Posts Categorized: News

CivMin Professor Shoshanna Saxe was a speaker at Climate Economy Summit

Meric Gertler at the podium at the Toronto Region Board of Trade Climate Summit in Toronto

U of T President Meric Gertler delivers remarks at the Climate Economy Summit, which was co-hosted by the university’s Climate Positive Energy initiative and the Toronto Region Board of Trade (photo by Johnny Guatto)

Partnerships between the public and private sectors are crucial to help the Toronto region capitalize on its strong cluster of clean energy companies, University of Toronto President Meric Gertler says.

He issued the call for collaboration at the recent Climate Economy Summit, co-hosted by U of T’s Climate Positive Energy initiative and the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which brought together business leaders and experts to discuss the challenges – and opportunities – of investing in a sustainable future.

Home to Canada’s largest cluster of clean-tech firms, the Toronto region is positioned to become a leading centre of sustainable growth, President Gertler said in his opening remarks.

But it will take a concerted effort to unlock this potential, he said, urging governments, public institutions, not-for-profits and private firms to work together to find homegrown solutions to the global climate crisis.

“U of T and its partners are collaborating to move the needle quickly,” said President Gertler.

“In the face of barriers to progress at the international level, it’s important to be reminded that progress at home is possible.”

For example, the university is set to receive $56 million in financing from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to advance the university’s plan to reduce more emissions than it emits on the St. George campus by 2050. The plan, which includes building Canada’s largest urban geoexchange system under King’s College Circle, is just one of the ways the university prioritizes sustainability initiatives across its three campuses, with ongoing initiatives at U of T Mississauga and U of T Scarborough.

In particular, the CIB partnership will support sustainable infrastructure initiatives under Project LEAP, including deep energy retrofits for university buildings and labs, and the installation of energy-storage solutions.

U of T – recently ranked second in the world in the inaugural QS Sustainability Ranking – has leveraged this federal financing to secure an additional $70 million in loans from the private sector on very attractive terms, said President Gertler.

He said these investments will accelerate the university’s progress towards its climate targets by a decade, with emissions projected to drop by nearly 60 per cent before 2030.

Moreover, he said, U of T will continue to tap into the expertise of its researchers at the Climate Positive Energy Initiative, launched earlier this year. The institutional strategic initiative brings together researchers from across disciplines to devise clean-energy solutions that are guided by political, human and societal considerations.

Their work could help Canada address competitive pressures that are emerging and being closely watched by the federal government. This month, the Standing Committee on International Trade is studying how the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which invests US$369 billion in supporting clean energy, will impact the development of Canada’s clean-tech industry.

Some of the faculty members involved in the Climate Positive Energy initiative shared their insights at the summit, including academic lead David Sinton, a professor of mechanical engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and Canada Research Chair in microfluidics and energy.

Prof. Shoshanna Sax

Among the other U of T speakers at the summit were: Ali Hooshyar, an assistant professor in the Edward S. Rogers Sr. department of electrical and computer engineering and Canada Research Chair in electric power systems;  and Shoshanna Saxe, an associate professor in the department of civil and mineral engineering and Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Infrastructure.

Hooshyar is leading a proposed $20-million grid modernization testing and simulation centre. The proposed centre would be the first of its kind in Canada, convening stakeholders in the electricity sector to accelerate the integration of renewable energy solutions, energy storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure into the grid.

General view of the conference participants

The Climate Economy Summit brought together business leaders and experts to discuss the challenges – and opportunities – of investing in a sustainable future (photo by Johnny Guatto)

Saxe, for her part, told a panel that the goal of retrofitting buildings toward net-zero emissions is well within reach – but that the greatest impediment North America faces is a “deficit of imagination” about how to develop infrastructure for a sustainable society. “Our emission goals are totally achievable. We just have to be willing to achieve them,” said Saxe. “The tools are waiting there for us to grab them.”

Representing the Ontario government at the summit were Energy Minister Todd Smith, who spoke about how the province is championing energy innovation, and Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, who spoke about how Ontario’s auto sector is shifting to electric vehicles.

On the eve of the event, Joseph Heath, a professor in U of T’s department of philosophy in the Faculty of Arts & Science, made the case for optimism about the potential of innovation to address climate change, suggesting that with the right policy incentives, the next energy revolution could be on the horizon. “A lot of environmental pessimism looks as though it has a grounding in science. Whereas, in fact, what it really is when you scratch the surface is pessimism about human ingenuity,” said Heath.

The Toronto summit came on the heels of the United Nation’s COP27 climate conference in Egypt, where U of T helped co-ordinate a meeting of university networks that collectively represent more than 900 institutions.

Kristy Faccer, director of the President’s Committee on the Environment, Climate Change & Sustainability, said this “network of networks” facilitates the exchange of knowledge among academic institutions in order to amplify sustainable innovation on a global scale.

“What we’re really interested in is collective impact,” Faccer told a side panel convened by the U7+ Alliance of World Universities. “You can imagine the kind of scaling opportunity and the influence that these networks can have.”

By Adina Bresge
This story was originally published by UofT News

In-person Capstone presentations for LME students

Lassonde Mineral Engineering students hold the first in-person fall Capstone presentations in three years.

Larry Smith, an industry judge, listens to the presentation of Team 1 students at the Mineral Engineering Capstone presentations on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. (Photo by Phill Snel)

Fourth-year Min students recently held their fall Capstone presentations, the first in-person fall event in three years.

The annual rite of passage involves completing a group project to solve a mine design challenge, of a formerly active mine in the Yukon, with environmental legacy issues. The results must be summarized in an engineering design report and an in-person oral presentation with a display, in the form of a poster. “The main goal is to give the students the challenge to see if they can apply all the skills and knowledge they have learned in the previous three years of courses, in a real life scenario,” says Prof. Kamran Esmaeili.

As with many academic quandaries, explains Esmaeili, “There is no right or wrong answer – it’s an open-ended question. You could accomplish a successful design in multiple different ways, but which one is the optimum design from both safety and project economics perspectives?

Students celebrate the completion of their Capstone presentation with fist bumps. (Photo by Phill Snel)

The exercise is structured to simulate not only real-world technical issues, but also, “learning about working together as a team, accomplishing the tasks together, dividing up the tasks among among themselves. And they also learn to use lots of their communication skills – interpersonal communications, writing communication skills and presentation communication skills. These are other important outcomes of this particular course.”

Of the ten presenting students, many have participated in the Professional Experience Year Co-op Program, known as PEY Co-op. Asked if he thinks there’s a difference in approach to the assignment for those who do, or don’t, pursue a PEY, Esmaeili says, “I think so. I think it makes a significant difference in the way that you look at a  mining design project, because you understand the limitations and restrictions of a real-world mine operation. Also, it can give you a better understanding of the challenges and the potentials to improve a mine operation. So, yes, certainly it has a significant influence on how you look at the whole project.”

L to R: Brian Buss, Prof. Kamran Esmaeili and Larry Smith consult after fourth-year Lassonde Mineral Engineering students presented their Capstone projects. (Photo by Phill Snel)

Overseen by industry judges Brian Buss, P.Eng. and Larry Smith (CivE 7T2), along with Prof. Esmaeili, the three teams were subjected to rigorous questioning to justify their recommendations. Smith has been involved in this Capstone project for many years, and is a well-known expert in mining finance, mineral economics, as well as giving detailed lectures on cash flow analysis, cost estimation, commodity price forecasting and beyond. First-time guest judge, Buss, is a well-known expert in mine planning and design.

