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COVID-19 pandemic: U of T Engineering stories

Dean Christopher Yip in December 2020. (Photo: Daria Perevezentsev)

The year ahead: Q-and-A with U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip

A lot of adjectives have been used to describe the year 2020 — unprecedented, unusual, challenging — but Dean Chris Yip would choose a different one: inspiring. “What I saw across our Faculty was people rising to the challenge,” he says. “That innovative spirit is what engineering is all about, and I think many of the creative solutions we developed...
Left to right: Brothers Arnaud Deza (Year 3 EngSci), Daniel Deza (Year 1 EngSci) and Gabriel Deza (Year 4 EngSci) are all studying from home this semester. Their sister Anna Deza (EngSci 2T0) joins them online. (Photo: Emmanuel Deza)

Making the most of an unusual semester: How U of T Engineering students are adapting to remote learning

Daniel Deza (Year 1 EngSci) always knew he was going to have friends at U of T Engineering — starting with his older brothers Arnaud (Year 3 EngSci) and Gabriel (Year 4 EngSci). What he didn’t anticipate is just how close the three of them were going to get this semester. All three Deza brothers are currently living — and...
An improved mathematical model developed by an international team combines the “physics of the cloud” with the “physics of the crowd” to predict the dominant modes of transmission for the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. (Image: photocreo, via Envato)

Improved COVID-19 model leverages flow physics of airborne respiratory droplet ‘clouds’

After nearly a year of studying COVID-19, scientists are still grappling with fundamental questions — including understanding the dominant modes of transmission and predicting how “superspreading” events arise. A newly improved model produced by engineers and physicists could help. Last summer, Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri (UTIAS) and his colleagues developed what they called a “first-principles modelling approach” to understanding the factors...
A volunteer uses digital tools created by to collect information on COVID-19 symptoms and spread in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Photo: <a href="">Durable Solutions Unit)</a>

flatten: Leveraging big data to fight COVID-19 in Mogadishu

Six months ago, Shrey Jain (Year 2 EngSci) was a first-year engineering student who just wanted to do his part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. He could never have imagined that doing so would take him halfway around the world, into the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia.  “It’s been really amazing to see the realness of it, the tangible outcomes we can have by applying...
Professor Jennifer Farmer (ChemE) is using a combination of “kitchen labs,” simulated lab platforms and data analysis reports in her Applied Chemistry course. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Farmer)

Three cool virtual labs: How U of T Engineering instructors are getting creative with remote active learning

A camera and a bottle of Gatorade were the key pieces of equipment for a recent virtual lab in Professor Jennifer Farmer’s (ChemE) course, CHE204: Applied Chemistry. “We told students that they’d have to determine the amount of food dye in the drink,” explains Farmer. Any other year, students would learn to operate a spectrometer to find the answer. “Well,...
A team of researchers from U of T is creating a rapid COVID-19 test that could produce results in just five minutes. From left: Surath Gomis (ECE), Dingran Chang (Pharmacy), Jagotamoy Das (Pharmacy), Hanie Yousefi (Pharmacy), Professor Shana Kelley (Pharmacy), Jenise Chen (Chemistry) and Alam Mahmud (ECE). (Photo: Daria Pervezentsev)

Rapid COVID-19 testing: U of T team ditches cotton swabs for sensing probes

Amid a rise in positive COVID-19 cases — and a reported backlog to book tests and receive results in Ontario — Health Canada has approved four rapid-testing devices that could return results within 15 minutes. Meanwhile, U of T researchers are working on an approach that could produce results in five. The project is a collaboration between researchers at U...
A health-care worker from Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, Fla. with a package of donated Kerra skin cream. (Photo courtesy Quthero, Inc.)

Skin-care product based on U of T Engineering research donated to health-care workers fighting COVID-19

A U of T Engineering spinoff company has donated its entire stock of skin-care product to health-care workers fighting the global pandemic. Several years ago, Professor Milica Radisic (BME, ChemE) and her team developed a peptide-hydrogel biomaterial that prompts skin cells to “crawl” toward one another. The material was initially designed to help close the chronic, non-healing wounds often associated...
This prototype UV lamp, designed by a team including undergraduate student Bipasha Goyal (Year 3 EngSci), is part of a smart robotic assembly that is designed to sterilize surfaces in hospitals, schools and even residential buildings. (Image: Junho (Dave) Jeong)

Smart UV lamp to fight COVID-19: One of 87 student-led projects to receive funding from Mitacs Research Training Awards

Bipasha Goyal (Year 3 EngSci) is creating what she hopes will be the newest line of defence against the global COVID-19 pandemic: a smart UV lamp. “Hospitals already use a similar method called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to sterilize operating theatres and other spaces,” says Goyal. “The challenge is that these systems are very expensive, and it’s hard to ensure...
Dr. Larry Pershin, Manager and Research Associate at the Centre for Advanced Coating Technologies, spray-coats a thin layer of anti-viral copper onto a fabric surface. (Photo: Daria Perevezentsev)

Anti-viral copper coatings could help slow transmission of COVID-19

A U of T Engineering team is developing a new way to coat minute particles of copper onto the inside of fabrics, such as those used in face masks. The technology could provide an additional layer of safety to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The goal is to deposit very fine copper particles onto both woven and non-woven fabrics...
For alumnus Dan Chan (IndE 9T0), vice president of supply chain strategy at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), the pandemic tested his expertise in industrial engineering as he moved to solve rapidly shifting operational challenges. (Photo: Open Grid Scheduler via Flickr)

Resiliency during COVID-19: How one Canadian supply chain is adapting to serve its customers

The economic impact of COVID-19 has rippled through industries across the world. Businesses everywhere have dealt with sudden closures, new health and safety rules and disruptions to the supply chain. For alumnus Dan Chan (IndE 9T0), vice president of supply chain strategy at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), the pandemic has presented the greatest challenge of his career, testing his expertise...


Fahad Pinto
Communications & Media Relations Strategist