Posted September 8th, 2015 by Carolyn Farrell

Levente Diosady and Brendan Frey named fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

  • Professors Levante Diosady and Brendan Frey

    Professors Levante Diosady (left) and Brendan Frey have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

Engineering professors Levente Diosady (ChemE) and Brendan Frey (ECE) have been elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) on the basis of their exceptional contributions to Canadian intellectual life.

The Society’s 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. Fellowship in the RSC is one of the highest honours that Canadian researchers can achieve.

“Professors Levente Diosady and Brendan Frey are trailblazing researchers who are expanding our understanding of what is possible and improving lives,” said Dean Cristina Amon. “They exemplify the very best of engineering innovation and the outstanding calibre of research conducted at our Faculty; we are extremely proud that they are being recognized for their extraordinary achievements.”

Diosady and Frey were among 13 new fellows elected from the University of Toronto. Across Canada, 87 new fellows were named in 2015.

About Levente Diosady

Levente Diosady is a renowned food engineer who has spent much of his career developing techniques for fortifying food with micronutrients in order to prevent micronutrient deficiency. He is best known for developing the technology for double fortification of salt with iron and iodine to combat iodine and iron deficiency. This salt has already cured over one million children in India of anemia at a cost of lest than ten cents per person. India is now phasing in use of this salt in all school lunch programs, which should result in the reduction of iron deficiency in more than 100 million children.

Diosady is now developing technology for iron fortification of tea. This has the potential to significantly reduce the death toll due to low iron status in mothers and infants at childbirth, which currently kills around 100,000 people annually.

Read more about Diosady’s iron-fortified tea.

Diosady’s work has been recognized with the Engineering Institute of Canada’s K.Y. Lo Medal, the International Association of Engineering and Food’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Diosady is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Hungarian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He has been inducted into the Order of Ontario and was recently awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

About Brendan Frey

Over the past twenty years, Brendan Frey has played a key role in the emergence of new areas of research and application in machine learning and genome biology. He was one of the first researchers to successfully train a deep neural network, and he was a pioneer in inventing message-passing algorithms, which are now widely used. He is a co-inventor of the affinity propagation algorithm and of the factor graph notation for graphical models.

Frey also co-developed the long-sought-after ‘splicing code’ for determining how genes are expressed and introduced a new approach to understanding the genetics of disease. His technique has successfully identified previously unknown genetic determinants of major human disorders, including autism, certain cancers and spinal muscular atrophy. Frey recently cofounded the start-up Deep Genomics, developing deep learning technologies to predict the consequences of genomic changes.

Read more about how Frey is applying machine learning principles to decode the human genome.

He has served on the technical advisory board of Microsoft Research, holds seven patents and has served as an expert witness in patent litigation. Professor Frey is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. His many research awards include the NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship and the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Biological Computation.

The new RSC Fellows will be formally inducted at a ceremony in Victoria, B.C. on November 27, 2015.