One of Canada’s most influential materials scientists, University of Toronto professor Eugenia Kumacheva, is the first female recipient of the Chemical Institute of Canada’s most prestigious award, the CIC Medal. The award recognizes a researcher who has made an outstanding contribution to the science of chemistry or chemical engineering in Canada.

Kumacheva began her studies in Russia, completing her B.Sc. and M.Sc. at The Technical University and her PhD at the Russian Academy of Science, all in Saint Petersburg. From there Kumacheva travelled to Rehovot, Israel, where she spent three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the Weizmann Institute of Science before moving to Canada to start her work at U of T’s Department of Chemistry. She now holds tenure there as a full professor, runs an active research lab and holds the position of Canada Research Chair in Advanced Polymer Materials (Tier 1).

Kumacheva’s research is elegant and imaginative, tackling both fundamental and applied science projects in the fields of materials science, polymer chemistry and condensed-matter physics. In addition to the more than 220 peer-reviewed papers, nine book chapters and one book stemming from her research, the intellectual property generated in Kumacheva’s lab has resulted in two microfluidics startup companies: RainDance Technologies, which offers a proprietary droplet technology for research in areas such as non-invasive liquid biopsy, and FlowJEM, which produces cost-efficient imprint templates for use in the creation of embossed microfluidic devices in thermoplastics. Kumacheva has also collaborated with industry partners such as Xerox Research Centre of Canada, Dow Chemical Canada ULC, Ford of Canada, DuPont Canada and Nortel Networks Corporation.

In addition to the 2017 CIC Medal, Kumacheva has received several awards and honours during her career, including the 2004 Clara Benson Award, the 2008 L’Oreal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science, the 2010 Killam Fellowship, the 2011 Connaught Innovation Award and the 2012 Humboldt Research Award. She has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2007 and was named a Fellow of the Royal Society in April of last year, a distinction she shares with only 81 other Canadian scientists.

Kumacheva has been instrumental to progression in her field and the CIC is honoured to announce her as the 2017 CIC Medal recipient.