Biography Narrative

cherif_image_for_bioChérif F. Matta, PhD, HDR, FInstP, FRSC (London) is Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Chemistry and Physics at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). He currently holds Adjunct Professorships at Dalhousie University, Université Laval, and Saint Mary’s University.


Professor Matta holds a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences from Alexandria University (Egypt) and a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from McMaster University (Canada) supervised by Professor Richard F. W. Bader (1931-2012). In 2009 he obtained the degree of Habilitation to Direct Research (HDR) in theoretical chemistry from Université de Lorraine (formerly Université Henri Poincaré), France, in the laboratory of Professor Claude Lecomte. Between 2002 and 2004, as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto in the group of Nobel Laureate Professor John C. Polanyi, Chérif Matta trained in the theoretical modeling of localized atomic reactions on on semiconductor surfaces. He pursued further postdoctoral training in computational (bio)chemistry as an Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University with Professor Russell J. Boyd. He has also benefited considerably from his long-term association with the research group of Professor Lou Massa of the City University of New York (CUNY).

In July 2006 Chérif Matta was appointed Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) where he received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2009 and a promotion to Full Professor in 2015, the year of his election as Department Chair.

Matta has held Adjunct or Visiting Professorships at McMaster University (2004-2005), the Université de Lorraine (2007-2012), University College London (UCL) (2013), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2016).

As of May 2018, Prof. Chérif Matta has ca. 120 publications, including 105 journal articles, 12 book chapters, 2 theses/dissertations (PhD, and HDR), 3 computer programs (FRAGDIP, AIMDELOC, and AIMLDM), and 2 books: C. F. Matta, R. J. Boyd (Eds.): “The Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules: From Solid State to DNA and Drug Design” Wiley-VCH (2007); and C. F. Matta (Ed.): “Quantum Biochemistry: Electronic Structure and Biological Activity (Vols. 1 and 2)”, Wiley-VCH (2010).

He is currently writing three monographs (under contracts): C. F. Matta: “Thermodynamics in Biochemistry. Processes, Energetics and Control”, Wiley-VCH; R. Cook, I. Sumar, P. H.-Y. Cheong, P. W. Ayers, C. F. Matta: “Electron Localization-Delocalization Matrices (LDMs): Theory and Applications”, Springer; and L. Massa, L. Huang, C. F. Matta: Quantum Crystallography, De Gruyter. These books are scheduled to be published late in 2018 – early 2019.

Chérif Matta is the Guest Editor (with Lou Massa) of a two-part Special Issue of the Journal of Computational Chemistry (Wiley) entitled “Quantum Crystallography” (PART I: J. Comput. Chem. Volume 39, Issue 17 Pages: i, 1013-1075, issue of June 30, 2018; PART II is in production, to appear in July 2018). He is also a Guest Editor (with Prof. M. Hutter) of a “Special Focus Issue: Computational Chemistry” of Future Medicinal Chemistry (to appear in July 2018). Matta has recently been Guest Editor for Structural Chemistry (Springer) for a Festschrift honoring Professor Lou Massa entitled “A Path through Quantum Crystallography” (2017). He has been Guest Editor for The Journal of Physical Chemistry A (American Chemical Society), Professor Richard F. W. Bader Festschrift, in 2011 [115 (54) (80 articles)], and for a two-part issue of Foundations of Chemistry (Springer) on Philosophical Aspects and Implications of the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules [15(3) 2013, ; 16(1) 2014]. Chérif Matta is a Member of the Editorial Boards of “Future Medicinal Chemistry” (Future Science Group, UK) and of “Foundations of Chemistry” (Springer).


To date, Matta has given ca. 158 seminars and conference presentations at universities, research centers, and industry organizations in Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, UK, and USA, in institutions including the Weizmann Institute of Science, ETH-Zurich, the US – Naval Research Laboratory, the Hungarian Academy of Science, the Colorado School of Mines, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids.

