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IBBME/ChemE Professor Milica Radisic, winner of the Engineers Canada's Young Engineer Achievement Award

Three members of the U of T Engineering community were recently recognized with Engineers Canada awards for their contributions and achievements in engineering. Professor  Milica Radisic  (IBBME/ChemE) received the Young Engineer Achievement Award, Engineering Science student Saksham Uppal (1T2) garnered the Student Gold Medal Award and alumna Anna Dunets-Wills (CivE 7T6) received the Meritorious Service Award for Community Service. Established in 1972, the Engineers Canada Awards are national awards which honour the contributions of Canadian engineers to their profession, their community, and to the safety and well-being of Canadians.

A leader in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, Professor Radisic has achieved international recognition for developing patches of engineered tissue that mimic a beating heart. She was the first to use electrical stimulation during cellular growth, with the result that the developing tissue behaves in the same manner as normal heart tissue. Professor Radisic was also co-inventor of a completely novel cell-protective peptide known as QHREDGS. This peptide may be capable of enhancing cardiac regeneration, bone regeneration or wound healing, by directing cell response. Professor Radisic was named one of the world’s Top 35 Innovators Under 35 by MIT’s Technology Review in 2008 and received the 2011 Ontario Professional Engineers Young Engineer Award.

A committed volunteer and a natural leader, Uppal has created several avenues for his peers to engage in leadership and volunteerism, both within the university community and beyond. His interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, plus his passion for creating positive change, led him to develop the Nspire Innovation Network and its flagship event, the National Business and Technology Conference. He also created the Take Action! Organization which works to contribute to the community while developing socially aware youth leaders. This organization now hosts two university chapters (at Queens and U of T) and has more than 400 members. In 2011, Uppal was selected to participate in The Next 36 – a national entrepreneurship program – where he tied for the highest marks in the program.

For more than 30 years, Dunets-Wills has been using her expertise in water and sanitation systems to help remote communities. Dunets-Wills has worked with urban planning and design firm planningAlliance and its sister practice, rePlan, to create best practices for international organizations operating in developing nations. She is credited with pioneering strategies for the effective long-term local management of both public and private infrastructure systems. Over the past five years, Dunets-Wills has been involved with a local NGO called RAMBIA, in western Uganda, concentrating on water, sanitation and other infrastructure projects in the region. In 2011, she received the Ontario Professional Engineers Citizenship Award.

“I am extremely proud that Engineers Canada has chosen to honour three such deserving members of our community,” said Yu-Ling Cheng, Acting Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “These prestigious awards are representative of the many ways in which our faculty, students and alumni contribute to the profession and to society.”

The award recipients were honoured at the Engineers Canada Awards Gala in Niagara Falls on June 2, 2012.

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