Department Calendar of Events

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

External members are required to register to receive the link and passcode. Registration closed at 9am on Monday, November 15.



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.

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 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

BioZone BITS: Science communication for fun and profit
Nov 25 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

BioZone will be hosting Tyler Irving, from our Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering on Thursday, November 25 from 3-4:30pm on Zoom.

Title: Science communication for fun and profit

Science communication is a critical skill for anyone in STEM, but it can also be a career unto itself. Tyler will talk about his journey as a professional science writer/communicator and fold in some tips for anyone interested in either pursuing a similar path or simply improving their science communication practice.

Speaker Bio
Tyler Irving graduated with a MASc from U of T Engineering in 2010. He has since worked as a freelance science writer and communicator, as well as for a range of organizations, including the Canadian Chemical News, the Science Media Centre of Canada, and the University of Toronto. His work has won awards from Engineers Canada and from Science Writers and Communicators Canada.

To receive the Zoom link and passcode, please send an email to either Sofia Bonilla ( or Olan Raji (

Life in a Tight Spot: How Bacteria Swim, Disperse, and Grow in Crowded Spaces @ Zoom
Nov 26 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Life in a Tight Spot: How Bacteria Swim, Disperse, and Grow in Crowded Spaces
Speaker: Sujit Datta
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University

Join us:
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 867 6293 1790, Passcode: 759852


Bacterial motility and growth play central roles in agriculture, the environment, and medicine. While
bacterial behavior is typically studied in bulk liquid or on flat surfaces, many bacterial habitats—e.g.,
soils, sediments, and biological gels/tissues—are complex and crowded spaces. In this talk, I will
describe my group’s work using tools from soft matter engineering to address this gap in knowledge. In
particular, using studies of E. coli in transparent 3D porous media, we demonstrate how confinement in
a crowded medium fundamentally alters bacterial behavior. In particular, we show how the paradigm of
run-and-tumble motility is dramatically altered by pore-scale confinement, both for cells performing
undirected motion and those performing chemotaxis, directed motion in response to a chemical
stimulus. Our porous media also enable precisely structured multi-cellular communities to be 3D
printed. Using this capability, we show how spatial variations in the ability of cells to perform
chemotaxis enable populations to autonomously stabilize large-scale perturbations in their overall
morphology. Finally, we show how when the pores are small enough to prevent cells from swimming
through the pore space, expansion of a community via cellular growth and division gives rise to distinct,
highly-complex, large-scale community morphologies. Together, our work thus reveals new principles to
predict and control the behavior of bacteria, and active matter in general, in complex and crowded

Sujit Datta is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University. He
earned a BA in Mathematics and Physics and an MS in Physics in 2008 from the University of
Pennsylvania. He earned his PhD in Physics in 2013 from Harvard, where he studied fluid dynamics and
instabilities in porous media and colloidal microcapsules with David Weitz. His postdoctoral training was in Chemical Engineering at Caltech, where he studied the biophysics of the gut with Rustem Ismagilov.

He joined Princeton in 2017, where his lab studies the dynamics of soft and living materials in complex
environments. Prof. Datta is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, Pew Biomedical Scholar Award,
AIChE 35 Under 35 Award, ACS Unilever Award, APS Andreas Acrivos Award in Fluid Dynamics, and
multiple Commendations for Outstanding Teaching.

Research Webpage:

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

External members were required to register to receive the link and passcode. Registration closed at 9am on Monday, November 29th.

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.

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 Delicia Ansalem, Communications Officer & External Relations Liaison

SOCAAR Seminar: Elisabeth Galarneau, Ph.D. @ Microsoft Teams
Dec 1 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Upcoming SOCAAR Seminar:

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
3:00 – 4:00PM Join on
MS Teams (see below)

Elisabeth Galarneau, Ph.D.
Research Scientist

Air Quality Research Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Polycyclic aromatic compounds and other air toxics: toward understanding the whole air pollutant mixture.

Air quality issues have traditionally been divided between common air pollutants like ozone and contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Research has tended to be conducted by experts who are largely separated, who publish in different journals and attend different conferences. Environmental management has been distinct as well, with national programs and international agreements designed and implemented by different groups for ‘smog’ and ‘contaminants’. More recently, air quality research and management have begun to acknowledge that exposure and effects are affected by the simultaneous presence of multiple pollutants.  The whole air pollutant mixture has not yet been well-characterized at any location. Canadian efforts associated with PACs, air toxics and the urban air pollution mixture will be discussed to demonstrate how we can begin to better understand ambient air and its overall impacts on human health and the environment.

