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Congratulations to Professors J. Stewart Aitchison (ECE), Nasser Ashgriz (MIE), Elizabeth Edwards (ChemE), Jun Nogami (MSE), J. Paul Santerre (IBBME) and Molly Shoichet (ChemE), who 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. The University of Toronto received six of the 51 Fellowships awarded in the Engineering Section, more than any other single institution.

Currently serving as the Faculty’s Vice-Dean, Research, J. Stewart Aitchison is considered one of the world’s leading researchers in the area of spatial optical solitons. His research has resulted in 214 journal publications and seven patents, which have led to the creation of four new companies. Professor Aitchison is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (London), the Optical Society of America and the Royal Society of Canada. He was elected for “pioneering contributions to nonlinear optics, particularly the first observation of spatial optical solitons and the first experimental observation of discrete spatial optical solitons.”

Nasser Ashgriz has made a number of internationally recognized contributions to fluids engineering, particularly in droplet dynamics and collision. His research has contributed to improvements in engineered devices ranging from fuel injectors to rocket engines to ink-jet printers. His contributions have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals) Award from the United Nations. Professor Ashgriz was elected an AAAS Fellow for “distinguished contributions to fluid dynamics through the development of computer models for free surface flows and foundational studies on droplet collision and coalescence.”

Elizabeth Edwards’ research has been instrumental in finding effective ways to remove industrial pollutants from our soil and water. She has developed a microbial culture called KB-1, which destroys some of the world’s most widespread groundwater contaminants at less than half the cost of traditional methods. Her research has garnered the 2009 NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation and a 2008 Killam Fellowship, among other recognitions. Her election to AAAS Fellow is based on her “distinguished contributions to the field of environmental microbiological engineering, particularly the biodegradation, biotransformation and bioremediation of organic pollutants in soil and water.”

Chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Jun Nogami has made fundamental contributions to several areas of nanotechnology, particularly the electrical and electronic properties of nanometre scale structures, scanned probe microscopy and surface atomic structure, and atomistic observation and modeling of growth on surfaces. He has also been a leader in facilitating partnerships and collaboration in the nanotechnology community. Professor Nogami was elected “for distinguished contributions to materials engineering and nanotechnology, particularly in relation to surface structure studies with scanning tunnelling microscopy.”

Paul Santerre, Director of the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, is one of the world’s leading authorities in the area of polymer biodegradation and synthesis of polyurethane materials. His research has resulted in a spin-off company (Interface Biologics Inc.) which develops biomedical polymers that enhance the safety and effectiveness of implantable medical devices. Professor Santerre is a Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He was elected “for distinguished contributions to biomedical engineering through research in polymer chemistry and development of medical devices, and for leadership in engineering education.”

A Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, Molly Shoichet is designing innovative polymers which promise to help overcome some of the most daunting challenges in medical science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering, and the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science & Engineering. Professor Shoichet has served on the Ontario Research and Innovation Council, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the National Science Technology and Innovation Council. Her election recognizes her “distinguished contributions to neural tissue engineering through the design of novel polymers for cell and drug delivery, and strategic advice on national research policy”.

“The unprecedented election of six of our faculty members to AAAS Fellowship is a testament to the tremendous strength of our Faculty in both research and education,” said Cristina Amon, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “We are deeply grateful to AAAS for recognizing these outstanding colleagues.”

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be announced in the January 28 issue of Science and will be honoured at the AAAS Fellows Forum on February 19, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

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