Cynthia Goh

Professor, University of Toronto & Entrepreneur

Cynthia Goh is Professor at the Department of Chemistry, the Institute of Medical Science, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Director of the Institute for Optical Sciences at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles and carried out postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, prior to taking a faculty position at the University of Toronto. Professor Goh is a physical chemist with a diverse set of research interests, including fundamental studies of complex systems biomaterials, interfaces, probe microscopy, the development of new research instrumentation, and nanotechnology. She invented the technique of diffraction-based sensing, a highly sensitive approach for the detection of biomolecules with applications in medical diagnostics and drug discovery. Together with her students, she founded Axela Biosensors Inc to commercialize the technology; Axela’s dotLab™ system is a commercial instrument used by researchers and clinicians for a variety of applications in the bio and medical areas. Her scientific research on understanding the self-assembly of biomolecules and polymers resulted in a platform technology for making nanoparticles; based on this science, she and her students founded Vive Nano, now Vive Crop Protection, with over 30 employees targeting agriculture applications. She is also Co-Founder of Dalenyi BioSurfaces, a company engaged in immunoassay tools, Sciventions, a scientist-to-scientist e-commerce solutions company, and Pueblo Science, a non-profit company engaged in science literacy for low-resource settings. Professor Goh’s interest in the education of scientist entrepreneurs led her to introduce a non-credit series in 2004, which led to what is now known as Entrepreneurship 101 at MaRS, the flagship entrepreneur training program of the MaRS Discovery District, with over 1500 registered attendees annually. In 2012, as Director of the IOS, she introduced Techno2010, a one-month intensive training program specifically geared for university scientists intending to build a tech-based company. Techno2010, 2011, and 2012 have led to the creation of over 35 startups based on the results of scientific research, many of which now have sales and follow-on funding.