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Meet U of T's 17 new Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

Largest number of new Fellows in the country

Internationally recognized scholar Brenda Cossman from the Faculty of Law is one of 17 new Fellows from U of T elected to the Royal Society of Canada (photo by Caz Zyvatkauskas)

The prestigious Royal Society of Canada (RSC) has added 17 new Fellows from the University of Toronto to its ranks - the largest number of new Fellows from any institution in Canada. 

"This year, in the year of its 130th anniversary, the RSC is pleased to congratulate the new cohort of Fellows and welcome them among its ranks. These Fellows were recently elected by their peers in a highly competitive environment of numerous, first-rate candidates. Through their exceptional work, these new Fellows pursue the distinguished work of a long line of researchers and creators who have contributed to expand Canada’s intellectual, artistic and scientific resources to support Canada’s population and its international scope," said Professor Yolande Grisé, President of the RSC.

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.

“Election to the Royal Society of Canada is an important milestone in a researcher’s life. It is an honour that officially recognizes a special level of expertise, innovation and contribution,” said Professor Paul Young, vice-president, research and innovation at U of T and himself an RSC Fellow and medalist. 

“On behalf of the University, let me congratulate the 17 new U of T Fellows. We are immensely proud of them and thankful for the impact they make on our students and on people around the world.”

Young added that the breadth of disciplines represented in the 2012 Fellows is notable. 

“U of T prides itself on the comprehensiveness of our research community. You can see that clearly in the Class of 2012, with professors from the humanities, social sciences, physical and life sciences investigating a huge variety of global challenges and subjects.”

The 17 new Fellows join 327 U of T faculty members who have been named RSC Fellows since 1980, giving the University the largest contingent in the country. The 2012 inductees will be honoured at a ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 17.

The 2012 Fellows are:

KEITH, Alison M. - Department of Classics
Alison Keith’s daring and imaginative cross-disciplinary research has established her as a leading authority on the ancient Latin poet Ovid, and broken new ground in the understanding of Roman literature and social history. Her pioneering contribution to the field of feminist studies in Latin literature disseminated through her many articles and books, engender a deeper understanding of ancient texts and ancient society.

MATTHEN, Mohan - Department of Philosophy
Mohan Matthen has contributed importantly to three philosophical sub-disciplines. He showed how Greek ontology was shaped by the syntax of the Greek verb “to be”, and how Greek cosmology treats the universe as a single substance. He pioneered the statistical interpretation of the neo-Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection and espoused a relational view of species. He has played a synthesizing role in perception by treating knowledge formation as a kind of action.

ORCHARD, Andy - Centre for Medieval Studies
Andy Orchard is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential and innovative scholars in the world in the field of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic languages and literatures. He is particularly known for his scholarship on a range of material spanning more than eight centuries and including such iconic works and authors as Alcuin, Aldhelm, Beowulf, Boniface, Cynewulf, the Poetic Edda, Wulfstan and the Anglo-Saxon riddle tradition.

ORWIN, Donna Tussing - Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Donna Tussing Orwin is among the world’s leading experts in Russian psychological prose, especially Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. She served as Editor of Tolstoy Studies Journal for eight years. She also studies literature and war in the Russian 18th and 19th centuries. In 2008 she received the Pushkin Medal from the Russian government for her contributions to Russian culture.

RICE, Keren - Department of Linguistics
Keren Rice is a linguist who has done work in theoretical phonology, theoretical morphology, language description and indigenous-community linguistics, focusing on Athabaskan languages of the Northwest Territories, Canada in particular. Her book, A Grammar of Slave, won the Leonard Bloomfield book award from the Linguistic Society of America. She has been honoured with the Killam Prize, the Molson Prize and an eagle feather from First Nations House (University of Toronto).

STEVENS, Paul - Department of English
Paul Stevens is an internationally renowned scholar of early modern English literature and culture and a world-class authority on the works of John Milton. His numerous publications have made ground-breaking contributions to Milton’s politics and poetics, Shakespeare, early modern nationalism and colonialism, and the new historicism. He is Professor and CRC in English Literature at the University of Toronto and founder of the Canada Milton Seminar.

