Department Calendar of Events

Sep
30
Thu
Canada’s First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day)
Sep 30 all-day

Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30, 2021. It was established this year by the Federal Government to provide an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools which more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend between the 1870s and 1997. September 30 is also known as Orange Shirt Day, a nation-wide movement rooted in the story of Phyllis Webstad who, in 1973, at the age of six, went to the St. Joseph Mission Residential School.  In preparation for school, Phyllis’ Grandmother, despite limited means, purchased the shiny orange shirt Phyllis coveted and was so excited to wear to school.  At school, she was stripped of the shirt forever and left to feel like no one cared.

U of T Engineering is committed to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.  We encourage everyone to participate in their own way on September 30: by wearing an orange shirt, taking a moment of reflection, discussing this day in class, using an Orange Shirt Day virtual background, or finding some other way to demonstrate your support for reconciliation and healing.

You can access further supports from Professor Jason Bazylak, Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives or Marisa Sterling, Assistant Dean and Director for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Professionalism.  This summer FASE also launched the Indigenous Cultural Competency Toolkit, co-developed with an Indigenous engineering student to help the Faculty learn the truths.

BioZone BITS: Bio-plastics and bio-textiles from bacterial protein fibers @ ONLINE
Sep 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Professor Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne
Department of Chemical Engineering
McGill University

Protein-based materials represent sustainable and easily customizable alternatives to conventional synthetic polymers. With their biocompatibility, bioactivity and genetic tunability, proteins can be customized for a range of applications. Specifically, protein materials that self-assemble into macromolecular structures and can be produced at large scale are of interest for deployment into wearable devices, tissue scaffolds, and alternatives for commodity materials like plastics, textiles and electronics. Curli fibers produced by Escherichia coli bacteria represent a very promising protein scaffold due to their unique physicochemical properties. Once secreted by bacteria cells, CsgA subunits, the self-assembling repeats of curli fibers, form fibrous structures that can further aggregate and gel into macroscopic materials. Among other functionalities, we have genetically encoded in CsgA the ability to fluoresce, to conduct charges, and to nucleate mineral particles.

In this talk, I will describe advances from our group to engineer curli fibers and confer them with properties relevant for biosensing devices, wearables, and plastic-like (“aquaplastic”) materials. First, I will present methods that we have developed to express and isolate bacterial fiber extracellularly secreted from E. coli cells, and I will show examples of materials (thin films, hydrogels, aerogels, coatings) that we have fabricated with these nanofibers. Then, I will focus on specific applications and proof-of-concept functional devices that we have fabricated. We will discuss bio-functionalized pH-sensing textiles, living adaptive wearable devices, curli-based bioplastics, and protein fibers – polymer composites for conductive biocompatible electrodes.Such devices bring us closer to a bio-based circular economy, and enable novel functions that can only be achieved by biological materials.
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Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at McGill University since 2017, and a Canada Research Chair in Biologically-Derived Materials since 2021. Previously, she obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2015 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard until 2017. She was trained as a multidisciplinary scientist and engineer, and has worked in the field of biologically-derived materials for over a decade, focusing on the fabrication and characterization of novel functional materials and devices using recombinant proteins. In her research, she integrates synthetic biology with scalable assembly processes, to fabricate functional materials. Prof. Dorval Courchesne is actively involved in industrially-relevant research, with the goal of introducing biologically-derived technologies in real-world products. Among other projects, she has she has an ongoing collaboration with Lululemon Athletica Inc. She is also part of an NSERC CREATE on Sustainable Electronics and Eco-Design (SEED). In addition, Prof. Dorval Courchesne is a member of several research networks including the Quebec Center for Advanced Materials (QCAM) and the Research Center for High Performance Polymer and Composite Systems (CREPEC). In 2020, she was recognized for her research potential as the recipient of the Christopher Pierre Award for Research Excellence (Early Career) at McGill. She was also recently named one of three “Emerging Leaders in Chemical Engineering” at the Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (CCEC 2020).

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Oct
20
Wed
LLE: Multicomponent Adsorption and Membrane Separations to Enable New and More Efficient Biorefining Processes (Sankar Nair, Georgia Tech) @ ONLINE
Oct 20 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Sankar Nair, Georgia Institute for Technology

Host: Prof. Nikolai DeMartini

 

This lecture will discuss our progress in developing materials-based separation processes for biorefinery applications. The discussion will be centered on the kraft process, which is a high-volume biorefining process that currently yields biopolymer (cellulose), biobased chemical (such as tall oil), and bioenergy (steam and electricity) products. The main byproduct of the process – kraft black liquor – is dewatered by energy-intensive multi-effect evaporation, followed by combustion of the concentrated black liquor to produce steam and electricity. However, black liquor is a potential high-volume feedstock (available at > 1 billion tons/yr in kraft processes) for chemical production because it contains lignin and hydroxy acid fractions.