At times the questions could be philosophical in nature, asking if a given legacy environmental issue is an opportunity or a liability. Sometimes the answer is “both” as there is opportunity to use new methods to minimize environmental and social impacts, but there can be retained resistance in a community due to what has happened historically. “If we do the same mine today, how these problems could be avoided is something an opportunity for them to learn from. Learn from what happened in the past and propose something that could minimize these impacts,” says Esmaeili. Further adding, “In the winter term, in the second Capstone, they look at the environmental and social impacts of the mining project. And now that they are aware of these environmental problems, they should think about what can be done differently to avoid or minimize the environmental impacts.”

Min students, TAs, professor and industry professionals sit down for a family-style lunch after Capstone presentations. (Photo by Phill Snel)

After the Capstone presentations were completed, the close-knit cohort of assembled students, professor, TAs and industry professionals sat down for a well-deserved family-style lunch together in the atrium on the fourth floor of the Lassonde Mining Building.

By Phill Snel



Capstone posters

Poster by Team 1: Shaan Hudani, Alec Gilvesy, Komal Mann, Joseph Persaud

Poster by Team 2: Raphael Beekmeyer, Kyle Wong, Shi Kai Li

Poster by Team 3: Andriy Kalatskyy, Michael McCulloch, Shivan Singh

Summary of the project assigned:

The information on a polymetallic (lead-zinc-gold-silver) ore deposit located in Yukon, Canada, has been provided in the form of a block model (ore grades, rock types, etc.). In addition, some geotechnical information (geotechnical borehole logging data, geotechnical laboratory data) for the main rock units encountered in the area of the project has been given. You should perform a conceptual/pre-feasibility study of developing an open pit mine for the ore deposit. The following components will be analyzed in detail for the project:

  • Geotechnical rock mass characterization and classification
  • Pit slope stability analysis 
  • Pit design and optimization
  • Long-term production planning
  • Waste rock dump design

The results must be summarized in an engineering design report and an oral presentation (in the form of a poster).

How re-thinking traditional building materials can lead to new strategies for carbon capture and utilization

Samples of concrete curing in a carbonation chamber in the lab of Professor Daman Panesar (CivMin). A new collaboration between her team and the Canada Green Building Council will investigate new ways to sequester carbon in building materials. (Photo: Dr. Runxiao Zhang)

One of the most powerful tools for mitigating the impact of climate change could be a material that is so common we tend not to think about it very much — concrete.

Daman Panesar (CivE) has been named the Erwin Edward Hart Professor in Civil Engineering. Her research focuses on new ways to improve the performance of concrete structures, from bridges to buildings. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

Prof. Daman Panesar. (Photo by Tyler Irving)

Burying Carbon in Buildings: Advancing Carbon Capture and Utilization in Cementitious Building Materials is a new collaboration between a team of researchers led by Professor Daman Panesar (CivMin) and the Canada Green Building Council. It is funded by a recently-announced $1.7 million contribution by the Government of Canada.

Concrete is the world’s most widely used building material, and it can impact carbon emissions both as a burden and also a benefit. Firstly, the production of cement — one of the key components of concrete — produces relatively large amounts of carbon emissions, so mitigating these could make a big difference. But over its lifetime, concrete also has the ability to uptake carbon from the air.

“Currently, several low-carbon concrete framework documents have been produced worldwide and most of these roadmaps have set 2050 carbon reduction targets related to several levers, such as clinker-cement ratio, alternative fuel use, and carbon capture, storage and sequestration,” says Panesar.

While there has been preliminary work on several carbon utilization approaches, few have been implemented on a large scale. Panesar and her team will examine the challenges associated with scale-up of these strategies, and explore new technologies that can effectively turn built infrastructure into a carbon sink.

“Natural carbonation of concrete occurs by a chemical reaction between the constituents of concrete, particularly cement, and atmospheric carbon dioxide and it has the potential to occur throughout the life of the concrete,” says Panesar.

“However, accelerated or enforced carbonation approaches are relatively new technologies, which can also be referred to as carbon capture and utilization technologies, and can be introduced at different life stages, such as during manufacture or at end-of-life.”

