Scott Prosser photo illustration

'Distinguished record of research': UTM's Scott Prosser endowed as new AstraZeneca Chair

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 10:07pm

Professor Scott Prosser has been endowed as the new AstraZeneca Chair in Biotechnology.

Prosser, who joined the U of T faculty in 2001, will be appointed to a five-year term with the possibility of a second five-year term.

“Professor Prosser is a long-standing member of the UTM community and a globally respected biophysical chemist,” says Vice-President and Principal Alexandra Gillespie, who was part of the selection committee alongside professors Amrita Daniere, Kathi Wilson and Kent Moore. “His appointment as the AstraZeneca Chair in Biotechnology is a tremendous honour and speaks to the level of comprehensive scientific excellence at UTM.”

Currently the University of Toronto Distinguished Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, Prosser specializes in biotechnology with applications to improving health outcomes for Canadians, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy to investigate structure, function and dynamics relations in proteins.

“We were impressed by Professor Prosser’s distinguished record of research,” says Moore, UTM’s Vice-Principal, Research. “He was our unanimous choice for Chair and I look forward to seeing what he achieves in his new position.”

With a resume that includes 93 peer-reviewed papers, more than 8,000 citations, a Google Scholar score of 42 (putting him in the "outstanding" category), plus more than 100 invited lectures, Prosser's work has been published in top journals including Science, Cell, Nature, Nature Communications, and Journal of American Chemical Society.

Prosser has held several roles at U of T, including Director of Master of Biotechnology, Associate Chair Research in the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences and the Graduate Associate Chair in the Department of Chemistry.

Made a full professor at UTM in 2014, he also teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and has supervised more than 85 undergraduate thesis projects. In his 10 years directing the UTM Master of Biotechnology program, it has expanded from 20 to 42 students per year, with nearly 100 per cent permanent employment in the pharma industry.

“I’m grateful to AstraZeneca and really excited about this chair position and the research opportunities it provides for my research group,” says Prosser. His new role includes $50,000 per year in research support.

“We live in precarious times. I take this opportunity seriously and hope to see this endowment empower not only my group but the life science research groups at UTM. “

Established in 1998 to improve health for Canadians through education and research, the AstraZeneca Chair position was last held by former Vice-President and Principal, UTM, Ulrich Krull, a professor of analytical chemistry.