Excellence Award, 2000, presented to a member of the University of Toronto teaching staff who consistently demonstrates excellence in teaching, research and service.

W.A.E. McBryde Medal, 1994, presented by the Chemical Institute of Canada to a young scientist working in Canada who has made a significant achievement in pure or applied analytical chemistry

UTM Teaching Excellence Award, 1992-93, recognizing excellence in undergraduate teaching

 

Selected Publications:

Noor, M.O. and U.J. Krull, 2014. Camera-based ratiometric fluorescence transduction of nucleic acid hybridization with reagentless signal amplification on a paper-based platform using immobilized quantum dots as donors, Analytical Chemistry, 86: 10331-10339. Converting chemical reactions into easily readable data.

Fedoryshin, L.L., A.J. Tavares, E. Petryayeva, S. Doughan and U.J. Krull, 2014. Near-infrared triggered anticancer drug release from upconverting nanoparticles, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 6:13600-13606. Delivering cancer-fighting drugs using nanoparticles that can invade cancerous cells.

Chong, L., C.H. Vannoy, M.O. Noor and U.J. Krull, 2012. Intracellular nucleic acid interactions facilitated by quantum dots: Conceptualizing theranostics, Therapeutic Delivery, 3: 479-499. Creation of therapeutics that target cells at the RNA level.