John Honek

John Honek
Location: ESC 246
Phone: 519-888-4567 x35817


John Honek's group works at the interface of chemistry and biochemistry. They apply chemical and biochemical principles and techniques to the problems of protein structure/function as well as to elucidate the chemical mechanisms of several key enzymes, some of which have medical importance.

Organic chemistry (organic synthesis of novel biophysical probes and enzyme inhibitors and protein chemical modification techniques), physical chemistry and molecular modeling are being applied to complex protein structures. His group makes use of biochemical techniques such as recombinant DNA methodologies (PCR, site-directed mutagenesis, protein engineering, etc), microbiology (for protein expression) and protein purification.

Research Interests

  • Bionanomaterials
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Enzymology
  • Bioorganic chemistry
  • Protein structure and function
  • Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery
  • Biomaterials, Polymers and Bioplastics
  • Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Bionanotechnology and Biosensors
  • Soft Matter
  • Smart and Functional Materials
  • Molecular Therapeutics and Theranostics
  • Nanomaterials
  • Microbiology

Scholarly Research


  • 1984 Ph.D., Chemistry, McGill University, Canada
  • 1977 B.Sc., Honours Chemistry, McGill University, Canada


  • 2017 Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2014 Bernard Belleau Award, Canadian Society for Chemistry1973 McGill University
  • 2010 Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2010 Ron Brown Lectureship, Dept. of Chemistry, McGill University
  • 2004 Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 1984 NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • 1983 Quebec (FCAC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Province of Quebec (FCAC)
  • 1979 Quebec Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Province of Quebec
  • 1977 NSERC Postgraduate Research Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada


  • Associate Member, Synthesis Sub-committee IUPAC Organic and Biomolecular Division III, 2013-present
  • Consulting for 4th year nanoengineering and Velocity Science research project students that included input on their potential research projects, as well as potential student spinoff companies, 2013-present
  • Board of Directors, Centre for Bioengineering & Biotechnology, UW, 2013-2016
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Stem Cell & Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI), McMaster University, 2012-2016
  • Scientific Advisory Committee, Ontario Consortium for Regeneration Inducing Therapeutics (OCRiT), 2011-2016
  • (GWC)2 Coordinating Committee, 1998-2014
  • Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, 2007-14
  • Nanotechnology Engineering Program Executive Board, 2007-14
  • Chemistry Department and Nano Executive Committees, 2007-14
  • Senate Honorary Degree Committee, 2009-10
  • Executive Committee, Board of Governors, University of Waterloo, 2009-10

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Member, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Member, Institute of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Member, The Water Institute
  • Member, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
  • Member, Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research


  • CHEM 233 - Fundamentals of Biochemistry
    • Taught in 2020, 2022
  • CHEM 430 - Special Topics in Biochemistry
    • Taught in 2022, 2024
  • CHEM 433 - Advanced Biochemistry
    • Taught in 2020, 2021, 2022
  • CHEM 737 - Enzymes
    • Taught in 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.