Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto

M. Cynthia Goh is Professor at the Department of Chemistry, the Institute of Medical Science, the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Institute for Optical Sciences, and founder and Director of the Impact Centre 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 is also known for her interest the translation of scientific discovery to technology and products, and the education of scientist-entrepreneurs. She invented the technique of diffraction-based sensing, a highly sensitive approach for the detection of biomolecules with applications in medical diagnostics and in drug discovery. Together with her students, she founded Axela Biosensors Inc ( to commercialize the technology; Axela’s dotLabTM 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 of 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. Together with her students, she has co-founded Dalenyi BioSurfaces (, a company engaged in immunoassay tools), Pueblo Science (, a non-profit company engaged in science literacy for low resource settings), Sciventions ( , a scientist-to-scientist e-commerce platform), and most recently Phantin (a coatings company).

Professor Goh’s interest in the training of scientist-entrepreneurs led her to introduce a non-credit series in 2004, which led to what is now known as Entrepreneurship101 at MaRS (MaRS Discovery District,, with over 20000 registered attendees annually. In 2012, she introduced Techno2010, a one-month intensive training program for scientists/engineers intending to build a technology-based company. During the 5 years of Techno (2010 to 2015), 100 technology start-ups have been created and nurtured by the Impact Centre.


  • –present
    Professor of Chemistry, University of Toronto