For more information, see the full abstract:
If you have any questions, please contact

Redesigning Drug Design @ Zoom
Dec 8 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Redesigning Drug Design by Dr. John Chodera
Wednesday, December 8th @ 10:00AM
Zoom Link:
Passcode: 398523

As machine learning and physical modeling technologies are reaching maturity, a new era of technological innovation in computer-driven drug discovery is dawning. In this talk, we highlight an exciting new generation of tools that blend machine learning with physical modeling to accelerate structure-enabled drug discovery programs, with the goal of ultimately enabling fully autonomous drug discovery. We also highlight the role these tools have played in the COVID Moonshot, an open science global collaborative effort to discover a novel patent-free oral SARSCoV-2 antiviral with the goal of rapid, global, and equitable access.

John Chodera’s research focuses on reimagining the way we develop small molecule drugs and pair therapeutics with individual patient tumors by bringing physical modeling and structure-informed machine learning into the cancer genomics era. By combining novel algorithmic advances to achieve orders-of-magnitude efficiency gains with powerful but inexpensive GPU hardware, machine learning, and distributed computing technologies, the Chodera lab is developing next-generation approaches and open source software for predicting small molecule binding affinities, designing small molecules with desired properties, predicting drug sensitivity or resistance of clinical mutations, and understanding the detailed structural mechanisms underlying oncogenic mutations. The Chodera lab co-develops the OpenMM GPU-powered molecular simulation framework, which powers numerous biomolecular modeling and simulation applications using physical modeling and machine learning. As a core member of the Folding@home Consortium, the lab harnesses the largest computing platform in the world—the first to reach an exaFLOP/s—pooling the efforts of a million volunteers around the world to study functional implications of mutations and new opportunities for therapeutic design against cancer targets and global pandemics. Dr. Chodera co-founded the Open Force Field Initiative, a scientific collaboration funded by the NIH and an industry consortium consisting of dozens of scientists working to develop modern open source infrastructure for building and applying high-quality biomolecular force fields. Dr. Chodera is a co-founder of the COVID Moonshot, a radical open science patent-free drug discovery effort aiming to develop an inexpensive small molecule therapy effective against COVID-19 and future coronavirus. Using automated biophysical measurements, the Chodera laboratory collects new experimental data targeted to advance the quantitative accuracy of our methodologies, and gather new insight into drug susceptibility and resistance in kinases and other cancer targets. Their work makes extensive use of scalable Bayesian statistical inference, machine learning via probabilistic programming, and information theoretic principles for designing experiments and quantifying error. Dr. Chodera is passionate about open science, disseminating scientific best practices, and maximizing research reproducibility

iFAST Environmental Biotechnology Special Perry McCarty Symposium @ Zoom
Dec 16 @ 10:00 am – Dec 18 @ 12:30 pm

Coming soon is a special iFAST Symposium to celebrate Prof. Perry L. McCarty‘s 90th birthday and honor his outstanding contributions to Environmental Biotechnology.  We invite you to attend this remarkable tribute.  

This special symposium will be spread among three days, December 16-18, 2021, 2.5 hours each day, 3:00 pm-5:30 pm UTC/GMT.  Here is the information you need to know to join the symposium:

Dates:    December 16-18, 2021Times:   3:00 pm – 5:30 pm UTC/GMT               10:00 am – 12:30 pm EST
               7:00 am – 9:30 am PST               11:00 pm – 1:30 am China

Zoom link:

Please see the agenda and check for the latest updates at our event webpage:

 If you have any questions, please contact us at

On behalf of iFAST and the Symposium Organizing Committee:
Bruce Rittmann (chair), Kenneth Williamson, Craig Criddle, Jaeho Bae, Elizabeth Edwards, & Alison Cupples

SOCAAR Seminar with Prof. Naomi Zimmerman @ Zoom
Jan 12 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Upcoming SOCAAR Seminar:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
2:00 – 3:00PM

Join on MS Teams(Phone Conference ID: 317 125 206#)

Prof. Naomi Zimmerman

Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering University of British Columbia (UBC)

Air quality, odour, health and equity: Leveraging interdisciplinary approaches to understand the impacts of cannabis cultivation in Metro Vancouver

In 2018, Canada became the only G7 nation to legalize cannabis for non-medical (recreational or non-prescribed uses) and medical use at the federal level. To date, there are over 500 facilities with licenses to cultivate cannabis. Of these, almost 25% are located in British Columbia, with some of the largest cultivation greenhouses being located or developed in the Metro Vancouver region. 

