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Dr. Sachdev Sidhu

BSc. SFU, Chemistry

Ph.D. SFU, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Professor, Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto



Dr. Sachdev Sidhu completed his BSc and PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry at SFU. For his PhD thesis, completed in 1996 under the mentorship of Dr. Thor Borgford, he explored the determinants of functional specificity of bacterial serine proteases. He then went to the Department of Protein Engineering at Genentech, Inc. to complete postdoctoral training with Dr. James Wells. While he started his studies optimizing phage display technology, he went on to apply the technology to the development of synthetic antibody libraries that have since proven to be a rich source of valuable reagents for basic research and potential therapeutics. After 10 years as a scientist at Genentech, Dr. Sidhu was recruited to the University of Toronto where he continued expanding his studies with phage display technology and structure-based and combinatorial protein engineering. His research has been instrumental in improving technologies for therapeutic antibody development in cancer and other diseases. In addition to antibody engineering, Dr. Sidhu has made great progress in engineering of other diverse polypeptides using high throughput phage display screening and structure-guided library construction. This work has led to the generation of thousands of peptide binders with desired characteristics of affinity and specificity, which can be used as inhibitors and activators of protein function by modulating protein-protein interactions.

Currently a full professor at the Donnelly Centre, Dr. Sidhu has spearheaded many initiatives in his 7 years at the University of Toronto. In 2010, he led the creation of the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre (TRAC), an integrated laboratory with a state-of-the­art, high throughput antibody platform that can be applied to the generation of therapeutic-grade antibodies against virtually any protein. Through the TRAC, Dr. Sidhu has established many collaborations with academic and industrial researchers, and received major funding for large-scale projects. Dr. Sidhu has also participated in the creation of two biotech companies, Reflexion Pharmaceuticals and Northern Biologics. In addition, Dr. Sidhu’s leadership was recently acknowledged with an award from the Canadian Government to open the Centre for Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB), a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research that will provide product and business development resources to convert promising basic research leads into commercial products. Dr. Sidhu was also granted the University of Toronto’s Inventor of the Year Award (Biomedical and Life Science) in 2012, and the Protein Society’s Christian B. Anfinsen Award (for technological achievement or significant methodological advances in the field of protein science) in 2015.