Posts Categorized: Uncategorised

EngSci Chair Deepa Kundur discusses engineering census data

In an opinion piece published in MacLean’s Magazine, EngSci Chair Deepa Kundur reflects on recent census data on the gender gap in engineering and the exciting prospects for this vital profession’s future.

Click here to read the MacLean’s article!


Meet award-winning EngSci grads

Five EngSci alumni were honoured last week with Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) Awards:

Engineering Hall of Distinction:  Jonathan Rose (EngSci 8T0, ECE MASc 8T2, PhD 8T6)
2T5 Mid-Career Award:  Tom Chau (EngSci 9T2, ECE MASc 9T4)
1T0 Early Career Award:  Christopher Wilmer (EngSci 0T7)
L.E. Jones Award:  Allan Kuan (EngSci 1T4 + PEY, CivE PhD Candidate) and Alex Perelgut (EngSci 1T6 + PEY)

Read about their outstanding contributions to the engineering profession, their community and, in two cases, the arts.

View photos from the ceremony on Flickr.

See below for video testimonials from the winners.


Smoothing the way to paperless medical records

James Bateman launched MedChart after his father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer

EngSci alumnus James Bateman (1T3 Physics, ECE PhD candidate) knows a problem when he sees one. When his father-in-law underwent treatment for cancer, he saw firsthand the difficulty of coordinating his care across several medical facilities. The struggle of keeping track of medical records in many different formats from many different places added unnecessary stress to an already difficult difficult time.

Bateman and fellow EngSci alumnus Derrick Chow (1T3 Aerospace) decided to tackle this problem. Together they launched MedChart, a company that allows patients to pull records securely from multiple institutions to help caregivers more easily manage their care.

Click here to read how they want to make paper medical records a thing of the past!


EngSci Schulich Leaders share the fun of science and technology

Andres Lombo and Aidan Aird (both Year 1 EngSci) have both received Schulich Leader Scholarships to study at U of T Engineering.

Schulich Leadership Scholarships are awarded every year to talented students who have shown outstanding commitment to their communities. This year’s Year 1 EngSci class includes two Schulich Leaders with a passion for sharing the fun of science with kids. Aidan Aird and Andres Lombo have both founded science outreach organizations that have brought live demonstrations and hands-on activities thousands of young students.

Click here to learn how they are taking their passions to the next level!


Distracted driving project takes video competition at UnERD

Kaiyang Chen (Year 3 EngSci) is part of a team that took top honours in the video competition at the 2017 Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD) held earlier this month. This annual conference allows undergraduate students to share results from research projects they have worked on over the summer in University of Toronto labs and beyond.

New this year was a video competition that challenged students to creatively convey their research in just 90 seconds. The winning team of Kaiyang Chen and Tianshu Shen (Year 3 IndE) showed off their research into in how distracting activities like operating an entertainment system can affect drivers behind the wheel. Their work was conducted in the Human Factors and Applied Statistics Lab.

Watch the winning video from Tianshu Shen (Year 3 IndE) and Kaiyang Chen (Year 3 EngSci)


Dawn Kilkenny and Khoman Phang join EngSci’s leadership team

In July, EngSci welcomed two new Associate Chairs to our team. They bring a wealth of teaching experience to help guide the program’s administration over the next five years.

EngSci’s new Associate Chairs, Professor Dawn Kilkenny (IBBME) and Professor Khoman Phang (ECE).

Professor Dawn Kilkenny (IBBME) is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream, and the Associate Director for undergraduate programs at the Institute for Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). She has been nationally recognized for teaching excellence, and focuses on the translation of current biomedical methods and tools into the IBBME Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory. Click here to read her thoughts on teaching.

Kilkenny replaces previous EngSci Associate Chair, Deepa Kundur, who became Chair of the Division in January. She will focus primarily on administration of Years 1 and 2. She was previously Chair of the EngSci Biomedical Systems Major and teaches in the 3rd year of the Major.

Professor Khoman Phang (ECE) is an Associate Professor in the Teaching Stream, and is a triple graduate of U of T Engineering. His expertise lies in analog integrated circuits for free-space optical communications and biomedical applications. He has developed mobile phones at Sony in Tokyo, Japan, and wireless networks at IBM in Toronto.

