B.Sc. ’81, D.Sc. ‘16
Mark Lautens graduated from the University of Guelph in 1981 with a B.Sc. in Chemistry. Since then he has become a world leader in organic chemistry and catalysis, a winner of multiple prestigious awards, an outstanding mentor, and a recipient of the Order of Canada.
After completing a PhD at the University of Wisconsin and a postdoctoral term at Harvard, he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Toronto. He quickly rose through the ranks and currently holds the titles of J. Bryan Jones Distinguished Professor, AstraZeneca Professor of Organic Synthesis, and the very prestigious designation of University Professor, which is awarded to only two per cent of U of T faculty.
Mark’s impressive body of work has simplified the steps needed to create complex compounds and invented chemical processes that enable the design of new medicinal molecules, ultimately reducing the environmental impact of pharmaceutical drugs. His outstanding contributions to science, and more particularly, organic chemistry, include 380 research publications and 450 lectures given throughout the world. Mark has trained and mentored over 180 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, winning the J.J. Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award in 2017. Many of his students have gone onto research and leadership positions in academia and industrial positions both in Canada and abroad.
Mark held the Merck Frosst/NSERC Industrial Research Chair from 2003-2013, illustrating the relevance of his research and his ability to forge strong partnerships with industry. He has won numerous scientific awards, both nationally and internationally. In 2014 has was honoured with the Officer of the Order of Canada, and with great pride, he now presides over Canadian Citizenship Ceremonies.
As a testament to Mark’s high-caliber level of teaching, he has been awarded numerous international visiting professorships throughout his career, where he has influenced hundreds, if not thousands, of students. Over the past few years, Mark has written several Op-Ed columns in national newspapers, advocating for science and educating the public and government decision-makers.
A distinguished alumnus, Mark demonstrates excellence in scholarship, exceptional intellect, and brilliant creativity. Mark is undoubtedly one of Canada’s greatest scientists, but it is his care and compassion for people and society that transcends his work. Mark’s outstanding contributions and dedication to improving life bring great honour to the University of Guelph.