Dr. Pinto was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and received his B.Sc. degree and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Queen's University. He did his postdoctoral work at Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France and the National Research Council Canada (NRC) in Ottawa before coming to SFU in 1983. Dr. Pinto served as Chair of the Chemistry Department from 1999 until 2004, when he was appointed as the Vice-President, Research.
Professor Pinto has published over 185 papers that span a broad range of interests in molecular mimicry, glycomimetics, RNA-mimics, protein-ligand interactions, immunochemistry, enzyme inhibitors, vaccines and NMR/molecular modelling. His current focus is on carbohydrate mimicry for drug and vaccine design. The results of this research have implications for the control of treatment of bacterial and viral diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. He is one of the founding members of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), with which he has a formal relationship for the development of agents for control of Type-2 diabetes and influenza A.
In 2005, Pinto received the BCIC Frontiers in Research Award for opening up new frontiers in the fields of chemistry biology, medicinal chemistry, and health research. He was elected to the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada in 2003. In 2002, he received two awards: the Bernard Belleau Award of the CSC for distinguished contributions in medicinal chemistry, and the 2002 BC Sugar Achievement Award for bringing distinction to BC by achieving national or international prominence. He received the 1993 Merck Frosst Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) and the 1992 Horace S. Isbell Award of the American Chemical Society.
Pinto was the President of the Canadian Society of Chemistry from 2010-2011, and was its Vice-President from 2009-2010. He was selected as the Canadian representative to the International Carbohydrate Organization in 2004, and served as its President from 2006-2008. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada. He has organized numerous international conferences and symposia, and frequently serves on grant selection and grant advisory committees. He served as the Chair of the FRSC Selection Committee of the Rutherford Memorial in Chemistry Medal. Pinto has been the NSERC representative for SFU since 2002 and the SSHRC representative since 2011.
Interview on Your Education Matters (February 2012)
2012 Feb YEM - Dr. Mario Pinto from SFU Education on Vimeo.
Researchers Win Innovation Awards (November 3, 2005, SFU News)