Phang replaces outgoing Associate Chair, Professor James Davis (UTIAS), who served from 2012 to 2017. He will focus on administration of Years 3 and 4. He teaches Year 1 EngSci students in the Introduction to Electronic Circuits course.

We sat down with our new Associate Chairs to learn about their goals for the program.


What do you hope students get out of the EngSci program?

Kilkenny: Engineering Science is an amazing program that brings together very talented individuals to work on advanced problems. The creativity and tenacity of our students knows no bounds. My hope is that our students recognize the value, as well as the learning opportunities, that arise from the successes and challenges during their EngSci journey.

Phang: I think the program allows students to explore the intersection of traditional areas of engineering and beyond. It invites them to be creative and to push the boundaries. I hope the program can cultivate in students that open perspective and a curiosity to explore the frontiers and intersection of disciplines. I also hope every student experiences that sense of the community that I believe is the hallmark of Engineering Science.

How does EngSci fit into what’s going on in the world?

Phang: Our program is well suited for preparing students for today’s world. So much of what is new today occurs at the intersection of different disciplines. The world needs people who are comfortable exploring these boundaries – of both technology and cultures in a global market and work place.

Kilkenny: The EngSci program is internationally recognized, and the ability to succeed in the program demonstrates a capacity to make great strides in meeting and exceeding the challenges of the modern world.

What are your specific goals as Associate Chair?

Kilkenny: I would like to promote interdisciplinary activities for our students. I also hope to strengthen our portfolio of undergraduate summer research opportunities.

Phang: The strong sense of community within Engineering Science is one of our biggest strengths and it carries over into our alumni community. I hope to capitalize on it as I work with students and alumni to foster greater connections through our recently launched U of T Engineering CONNECT platform for alumni and senior students.

What current challenges or opportunities do you see?

Kilkenny: It’s always a challenge to keep up with the ideation and creativity of our students! I want to ensure that students are fully aware of the wealth of resources available to them at U of T, both in the engineering faculty and beyond, as they navigate through their courses and other practical experiences.


Meet the new chair of our biomedical systems major

Professor Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez studies cell-to-cell communication to help find ways to make wounds heal faster.

Professor Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez (IBBME) has commenced a five-year term as the chair of the EngSci biomedical systems engineering major, succeeding Professor Dawn Kilkenny (IBBME).

In his Quantitative Morphogenesis Laboratory, Fernandez-Gonzalez leads a group of researchers focused on one of the outstanding questions in biology: how do cells “talk” to each other to coordinate their behaviour?

For example, when our bodies are injured, groups of cells must work together to form new tissue and close the wound. By studying wound repair in fruit fly embryos, Fernandez-Gonzalez and his team are trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of cell communication during tissue repair. Their work could help find ways to promote or prevent cell communication, leading to new drugs or therapies that help wounds heal faster or prevent tumour metastases.

Fernandez-Gonzalez is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research at the University of Toronto, and the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program at Sick Kids. He received the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in 2015, and the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Cell Biology and Morphogenesis.

We asked him about his vision for the next five years.

What are your thoughts on biomedical systems engineering (BSE) major?

Over the last four years, I have had the privilege of teaching EngSci students. I have been most impressed with their ability to learn and connect concepts from the different courses they take. What strikes me about students in the BSE major in particular is their desire to make a difference in the fields of biology/medicine.

What do you hope students get out of it?

I am hoping they learn about biology and medicine, and how with their quantitative skills, they can contribute to these fields in truly unique ways. The tools and approaches that BSE students bring to the table and contribute to develop are now central to the study of biological systems.

I see it every day in my research field: when I did my PhD and postdoctoral work, it was rare for me to find other engineers at conferences. These days, engineers, physicists, and mathematicians are part of every major research team; and professional societies, such as the American Society for Cell Biology, organize entire sessions and tracks in their meetings to attract people with quantitative skills.

What are your goals for the major?

I want to enhance the student experience. I am a big fan of the BSE major in EngSci, and I am aware of some of its limitations. I want to spend time with the students to learn about their needs, and then work with other faculty and with the students themselves to ensure that our curriculum continues to prepare them for the types of jobs they aspire to after graduation.


Giving a voice to those who can’t speak – EngSci alumnus Tom Chau