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Professor Jeffrey Packer, at right, is a world leader in tubular steel structures. (Credit: Neil Ta)

Professors Kamran Behdinan (MIE), Zheng-Hong Lu (MSE), Jeffrey Packer (CivE) and Yu Sun (MIE) have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest international organization dedicated to advancing science or its applications on a global basis.

Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. The new fellows will be announced in the November 25 issue of Science and honoured at the AAAS Fellows Forum in Boston on February 18, 2017.

A groundbreaking researcher in engineering design and design education, Kamran Behdinan has led the development of several innovative engineering education programs, both at U of T and at Ryerson. Behdinan joined U of T in 2011 as the NSERC Chair in Multidisciplinary Engineering Design. He immediately established two unique initiatives: the Institute for Multidisciplinary Design and Innovation and the multidisciplinary capstone design course. Before joining the Faculty, he established the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Ryerson and served as its inaugural chair. Behdinan was elected for “distinguished contributions to engineering education, particularly the development of Canada’s first stand-alone aerospace engineering department and the creation of multidisciplinary design institutes and courses.”

Zheng-Hong Lu has conducted seminal research on Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). OLEDs are the greenest possible lighting technology but are complicated, and therefore expensive, to manufacture. Lu has been pursuing innovative ways of reducing the complexity of OLEDs while at the same time pushing the efficiency limits of the technology. His work has achieved not only the most efficient OLED devices to date, but also the simplest devices, which opens the door to dramatically reducing manufacturing cost. This research has been commercialized through the spin-off company OTI Lumionics Inc. Lu’s election is based on his “distinguished contributions to the development of next-generation OLEDs, which are far more energy-efficient and cost-effective to manufacture than their predecessors.”

Jeffrey Packer has established himself as the world leader in tubular steel structures. Today, the structural design of such connections is based almost solely on the theories and methodologies for interpreting the behaviour of steel hollow section connections that he developed over his career. Most recently, Packer’s primary focus has been the development of unique special-purpose cast steel connectors that improve a building’s ability to withstand seismic stress. In 2007 he co-founded Cast Connex Corporation, a successful spin-off company that designs, manufactures and markets these connectors. Packer was elected for “distinguished contributions to the field of tubular steel structures, particularly his design of unique cast steel connectors and his influence on international design specifications.”

Yu Sun is internationally recognized as a leader in automation science and engineering at micro-nanometer scales. He is a pioneer in developing robotics and automation technologies for manipulating and characterizing cells, molecules, and nanomaterials. Sun was among the first to invent robotic approaches for automated cell manipulation, and his work has resulted in breakthroughs in clinical cell surgery, cellular and intracellular measurement, and nanomanufacturing. His micro-nanotechnology research has also significantly advanced the field of cellular mechanobiology and nanomechanics. Sun was elected for his “distinguished contributions in developing innovative micro- and nano-technologies for biomedical research and clinical applications, particularly the automated manipulation and characterization of cells and nanomaterials.”

“The recognition of four Engineering professors by this prestigious international organization is a testament to our global reputation as leaders in both research and education,” said Dean Cristina Amon. “On behalf of the Faculty, I congratulate our new AAAS fellows on this richly deserved honour.”

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