As the number and size of cannabis cultivation facilities (CCFs) have grown, so have odour-related complaints; a report from March 2019 listed 326 complaints in Metro Vancouver over a 12-month period. The odours associated with CCFs are caused by emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can also increase formation of health-damaging pollutants such as ground-level ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM). As such, air quality regulators have begun exploring options to curb these emissions. In this talk, I will highlight ongoing work in the Metro Vancouver region to understand CCF emissions from an interdisciplinary lens. This includes the development and deployment of a citizen science web application for reporting CCF odours and observed health effects (, modelling of odourous emissions and their dispersion, and plans for real-world ambient sampling of emissions from CCFs using mobile monitoring. The talk will also provide a high-level summary of identified knowledge gaps in our understanding of the air quality impacts of CCF facilities from the occupational to community scale.

For more information, please contact

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)
+1 647-794-1609,,317125206#   Canada, Toronto

Phone Conference ID: 317 125 206#

Cell Therapy Minisymposium @ Zoom
Jan 19 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

EnVISIONing reGENEration WITHIN tissues by enhancing cell-based plasticity

Please register via Zoom.

Cindi Morshead to give land acknowledgement and opening remarks

Penney Gilbert introduces Sally Temple
Sally Temple, Scientific Director, Neural Stem Cell Institute
Using stem cell technology to combat age-related neurodegenerative disease


Cell transplantation therapy to restore vision

Valerie Wallace introduces Rachael Pearson
Rachael Pearson, Professor, King’s College London
Stem cell-derived cone photoreceptor transplantation to restore vision

Arturo Ortin-Martinez, Scientific Associate, Krembil Research Institute
Modulating intracellular material transfer in transplanted photoreceptors

Margaret Ho, PhD Student, University of Toronto
A hyaluronan and methylcellulose-based hydrogel to perturb photoreceptor material transfer

Madison Gray, PhD Student, University of Toronto
Tracing synaptic connections in normal and regenerating retina


Gene therapy to promote neuroplasticity

Maryam Faiz introduces Shane Liddelow
Shane Liddelow, Assistant Professor, New York University
Reactive astrocyte heterogeneity in Inflammation and neurodegenerative disease

Justine Bajohr, PhD Student, University of Toronto
Astrocyte reprogramming for brain repair

Rikke Kofoed, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Kate Noseworthy, MSc student, University of Toronto
Focused ultrasound mediates brain plasticity and viral vector delivery

Hussein Ghazale, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
Glia to neuron conversion in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Stimulating endogenous repair in neural and muscle tissue

Julie Lefebvre introduces Joshua Sanes
Joshua Sanes, Professor, Harvard University
Enhancing neuronal survival and regeneration after retinal injury: insights from single cell

Emily Gilbert, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
Metformin-mediated recovery following spinal cord injury: Sex-dependent effects on
inflammation and neural precursor cells

Erik Jacques, PhD Student, University of Toronto
Engineered bio-mimetic niche supports muscle stem cell quiescence

Danielle Jeong, PhD Student, University of Toronto
Characterization of neural stem cells and their niche during CNS remyelination

Molly Shoichet to give closing remarks

Information and registration via Zoom.

Cell Therapy Mini Symposium Poster (Portrait) – updated Jan 18, 2022:

Symposium poster

SOCAAR Seminar with Sandra Odendahl @ Virtual - Microsoft Teams
Feb 2 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Upcoming SOCAAR Seminar:

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
3:00 – 4:00PM

Join on MS Teams
(Phone Conference ID: 770 545 938#)

Sandra Odendahl, P.Eng., CFA
Vice President and Global Head of Sustainability, Scotiabank

The Role of Finance in Canada’s Quest for Net Zero

For more information, please contact
SOCARR website: