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By Carolyn Farrell

Professors Axel GuentherRidha Ben Mrad and Jan Spelt, of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, have been honoured by the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) for their achievements in the field. Professor Guenther is the 2010 recipient of the I. W. Smith Award, for outstanding achievement in creative mechanical engineering within 10 years of graduation. Professors Ben Mrad and Spelt were elected CSME Fellows, for excellence in mechanical engineering and significant contributions to the profession.

Axel Guenther’s research involves the study of dynamically changing microenvironemnts for applications in materials science and biomedicine.  His research has already resulted in “lab-on-a-chip” materials processing technology, as well as high-throughput platforms with the potential for widespread application in biopharmecutical drug development.  Professor Guenther has authored 22 refereed journal publications with over 725 citations.  Previous awards include the ETH Medal from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario.

Currently the Associate Chair, Research for MIE, Ridha Ben Mrad’s research interests are in the areas of mechatronics and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS). Professor Ben Mrad led the development of the mechatronics program at UofT, the first such program offered in Canada.  He has authored approximately 100 refereed publications in top-tier journals and conferences, and has supervised the research of over 40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  In 2002 he received the Faculty’s Early Career Teaching Award.

Jan Spelt is internationally known for his research in the mechanics of materials and manufacturing processes.  He has made significant contributions in the areas of microelectronic packaging, adhesive joints, abrasive jet micro-machining and vibratory surface finishing.  Professor Spelt’s industrial partners include RIM, Celestica, Nortel, Dow Chemical and General Motors.  His research has resulted in over 100 refereed journal publications and ten book chapters.  In recognition of his contributions, Professor Spelt has been invited to serve on several boards and committees in his areas of expertise.

“Professors Ben Mrad, Guenther and Spelt have all made outstanding contributions to mechanical engineering in their respective fields,” said Cristina Amon, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. “They are most deserving of these accolades and I am delighted that CSME is honouring them for their achievements.”

The CSME Awards Ceremony will take place on June 9, 2010 at the CSME Forum Banquet in Victoria, B.C.

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