We will highlight the key role of advanced separation processes in increasing the energy efficiency of the kraft process as well as enabling valorization of stream components. The discussion is placed in the context of three interconnected issues. First, we will illustrate the importance of imagining biorefineries as an interconnected network of conversion and separation processes, and the possibility for materials-based separations to enable new ways of dewatering black liquor as well as valorizing black liquor components such as hydroxy acids and lignin. Second, we will illustrate the differing separation challenges encountered in stream fractionation versus product purification, both of which are critical for biorefineries. Third, we will explore the development and identification of versatile and inexpensive separation materials that can handle complex multicomponent streams in harsh conditions of temperature, pH, and high dissolved solids content.
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Sankar Nair is Professor, Associate Chair, and Simmons Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. His research interests are in the science and engineering of nanoporous materials for the development of sustainable chemical processes. His current work focuses on nanoporous membrane and adsorption-based separation systems and processes that can enable new technological paths in biorefining, plastics upcycling, industrial water management, and CO2 utilization.

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Oct
24
Sun
CCEC 2021 – Now Virtual
Oct 24 – Oct 27 all-day

Welcome to CCEC, your forum for learning, knowledge exchange, innovation, and celebration of all that Canadian chemical engineering has to offer.

 
CCEC 2021 is going virtual

The safety of our community comes first. With a fourth wave of COVID-19 underway The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering has made the difficult decision to turn CCEC 2021 into a virtual event.

We’re sure you have a lot of questions about what this means for the conference. Here are a few changes you can expect.

Registration

The registration fees for the conference have been decreased. Visit the CCEC 2021 website to see the new registration fees. Anyone who has paid the full registration fee for the in-person conference will be reimbursed for the difference in early October.

If you are not interested in taking part in the virtual conference but have completed your registration, please contact the CIC for a refund before Oct. 1, 2021.

Presentation format

The virtual conference will take place over CIC’s virtual conference platform (X-CD). Using the platform, you will be able to create your itinerary, chat with other attendees, visit exhibitor booths, and access links for each of the live sessions.

Technical sessions will take place live over Zoom. Posters will be viewable using the virtual conference platform, and office hours will allow attendees to chat with the poster presenters.

Virtual exhibition hall

The virtual conference platform will include a virtual exhibition hall where attendees can interact live with industry leaders and partners, and engage with partners during live events.

Stay tuned

We’ll be working hard to answer all your questions about this new virtual format as quickly as possible over the coming weeks. Look for more information on CCEC 2021 and its new virtual format in your inbox, on our website, and on our social media channels in the near future.

Oct
27
Wed
LLE: Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned (James Collins, MIT) @ ONLINE
Oct 27 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

James Collins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Host: Prof. Krishna Mahadevan

 

Synthetic biology is bringing together engineers, physicists and biologists to model, design and construct biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA, and to use these circuits to rewire and reprogram organisms.  These re-engineered organisms are going to change our lives in the coming years, leading to cheaper drugs, rapid diagnostic tests, and synthetic probiotics to treat infections and a range of complex diseases.  In this talk, we highlight recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discuss a variety of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and biomedicine.
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Professor James Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, as well as a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. He is also a Core Founding Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, and his research group is currently focused on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Collins’ patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has co-founded a number of companies, including Synlogic, Senti Biosciences, Sherlock Biosciences and Cellarity, as well as Phare Bio, a non-profit focused on AI-driven antibiotic discovery. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur “Genius” Award, and he is an elected member of all three national academies – the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Nov
17
Wed
LLE: Education in Engineering Lecture: We need a moral infrastructure: “Calling in” the relationship between engineering education’s structural racism and its continuing trivialization of the climate crisis (Alice Pawley, Purdue) @ ONLINE
Nov 17 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

EDUCATION IN ENGINEERING LECTURE

Co-hosted with the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice (ISTEP)

Alice Pawley, Purdue

Host: Prof. Greg Evans

 

