Posts Categorized: Honours & Awards 2014

Bill Troost Inducted into Hall of Distinction

Bill Troost

ChemE alumnus William “Bill” Troost (6T7) was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Distinction at a ceremony held at U of T’s Hart House on Nov 5, 2014 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and his community.

The Hall of Distinction is an assembly of extraordinary alumni, selected for membership by their peers for their lifelong accomplishments. These are graduates whose performances have ultimately defined what is most exemplary in our alumni and in our profession.

Bill is the founder and president of Peel Plastics Limited, a leader in the flexible packaging market.  He started the company as a two-person operation not long after completing his MBA in 1978 and has since grown it into an industry leader that employs over 300 people and has impressive international reach. Peel Plastics is an important regional employer and contributor to Canada’s manufacturing exports.

In addition to leading his company to international success, Bill has been a dedicated supporter of U of T Engineering students and the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry. He has served on the Department’s Board of Advisors since 2004 and has played a major role in championing innovative new programming in engineering leadership education at U of T, specifically Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT). He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (Troost ILead).

Bill and his wife Kathleen have generously donated to various engineering Faculty initiatives over the years, including a recent gift to support the construction of the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the dynamic future hub for the Faculty’s research and education.

The careers of the members of the Hall of Distinction serve as inspiring examples to successive generations of Engineering students. Located in the Sandford Fleming Building, the Hall is a familiar daily presence in the lives of students and is often visited by alumni and their families.

ChemE Students Win CSChE Prizes

Congratulations to undergraduate students Manyi ZhaoOdo WongJieyu Wu and Yinan Xu! They were awarded prizes in the Robert G. Auld Technical Paper competition at this year’s CSChE Conference in Niagara Falls, Ont.

2nd place: Heterogeneous Catalytic Inversion of Sucrose, by Manyi Zhao, Odo Wong and Jieyu Wu

3rd place:  Aqueous Phase Hydrogenation of Furfural on Activated Carbon Supported Ruthenium Catalyst, by Yinan Xu

The students presented research done under the supervision of Prof. Cathy Chin.

This year, our CSChE student chapter was able to send 41 ChemE students to the conference, some of whom are pictured below.

2014 CSChE conference

Elizabeth Edwards Named CRC in Anaerobic Biotechnology

Elizabeth A EdwardsCongratulations to ChemE Professor Elizabeth Edwardswho has been named Canada Research Chair in Anaerobic Biotechnology. 

Professor Edwards is the Director of BioZone and a leading expert on the use of microbes to remediate groundwater contaminated with industrial solvents. Microbial cultures developed in her lab are in use at several hundred polluted sites around the world, putting to use the tiniest of life forms to solve a big problem.

Learn more about the other Canada Research Chairs named within the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

Michael Sefton Named to IOM

Michael Sefton

University Professor Michael Sefton (ChemE, IBBME) has received a rare honour that few Canadians hold. He was invited to join the United States Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences and advises U.S. policy makers on scientific and medical matters. Only 10 non-U.S. members are elected to the IOM each year. 

Professor Sefton is a pioneer in the area of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and is working on solving the mystery of how blood vessels grow, with the goal of developing engineered tissues with strong vascular function. 

Learn more about the IOM and Professor Sefton’s work.

In addition to his election to the IOM, Professor Sefton received a special gift this week: the journal Biomaterials Science published a special themed collection in honour of his 65th birthday. The collection includes articles from several of his former graduate students, including ChemE Professors Alison McGuigan and Milica Radisic, who have themselves gone on to be leaders in their field. 

Read the special collection.

Professor McGuigan presents Professor Sefton with the Table of Contents of the Biomaterials Science special collection at a reception in his honour this week.

Professor McGuigan presents Professor Sefton with the Table of Contents of the Biomaterials Science special collection at a reception in his honour this week.

ChemE Alumnus Receives Arbor Award

Constantine Karayannopoulos (centre) with ChemE Department Chair Grant Allen (left) and FASE Dean Cristina Amon (right) at the 2014 Arbor Awards Ceremony.

Constantine Karayannopoulos (centre) with ChemE Department Chair Grant Allen (left) and FASE Dean Cristina Amon (right) at the 2014 Arbor Awards Ceremony.