COSSMAN, Brenda - Faculty of Law
Brenda Cossman has achieved international recognition for her scholarship on issues that are fundamental to how Canadians see themselves, including freedom of expression, sexuality and the legal regulation of intimate relationships. Across a broad range of disciplines and through a wide array of publications, including five books, a wealth of articles, newspaper columns, media interviews, and a number of law reform reports for governments, she has worked to make us think critically about how the law functions in the most public and private aspects of our lives, including the ways we value and experience family, intimacy, sexuality and identity.

EDWARDS, Elizabeth - Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
Elizabeth Edwards has achieved international recognition for her pioneering research on how biological processes affect pollutants in the environment. Her research was largely responsible for disproving the belief that monoaromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene could not be biologically degraded under anaerobic conditions. She also developed a microbial culture called KB-1, dominated by unusual organohalide-respiring bacteria, that is an effective low-cost solution for cleaning up industrial sites contaminated by chlorinated solvents.

KSCHISCHANG, Frank R. - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Frank Kschischang is an international authority and leading researcher in digital communications and coding theory. He is a co-inventor of the factor graph, a type of graphical model that implements an efficient probabilistic-inference algorithm with wide-ranging applications. His work on subspace codes for network coding introduced a radically new approach to error-control for coded networks and his groundbreaking work on optical communications has had both theoretical and industrial impact.

ROSE, Jonathan Scott - Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Jonathan Rose is a world leader in the area of Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, which are pre-fabricated digital chips that can be programmed to become any digital circuit. These devices form the backbone of the Internet, cellular networks and many other systems that require digital hardware. Rose and his students have done pioneering work on the global structure of these devices, and the software algorithms and tools needed in their use.

FERRIS, Frederick Grant - Department of Geology, Earth Sciences Centre
The transformative work of Professor Grant Ferris, notable for its depth, breadth, interdisciplinary nature and fundamental role in defining the new discipline of microbial geochemistry, has made him one of the world’s premier scientists exploring problems at the interface between the biological and physical sciences. He has established a profound new understanding of the pervasive importance of microbial activity throughout Earth’s diverse environments, credited with the discovery and development of a range of novel contributions to his discipline.

BLACK, Sandra E. - Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto
Dr. Sandra Black is a pre-eminent cognitive neurologist, recognized internationally as a research leader and clinical trialist in both stroke and dementia. She has exploited leading-edge neuroimaging techniques for detection, diagnosis, monitoring outcomes and studying brain-behaviour relationships. She has developed research infrastructure, exemplified by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, and has won many mentorship awards. She combines enormous dedication to patients with cutting-edge science.

DENNIS, James W. - Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto
Dr. Dennis has done pioneering work in cancer research leading to an understanding of genetic and structural changes that promote metastatic spread. In an elegant series of experiments, Dr. Dennis characterized the biochemical pathway that adds complex carbohydrate structures to cell surface proteins, and developed a unifying model of growth factor receptor regulation. The model has been applied to the discovery of heritable genetic and metabolic susceptibility in autoimmune disease.

DRUCKER, Daniel J. - Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto
Daniel Drucker is recognized for innovative science focused on identifying novel actions of the glucagon-like peptides and their receptors, and for efforts illuminating the utility of glucagon-like peptides and DPP-4 inhibitors for the treatment of diabetes and intestinal disorders.

KENNEDY, James L. - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto
James Kennedy’s innovative research has resulted in pioneering discoveries relating gene variants to psychiatric disorders, brain imaging and treatment response. He has found genetic predictors of risk for attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disorders and medication side effects including tardive dyskinesia, drug-induced mania and weight gain. He has translated these findings into pharmacogenetic tests in clinical care and influenced pharmacogenetic research and its application at an international level.

NAROD, Steven - Women’s College Research Institute, University of Toronto
Dr. Steven Narod has proven that hereditary breast/ovarian cancers are preventable, and he has also found that many Ontario women with BRCA1/2 mutations are ineligible for provincially funded genetic testing. For women unwilling to undergo radical surgeries, he is pinpointing dietary options that reduce risk. His database of 12,000+ women from 30 countries supports numerous international collaborations. Author of over 550 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Narod has an H-index of 84.

ROSENTHAL, Jeffrey S. - Department of Statistics
For profound and deep contributions to probability and statistics, including highly original and influential results on the mathematical analysis of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. For exceptional breadth of application of statistics and statistical computing to problems in science and social science. For dedicated and skilled communication of probability and statistics to the broader public through his best-selling book, Struck by Lightning.