A bit about myself...

Throughout my academic career, I have always had a natural curiousity about the life sciences. I completed my honours bachelors of science degree at the University of Toronto majoring in biology and chemistry. My interests during my undergraduate led me towards my doctoral work in medicinal chemistry, where I explored the design and synthesis of novel drug modalities as potential cancer therapeutics. Throughout my PhD, I was very fortunate to have had many opportunities to communicate my research at national conferences and in peer-reviewed publications. I loved using my visual talents to develop figures and movies in order to make my work accessible to larger audiences. In addition, I enjoyed making creative, visual analogies of my research and was thrilled that my designs were selected as front covers for several publications. Supplementing my interest in visualizing science is a love of teaching that grew from tutoring and lecturing experiences throughout my undergraduate and doctoral degrees. Eventually, I found myself swayed away from the bench top and towards the BMC program. The BMC program sits at the interface of several disciplines, with education, science and art being a few of these disciplines that mirror my own passions. I look forward to learning and growing with my fellow BMC classmates over the next couple years while developing the skills I need to optimally communicate science and health topics to future generations.

Please feel free to sort through my CV below.




2013-Present: University of Toronto at Mississauga, ON
  • Currently completing the Biomedical Communications Professional Masters Program
2008-2013: University of Toronto at Mississauga, ON
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Medicinal Chemistry
  • Synthesizing small molecules inhibitors of protein-protein interactions for use as cancer therapeutics
  • Utilized computational methods for designing an effective pharmacophore
2004-2008: University of Toronto at Mississauga, ON
  • Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc) degree with high distinction
  • Major in biology and minor in chemistry and mathematics
  • Relevant courses completed: molecular biology, advanced cell biology, anatomy and physiology, vertebrate form and function, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, organic synthesis, physical chemistry.

Professional Experience

2013 - Present: Chief Presiding Officer at Mississauga, ON
  • Worked with the Examinations office to invigilate undergraduate examinations- University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Ensured that exams were held in a manner consistent with the regulations established by the University of Toronto.
2008 - Present: Teaching Assistant at Mississauga, ON
  • Introductory and Second Year Organic Chemistry TA- University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Managed a classroom of students, guided them through their laboratories, marked and provided feedback on tests/assignments and assisted them with fundamental chemistry questions
2013: Guest Lecturer at Mississauga, ON
  • Second Year Organic Chemistry (CHM243) - University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Presented 2-weeks of lectures on aromatic compounds (Electrophilic and nucleophilic aromatic substitutions)
2011: Guest Lecturer at Mississauga, ON
  • Second Year Organic Chemistry (CHM243)- University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Presented lectures on the reactivity of the carbonyl functionality (Reduction and addition reactions)
2011: HPLC Operator at Mississauga, ON
  • Contracted HPLC Method Developer - University of Toronto
  • Calibrated HPLC and developed method for separating pigments from plant extracts.
2008: NSERC Research Position at Mississauga, ON
  • Chemical Researcher –University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Completed an independent project in the field of organic synthesis
2004 – 2008: Accurate One-On-One Tutoring at Brampton, ON
  • High School and University Tutor
  • Clarified concepts from a variety of disciplines (mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology)
2006: Interactive Learning Adventure at Brampton, ON
  • Computer Teacher for Elementary School Students
  • Directed a classroom of students in completing a number of computer based activities.

Awards and Honours

  • CIHR Health Research Communication Award (2013-2015)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2011-2013), Ontario
  • Teaching Reduction Award (2010), University of Toronto
  • John Bunting Chemistry Prize Award (2010), University of Toronto
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) USRA (2008), Canada
  • University of Toronto Scholars Award (2005 and 2007)
  • Awarded an admission scholarship to the University of Toronto at Mississauga (2004)


Haftchenary, S.; Ball, D.P.; Aubry, I.; Landry, M.; Shahani, V.M.; Fletcher, S.; Page, B.D.G; Jouk, A.O.; Tremblay, M.L.; Gunning, P.T. (2013) "Identification of a Potent Salicylic Acid-based Inhibitor of Tyrosine Phosphatase PTP1B." MedChemComm.

Shahani, V.M.; Ball, D.P.; Ramos, A.V.; Li, Z.; Spagnulo, P.A.; Haftchenary, S.; Trudel, S.; Schimmer, A.D.; Gunning P.T. (2013) "A 2,6,9- hetero-trisubstituted purine inhibitor exhibits potent biological effects against multiple myeloma cells". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry.

Lukkarila, J.L.; da Silva, S.R.; Ali, M.; Shahani, V.M.; Xu, W.G.; Berman, J.; Roughton, A.; Dhe-Paganon, S.; Schimmer, A.D.; Gunning, P.T. (2011) "Identification of NAE Inhibitors Exhibiting Potent Activity in Leukemia Cells: Exploring the Structural Determinants of NAE Specificity."ACS Med. Chem. Lett. (2), 577–582.