Some examples of carbonation processes that will be explored and assessed include: CO2 injection, elevated CO2 exposure, mineral carbonation using recycled or waste CO2, industry by-products used to replace cement and subsequent CO2 curing, as well as the potential for synthetic treated aggregates.

“All of these techniques need further understanding of the implications and potential for negative emission technologies such as carbon capture utilization approaches,” says Panesar.

Another challenge for both new and existing structures is that any change to the formulations of concrete — for example, using lower-carbon components or absorbing more CO2 during curing — cannot come at the expense of its required structural and material design properties, such as strength and durability.

“For example, considering natural carbonation processes, the mechanism related to the potential for increased vulnerability of reinforced concrete elements to steel corrosion, concrete degradation and shortened service lives is fairly well understood.” says Panesar.

“For existing infrastructure, the situation becomes more complex because there is a need to account for and interpret the role of age-related cracking on the CO2 uptake of concrete, as well as in conjunction with other predominant degradation issues in Canada, such as freeze-thaw cycles.”

Finally, researchers will need to come up with benchmarks and other standardized tools to accurately account for the carbon uptake in building materials.

“Currently, there is no harmonized measure of concrete carbonation, and the differences in measurements and reporting add an extra dimension of complexity when trying to compare between different concrete formulations and/or CO2 uptake technologies,” says Panesar.

“Carbon accounting is critical to enable us to determine the relative environmental impacts of the various approaches and to be able to estimate or forecast the impacts of deploying these new technologies in the coming decades.”

One of the strengths of the new collaboration is that it provides a built-in pathway for new research findings to get translated into industry, as well as into new policies and regulations.

“As the national organization representing members and stakeholders across the green building spectrum, CAGBC can access industry expertise to help advance research and mobilize the sector to implement market solutions,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council.

“We are proud to partner with the University of Toronto on a project that has the potential to significantly reduce embodied carbon emissions from the cement industry. The results will contribute to the collective effort to decarbonize construction.”

By Tyler Iriving

This story originally published by Engineering News

Connaught Global Challenge Award to build pathways to housing self-sufficiency in remote First Nations communities

A new partnership, powered by a Connaught Global Challenge Award, will bring several First Nations in Saskatchewan together with a team of researchers from the University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University to develop new pathways toward housing self-sufficiency.

A family home in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A new partnership between the Prince Albert Grand Council, several First Nations and researchers from U of T and Toronto Metropolitan University will develop new pathways toward housing self-sufficiency. (Photo courtesy Natalie Clyke)

Prof. Sarah Haines

“A key issue in these communities is the availability of building materials, specifically the reliance on outside sources for materials,” says Professor Sarah Haines (CivMin), a member of the project team.

“Transporting materials to these remote communities is a significant challenge and creates a very limited supply to meet demand. Making use of locally available materials could enable the building of more houses, as well as address issues with the current housing stock.”

The idea for the project was seeded while Haines was preparing to study indoor air quality on First Nations in Ontario. She connected with Toronto Metropolitan University Architectural Science professor and U of T Engineering alumnus Helen Stopps (EngSci 1T5, MIE PhD 2T1). Stopps was also interested in studying housing in First Nations communities, but from a different perspective.

“Researchers in my field have traditionally tended to focus on individual buildings,” says Stopps. “I’m much more interested in how things work at a regional level, especially in terms of how policies, politics and social structures impact what gets built. This applies to all communities, from big cities to remote First Nations communities.”

Haines and Stopps were connected to experts, such as Becky Big Canoe of Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation. In those conversations, they saw an opportunity for a project to help address the broader set of issues that affect housing availability on many First Nations across Canada.

Through involvement in the Housing Supply Challenge offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Haines and Stopps connected with Natalie Clyke, who works as a Pandemic Coordinator with the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC). This organization represents 12 different First Nations that together comprise about 48% of the land area of Saskatchewan.

Clyke has long been a proponent of the use of innovative and sustainable materials in housing on First Nations communities.

“One thing I’ve been advocating for here in Saskatchewan is the use of magnesium oxide board,” says Clyke. “This material can be used in the same ways as plywood, gypsum or cement, but it has natural anti-microbial properties that can prevent some of the issues we see, for example around mold and mildew.”

In the past, Clyke has developed proposals for a community-operated magnesium oxide board manufacturing facility that would produce this material right where it’s needed. It’s just one example of the types of potential solutions that the new partnership aims to explore.

In addition to Haines and Stopps, researchers on the project include U of T professors Tracey Galloway (Anthropology, UTM) and Nicholas Spence (Health and Society). It also includes Penny Kinnear, a lecturer with the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering, and Roxanna Dehghan, a research associate at the Centre for Global Engineering.

Through Clyke, these researchers have been connected with several of the Saskatchewan First Nations that are members of PAGC. These include Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, James Smith Cree Nation, Wahpeton Dakota Nation and Montreal Lake Cree Nation. Conversations with the remaining PAGC First Nations and communities are ongoing.

The project is titled From Harvest to House: Developing a Pathway to Housing Self-sufficiency in Remote First Nations Communities. The Connaught Global Challenge Award provides funding from U of T’s Connaught Fund, Canada’s largest internal university research funding program. Established 50 years ago through the sale of Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, the fund has since given out more than $178.7 million to U of T researchers, supporting a wide array of scholars and projects across a diverse range of fields.

“This is exactly the kind of important and impactful research the Connaught Global Challenge Award was created to support,” said Professor Leah Cowen, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation, and strategic initiatives. “I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this innovative collaboration.”

Over the course of the next several months, this group aims to convene a series of individualized workshops that enable the project’s members to discuss both the challenges and the potential for new approaches.

“Our initial goal is to listen to community representatives and determine the most critical housing issues in their community,” says Haines. “From there, we can start to talk about what materials are available, how they could be repurposed, or what innovative strategies might help address these issues.”

“These workshops will be an opportunity for our communities to develop relationships with builders, engineers and researchers,” says Clyke.

“Together, they can create new and improved building methods that will incorporate what the communities themselves have available and want to use, while reducing the need to rely on outside materials and expertise.”

Clyke says that what she’d ultimately like to see come out of the project is a publicly available resource that outlines a set of solutions that any community can adapt to its own situation and needs.

“As we embark on this, we’re walking with our culture, our trauma and our reconciliation,” she says. “Everything requires an unfolding for it to heal, and that’s true of our housing practices as well.”

Connaught New Researcher awards support innovation in smart bridge decks

Fae Azhari

Prof. Fae Azhari, cross-appointed with CivMin and MIE, has received funding through the Connaught New Researcher awards for smart bridge decks.

Azhari relates her research:

Cracks, corrosion, and other defects are becoming an all too familiar sight in our aging concrete infrastructure. Concrete bridge decks are especially susceptible to deterioration due to ageing, chloride-induced corrosion, and traffic loading. Transportation agencies require careful periodic inspections of bridge decks, which not only is a difficult and time-consuming task, but may also miss critical damage due to the intermittent nature of these evaluations.

To perform timely and cost-effective maintenance and prevent any catastrophic failures, we need continuous monitoring of structural conditions. Would it not be nice if bridges had a skin that could sense traffic and surface conditions? This research aims to develop a cement-based composite material that can be applied to bridge decks as a skin-like overlay and provide real-time spatial mapping of loads and defects. The proposed cementitious sensing skin functions based on the principle of piezoresitivity, which means changes in loading conditions and material properties correspond to proportional changes in electrical resistivity.

Therefore, by measuring changes in resistivity of the “smart” deck, we can deduce the location and intensity of stresses and defects. Unlike conventional sensing devices, the physical and mechanical properties of cementitious composites are similar to those of the host structure so they can withstand mechanical and environmental conditions while doubling as a self-sensing material for strain and damage detection.


Originally announced via Engineering News

CivMin grad students awarded NSERC scholarships

Two CivMin graduate students have been awarded scholarships from Natural Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC). Jay Gordon receives a Post Graduate Scholarship (PGS), while Katia Ossetchkina has receives a Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS).

Jay Gordon and Katia Ossetchkina

Jay Gordon (BSc 2011, CivE PhD candidate)

Jay Gordon (BSc 2011) – NSERC PGS Doctoral scholarship

Jay is a PhD candidate, under the supervision of Prof. Lesley Warren, who’s applying their environmental science background engineering solutions in the Mine, Water and Environment lab.  In particular, they are interested in exploring connections between the sulphur genes revealed through metagenomics of bacterial populations, abiotic inputs, and the rate of microbial sulphur oxidation.
Providing novel biogeochemical tools for mine wastewater management is a key part of the work of the Mine, Water and Environment Group.  The work focuses on understanding how the universal sulphur metabolisms of bacteria found in mine water are the key to unlocking how and when acidity is generated.  Through linking chemistry to genetics, this work examines the intricate clockwork mechanisms inside of microbial cells.  This knowledge can then be applied to mining contexts and used to prevent the risk of downstream environmental impacts.
“The interconnected complexity of life never fails to inspire me…before we wish to change a system, we must first become acquainted with its intricacies, to deeply understand,” relays Gordon.

Katia Ossetchkina (CivE 1T8 + PEY) – NSERC CGS Masters scholarship

Katia Ossetchkina (CivE 1T8 + PEY, MASc candidate)

Katia is a MASc candidate, under the supervision of Prof. Karl Peterson and Prof. Giovanni Grasselli, whose research focuses on using image processing and computer vision techniques to automatically and accurately quantify mechanical properties of rocks. To address inherent complexity from geometry and varying material properties, numerical simulation is increasingly popular across civil engineering material applications for predicting fracture system formation.
Using insights from geomaterial images to inform these models will empower researchers with tools for detailed micro-structure simulations, important for industry design recommendations across many Canadian geological engineering applications, including enhanced geothermal systems, nuclear waste repositories, wellbore stability and unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transport Decarbonization and Air Quality

Scott Gray-Owen, Caroline Hossein and Marianne Hatzopoulou are three of 34 scholars at U of T who were awarded new or renewed Canada Research Chairs (photos by Nick Iwanyshyn, courtesy of Caroline Hossein, by Johnny Guatto)

Congratulations to Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou on being named a new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transport Decarbonization and Air Quality.Hatzopoulou is a professor in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, a director of Positive Zero Transport Futures, and leads the Transportation and Air Quality (TRAQ) research group.“She and her research team are enhancing our capacity to model air quality and environmental justice under decarbonization pathways and to develop new platforms to track human behaviour and air quality across communities and over time. Their findings will help industry, government and communities in Canada and around the world to prioritize transportation innovations that both benefit society and reduce emissions.” – excerpt from Government of Canada Canada Research Chairs website.

Here is the full list of new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at U of T:


New Canada Research Chairs


Aimy Bazylak in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Tier 1 in clean energy.

Denise Belsham in the department of physiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in neuroendocrinology.

Maged Goubran at the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and the department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience.

Scott Gray-Owen in the department of molecular genetics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in infectious immunopathogenesis.

Robin Hayeems at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Tier 2 in genomics and health policy.

Marianne Hatzopoulou in the department of civil and mineral engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Tier 1 in transport decarbonization and air quality.

Caroline Hossein in the department of global development studies at U of T Scarborough, Tier 2 in Africana development and feminist political economy.

Muhammad Husain at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the department of psychiatry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in treatment innovation in mood disorders.

Courtney Jones at the University Health Network and the department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in leukemia stem cell metabolism.

Andrea Knight at the Hospital for Sick Children and the department of paediatrics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in mental health and chronic disease of childhood.

Sushant Kumar at the University Health Network and the department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in genomic medicine.

J. Rafael Montenegro Burke in the Donnelly Centre in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in functional metabolomics and lipidomics.

Deborah O’Connor in the department of nutritional sciences in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in human milk and infant nutrition.

Vijay Ramaswamy at the Hospital for Sick Children and the department of paediatrics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Gregory Schwartz at the University Health Network and the department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in bioinformatics and computational Biology.

Jay Shaw in the department of physical therapy in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in responsible health innovation.

Anastasia Tikhonova at the University Health Network and the department of medical biophysics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in stem cell niche biology.

Burton Yang at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in cardiac remodeling.

Darren Yuen at Unity Health Toronto and the department of medicine in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in fibrotic injury.


Renewed Canada Research Chairs


John Calarco in the department of cell and systems biology in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in neuronal RNA biology.

Myron Cybulsky at the University Health Network and the department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in arterial wall biology and atherogenesis.

David Duvenaud in the department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in generative models.

Julie Forman-Kay in the Hospital for Sick Children and the department of biochemistry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 1 in intrinsically disordered proteins.

Bryan Gaensler in the David A. Dunlap department of astronomy and astrophysics in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 1 in radio astronomy.

Alec Jacobson in the department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in geometry processing.

Jean-Philippe Julien at the Hospital for Sick Children and the department of biochemistry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in structural immunology.

Kang Lee in the department of applied psychology and human development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Tier 1 in moral development and developmental neuroscience.

David Levin in the department of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in simulation-driven graphics and fabrication.

Jed Meltzer at Baycrest Hospital and the department of psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in interventional cognitive neuroscience.

Sean Mills in the department of history in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in Canadian and transnational history.

Kimberly Pernell-Gallagher in the department of sociology in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Tier 2 in economic sociology.

Arun Ramchandran in the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Tier 2 in engineered soft materials and interfaces.

Andras Tilcsik at the Rotman School of Management, Tier 2 in strategy, organizations, and society.

Haley Wyatt in the department of biochemistry in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Tier 2 in mechanisms of genome instability.

By Scott Anderson

This story originally posted by U of T News

CivMin alumnus wins the first place at BFN Top Venture Award

BFN program manager Efosa Obano (L) with Olugbenga Olubanjo and one of the judges at the BFN Top Venture Award on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. (Photo by BFN)

Congratulations to our CivMin alumni Olugbenga Olubanjo (CivE MASc 1T9) for taking home the top Venture Award prize at the Black Founders Network (BFN). The event was held November 9, 2022 at the University of Toronto.

Olugbenaga Olubanji is a founder of an energy startup Reeddi that completed the BFN Accelerate’s four-month bootcamp among eleven others. “What brought me to the BFN was the community of like-minded founders all working to build amazing things,” said Olugbenga. He took the first place BFN Top Venture Award and awarded with a $15,000 grant by the BFN Investor Judges.

Reeddi developed a portable source of affordable and clean electricity suitable both for personal and businesses needs in energy-poor regions of the world. The company provides rentals of compact and portable capsules charged by solar-powered stations located in communities. The companies’ business model provides affordable energy tool for customers and motivates them to return capsules on time by earning credits toward future purchases.

BFN as a part of U of T works to create an inclusive community for Black entrepreneurs. It is aimed to support impactful startups and founders as they launch, fund and scale businesses.

This story was originally published by U of T News.


CivMin has three Arbor Award recipients

Three members of our CivMin community are being recognized by the University with one of its highest distinctions. The Arbor Awards are the University of Toronto’s highest honour in recognition of exceptional and longstanding volunteer service.

Chris Andrews (L), Angela Bodrozic-Selak (CivE 1T3) and Lloyd McCoomb.

Chris Andrews

Chris has been a very active member of the Civil Engineering Industry Advisory Board, including serving most recently as chair. He has reinvented the board, set its strategic direction, enabled research opportunities for faculty members, and provided students with employment opportunities and mentorship, among other contributions since 2017.


Angela Bodrozic-Selak (CivE 1T3)

Every year, Angela selects a case study for use as a project in the Municipal Engineering course. She speaks to students four times during the semester. She also trains teaching assistants on how to grade the project and spends up to 50 hours grading projects herself. Angela has significant impact on this course and its students.


Lloyd McCoomb (PhD., P.Eng)

Lloyd’s guidance and leadership were instrumental in growing the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute into a centre of excellence that is highly regarded by industry and government partners. Lloyd is also chair of the executive committee that organizes the Iron Ring Ceremony for over 2000 student engineers graduating each year from U of T and other universities from across GTA.

CivMin professor and student receive EAN Awards

CivMin Chair Prof. Brent Sleep (L) with Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou and third-year student Amy Bagrin at the EAN Awards on Thursday, November 3, 2022. (Photo by Phill Snel / CivMin)

CivMin’s Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou (CivE PhD 0T8) and undergraduate student Amy Bagrin (CivE Year 3) were recognized by the Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) at their annual EAN Awards event held Thursday, November 3 at Hart House.

Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou at the EAN Awards Thursday, November 3, 2022. (photo by Phill Snel / CivMin)

Prof. Hatzopoulou was recognized with the 2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award, with Bagrin receiving the EAN Scholarship.

Hatzopoulou’s award recognizes a graduate (11-25 years from undergraduate graduation) who has earned respect within the profession as well as the broader Canadian community. She completed her PhD at U of T in 2008 in Transportation Engineering in Civil Engineering, and has been a professor in the Department since 2015 having first started at McGill in 2010.

Currently, Hatzopoulou leads the Transportation and Air Quality (TRAQ) research group studying the interactions between transportation, air quality, climate, and health. She published over 140 publications on these topics. She is also the Director of Positive Zero Transport Futures, a living lab ecosystem for testing transport decarbonization innovations with positive societal outcomes. She received funding from provincial, federal, and international agencies to conduct integrative research in transportation engineering and public health. Prof. Hatzopoulou held a Tier2 Canada Research Chair in Transportation and Air Quality (2013-2021) and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Accelerator Supplement (2016-2019). She is on the Canadian team that received the 2021 NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. She serves on the Transportation Research Board standing committee on Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation as the committee research coordinator. She is also an associate editor of the journal Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment.

Amy Bagrin (CivE Year 3) is flanked EAN President Safdar Mahmood (ElecE 0T3) and Engineering Dean Prof. Christopher Yip (ChemE 8T8, R) at the EAN Awards Thursday, November 3, 2022. (photo by Phill Snel/CivMin)

Bagrin’s award is presented to a part-time or full-time student in good standing, proceeding to second, third or fourth year in any program in the Faculty. Recipients are selected based on the demonstration of a passion for engineering-related design, creativity and innovation as exhibited by involvement in the Skule™ community through design-related extra-curricular activities, co-curricular involvement and/or entrepreneurial pursuits.

She is a third-year Civil Engineering student, currently pursuing a minor in Engineering Business. During her time at U of T, she has grown as a leader and gained a love for the Skule™ community at large. She aims to deliver equitable and accessible F!rosh Week programming to the incoming first-year engineering students through her work for the finance portfolio of the Orientation Committee, starting as a subcommittee chair and moving on to be the Vice-Chair Finance. She also organizes events and initiatives for her peers through her work for the Civil Engineering Club (aka Civ Club). As the former Social Director and acting Vice Chair, she engages and strengthens the Civil Engineering student body, representing their interests to the department and faculty. In 2022, Amy served as a captain on the U of T Troitsky design team, leading her team to victory at the national Troitsky Bridge Building Competition. Upon graduating, Amy hopes to continue her work in drinking water treatment through the water resources management stream or further explore business in the construction management industry.


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