Posts Categorized: News 2017

With co-curricular records, universities say grades aren’t everything

Volunteering, student government and sports teach useful skills. Now, students can prove it with the co-curricular record (CCR).

Last year, about 9,000 students (about 10 per cent of undergraduates at U of T’s three campuses) were registered for the CCR—double the participation level four years ago. With expanding demand, the university has approved a fivefold increase in qualifying CCR experiences.

Meanwhile, the CCR has begun to pique the interest of employers and recruiters. “[CCR] is still a new movement, but I think it’s an important movement,” says Bruce MacEachern, an Ottawa-based partner of Summit Search Group, a national executive recruiter firm.

Oluwatobi Edun (ChemE 1T8) used his CCR to land a one-year industry internship last year. He has been a member, and captain, of an intramural soccer team at U of T and enrolled in university workshops on leadership, teamwork and giving (and taking) feedback. This year, he is a student residence don at New College. “Without the CCR, I would not have been able to express clearly what the [outside-the-classroom] learning was about,” he says. “I was able to explain the impact I had on my group and team and the impact on me and how it connected to the [internship] role.”

During his internship interview, he says the company’s recruiters “were a little surprised I could explain all those experiences so well and how they connected to the position.” Read full Maclean’s story.


Remembering victims of the Montreal Massacre: Commemorating the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Every year on Dec. 6, people across the country remember the victims of École Polytechnique shooting and raise awareness about gender-based violence. At U of T, events are taking place across all three campuses for the National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women.

Elizabeth White (ChemE 1T7+PEY) and a group of engineering students are creating a monument to honour victims of violence against women – this year focusing on missing and murdered Indigenous women. The structure will be on display on King’s College Circle on Dec. 6.

Read the full U of T News story here.

If you or someone you know is a victim of gender-based violence, here are resources available to you near your campus.

More resources can be found here.

$5.7M GAPP funding for Professor Mahadevan and team

Professor Krishna Mahadevan’s group will receive $5.7M from the Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) – Round 8. The funds will support a project entitled, Genomics Driven Engineering of Hosts for Bio-Nylon.

Currently, nylon is made from petroleum. While the process works well, it is not as environmentally friendly as many would like. There is strong demand for nylon produced using man-made chemicals derived from sugar, which requires less energy and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

BioAmber, an industrial biotechnology company located in Sarnia, Ontario, is successfully manufacturing succinic acid (used in producing polymers, resins and solvents) from sugar streams, which materially decreases the carbon footprint. These same principles could be used to develop a process for the manufacture of adipic acid, used in producing nylon.

A genomics-driven bioengineering approach has been developed by the University of Toronto’s team at BioZone led by Mahadevan to convert sugars into value-added industrial chemicals such as adipic acid. Adipic acid alone has a market of 2.2 million tonnes; chemicals that can be derived from it have similarly large markets. As an industrial biotechnology company, BioAmber is positioned to apply the results from this research program to the development of next generation chemicals.

The results of its work will benefit Canada’s economy by growing the biorefining industry and creating new manufacturing jobs, while protecting the environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Read full Sarnia Observer story.

Advice to first-year students

Maclean’s recently asked students, academics and business leaders — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario’s first Chief Scientist Molly Shoichet (ChemE, IBBME) — for advice to help future first-year students. Read what they had to say.

U of T Engineering Holiday Gift Guide 2017

A build-it-yourself robot kit, a revolutionary pressure cooker and a first-of-its-kind universal hex key are just a few of the items — all designed by U of T Engineering alumni and students — that we feel should be on everyone’s holiday shopping list. Click here for 12 U of T Engineering-approved gift ideas!

Molly Shoichet named Ontario’s first Chief Scientist

University Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, IBBME) has been appointed Ontario’s Chief Scientist.

“[Shoichet] is one of the top biomedical scientists in the country, with in-depth knowledge of Ontario’s research community,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “As Chief Scientist, she will help us continue a proud tradition of science and research excellence through evidence-based decision making and will open the world to the incredible innovative talent and technologies Ontario has to offer.”

Shoichet is the first person to hold the new position. Her responsibilities will include working with research hospitals, universities and research institutes to champion high quality science in government and education, help the government make decisions on science-based policy issues and advise the government on how to support future research and innovation projects.

She will also lay the groundwork for the next generation of research and innovation jobs by leading the development of the best science strategy for the province. Read the full story from U of T Engineering News.

Solar fuel breakthroughs from U of T

Making fuel out of polluted air, using it to power industry, and then taking the emissions from that industry back out of the air to create more fuel – it sounds too good to be true. But while there are a few hurdles to clear, a team led by University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Ozin of the department of chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science is getting closer to closing the carbon cycle. Ozin is also currently working with a dozen U of T fourth-year chemical engineering students to design and build a pilot-scale version of his laboratory demonstration ‘solar refinery’ connected to U of T’s physical plant. Read the full U of T News story.

Research2Reality spotlights Alison McGuigan

Research2Reality recently interviewed Professor Alison McGugian. Her take away message was, “don’t be afraid to collaborate!” See what else she had to say.

BioZone Research leads to $100,000 start-up investment from Ontario Genomics

Ontario Genomics announced its investment in Ardra Inc. via its Pre-Commercial Business Development Fund earlier this week. Ardra, which developed out of postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Krishna Mahadevan, is a specialty chemicals company focused on the production of natural ingredients for the cosmetics and flavour and fragrance industries.

The $100,000 investment from Ontario Genomics will advance the development of natural leaf aldehyde, a green leaf volatile used in green apple flavour, and as a scent in perfumery. The CEO Dr. Pratish Gawand commented: “We are thrilled to receive the funding from Ontario Genomics. It de-risks and supports the commercialization of Ardra’s process for natural leaf-aldehyde. The funding will help us establish a working process for the flavour ingredient as we continue to further develop our product pipeline.”

Read the full story HERE

Natural fibres: New yeast strains could turn plant waste into fabrics

Nylon — used in everything from clothing to car parts to toothbrush bristles — is derived from oil, a nonrenewable fossil fuel. A team of researchers from U of T Engineering is working on a way to make the same chemical from a renewable source: plants.

“Nylon is a copolymer made from two monomers: one is hexamethylene diamine, and the other is adipic acid,” says Professor Krishna Mahadevan (ChemE) the principal investigator on the project. “Our goal is to use yeast to make these chemicals from sugars, instead of from oil.” Read the full U of T Engineering News story.

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