P.Engs honoured with prestigious awards

Milica Radisic, PhD, P.Eng., professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, has been awarded the 2017 Steacie Prize for her work in tissue engineering. The Steacie Prize is named for E.W.R. Steacie, a physical chemist and former president of the National Research Council of Canada who championed young people in the sciences and blazed a trail for the pursuit of science in Canada. The prize is awarded annually to a young scientist or engineer who has made a notable contribution to Canadian research. As the Canada research chair in functional cardiovascular tissue engineering, Radisic has made life-changing advances in the field, developing new methods for growing human tissue in the lab. She was the first in the world to use electrical impulses and uniquely designed bioreactors, guiding isolated heart cells to assemble into a remarkable beating structure—tissues that are already being used to test drugs for side-effects. She and her team recently developed a unique injectable tissue patch with the potential to eliminate the need for invasive transplant surgeries and created the AngioChip, a 3-D, vascularized piece of heart tissue that, phenomenally, beats in real time (see “Welcoming innovation,” Engineering Dimensions, September/October 2017, p. 36).

Radisic has received numerous notable sciences and engineering awards, including the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering Hatch Innovation Award, the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards’ Engineering Medal in the Young Engineer category and the Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award. “Professor Milica Radisic is revolutionizing the field of cardiovascular tissue engineering and the impact of her research is extraordinary,” says Cristina Amon, P.Eng., dean of the faculty of applied science and engineering at the University of Toronto. “She is most deserving of her continued recognition as one of Canada’s most talented young engineering researchers.”

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) announced its Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 list for 2017, which includes Ontario engineers Jeannette Southwood, P.Eng., FECand Nancy Hill, P.Eng., LLB, FEC. Southwood is vice president, strategy and partnerships at Engineers Canada. Prior to joining Engineers Canada in November 2015, she was the first female visible minority principal at Golder Associates, a global firm of more than 8000 around the world. Hill is founding partner, Hill & Schumacher Professional Corp., and a sought-after speaker, a leading expert in her field and an avid volunteer in the engineering profession. The WXN is a Canadian organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive, professional and board roles.

University of Toronto Engineering Professor Tom Chau, PhD, P.Eng., and his research team were awarded the Governor General Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division)—a decoration that recognizes Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to the country. Chau and his team of interdisciplinary researchers from the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, which includes Pierre Duez, P.Eng., were recognized for their creation of the Virtual Music Instrument (VMI). Governor General of Canada Julie Payette, ing., presented the honour to the team during a recent ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. VMI was developed by Chau and his team in 2003 to create an opportunity for children with disabilities to play music without the need to hold or manipulate an instrument. The technology, which helps individuals with disabilities express themselves through the benefits of music therapy, results in increased self-esteem and a sense of personal accomplishment. VMI has already improved the lives of children and families worldwide. Created by Queen Elizabeth II, the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize Canadians for exceptional deeds judged to bring honour to Canada. They are an important part of the Canadian Honours System, highlighting remarkable achievements that improve quality of life on a large scale.

Chau also received the Order of Ontario. He is vice president of research at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, director of the Bloorview Research Institute, and a professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. The Order is the highest honour in the province, reserved for Ontarians whose excellence has left a legacy in the province, Canada and beyond. Members of the Order are a collective of Ontario’s finest citizens, whose contributions have shaped, and continue to shape, the province’s history and place in Canada. Chau adds these latest honours to an extensive list of accolades recognizing his contributions to pediatric rehabilitation, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and a Da Vinci Award for adaptive and assistive technology from the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2009).

Professor Brenda McCabe, PhD, P.Eng., has been elected a fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC). Each year a select number of engineers nationwide are chosen by EIC for this honour in recognition of exceptional contributions to engineering in Canada. Known as a leader and mentor in the engineering community, McCabe has served as vice dean of graduate studies at the University of Toronto as well as chair and acting dean of the university’s department of civil engineering. She was also vice president of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) and chair of its construction division. McCabe is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada Recognition Award and the University of Toronto Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award. She is also a fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and received the CSCE Award of Excellence in 2005. “Professor Brenda McCabe has made exceptional contributions to the faculty and to her professional community as an engineer, educator and academic leader,” says Cristina Amon. “On behalf of our faculty, heartfelt congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

The national not-for-profit organization Mitacs is saluting 150 future-shaping researchers from across Canada who represent a wide range of academic disciplines and reflect Canada’s spirit of diversity, creativity and innovation. “For Canada’s sesquicentennial, we’re showcasing 150 Mitacs researchers whose dedication and vision have impacted our past and will inspire our future,” says Alejandro Adem, Mitacs CEO and scientific director. Among the 150 innovators named is Arash Lashkari, PhD, P.Eng., a research associate with the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and a member of UNB’s faculty of computer science. Lashkari has more than 20 years of experience developing technology that detects and protects against cyberattacks, malware and the dark web. He is currently building databases of malware for anti-virus software developers to use for testing purposes, ensuring their products and firewalls can withstand attacks. “These are researchers whose ingenuity and dedicated pursuit of innovation is inspiring, and I congratulate them for this well-deserved national recognition,” says University of New Brunswick President Eddy Campbell. “At UNB, where we conduct about 70 per cent of publicly funded research in the province, we’re proud of our record of innovation, the impact it is making, and the people who make it happen.”


Entries open on March 27, 2018 for the James Dyson Award, which aims to inspire the next generation of design engineers. The award is given to a product design that solves a problem, has a significant and practical purpose, is commercially viable and designed with sustainability in mind. The international competition is open to product design, industrial design and engineering university students or graduates within the past four years. National winners are awarded $2,500, international runners up receive $6,000, and a $40,000 award goes to the student or student team representing the international winner, plus $6,000 for their university department. To read more about the award, visit www.jamesdysonaward.org.