U of T news

Connaught New Researcher awards back innovative faculty

Awards help establish research programs, launch careers

Aimy Bazylak is conducting research into cleaner fuel cells (photo by Sara Collaton)

Forty-one researchers from across the university have won Connaught New Researcher Awards to help them launch their academic careers.

The program is designed to foster excellence in research and innovation among researchers at the assistant professor level who are within the first five years of their first academic appointment.

“One of the goals of the New Researcher Award,” said Professor Paul Young, U of T’s vice-president (research and innovation), “is to help new professors establish strong research programs, which in turn makes them more competitive for external funding.”

The award is part of a suite of programs administered by the Connaught Fund, and is rooted in the Connaught Fund philosophy of investing internally in U of T research. Created from the 1972 sale of Connaught Laboratories, which first mass-produced insulin, the Nobel award-winning discovery of U of T researchers Frederick Banting, Charles Best, J.J.R. Macleod and James Collip, the fund invests close to $4 million annually in emerging and established scholars.

“The Connaught New Researchers are part of a legacy of research excellence at the University of Toronto,” said Young. “Congratulations to them on these well-deserved awards. I look forward to seeing the results of their research in coming years.”

This year, the fund awarded a total of $674,614. The winners are:

  • Aimy Bazylak, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, “Improving polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells for clean energy.”
  • Lauren Bialystok, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences & Social Justice Education, “Refining the authenticity discourse in education.”
  • Suzanne Cadarette, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, “Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis management.” 
  • Arthur Chan, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, “Laboratory studies of semivolatile organic emissions and oxidation.” 
  • Nate Charlow, Department of Philosophy, UTM, “The language of direction.”
  • Ya-Huei (Cathy) Chin, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, “Catalytic upgrading of biomass derived oxygenates into fuels and commodity chemicals: Chemistry at acid sites confined within microporous crystalline structures.”
  • Hae Yeon Choo, Department of Sociology, UTM, “Narrating gender, nation, and victimhood: Global stratification in gender-related refugee case law in Canada.”
  • Bianca Dahl, Department of Anthropology, UTSC, “Blood of the innocents: Exploring the changing relationship between stigma and public health program successes for HIV-positive children and adults in Botswana.”
  • Carolina de Miguel Moyer, Department of Political Science, “The price of territorial politics: Economic inequality, institutions and party systems.”
  • Alis Ekmekci, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, “Experimental research on flow control: suppression of flow-induced vibration.”
  • Kamran Esmaeili, Department of Civil Engineering, “Characterization of impact-induced damage of rock masses in ore pass systems.”
  • Linda Feng, Department of East Asian studies, “The mindscape of here versus there: Imagined geographies and the circulation of spatial knowledge in medieval China.”
  • Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez, Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, “Mechanisms of cell coordination in epithelial morphogenesis analyzed by quantitative 3D imaging.”
  • Lisa Forman, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, “Maximizing the contribution of the right to health to global health equity: Developing rights-based goals for universal health coverage.”
  • Patricia Ganea, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, “Using picture books to teach young children science.”
  • Penney M. Gilbert, Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, “Methods to expand muscle stem cells ex vivo for localized transplantation therapies.”
  • Jenna Hartel, Faculty of Information, “No problem! Information practice in the liberal arts hobby.”
  • Benjamin Hatton, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, “Antimicrobial surfaces for medical equipment and environments.”
  • Jodie Jenkinson, Department of Biology, UTM, “Mental model construction and complex learning in undergraduate biology: Examining the perceptual affordances of three-dimensional animated visualizations for learning about molecular scale phenomena.”
  • Philippe Lavoie, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, “Flow control for reduction of drag and noise emission of blunt trailing edge airfoils.”
  • Shannon McCauley, Department of Biology, UTM, “Effects of cross-scale interactions on species distributions and community structure in freshwater systems.”
  • Karim Mekhail, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, “Perinuclear silent chromatin tethers in premature aging and muscular dystrophy.”
  • Lena Mortensen, Department of Anthropology, UTSC, “Cultural celebrity and the archaeological imagination: Assessing emerging relationships in heritage, rights, and the marketplace.” 
  • Kelly O’Brien, Department of Physical Therapy, “Establishing a community-based exercise intervention to reduce episodic disability experienced by adults living with HIV.”
  • Andrea Olive, Department of Political Science, UTM, “Immigrant attitudes toward wildlife & nature: A case study of Chinese immigrants in Toronto and Vancouver.” 
  • Chayawat Ornthanalai, Rotman School of Management, “Option listing on IPOs.”  
  • Anuradha Prakki, Faculty of Dentistry, “Catechin released from Bis-GMA/TEGDMA and BisGMA/TEGDMA/PAM dental copolymers: biological properties.”
  • T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, “The Untruth of Style: Art and Culture in the Age of Digital Reproduction.”
  • Mikhail Simutin, Rotman School of Management, “On incentives to stand out in the family: Deviation from the family portfolio and mutual fund performance.”
  • Josh Taylor, Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “Coordinated control of distributed energy resources.”
  • Piero Triverio, Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “Stochastic models of high-speed interconnects for time-domain analysis.”
  • Amanda Uliaszek, Department of Psychology, UTSC, “The stress generation model as an explanation of suicidality in borderline personality disorder.”
  • Vinod Vaikuntanathan, Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, UTM, “Secure cloud computing.”
  • Steven Vande Moortele, Faculty of Music, “Towards a theory of romantic form: Concert and opera overtures, 1820 − 50.”  
  • Kimberley Widger, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, “How have we changed? Pediatric palliative care in Canada, 2002-2012.” 
  • Daniel Wigdor , Department of Mathematics and Computational Sciences, UTM, “Enabling a symphony of devices.”
  • Liyan Yang, Rotman School of Management, “Disagreement, sentiment, and return predictiveness of liquidity: Theory and evidence.” 
  • Paul Yoo, Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, “The Neural Mechanisms of Treating Chronic Urinary Symptoms by Electrical Neuromodulation.”
  • Ding Yuan, Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “Making failures more diagnosable in the cloud.”
  • Ke Zhang, Department of Mathematics and Computational Sciences, UTM, “Instabilities in nearly integrable Hamiltonian systems.” 

Jenny Hall is a writer with the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovations