Kay, Lewis

    Academic Degrees

    1988    PhD in Molecular Biophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Supervisor:  Dr. J.H. Prestegard; Thesis: “NMR Methods for Studying Motional and Structural Properties of Molecules in Solution”

    1983    BSc in Biochemistry (first class honours), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



    2012 –                University Professor, Distinction given to no more than 2% of faculty

    1995 –                Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    1992 – 1995      Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    1988 – 1991   Alberta Heritage and Medical Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Dr. Adrian Bax, Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA


    Endowed Lectures

    • Birss Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, October 1999.
    • Merck Frosst Lecture, Concordia University, Montreal, March 1996.
    • NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, May, 2006.
    • Wilbur Cross Medal Lecture, Yale University, October, 2006.
    • The Gitte Vold Memorial Lecture, University of California, San Diego, March 2007.
    • Proctor and Gamble Lecture, Department of Chemistry, UMass Amherst, October 2007.
    • Hartek Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, RPI, October 2007.
    • McDowell Lecture, Department of Chemistry, UBC, October 2009.
    • Colter Lecture, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Fall 2011.
    • Aline U. and James M. Orten Memorial Lecturer, Wayne State University, April 2012.
    • Sackler Lecturer, Tel Aviv University, May 2014.
    • Lokey Lecture, Technion University, Haifa, Israel, December, 2014.
    • Sir Rex Richards Lecture, Dept of Chemistry, Oxford, April 2016.
    • National Lecturer, Biophysical Society of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, June, 2016.
    • 2016 Distinguished Lecturer, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, September, 2016.
    • Peng Memorial Lecture, Biophysics, University of Connecticut Health Center, October, 2016.
    • Robert Olson Lecture, Washington University & University of St. Louis, December, 2017.
    • 2018 Lemieux Lecture, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Ottawa, May, 2018.
    • Krimm Lecture, Dept. of Biophysics, University of Michigan, Apri, 2019.
    • John T. Edsall Lecture, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, May 2019.
    • 2019 Garner King Lecture, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta, June 2019.
    • Silvestri Lecture, Villanova, December 2020.
    • Nordin Lecture, U. Mass, Amherst, May


    Honors and Awards

    2023            Akutsu Prize, Korean Magnetic Resonance Society, Seoul, Korea

    2023             Honorary Doctorate of Science, University of Ottawa

    2020            Ranked #2 in biophysics category of 2020 Stanford List of the world’s top scientists

    2020            Elected International Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA

    2019             Honorary Doctorate of Science, University of British Columbia

    2018             Nakanishi Prize, American Chemical Society

    2018            Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering

    2017             Protein Society Christian B Anfinson Award

    2017             Canada Gairdner Foundation International Award

    2017             Fellow of the Biophysical Society Award

    2016            Appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

    2016            Fellow of the Biophysical Society of Canada

    2013             E. W. R. Steacie Award, Canadian Society for Chemistry

    2012             University Professor, University of Toronto

    2012             Khorana Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK

    2010            Election to the Royal Society of London

    2009             Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Alberta

    2008             Premier’s Discovery Award, Province of Ontario

    2008            Elected as one of the initial fellows of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance

    2007             Dales Prize, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

    2006             Election to the Royal Society of Canada

    2006            Wilbur Cross Medal of the Yale University Graduate School.

    2005             Listed in ISI’s database of Highly Cited Researchers; top 0.5% of most cited chemists in the world.         

    2004              Gunther Laukien Prize, Experimental NMR Conference.

    2002              Founders Medal from the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems

    2002             Flavelle Medal from the Royal Society of Canada

    2000              Canada Research Chair, Tier 1

    1999              Premier’s Research Excellence Award, Province of Ontario

    1999             Steacie Prize from the National Research Council of Canada

    1999             Medical Research Council of Canada Scientist Award (1999-2000)

    1998             University of Toronto McLean Award

    1998             Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award

    1997             International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1997-2002)

    1996             Merck Frosst Award

    1995             Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1995-1997)


