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Dr. Lakshmi P. Kotra is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at University of Toronto, Senior Scientist at Krembil Research Institute and at Multi-Organ Transplant Program at University Health Network.

Dr. Kotra received his Ph.D. in Pharmacy/Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Georgia (Prof. David Chu, inventor of multiple antiviral drugs) and postdoctoral training at Wayne State University (Prof. Shahiar Mobashery). Dr. Kotra authored/co-authored over 130 publications, over 20 patents, and delivered over 140 scientific talks internationally. Kotra inventions span novel small molecules as well as novel industrial technologies, and several have been licensed for commercialization including in NCEs, and medical cannabis/cannabinoids space. Dr. Kotra has contributed to a number of drug discovery and development projects including anti-HIV drugs, antibacterials, insulin, antimalarials, drugs targeting multiple sclerosis, and medical cannabis-based therapeutics. Dr. Kotra is the recipient of several awards including the Julia Levy award from the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Canada in recognition of substantial contributions to the successful commercialization of innovation in Canada in the filed of biomedical science and engineering, Premier's Research Excellence Award from the Province of Ontario, RxD Health Research Foundation Research Career award, and the GlaxoSmithKline/Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences Young Investigator Award.

Dr. Kotra co-founded multiple companies, including WinSanTor Biosciences (San Diego, CA/diabetic neuropathy), CannScience Innovations (Toronto, Canada; now, Scientus Pharma, Inc.; medical cannabis and cannabinoids), and Lucid Psycheceuticals (Toronto, Canada; mental health and neurodegenerative disorders). Dr. Kotra has been serving a number of biotech companies as a board member and/or as a consultant to help with research, development, management and/or operations.

In recent years, Kotra group developed interest in medical cannabis and cannabinoids. Dr. Kotra's research group is experienced in the isolation and chemical profiling of the compounds from various sources of medical cannabis. Using in vitro and in vivo models of disease, Kotra group explores the biological effects of cannabinoids and their relevance to therapeutic claims in a wide-spectrum of diseases, with a very active collaborative network. The ultimate goal is to dissect the potential pharmaceutical utility from the cannabis plant and objectively evaluate the efficacy in various clinical applications paving way towards novel cannabinoids. Dr. Kotra serves on the Steering Committee of Toronto Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research Consortium, and the editorial board of the journal, Molecules.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Computer Modeling; Prof. Shahriar Mobashery), Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA 

  • Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry; Prof. David C.K. Chu), College of Pharmacy, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA 

  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honors), 1992; Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences, Pilani, India


  • 2021 University Health Network (UHN) Local Impact Award for Discovery and Commercialization in Individual Category

  • The Julia Levy Award 2021, Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Canada, “in recognition of substantial contribution to the successful commercialization of innovation in Canada, in the field of Bio-medical Science and Engineering".  

  • Plenary Speaker, 5th Drug Chemistry Conference, Antalya, Turkey, Mar 30-Apr 2, 2017

  • Keynote Speaker, Science at the Interface symposium, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, Aug 19, 2015

  • Invited Visiting Professor, ICOA/CNRS, University of Orleans, France; June-July, 2015

  • Ontario Research Commercialization Program (ORCP) Innovation Award for advancing research for the commercialization of novel antimalarial compounds, BioDiscovery Toronto, Toronto, Canada

  • Milestones in Canadian Health Research, "Bye Bye Parasites" (, and

  • Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA), Province of Ontario.

  • The Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Visiting Lecturer Award.

  • GlaxoSmithKline/Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences Early Career Award-2003

  • RxD Health Research Foundation and Canadian Institutes of Health Research Career Award


​Undergraduate Courses:

  • PHM361: Latest Developments in Drugs and Biologics: A senior year selective course designed to identify and discuss drugs and biologics approved by Health Canada and US FDA in the preceding 12 months; a popular course among Pharm.D. students taught at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Univ of Toronto.

  • PHC320: Medicinal Chemistry: A third year course in the B.Sc.(Pharmaceutical Chemistry) program in the Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto.

Graduate Courses:

  • PHM2100H course module: Sciences in New Drugs and Biologics, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto.

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