Mark Lautens receives JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award
University Professor Mark Lautens of the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science has been awarded the 2017 JJ Berry Smith Doctoral Supervision Award, which recognizes outstanding performance in the multiple roles associated with doctoral supervision.
During his 30-year career at U of T, Lautens has supervised 51 doctoral students (48 complete and 3 in progress), who have in turn received prestigious awards, have cumulatively authored over 200 papers in high-impact journals, and are highly ranked in their fields, with impressive careers at top universities across the world and in the private sector.
Lautens creates an environment in which his students can take control of their research and feel the excitement of making their own discoveries. He treats his graduate students with tremendous respect and gives them the confidence to pursue their own ideas, cultivating their intellectual growth as scientists.
He ensures that his students receive numerous opportunities to enhance their professional development. For example, he is a founding member of a regional conference (the Quebec Ontario Minisymposium in Bioorganic and Synthetic Chemistry) that gives graduate students the chance to present their research. He also enlists students to draft grant applications and scientific presentations, providing them with a depth of experience that many students do not receive during their graduate programs.
Overwhelmingly, his former students speak of feeling valued and supported. In the words of one of his students: “Mark cares deeply about his students and ensures that the 4-5 years spent in his lab mean more than simply generating experimental results and obtaining a PhD degree. He made it clear from an early stage that his students were his first priority, and his actions have always supported that statement. He taught and encouraged us to be independent in our research while still being there when needed. To this day, he continues to provide support when needed and constantly encourages us to challenge ourselves and never accept less than our best.”