Social activism has increased, even during the COVID pandemic, around both systemic racism in North America and around the climate crisis internationally.  While both movements have roots decades old, we are not yet seeing a sea-change in engineering curricula around either, despite its necessity. I argue there are similarities between engineering education’s intransigence on social justice and equity issues and its lack of adequate response regarding the global climate crisis. Scholars in linguistics, education, sociology, and critical race studies, and journalists writing about the climate crisis, can help us see how both are related to a moral discussion rather than the techno-rational one that scientists, engineers, and science and engineering educators seem most equipped to have.  In this talk, I call for the development of a moral infrastructure to address both engineering education’s foundation in white supremacy, and its global obligation to halt the anthropogenic climate crisis.
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Alice Pawley (she, her) is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member in the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Program, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, and the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. Prof. Pawley’s goal through her work at Purdue is to help people, including the engineering education profession, develop a vision of engineering education as more inclusive, engaged, and socially just. She runs the Feminist Research in Engineering Education Group, whose diverse projects and group members are described at pawleyresearch.org. She has won numerous best paper awards in ASEE, and professional awards, including a PECASE award, ABIE Denice Denton award, the ASEE-LEES Sterling Olmsted award, and mentoring and leadership awards in her school. She helped found, fund, and grow the PEER Collaborative, a peer-mentoring community of academics primarily evaluated on doing engineering education research. She is president of Purdue’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (2020-22).

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Dec
1
Wed
LLE: Engineering human tissues for medical impact (Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Columbia) @ ONLINE
Dec 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Columbia

Hosts: Profs Milica Radisic & Molly Shoichet

 

The classical paradigm of tissue engineering involves an integrated use of human stem cells, biomaterials (providing a specialized template for tissue formation) and bioreactors (providing environmental control, dynamic sequences of molecular and physical signals and insights into the structure and function of the forming tissues). This approach results in an increasingly successful representation of tissue development, regeneration and disease. Bioengineered human tissues are now being tailored to the patient and the condition being studied or treated. A reverse paradigm is emerging in recent years, with the emergence of “organs on a chip” platforms for modeling integrated human physiology, using micro-tissues derived from human iPS cells and linked by vascular perfusion. The common objectives are to recapitulate the cellular niches that can modulate cell behavior towards generating functional equivalents of native tissues. To illustrate the state of the art in the field and reflect on the current challenges and opportunities, this talk will discuss bioengineering of clinically relevant tissues and the use of “organs on a chip” platforms for patient-specific studies of human patho/physiology.
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Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is University Professor, the highest academic rank at Columbia University and the first engineer at Columbia to receive this distinction. The focus of her lab is on engineering functional human tissues for use in regenerative medicine and patient-specific “organs-on-a-chip” for studies of human physiology in health and disease. She is well published and highly cited (h=132), has mentored over 150 trainees, and launched four biotech companies form her lab.

She is serving on the Council of the NIBIB, the HHMI Scientific Review Board, and on numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards. She was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, received the Clemson Award of the Biomaterials Society, Pritzker Award of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Shu Chien Award of the AIChE, Pierre Galletti award of the AIMBE, and was elected Fellow of several professional societies. She was decorated by the Order of Karadjordje Star – Serbia’s highest honor, and elected to the Academia Europaea, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering.

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Jan
19
Wed
LLE: Sustainable Nanomaterials in Environmental Management Systems (Michael Tam, Waterloo) @ WB116
Jan 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Michael Tam, University of Waterloo

Host: Prof. Ning Yan

 

Sustainable nanomaterials, such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are rod-like nanoparticles obtained by sulfuric acid hydrolysis of cellulose fibres. Several properties of CNCs, such as its availability, low cost, high mechanical strength, large number of surface functional groups, high surface area per volume and aspect-ratio have led to an increasing interest in using them for adsorption and controlled release applications. Pristine CNCs were incorporated into hydrogel beads in order to eliminate the need for centrifugation. CNCs used in these hydrogel beads were also functionalized and the adsorption and controlled release characteristics were examined. CNCs incorporated alginate hydrogel bead systems possessed attractive adsorption properties both in batch and fixed bed column adsorption systems. These hydrogel beads could be regenerated and reused if necessary. Additionally, cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) were combined with CNCs and pulp fibers to produce filtration membrane suitable for the removal or organic and metallic contaminants. These sustainable nanomaterials possess attractive characteristics for the removal of various types of contaminants in wastewater systems. In addition, these nanomaterials can be modified and functionalized for selective adsorption of heavy metals and also to decontaminate water by incorporating anti-bacterial properties to these nanomaterials.
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Professor Michael Tam obtained his B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical engineering from Monash University, Australia in 1982 and 1991 respectively. He spent 18 months on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University Canada, and subsequently taught at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for 15 years. In June 2007 he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo as a tenured full professor, and holds the position of University Research Chair in the field of functional colloids and sustainable nanomaterials. He is an active member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. His research interests are in colloids, self-assembly systems, polymer-surfactant interactions, and drug delivery systems. He has published more than 350 journal articles in various fields of polymer science and engineering. His total citation exceeds 20,600 and his H-index is 72. He is also an associate editor of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Feb
16
Wed
LLE: At the Exciting Intersection of Quantum Chemistry and Non-equilibrium Dynamics (Prineha Narang, Harvard) @ WB116
Feb 16 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Prineha Narang, Harvard