    Outreach and Mentoring of High School Students and Undergraduates

     Through the Canada Gairdner Foundation I have travelled extensively throughout Canada giving science lectures to high school students and meeting with them to discuss why science is something that they may wish to consider career-wise. The lectures describe simple concepts of biophysics and how physics can inform on how biomolecules function. Independently I mentor a series of high school students and undergraduates that I have met through these lectures, keeping in touch electronically. I discuss careers in science with them and assist with selection of courses that would best meet their needs and satisfy their interests. A sampling of cities where I have met with high school students includes: Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, St. John’s, Toronto, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Charlottetown, Halifax, Fredricton.

    In the past 12 months I have been a speaker at:

    • StAR (Student Advancement Research), which is a paid 6-week internship program for Black, Indigenous, and Filipino students to get some lab experience.
    • SSuRe (SickKids Summer Undergraduate Research), which is a paid 3-month internship for students to gain research insights.
    • Toronto local high schools
    • Exploring by the Seat of your Pants, “Unlocking the Mysteries of Life with Dr. Lewis Kay”


    Laboratory Mentorship

    Current statistics show that only about 10% of trainees go on to independent research careers – yet 40 of 57 trainees who have left the Kay laboratory are on faculty at major research intensive universities, an additional 5 are scientists in government laboratories and 6 are in industry. My trainees are now professors at University of Toronto, Université de Montréal, McGill University, University of Ottawa, York University, Guelph University, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, and other academic centers, group leaders at Health Canada and industrial sites. Other trainees have established careers at universities throughout the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Asia. Included in this list are a very significant number of women.


    Selected Invited Lectures to Universities

    Department of Chemistry, Yale University, May 1997; Department of Chemistry, MIT, September 1997; Department of Biochemistry, University of Michigan, April 1999; Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University, May 1999; Department of Biochemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, April 2001; Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, Aug. 2001; Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF, San-Francisco, May 2002; Department of Biochemistry. University of Washington, Seattle, October 2002; Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK, August 2003; Department of Chemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, March 2004; Department of Biochemistry, Univ. of Penn., May 2004; Department of Harvard Division of Applied Sciences, Harvard University, June 2004; St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Danny Thomas Lecture Series, Memphis, June 2005; Weizmann Institute of Science,  Israel, August 2005; Department of Biochemistry, Duke University, May 2006; Scientific Symposium Honoring Prof. Ephriam Katzir, May, 2006, Rehovot, Israel; Department of Physical Chemistry, ETH, Zurich, June 2006; Department of Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. July 2007; Department of Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, July 2007; Department of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Israel, July 2007; Department of Chemistry, Technion University, Haifa, Israel, July 2007; Department of Chemistry, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, July 2007; Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University, UK. April, 2008; Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, May 2009. Dept of Chemistry, Cornell University, New York, September 2011; Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Univ of Penn. February 2013; Institute of Biophysical Dynamics, University of Chicago, May 2013; Symposium in honor of Shneior Lifson and the 2013 Nobel Prize Winners, Rehovot Israel, May 10, 2014; Dept of Chemistry, Biochemistry Division, April 27, 2015. MIT, USA; Dept of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry Division, April 28, 2015, MIT USA; 2017 Gairdner Lecture, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Oct. 19, 2017, University of Alberta, Alberta, Oct. 23, 2017, University of Calgary, Alberta, Oct. 24, 2017, McGill, Quebec, Nov. 14, 2017, University of Newfoundland, Nov. 15, 2017; UCSF, San Francisco, CA, Dept of Biochemistry, October 15, 2018; Department of Pharmacology, Yale University, Oct 14th, 2021; U. Penn, Biochemistry and Biophysics, December 9, 2021; Dept of Computational Biology and Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy, Vienna, May 25, 2023; Cleveland Center for Membrane and Structural Biology, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, Sept. 13, 2023; Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Oct 10, 2023.