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U of T honoured nine faculty members – including Engineering Professors Yu Sun and Constantin Christopoulos – with awards in the first-ever Inventor of the Year competition. The ceremony today at Toronto’s MaRS Centre capped a competition that drew 21 entrants from across the university.

“The Inventor of the Year program recognizes the superb contributions U of T scientists make to global society through their inventions,” said Professor Paul Young (CivE), Vice-President (Research). “We have a great story to tell at U of T when it comes to inventions. This event marks the beginning of a new emphasis on telling that story.”

Professor Young thanked all inventors who entered the competition and paid particular thanks to MaRS and MaRS Innovation for their role in partnering with U of T in research commercialization and “bringing our inventions to the world.”

“We are very proud that the University has recognized the achievements of Professor Sun and Professor Christopoulos as researchers, inventors and founders of spin-off companies,” said Dean Cristina Amon, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “These awards confirm the impact of the research being conducted in the Faculty and the outstanding reputation our professors have earned in service of the world community.”

The research group of Professor Sun (MIE), specializes in micro-nano engineering and precision instrumentation. Two of its patents provide complete solutions to automated injection of molecules or sperm into biological cells with direct applications in genetics, drug screening and clinical in-vitro fertilization. Based on these technologies, Marksman Cellject Inc. was established to commercialize solutions (hardware and software) for the clinical and life sciences industry.

Professor Christopoulos (CivE) focuses his research on developing high-performance earthquake-resistant damping devices and systems, especially those that reduce or eliminate damage to structures even under extreme earthquake loading. He is considered one of the world’s leading researchers in the emerging area of new self-centering structural systems. He disclosed five inventions in this area from 2005-2010. He was a founder of a U of T Engineering spinoff company, Cast ConneX, formed in 2007 to commercialize inventions relating to cast steel connectors and energy dissipation systems.

The University’s other award winners were:

  • Biomedical and Life Sciences: Scott Tanner, Chemistry; Shana Kelley, Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine; Andrei Yudin, Chemistry
  • Physical Sciences: Geoffrey Ozin, Chemistry
  • Information and Computer Technology: Nick Koudas, Computer Science, and co-inventor Nilesh Bansal; Ronald Baecker, Computer Science, and co-inventors Alexander Levy, Aakash Sahney and Kevin Tonon
  • Social Sciences and Humanities: V. Kumar Murty, Mathematics

A call for submissions to the 2012 competition will be posted in the autumn of this year.

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Marit Mitchell
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416.978.4498
marit.mitchell@utoronto.ca