ChemE Alumnus Constantine Karayannopoulos (BASc 8T3, MASc 8T8) is one of the recipients of the 2014 University of Toronto Arbor Awards for his outstanding work in support of the university.  The Arbor Awards recognize volunteers whose personal service, loyalty, dedication and generosity have added immeasurably to the quality of experience for students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Mr. Karayannopoulos has been a committed and active member of the ChemE Department’s Board of Advisors. By offering insights from an industrial perspective, he has helped to guide the Department on issues of management, alumni engagement and student experience. In addition to his outstanding business acumen, his technical expertise on extractive metallurgy has been invaluable in helping to guide the Department in the area of key strategic materials for advanced solar and communications technologies.  Mr. Karayannopoulos has also shown a strong commitment to enhancing teaching excellence and entrepreneurship through his direct involvement in Troost ILead courses and his very generous support of the Diran Basmadjian  Graduate Scholarship that encourages excellence in teaching.

“Mr. Karayannopoulos is an outstanding member of our alumni whose success and leadership serves as a shining example to all of us.  His passion and support of the education of our students is particularly exceptional,” said ChemE Department Chair Grant Allen.

Read about the other Engineering alumni who received Arbor Awards.

The awards ceremony was held in September at President’s official residence.  To view a video of the event and learn about the other 2014 recipients, please visit the Arbor Awards website.

Milica Radisic Named to RSC College

Radisic lab

Congratulations to Professor Milica Radisic (IBBME, ChemE).  She is among three U of T researchers named to the inaugural cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s new College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists – an initiative that recognizes the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leaders.

Read the full story here.

ChemE Professor Wins 2014 Syncrude Canada Innovation Award


Professor Radhakrishnan Mahadevan will be recognized by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering with theSyncrude Canada Innovation Award at the64th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference.  This award is presented to an individual under the age of 40 for a distinguished contribution to the field of chemical engineering while working in Canada.

Professor Mahadevan’s innovative work in metabolic engineering, synthetic biology and bioinformatics is internationally recognized.  His work applies recent advances in bioinformatics and bioengineering to significant real-world engineering challenges.  This involves creating complex computer models that accurately reproduce in silico all of the metabolic processes in a living organism.  These sophisticated models illuminate the fundamental biochemical processes that underpin life, and can be used to develop new biotechnologies for a very wide range of sectors.

The goal of Prof. Mahadevan’s research is to engineer and optimize micro-organisms to efficiently perform chemical conversion processes for use in industrial and environmental applications.  These include sustainable manufacturing of chemicals and materials from renewable biomass instead of fossil fuels, biological remediation of environmental pollution, biological pharmaceuticals production, and the recovery of energy from waste streams using microbial processes. 

Visit Professor Mahadevan’s Laboratory for Metabolic Systems Engineering.

The Syncrude Canada Innovation Award will be presented at the 64th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Niagara Falls, ON, Ot 19-22, 2014. 

ChemE Students Win CSChE Student Chapter Merit Award

The U of T Student Chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE), which is run by students from the ChemE department, has won the 2014 CSChE Student Chapter Merit Award.  This award is presented in recognition of initiative and originality in programming by undergraduate students studying in the field of chemical engineering.

The CSChE student chapter is a vital part of student life in our department and organizes many events throughout the year.  In 2013-2014, the Chapter had an outstanding year with record turnout at a record number of events — 22 in all. 

Among their accomplishments, the group started a brand new Chemical Engineering Mentorship Program called Chem-connect.  The program includes a mentorship program that matches first year students with upper year mentors, an alumni mentorship network that connects upper year students with the ChemE alumni using a LinkedIn group, and a series of events.  The group also created a PEY student database where 2nd and 3rd year students can see what sort of opportunities are available to them.

The members of the 2014 Executive were:  Larissa Rodo (Chair), Katie Henderson (Vice-Chair), Praneet Bagga (Treasurer), Carol Choi (Events Director), Sana Zafar and Lamya Ezzeldin (Professional Development Directors), Carmen Chan (Secretary), Shirley Wu (Webmaster), Stephanie Fata (Advertising Director), Johnny McGroarty (1st year Class Rep), Kayla Musalem (2ndyear Class Rep), Lucy Liu (3rd year Class Rep) and Michael Burdett (4th year Class Rep).

Congratulations on a well-deserved accolade!

Members of the 2014 CSChE University of Toronto Student Chapter, from left to right: Stephanie Fata, Carmen Chan, Sana Zafar, Carol Choi, Praneet Bagga, Larissa Rodo, Michael Burdett, Lucy Liu, Katie Henderson, Lamya Ezzeldin and Kayla Musalem.  Not present: Johnny McGroarty and Shirley Wu.

Members of the 2014 CSChE University of Toronto Student Chapter, from left to right: Stephanie Fata, Carmen Chan, Sana Zafar, Carol Choi, Praneet Bagga, Larissa Rodo, Michael Burdett, Lucy Liu, Katie Henderson, Lamya Ezzeldin and Kayla Musalem. Not present: Johnny McGroarty and Shirley Wu.

Molly Shoichet Receives TERMIS Senior Scientist Award

Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, IBBME) is the recipient of the 2014 TERMIS Senior Scientist award from the Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society – Americas (TERMIS-AM).  This award recognizes her significant contributions to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. 
Shoichet hydrogel

“TERMIS-AM brings the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine communities together to discuss how to translate discoveries for the benefit of humankind.  I am humbled to be included among the group of previous winners who are true leaders in our fields,”  says Shoichet.  “I am also grateful to my colleagues for their continued support and to the creative researchers in my lab with whom I have the privilege to work.”

Professor Shoichet is a world-renowned leader in the development of therapeutic medical treatments that make use of advanced polymers to solve tough medical problems.  She and her multidisciplinary research team are working on wide-ranging topics from cancer treatment to spinal cord injuries to stem cell therapy for treating blindness.  Among her current research projects are several involving the design of polymers for the delivery of drugs to treat spinal cord, brain or eye injuries, and the design of hydrogels that allow cells to grow in a three-dimensional environment as they do in nature.

Read about Shoichet’s work on hydrogels for the treatment of stroke and spinal chord injuries in a recent Nature feature.

“Beyond Professor Shoichet’s spectacular research at the interface of polymer engineering and neuroscience, she has been an important role model for women at this University and throughout Canada,” said Professor Michael Sefton (ChemE, IBBME), who nominated Shoichet for the award.

Shoichet leads the NSERC CREATE project in Manufacturing, Materials and Mimetics (M3) that provides innovative graduate education to students in cell manufacturing, biomaterials and tissue mimetics.  She is also a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

The award will be presented at the 2014 TERMIS-AM Conference in Washington, DC, on Dec 15, 2014.

Learn more about Shoichet’s current research projects.

Engineering Leadership Institute Wins Prestigious Award

The ILead team won the 2014 Alan Blizzard Award for Collaborative Teaching (Photo: Roberta Baker).

The ILead team won the 2014 Alan Blizzard Award for Collaborative Teaching (Photo: Roberta Baker).

Congratulations to the entire team at the Troost Institute for Leadership Eduction in Engineering (ILead), whose unique and innovative training program has won the prestigious Alan Blizzard Award for Collaborative Training. The award recognizes the institute for integrating leadership education into U of T’s Engineering experience and for providing students the opportunity to gain non-technical skills that are crucial to career and personal development.

ILead’s team includes ChemE Professors Doug Reeve (founding director), Greg EvansDavid Colcleugh and Alison McGuigan, and ChemE External Relations Liaisons Deborah Peart and Cecilia Konney.

ILead provides undergraduate and graduate leadership training that teaches students how to handle the human challenges of engineering such as working effectively in teams, using interpersonal skills and communicating effectively.  “Employers tell us leadership skills are necessary for their companies to thrive, and we all know that teams that function effectively are more fun and more successful,” said Doug Reeve.  In addition to its student programming, the institute also conducts research on engineering leadership practices and pedagogy.  “At ILead, our collaboration is enriched by the diversity of perspectives on the team: the social scientists inform us about humanist ideas and ideals, the educators teach us about teaching and learning, and the engineers insist on systems, frameworks, analysis and data.”

The institute grew out of a program originally developed in the ChemE department in 2002, called the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow program (LOT).  LOT began as a summer leadership program for undergraduate students but rapidly grew to include Fall and Winter programming, due to its outstanding success and popularity among students.  LOT won funding from the Provost’s Academic Initiative Fund in 2006, which allowed its leadership training to be offered to students throughout the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

After launching the first LOT academic courses in 2007, LOT initiated the Leadership Infusion Lecture Series as well as four co-curricular certificate programs.  In response to the program’s popularity and rapid growth, the Faculty established ILead in 2010, naming Professor Doug Reeve as its founding director, Professor Greg Evans as associate director, and Annie Simpson as assistant director.

Read more about ILead and the Alan Blizzard Award here.

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