Kotra Research Group

Dr. Lakshmi P. Kotra

Brief Bio

Dr. Kotra is an academic entrepreneur with expertise in drug discovery and development. Kotra is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharamcy at University of Toronto, Director at the Center for Molecular Design and Preformulations (CMDP), Senior Scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and at Multi-Organ Transplant Program at University Health Network, and is Scientific Director, UHN-Shanghai. 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 110 publications, over 20 patents, and delivered over 120 scientific talks. Kotra inventions span novel small molecules as well as novel industrial technologies, and several have been licensed for commercialization including in medical cannabis/cannabinoids space. Dr. Kotra has contributed to a number of drug discovery and drug delivery 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 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), and CannScience Innovations (Toronto, Canada; now, Scientus Pharma, Inc.; medical cannabis and cannabinoids).Dr. Kotra also serves as a board member and as a consultant to a number of biotech companies.

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 C annabis and Cannabinoids Research Consortium.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Computer Modeling), Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA (Supervisor: Prof. Shahriar Mobashery)
  • Ph.D. (Medicinal Chemistry), College of Pharmacy, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA (Supervisor: Prof. David C.K. Chu, discoverer of multiple antiviral agents)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honors), 1992; Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences, Pilani, India
  • Awards/Honors


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