Alison McGuigan

‘Don’t Be Scared to Collaborate’

In her professional world, it's all about chemistry. In her personal world, it's all about creating (and having) memorable experiences.


Alison McGuigan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. We asked everything from alternative professions to favourite TV shows in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?
I love the idea that stuff we discover or create in the lab might actually help create a new therapy that will impact the care available to people.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Building the best possible team to help you solve the problem you are addressing is critical. Don’t be scared to collaborate with people that work in areas you have no knowledge about because you might ask stupid questions.

What are you reading right now?
Honestly I watch TV shows over reading fiction right now – Game of Thrones we just finished, so now I’m watching Master of None.

What do you like to do for fun?
Hiking adventures in exotic places if possible, interval workout training, creative art projects often involving photography, organize events for my kids’ daycare or school, and watch TED talks and Netflix.

If you could do any profession other than your own, what would it be?
Party/wedding designer/planner for high budget parties to engineer memorable experiences, or project manager for an agency implementing public health innovations.

Aside from things for your survival, what item would you most want to have with you on a deserted island?
A video camera.

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Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada. Our video series is continually updated to celebrate the success of researchers who are establishing the new frontiers of science and to share the impact of their discoveries with the public.