Congratulations to University Professor Michael Sefton (ChemE, IBBME) who has received the 2014 Engineers Canada Gold Medal Award, which is presented to an exceptional professional engineer for achievement and distinction in engineering.
Professor Sefton received the award in recognition of his pioneering work in combining living cells with synthetic polymers to create ‘artificial’ organs and tissues, a field now known as tissue engineering. He was also one of the first in the world to succeed in micro-encapsulating live cells, with the aim of creating an artificial pancreas and other tissues that could evade the patient’s immune system through the barrier of the encapsulating membrane. His current groundbreaking research into the creation of modular tissue components seeks to create cardiac muscle to treat heart failure and pancreatic tissue for diabetes, among other possibilities.
An international leader in the areas of biomedical engineering, biomaterials and regenerative medicine, Professor Sefton was among the first to demonstrate the significant synergy between chemical engineering principles and biomedical engineering. He successfully commercialized his research as co-founder of Rimon Therapeutics Ltd. and has spearheaded several university-industry partnerships, such as the Toronto Tissue Engineering Initiative. A leader in his professional community, he served as president of the U.S. Society for Biomaterials from 2005-2006. From 1999-2005, Sefton was director of IBBME, spearheading its development into one of the best institutes of its kind in North America. His many honours include the Ontario Professional Engineers Gold Medal, Killam Prize in Engineering, 2011 Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal and Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.
Professor Sefton has published extensively in the world’s leading journals and international conference proceedings, and holds several U.S. and international patents. His work is internationally respected and he has delivered invited lectures, seminars and keynote speeches at high-profile meetings in more than 20 countries.
The Engineers Canada Awards recipients will be honoured at the Engineers Canada Awards Gala in St. John, NB on May 24, 2014. Learn more about the awards here.