Posts Categorized: Honours & Awards 2019

Prof. Doug Reeve elected fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada

Professor Doug Reeve (ChemE) was among four U of T Engineering professors and one alumnus to be included in the latest cohort of individuals to be elected fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC). The appointments honour their exceptional contributions to engineering in Canada.

“On behalf of the Faculty, congratulations to the new fellows on this well-deserved honour,” said Christopher Yip, Dean of U of T Engineering. “EIC’s recognition of so many U of T Engineering community members reflects our track record of excellence across a wide range of sectors and research fields.”

Professor Reeve served as Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from 2001-2011, and was the founding director of the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) from 2010-2018. ILead’s research on engineering leadership in the workplace and the classroom has been funded by 13 engineering companies and has won international acclaim. Reeve was also founding director of the U of T Pulp & Paper Centre. Under his leadership, the centre created more than twenty-five million dollars in research programs with financial support from 45 companies from seven countries.

Beyond UofT, Reeve has acted as a consultant to the pulp and paper industry in 18 countries and taught numerous professional development short courses attended by over 3000 pulp and paper industry professionals. He also helped develop the Rapson-Reeve Closed Cycle Mill, designed to eliminate the principal cause of pulp mill water pollution.

Reeve is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Chemical Institute of Canada, and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). He has received all the major awards from the three key divisions of TAPPI and has been inducted into the International Pulp and Paper Hall of Fame.

Click here to learn more about the 2019 cohort of U of T EIC fellows.

Prof. Milica Radisic receives 2019 TERMIS Award for organ-on-a-chip technology

On Thursday, December 5, Prof. Milica Radisic (ChemE/IBBME), Prof. Boyang Zhang (IBBME), and Dr. Yimu Zhao (ChemE/IBBME) received the 2019 Innovation & Commercialization Award presented by Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS) at the 2019 TERMIS-AM Annual Conference & Exhibition, being held from December 2-5 at the Loewes Sapphire Falls Resort in Orlando, Florida.

This award recognizes outstanding achievements made by Prof. Radisic and her team in commercializing their organ-on-a-chip technology through TARA biosystems, where miniaturized cardiac ‘organs’ can be used to test various pharmaceutical compounds for efficacy and safety. The company uses a proprietary technology called Biowire developed by the Radisic lab, which is based out of a microfluidic chip that encases compartmentalized cardiac tissue.

Based out of New York, TARA biosystems have raised $10 million in the past five years. Along with Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic and her team from Columbia University, this award is one of the first from TERMIS to recognize multi-institutional collaboration.

As a leader in regenerative medicine, Prof. Radisic and her team have made numerous milestone publications in multidisciplinary journals such as Cell and Nature. Her scientific achievements have also been recognized on the national and international level, including her recent inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and as a recipient of the Steacie Prize in 2017.

ChemE students recognized at 10th annual Academic Excellence Breakfast

U of T Engineering students in attendance at the Academic Excellence Breakfast. (Photo: Seyram Mammadov)

On November 20, 2019, 233 University of Toronto student-athletes were recognized at the 10th annual Academic Excellence Breakfast, which was held at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.

Twenty-three U of T Engineering undergraduate and graduate students were honoured at the event, including Zachary Frangos (ChemE 2T1) for Cross Country and  James Keane (ChemE 2T1) for Lacrosse

The ceremony honoured student-athletes who, while competing on a Varsity team, earned an 80% average or higher in all courses they were enrolled in during the 2018-2019 academic year. Each recipient received a pin: enamel for first-time winners, bronze for second, silver for third, gold for fourth and a diamond pin for anyone earning this award five or more times during their intercollegiate career.

“Attending the Varsity Blues Academic Excellence Breakfast is a highlight in my annual calendar,” said Don MacMillan, Faculty Registrar, U of T Engineering. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate our incredible community of student-athletes and recognize their academic and athletic achievements.”

Click HERE for more on U of T Engineering student athletes who were honoured at the breakfast.

Erin Ng (ChemE 2T3) wins gold at figure skating Fall Invitational as Varsity Blues take first overall

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues figure skating team finished first overall at the 2019 fall invitational on Thursday, November 21 hosted by the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues figure skating team finished first overall at the 2019 fall invitational on Thursday, November 21 hosted by the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa.

Erin Ng (ChemE 2T3) won the novice short event, and placed 6th in the senior similar pair with teammate Melanie Zavitski.