Shahani, V.M.; Fletcher, S.; Yue, P.; Luu, D.; Sharmeen, S.; Schimmer, A.S.; Turkson, J.;  Gunning, P. T. (2011) "Design, synthesis and in vitro characterization of novel hybrid peptidomimetic inhibitors of STAT3 protein." Bioorg. Med. Chem. (19), 1823-1838.

Shahani, V.M.; Yue, P.; Haftchenary, S.; Zhao, W.; Lukkarila, J.; Zhang, X.; Ball, D.; Nona, C.; Gunning, P. T.; Turkson, J. (2011) "Identification of purine-scaffold small-molecule inhibitors of Stat3 activation by quantitative structure activity relationship studies." ACS Med. Chem. Lett., 2011, 2 (1), pp 79–84.

Fletcher, S.; Shahani, V.M.; and Gunning, P.T. (2010) "Concise access to N9-mono-, N2-mono- and N2,N9-di-substituted guanines via efficient Mitsunobu reactions." Tetrahedron. (66), 4621-4632.

Fletcher, S.; Drewry, J.; Shahani, V.M.; Page, B.D.G; Gunning, P.T.; (2009) "Molecular Disruption of Oncogenic Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) Protein." Biochem. Cell Biol. (87), 825-833.

Fletcher, S.; Singh, J.; Zhange, X.; Yue, P,; Page, B.D.G.; Sharmeen, S.; Shahani, V.M.; Schimmer, A.D.; Turkson, J.; Gunning, P.T. (2009) "Disruption of Transcriptionally Active Stat3 Dimers with Non-phosphorylated, Salicylic Acid-Based Small Molecules: Potent in vitro and Tumor Cell Activities." ChemBioChem, (10), 1959-1964.

Fletcher, S.; Shahani, V.M.; Gunning, P.T. (2009) "Facile and efficient access to 2,6,9-tri-substituted purines through sequential N9, N2 Mitsunobu reactions." Tet. Lett. (50), 4258-4261.


Shahani, V.M.; Ball, D.P.; and Gunning, P. T. "Second Generation Purine Inhibitors of Stat3 Show Greater Than 6-fold Increased Activity Over Previous Library" 95th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. Calgary, AB, Canada. Oral Presentation. June 2012.

Shahani, V.M.; Ball, D.P.; and Gunning, P. T. "Decorating purine-based STAT3 inhibitors with drug-like functionalities to improve cell permeability and anti-cancer potency" 94th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. Montreal, QC, Canada. Oral Presentation. June 2011.

Shahani, V.M.; Fletcher, S.; and Gunning, P. T. “Utilizing a pharmacophore model for the development of potent small molecule inhibitors of STAT3 function” ACS National Meeting. Boston, MA, USA. Poster Presentation. August 2010.

Haftchenary, C.; Shahani, V.M.; Fletcher, S.; and Gunning, P. T. “Design and Synthesis of 2,6,9-hetero-trisubstituted Purine Inhibitors of the Stat3-SH2 Domain” 93rd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. Poster Presentation.  May 2010.

Shahani, V.M.; Fletcher, S.; and Gunning, P. T. “A Peptidomimetic STAT3 Inhibitor Sensitizes Human Prostate Cancer Cells to Chemotherapeutic Treatment: A Promising Synergistic Combination Strategy” 93rd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. Oral Presentation. May 2010.

Shahani, V.M; Fletcher, S.; and Gunning, P. T. “Strategic Design and Synthesis of Highly Effective Peptidomimetic Inhibitors of STAT3” 92nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. Poster Presentation. May 2009.


Visualization Tools
  • Traditional Media (pen and ink, carbon dust, and wash).
  • Digital Media (illustrator, photoshop, dreamweaver, and cinema4D)
Laboratory Skills
  • Separation Techniques (TLC, flash column chromatography, analytical and preparative HPLC).
  • Biological Techniques (PCR, gel electrophoresis, centrifugation, biological dissection). Knowledge of computational methods, including: 3D molecule imaging (pyMOL), geometry optimization (ChemDraw3D/ArgusLab) and ligand docking (GOLD)
  • Using molecular mimicry and organic synthesis to develop novel molecules for use in biological applications.The use of visualization tools for the transmission of complex ideas in education.
  • University of Mississauga Association of Graduate Students Social Director (2011) and Secretary (2013):  Responsible for organizing graduate student social events at UTM
  • Voting Member of the University of Toronto at Mississauga's Resource Planning and Priorities Committee and Academic Affairs Committee (2013).
  • Erindale College Council Voting Member: Decide on issues within the UTM community. (2011 and 2013)

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Dr. Vijay Shahani © 2014 | vijay.shahani@utoronto.ca