Biography Narrative

cherif_image_for_bioChérif F. Matta, PhD, HDR, FRSA, FInstP, FRSC (London) is Professor at 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 (all in Canada) and an Adjunct Professorship at Zewail City of Science and Technology (Egypt).


Professor Matta holds a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences from Alexandria University (Egypt) and a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from McMaster University (Canada) with Professor Richard F. W. Bader (1931-2012). In 2009 he obtained the Habilitation to Direct Research (HDR) from Université de Lorraine (formerly Université Henri Poincaré), France, with 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. He pursued further postdoctoral training in computational chemistry as an Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University with Professor Russell J. Boyd. He has also benefited from long-term association with Professor Lou Massa of the City University of New York (CUNY).

In July 2006 Chérif Matta started as an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) where he eventually earned the rank of Full Professor in 2015 with a simultaneous election as Department Chair. He served as Chair of his department from 2015 to 2018. In the past, 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).

Prof. Chérif Matta has ca. 130 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 in 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. Vol. 39(17), June 30, 2018; PART II: J. Comput. Chem. Vol. 39(18), July 5, 2018). He is also a Guest Editor (with Michael Hutter) of a “Computational Special Focus Issue” of Future Medicinal Chemistry, Vol. 10(13), July 2018. Matta has also been the Guest Editor for Structural Chemistry (Springer) for the Lou Massa special issue “A Path through Quantum Crystallography” (2017), for The Journal of Physical Chemistry A (American Chemical Society)’s Richard F. W. Bader Festschrift (2011), and for a two-part issue of Foundations of Chemistry (Springer) on Philosophical Aspects and Implications of the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules. Chérif Matta is a Member of the Editorial Boards of “Future Medicinal Chemistry” (Future Science Group, UK) and of “Foundations of Chemistry” (Springer).


Matta has given ca. 170 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, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and USA.

Professor Matta has organized/co-organized twenty 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 of Quitel XLV (Congress of Theoretical Chemists of the Latin Expression) which will take place in Canada for the first time in 2019.


Chérif Matta received the Halifax Ambassador Award in 2018 (for bringing Sagamore 2018 Conference to the city of Halifax). He was the 2017 Award for Research Excellence recipient of Mount Saint Vincent University. In 2016, he was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK), 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), and was awarded a Lady Davis Visiting Professorship. 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 Member of the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program’s Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee (IAC) of Canadian Tri-Council (The Government of Canada), as Member of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC)’s Accreditation Committee, and as Member of The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)’s Selection Committee (1604) – Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program competition for the Chemistry. He has recently completed a three year term (2015-18) as a Member of NSERC’s Chemistry Evaluation Group. In 2017, Matta was a elected for a three year term as voting Member of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr)’s Commission on Quantum Crystallography. From 2015 to 2017 he served as a Consultant to the IUCr Commission on Charge, Spin and Momentum Densities.

Prof. Matta has served/serves as a referee, assessor, and/or judge for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund, The 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 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 July. 2018



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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