The Blues finished with a combined team score of 61 points, ahead of the Western Mustangs (49) and McGill Martlets (45).

Toronto earned seven podium finishes, including four first-place standings.

OCCAM partner honoured at fourth annual U of T Engineering Partners’ Reception

Keynote speaker Gillian Hadfield, director of the new Shwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at U of T, speaks to over 150 industry partners at the 2019 Partners’ Reception. (Photo: Paul Terefenko)

More than 150 industry and community leaders, government partners and faculty members gathered Nov. 13, 2019 at the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the U of T Engineering Partners’ Reception.  

Now in its fourth year, the event celebrated the Faculty’s longstanding ties with over 400 industry partners across its six multidisciplinary innovation clusters. In the past year alone, the Faculty launched new strategic partnerships with Canadian and international partners, totalling more than $25 million.  

The reception featured a keynote address by Gillian Hadfield, director of the University of Toronto’s new Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. The evening also marked the official launch of the U of T Engineering Expertise Finder — an online platform that enables current and prospective partners to search and connect with Faculty researchers whose expertise matches the industry challenge they hope to solve. 

 “Through continuous knowledge sharing with our research partners, we are able to bring innovative ideas to market, enhance existing systems and technologies, and generate experiential learning opportunities for our students,” says Ramin Farnood (ChemE), Vice-Dean, Research.  

“Many of our undergraduate and graduate students are hired by our research partners, which is a testament to the strength and immense value of these partnerships.” 

Corporate Academic Citizen Award — Hitachi High-Technologies Canada (HHTC) 

Nearly 30 years ago, Professor Doug Perovic (MSE) and the then CEO of HHTC, established a research partnership around the study of electron microscopy (EM), which enabled the creation of the Ontario Centre for the Characterisation of Advanced Materials (OCCAM). In 2019, the partnership is still going strong.

“HHTC has made profound contributions to leading-edge research and training at the University of Toronto,” says Peter Brodersen, senior research associate, OCCAM. “These contributions have been vital to propelling research across the Faculty and supporting institutional research and training goals.” 

Over the years, HHTC has worked closely with researchers from across the Faculty including professors Yu Sun (MIE), Elizabeth Edwards (ChemE) and Jane Howe (MSE, ChemE). 

Before joining U of T Engineering as a faculty member, Howe spent several years working at HHTC. “In my experience as both an employee and research partner, it is clear HHTC is a company that values its rich collaborative history with the University,” says Howe. “This is evident in the success and breadth of its research projects.

Click here to read more about the fourth annual U of T Engineering Partners’ Reception and awards

ChemE members receive Engineering Alumni Network Awards

Engineering Alumni Medal

First awarded in 1939, the Engineering Alumni Medal is the highest honour awarded by the Engineering Alumni Association. High achievement is the common thread that links past recipients of this medal. In their diverse careers, these individuals have demonstrated superior accomplishments and have responded with flair and excellence to the challenges they have faced. They are outstanding role models for Engineering students.

Levente Diosady, ChemE 6T6, ChemE MASc 6T8, ChemE PhD 7T2

Levente L. Diosady is a professor of food engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. His research interests include oilseed processing, membrane processes, extrusion, advanced separation processes and micronutrient fortification of food.

Diosady is the author of over 120 publications in refereed journals, including 17 patents. He has supervised more than 75 graduate students — 12 of which are professors on four continents. He is the recipient of the Canada Award for Business Excellence, Professional Engineers of Ontario Engineering Medal, Eva Award of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, KY Lo Medal of the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Babcock-Hart Award of IFT. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, the American Oil Chemists Society, International Academy of Food Science and Technology, The Hungarian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a member of the Order of Ontario — the province’s highest civilian honour, and a recent recipient of the Order of Canada.

View Levente’s video from the 2019 EAN Awards here.



Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award

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 graduates and in our profession. The careers of the members stand as examples and add a sense of reality to the aspirations of successive generations of Engineering students. Located in the Sandford Fleming Building, the Hall of Distinction is a familiar daily presence in the lives of students and is often visited by alumni and their families.

Jeanette Southwood, ChemE 8T6, ChemE MASc 8T8

An award-winning engineer, Jeanette Southwood is Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, at Engineers Canada, the national organization of the 12 engineering regulators that license Canada’s more than 295,000 members of the engineering profession where she leads a team focusing on the future of the profession. Prior to joining Engineers Canada, Jeanette led the Canadian Urban Development & Infrastructure Sector and the Global Sustainable Cities teams at an international consulting firm.

