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Research Prominence

New hope for cancer patients

Queen’s University researchers successfully synthesize cancer agent thapsigargin.

Queen’s University researchers have successfully synthesized the anticancer agent thapsigargin, which could now open the door to the creation of new cancer drugs.

The team of P. Andrew Evans (Chemistry) and his graduate student Dezhi Chen developed an efficient route to thapsigargin in only 12 steps.

P. Andrew Evans (l) and Dezhi Chen have successfully synthesized the anticancer agent thapsigargin.

“The first successful synthesis of thapsigargin required 42 steps, which was accomplished by at least 10 co-workers over a 10 year period,” says Dr. Evans. “What Dezhi did is impressive by any measure. He devised a new route to this important agent and successfully implemented his idea to complete a 12 step synthesis in only nine months.”

Thapsigargin was isolated from a wild poisonous plant, which is commonly known as the deadly carrot, in 1978. Despite numerous attempts to synthesize, the complexity of the molecule made it very challenging.

A key feature with thapsigargin is that it kills both slow and fast-growth cancer cells by inhibiting an enzyme that controls essential calcium balance inside cells.

With the anticancer drug Mipsagargin entering late-stage clinical trials, Dr. Evans says “it’s estimated that more than one metric ton of thapsigargin will be required per year.”

The prodrug Mipsagargin is being tested for the treatment of some of most challenging cancers, for example liver, brain, kidney and prostate cancer, thereby making it an exciting prospect.

“The efficient synthesis of this molecule is critical as relying on the isolation from a plant growing in the wild is not a sound strategy,” says Dr. Evans.

“The plant is resistant to cultivation in natural or greenhouse conditions, which coupled to the low yielding and tedious isolation makes our approach a timely development.  With our process we can make thapsigargin much more readily available with a more efficient process. We have also opened up this area for the preparation of simplified analogues.”

Dr. Evans confirmed the synthesis of thapsigargin was patented through PARTEQ, the Queen’s University technology transfer office.

The research was recently published in Journal of the American Chemical Society and highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News.

Queen’s University earns top marks for innovative thinking

The prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) has listed Queen’s as one of 55 international institutions, and only four in Canada, that “have innovation at the core of their strategy, strong industry links, and research that excels in technological areas such as engineering”.

THE compiled the roster of “tech challengers” by looking at institutions that have taken innovative approaches to help them adapt to the trend of declining public funding. They highlight that one common strategy among these institutions is their excellence in innovative areas of research associated with the technological and digital revolution. The tech challengers article is the second in a series of articles THE is writing based on "academic clustering" analysis by their data team.

“We can take pride that the work we are doing to foster innovation at Queen’s is being noticed internationally, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this strong result,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon. “Innovation and international impact are critical for our continued success, and the future looks bright with new investments in faculty renewal and in state-of-the-art facilities like our Innovation and Wellness Centre, including space for human-machine collaboration, and the Beaty Water Research Centre.”

“It is exciting to see this acknowledgement of our achievements,” adds Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). “Our centre breaks down campus and regional boundaries to help create optimal conditions towards success, and to develop the next generation of innovative leaders. I know we will continue to build on this strong result as more of our students tap into programs such as the QyourVenture accelerator, our summer intensive QICSI program, and our Global Network.”

There are many initiatives underway to break down those boundaries. University employees have been involved in supporting a number of local budding entrepreneurs in recent months – from a pitch competition held at the DDQIC in April, to the ongoing support provided to faculty researchers such as Shahram Yousefi, to the coaching of some grade 5 through 8 students to help them develop their entrepreneurial ideas.

In April, alumni in Los Angeles and San Francisco were joined by Dr. Bacon and Mr. Bavington for discussions about the future of innovation at the university. Those discussions led to the establishment of two California nodes for Queen’s Global Network (a SoCal node for Los Angeles and San Diego, and a NoCal node based in San Francisco).

Additionally, Queen’s is in the process of consolidating technology transfer, industry partnerships, Innovation Park activities, and a research contracts unit to form the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, under the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). This office will provide support and incubator space for startups, offer entrepreneurship programming, advance research partnerships with industry, government and not-for-profits, and provide the intellectual property and commercial expertise that are needed to advance discoveries and technologies to the marketplace.

“With the ongoing formation of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, we will have the expertise needed to support technology transfer activities, cultivate research partnerships, and support our innovation ecosystem,” says Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation).

See the full THE tech challengers ranking list here. Data scientist Billy Wong, who conducted the “tech challenger” analysis for THE, said the cluster was created by mapping 980 universities’ citation scores and reputation votes across eight broad subject areas. The institutions were then grouped into 10 clusters based on their “proximity” and therefore similarity to other universities. Universities which tend to do better in either THE’s engineering and technology or physical sciences subject rankings compared with their overall rank tended to make the cut as “tech challengers.”

To learn more about THE DataPoints, their data analysis service, please click here.

Renewable energy and reconciliation

Queen’s researcher receives CIHR grant for interdisciplinary research program on Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development.

Queen’s University researcher Heather Castleden (Geography and Planning/ Public Health Sciences) has received a $2 million team grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to lead an interdisciplinary research program on Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development for healthy communities.