Professor Matta has organized/co-organized a number national and international conferences and symposia. He is Organizer and Chair of the 2018 (triennial) International Union of Crystallography (IUCr)’s Sagamore XIX Conference in Halifax (Canada) and also the Organizer and Chair of Quitel XLV (Congress of Theoretical Chemists of the Latin Expression) which will take place in Canada for the first time in 2019. Recently he organized a Symposium on Electron Localization and Delocalization at the 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition (CSC 2017).


Chérif Matta is the 2017 Award for Research Excellence recipient of Mount Saint Vincent University. In 2016, he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and received the national Prize of the Acfas (Association francophone pour le savoir) – NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (CRSNG in French)) for the science image of the year (Click here for interview).  Also in 2016, he was named Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Click here for details).

He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2010 and received the Molecular Graphics and Molecular Simulation Society (MGMS) Silver Jubilee Prize for 2009. In 2004, Chérif Matta was named Izaak Walton Killam Fellow the same year he received the John C. Polanyi Prize in Chemistry (Council of Ontario Universities).


Chérif Matta currently serves as a Member of the Chemistry Evaluation Group of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and as an elected Member of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Commission on Quantum Crystallography. From 2015 to 2017 he served as a Consultant to the IUCr Commission on Charge, Spin and Momentum Densities (renamed Commission on Quantum Crystallography).

Prof. Matta has served/serves as a referee, assessor, and/or judge for Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), the US – National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Army Research Office, the US Department of Energy – Office of Science (DOE – USA), Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR) (French National Research Agency), The Research Foundation – Flanders (Belgium) (FWO), the Foundation for Polish Science’s  HOMMING Programme (Fundacja na rzecz Nauki Polskiej, FNP), National Science Centre – Poland (the OPUS Fund), Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI), Czech Science FoundationGrantová agentura České republiky (GACR)”, Postdoctoral Excellence Initiative of the University of Bremen (Germany), Professorial Rank evaluator for the Institut für Angewandte und Physikalische Chemie of the University of Bremen (Germany), Marie Curie Fellowships (European Commission), Research Commission of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zürich), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, UK), Fundación Marcos Moshinsky (Mexico), LabEx MiChem – Comité Scientifique, Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Sorbonne Universités (France), Israel Science Foundation (ISF), The Levrhulme Trust (UK), Research Fund of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC, UK), National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF), Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica CONICYT (Chile), Gordon Research Conferences (GRC 2013), and Academia Europaea Prizes for Young Russian Scientists. He is also a frequent reviewer for three-dozen journals.


Chérif Matta has taught ca. 60 courses at Mount Saint Vincent University in addition to courses in other institutions. Matta teaches physical chemistry, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, biochemistry, and some physics courses such as waves and optics and quantum mechanics. In the past (2004) he received the “Chemistry Teaching Fellowship Award” from the University of Toronto for curriculum development.


Prof. Matta served as Chair (2011), Vice Chair (2010), and Member (2007-2009) of the Board of Trustees of Dalhousie Legal Aid Services (DLAS), an organization that provides legal services for low income residents in Halifax. He was a Member of Environmental Workgroup of the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) (2002 – 2004).

Updated 24 Sept. 2017



A superimposition of (1) the electron density contour map of a Guanine-Cytosine Watson-Crick DNA base pair in the molecular plane (the outermost contour is the 0.001 e-/bohr3 iso-contour followed by 2×10n, 4×10n, and 8×10n e-/bohr3 with n starting at –3 and increasing in steps of unity); and (2) representative lines of the gradient of the density. The density is partitioned into non-spherical color-coded “atoms-in-molecules (AIM)”, each containing a single nucleus.(Click on image to enlarge). (Acfas-NSERC Jury Prize “La preuve par l’image” for 2016. Cover art of the book: C. F. Matta (Ed.) Quantum Biochemistry, Wiley-VCH, 2010). (See Matta’s interview about this image with Radio-Canada’s host Charles Tisseyre).

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