Jeanette is a Fellow of Engineers Canada, and a recipient of the Province of Ontario’s “Leading Women Building Communities Award”. She was honoured as one of Canada’s Clean50 2014 for her work and dedication to sustainable development, leading change, championing innovation and changing our world for the better. In 2014, she was also inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering which recognizes engineers contributing in exemplary ways towards their disciplinary fields and the wider community.

A dedicated volunteer with a number of organizations and on several Boards over the years, Jeanette has received an Honorary Doctorate, the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards (OPEA) Engineering Excellence Medal and was named one of WXN Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. In 2017, she was recognized as one of the Women of Innovation. In 2018, Jeanette was inducted into Professional Engineers Ontario’s Order of Honour and also was selected to provide the Dineen Lecture. In 2019, she received the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal.

View Jeanette’s video from the 2019 EAN Awards here.


Click here for more on the 2019 EAN Award recipients:

iGEM Toronto has strong showing at the 2019 International Genetically Engineered Machine Giant Jamboree

2019 iGEM Toronto Team with sponsors GenScript

On November 4, iGEM Toronto was awarded the distinction of Gold Medal Standard for their project Accelerating Industrial Plastic Degradation With PETase at the 2019 international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Giant Jamboree. This was the first Gold Medal result for the team since 2013. iGEM Toronto’s project also received nomination for Best Project – Manufacturing Track, placing it in the top five out of dozens of entrants. Prof. Krishna Mahadevan (ChemE) was the Faculty Advisor for this year’s team.

The Giant Jamboree is the culminating event of iGEM, an annual competition for students leveraging synthetic biology to solve real-world problems. This year’s event took place over four days from November 1-4 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. Three hundred and fifty three teams were in attendance from 47 different countries. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are awarded to projects that meet specific criteria, as determined by a team of judges.

ChemE students win top prizes at the 69th CCEC

ChemE students performed extremely well at this year’s 69th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (CCEC) hosted in Halifax from October 20-23, 2019.

Kimberly Watada (ChemE 2T2) took home first-place and Judy Xia (ChemE 2T2) second-place in the Robert G. Auld Student Paper Competition. This technical competition allows students to speak on any aspect of chemical engineering, including work experience, design or research projects.

Kim WatadaWatada’s presentation was titled, Extraction of Rare Earth Elements from a Canadian Ore using Supercritical Fluid Extraction. Abstract: Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are crucial elements that are widely utilized in many emerging and critical green technologies such as wind turbines and electric vehicles. Conventional REE processing methods rely on large volumes of acids and organic solvents and generate significant volumes of hazardous waste. Thus, an environmentally and economically efficient extraction method for REEs from primary sources has become increasingly paramount. Supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) has emerged as a green alternative for the extraction of REEs due to the favourable properties of supercritical fluids as solvents. In particular, supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) is a promising solvent as it is inert, abundant, cost effective and easily recyclable. In this study, SC-CO2 along with tributyl-phosphate-nitric acid complexing agent is used to extract REEs from a Canadian ore. Utilizing fractional factorial design, the effect of temperature, solid to chelating agent ratio, pressure, time, and agitation rate on the extraction efficiency are studied. An empirical model for the REE extraction was constructed to optimize process parameters. Approximately 60% and 75% REE extraction are achieved from ore and pretreated ore samples, respectively. The results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of SCFE as a sustainable alternative for REE extraction from primary resources.

