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Professor Yu Sun (MIE) is the founding director of the U of T Robotics Institute. (Photo: Sylvie Li / Shoot Studio)

Professor Yu Sun (MIE) is among the 2023 recipients of the University of Toronto President’s Impact Award, which celebrates faculty members whose research has made a significant impact outside of academia.  

As a recipient of the award, Sun becomes a member of the President’s Impact Academy and will receive $10,000 per year for five years to be used toward his research. 

 Throughout his career, Sun has built a strong international reputation for his microtechnologies, particularly his micro-nano robotic manipulation, biomedical instrumentation and micro-nano device design and fabrication. 

His work in robotic cell surgery includes establishing a framework for autonomous robotic cell manipulations that assimilates high resolution, low depth-of-field microscopy visual feedback, high-precision feedback and nanonewton force feedback. This work laid the foundation for technological advancement in automated cell manipulation and is widely used in robotic micro-nanomanipulation. 

One of the applications of his robotic cell surgery technologies is clinical intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). He and his team created the world’s first robotic ICSI system that performs automated sperm tracking, immobilization, aspiration and deposition into oocytes with strong success rates and reproducibility. 

He carried this infertility treatment technology to clinical patient trials where its effectiveness was proven in multiple clinics. His technologies have won innovation awards four times from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and won three best paper awards at leading robotics conferences.   

Sun, who is the founding director of the U of T Robotics Institute, holds the Canada Research Chair in Micro- and Nano-Engineering Systems and is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Canada.    

His research achievements have also been recognized through many international awards and honours. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).  

“Professor Sun’s outstanding contributions to micro-nano robotics — from transformative fertility treatments to materials characterization techniques for industry — have made a tremendous societal impact,” says Christopher Yip, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.    

“On behalf of U of T Engineering, congratulations to Yu for this well-earned honour.” 

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