Host: Prof. Frank Gu

 

Quantum systems host spectacular nonequilibrium effects and unconventional transport phenomena, but many of these remain challenging to predict and consequently, technologically unexplored. My group’s research focuses on how quantum systems behave, particularly away from equilibrium, and how we can harness emergent effects in these systems. By creating predictive theoretical and computational approaches to study dynamics, decoherence and correlations in molecules and materials, our work enables technologies that are inherently more powerful than their classical counterparts, ranging from scalable quantum information processing to ultra-high efficiency optoelectronic and energy conversion systems. Capturing these phenomena poses unique computational and theoretical challenges. In fact, the simultaneous contributions of processes that occur on many time and length-scales has eluded state-of-the-art computational physics and model Hamiltonian approaches alike, necessitating a new lens. In this context, I will focus on our work on approaches to describe excited-states in quantum matter, including electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions beyond leading order, and predicting emergent states introduced by external drives. Our approach brings quantum chemistry, quantum optics and condensed matter together to create unexpected and useful properties, including surprisingly long coherence times and propagation lengths, as well as enabling new quantum probes of correlations. I will also discuss our methods in spatially-resolved non-equilibrium transport in quantum matter. By introducing GPU-accelerated large-scale transport frameworks that retain microscopic scattering, we are overcoming long-standing barriers in the field and taking transport in matter to exascale computing. Finally, I will share our vision for the future towards crossing the finite-extended system divide, and leveraging the power of both classical high-performance computing and quantum computation paradigms in predicting new phenomena.
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Professor Prineha Narang came to Harvard University from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she worked as a Research Scholar in Condensed Matter Theory in the Department of Physics. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Prineha’s work has been recognized by many awards and special designations, including a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a Max Planck Sabbatical Award from the Max Planck Society, and the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Computational Physics in 2021, an NSF CAREER Award in 2020, being named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for pioneering innovations in quantum science, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and a Top Innovator by MIT Tech Review (MIT TR35).

narang.seas.harvard.edu

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

Mar
2
Wed
LLE: The role and contribution of Engineers in addressing global Nutrition challenges – Experiences from the field (Rizwan Yusufali, UNICEF) @ WB116
Mar 2 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Rizwan Yusufali, UNICEF

Host: Prof. Levente Diosady


From urban centers to remote corners of Earth, the depths of the oceans to space, humanity has always sought to transcend barriers, overcome challenges, and create opportunities that improve life on our part of the universe.  One such challenge is securing good nutrition for the global population, many of whom have just a few dollars a day to secure a nutritious meal.  Nutrition is a ‘Grand Challenge’ affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations and needs a multidisciplinary approach and a ‘new breed’ of Engineers that can transcend across multiple disciplines and apply their analytical and solution-oriented thinking. While Engineers have and continue to develop ingenious solutions and technologies to make food healthier and safer, global rates of malnutrition remain unacceptably high in many countries resulting in productivity losses, morbidity and mortality.  The aim of my lecture is to share some of my experiences and perspectives that have enabled me to make a positive impact on nutrition with the hope that this may inspire engineering researchers and students to solve the world’s most stubborn  problems.
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Rizwan Yusufali is a Nutrition Specialist at UNICEF providing technical and advisory support on scaling up essential nutrition interventions with a specific focus on food fortification and food systems.  Mr. Yusufali has held several positions in program management, operations and product development and has extensive experience in food fortification.  Prior to joining UNICEF, Mr. Yusufali was the Regional Director for the Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods program at TechnoServe providing direction, leadership and technical support covering Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania. He has also worked for the World Food Programme (WFP), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Micronutrient Initiative (MI) managing programs in several countries across Africa and Asia.  Mr. Yusufali has a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and has several publications on food fortification.

 

View the complete 2021-22 LLE schedule

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Hsu, Manager, External Relations  jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

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