Judy XiaXia’s project was on, Validating Fenton’s Reagents as an Organic Digestion Method to Aid in Microplastics Extraction in Stormwater Samples. Abstract: Microplastics contamination in marine environment has emerged as a global issue with more than 300 million tons of debris floating on sea surfaces. Recently, stormwater run-off is hypothesized as a major pathway for transporting microplastics from land-based sources to the oceans. To elucidate this relationship, stormwater samples are collected, and density separated to extract microplastics for quantification and characterization. While the density separation works effectively on marine samples, stormwater samples contain a large quantity of organic substrates that mask the density of the microplastic particles (MPs), resulting in a low extraction yield. The present study aims to modify and validate Fenton’s reagent, an iron-catalyzed oxidation reaction commonly applied to organic-rich wastewater, as an additional organic digestion step before the density separation. The study consists of 2 phases. Phase I ensures Fenton’s reagent does minimal damages to the MPs by comparing the surface area of the MPs before-and-after the digestion. Phase II tests the reaction’s efficiency in removing organic contents. Soil replicates are used to approximate the organic profile of the stormwater samples. Replicates are then treated with the Fenton’s reagent and Loss-on-Ignition (a benchmark standard) respectively and the two organic removal rates will be compared. Currently, the study has passed both phases with support from statistical tests and is on the final validation process. Soil samples spiked with a known number of MPs will be sent through both digestion and density separation to determine the combined MPs recovery rate. The findings of this study will not only aid in determining the fate of the MPs in stormwater run-off, but also contribute to the current literature to develop a systematic approach to microplastics extraction in organic-enriched samples.

Namya SyalIn addition to our students success in the Robert G. Auld Student Paper Competition, we also excelled in the Reg Friesen Competition. This non-technical competition is intended to encourage students to present papers of general interest concerning the following: critical evaluation of their educational experiences; innovative learning/teaching strategies and materials; other topics that address chemistry or chemical engineering education. Namya Syal (ChemE 2T0) took home first-place after presenting her paper, Development of modular problem-based distillation project to integrate core chemical engineering concepts and principles. Abstract: To improve vertical and horizontal integration of engineering concepts taught in second and third years and across the same year and reducing the cognitive load in students, we have developed a modular problem-based learning approach in which students will conduct the experiments in multiple weeks to achieve the project objective. Although problem-based learning and multi-week laboratory experiments have been developed for high schools, and other engineering disciplines and outcomes in student engagement and comprehension are positive, little research and practice have been done for Unit Operations Laboratory in Chemical Engineering. The breakdown of the weekly laboratory objectives and anticipated outcomes are presented and discussed.

Anton MeierLast but certainly not least, our student chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) took home the Student Merit Award, presented to the year’s best student chapter. Anton Meier (ChemE 2T0), chair of our chapter, accepted the award on behalf of the entire group.

A big congratulations to all our student winners. Thank you for representing us so well and being such great ChemE ambassadors!

Alum wins the 2019 CSChE Process Safety Management Award

Marcello Oliverio

David Beckman (left), President of the CSChE Board of Directors, presenting Marcello Oliverio (right) with the 2019 CSChE Process Safety Management Award.

Marcello Oliverio (ChemE 8T2, MASc 8T6) is the recipient of the 2019 Process Safety Management (PSM) Award, which recognizes his outstanding contributions to the PSM field within Canada. He received the award at the 69th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference, which took place in Halifax between October 20-23.

Oliverio is a process safety technical specialist with Enbridge Gas Distribution and is leading the implementation of PSM within the organization. He is recognized nationally as a subject matter expert on risk assessment, risk management and process safety management. He began performing PHAs and QRAs in his first position, and the work expanded to include HAZOPs and HAZIDs and dispersion modelling. He worked with Ontario Power Generation (Ontario Hydro) on issues such as management of nuclear safety systems, radiological dose assessment, and human reliability modelling. He became a manager of process risk assessment with AMEC-NSS, working on projects in the nuclear, chemical, petrochemical, transportation and mining sectors. He became the Chief Engineer with Superior Propane and guided them through the change in regulations following the Sunrise Propane incident.

Oliverio has been actively involved with the CSChE Process Safety Management Division for many years, chairing the division from 2013-2015.

International Pearson Scholar Urvi Verkhedkar on her first month in ChemE

Since arriving in Toronto from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Urvi Verkhedkar (Year 1, ChemE) has already immersed herself in environmental advocacy efforts.

“Getting involved in my passions has definitely been a highlight,” she says. Verkhedkar recently took part in Global Climate Strike Week events at U of T and in Toronto, and signed up to the city’s youth-led collective, Climate Justice Toronto.

As an international student, she says it’s been daunting to start university in a new country. “It’s been a bit intimidating to make new friends at such a big university, but I’m learning that it’s a slow process and just have to be patient and proactive,” says Verkhedkar, who joined Engineers Without Borders’ U of T Chapter and is writing for the student paper, Toike Oike, in order to foster new friendships.

“The professors and students that I’ve talked to have been very kind and helpful, and I’m confident I’ll settle in well.”


Click the link to read about International Pearson Scholars from across U of T Engineering

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