Dr. Castleden hopes that the project will bring to light new and restored understandings of integrative health by sharing our stories, resources, and tools with Indigenous and Settler governments, industries, ENGOs, universities, and beyond. (Photo Credit: Jon Aarssen)

The program of research, titled A SHARED Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy Development for the Future, will bring together more than 75 Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, as well as representatives from various Indigenous and settler governments and organizations across Canada, to examine how fostering Indigenous leadership in renewable energy development has the potential to deliver positive community benefits and spur efforts towards reconciliation.

“Much of my research has involved a Two-Eyed Seeing framework – something I learned from Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshal and his colleague, Cheryl Bartlett, who is a retired biologist and former Canada Research Chair in Integrative Science,” explains Dr. Castleden, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities. “The guiding principle of Two-Eyed Seeing is to bring the best of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems together to try to answer research questions more comprehensively and whole-istically.”

Through this program of research involving multiple projects, Dr. Castleden and her colleagues will examine stories of success in renewable energy development. Amongst other criteria, the research will determine whether Indigenous communities, governments, and organizations are using a business-as-usual model, a joint venture model, a co-operative, or an Indigenous leadership model in their collaborations. The team will also examine how these efforts have the potential to lead towards new and restored understandings for integrative health by reconciling and healing relations between the Indigenous and settler communities, as well as the relationship with the environment.

“For the past 15 years, Dr. Castleden has partnered with Indigenous communities across Canada in conducting community-based, participatory research on issues such as social and environmental justice and health equity,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This project will not only bring about a better understanding of the impacts of renewable energy development on Indigenous communities, it will also foster a deeper understanding of the requirements necessary to overcome barriers that address relationships and support for Indigenous populations and their communities,  in order for Canadians to pursue meaning reconciliation.”

Indigenous Ways of Knowing will play a central role throughout the design of the program and its various projects, in conceptualizing the team’s research approach, organization and methodology. Dr. Castleden explains that doing so allows the research team to consider issues in a broader and more whole-istic nature. She adds that Indigenous leadership and efforts towards self-determination and autonomy have led to broader inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and knowledge in academic research.

“We have been trained in academia to specialize in our fields, which makes it very difficult to see a problem from multiple generations back or forward, to translate from the individual to the community and beyond – that’s where Indigenous knowledge systems bring the breadth of the issue to light,” she says. “This is especially true with health research. There is, with many Indigenous knowledge systems, the ability to see health issues as being not just about physical health or mental health but also emotional health, cultural and spiritual health and well-being of people. We don’t tend to do that in Western science, so again that’s what makes this make sense.”

Dr. Castleden and her team are one of nine team grants to receive funding under the CIHR Environments and Health Signature Initiatives program. The program aims to support researchers and teams investigating how various sectors can collaborate to promote healthy environments and reduce exposure to the causes of poor health.

For more information on the A SHARED Future project, please visit the HECLab website.

Improving the lives of critical care patients

Queen’s researcher takes on a leading role in innovative ICU recovery study.

For patients who survive an episode of critical illness, they can experience weakness and other limitations to their function long after they’ve left the hospital. But there’s hope in sight: A unique, multi-site clinical trial that aims to improve outcomes for intensive care unit patients using a combination of early nutritional supplementation and exercise. The trial is set to begin, with researchers from Queen’s University playing a leading role in the study’s operations.

Dr. Heyland and his team at the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit will design and manage the study protocol, taking place in ICU's across the United States.

The Nutrition and Exercise in Critical Illness (NEXIS) trial will take place in four ICUs across the United States and run through March 2022. Principal investigators are Daren Heyland of Queen’s University, Dale Needham of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Renee Stapleton of the University of Vermont. The study will examine whether intravenous amino acid supplementation and the in-bed cycling exercise improves recovery for patients requiring life support from a mechanical ventilator in the ICU.

“This collaboration represents one of the first trials of a combined nutrition and exercise strategy in critically ill patients to aid in their recovery,” says Dr. Heyland, who also serves as the director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre. “The combination of our respective expertise in nutrition and rehabilitative medicine in critical care settings allows us to bring the best of the two worlds together.”

Patients taking part in the study will receive an intravenous infusion of amino acids in addition to their standard nutrient intake – targeting 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass per day – and will conduct 45 minutes of cycling exercise five days per week. The study will randomly assign patients into two groups – one will receive the novel combined study intervention, while the other receives standard ICU care. Recovery will be measured using the six-minute walk distance (6WMD) test at hospital discharge as well as many other measures of body composition, muscle strength and physical functioning during patients’ hospital stay. The researchers will conduct phone-based follow-up calls six months after discharge to evaluate lasting benefits of the study intervention.

“ICU patients experience accelerated muscle wasting, believed to be related to the role of the inflammatory response in critical illness,” says Dr. Stapleton, an associate professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. “The consensus is that standard ICU nutrition practice is protein-deficient, typically providing only 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, and that this may play a part in muscle wasting.”

As one of the world’s leading multicentre clinical research methods centres, the CERU at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre will be responsible for the development of study procedures and day-to-day coordination of the study. Dr. Heyland, who serves as clinical director of CERU says that the centre’s unique level of expertise in coordinating intensive care nutritional studies will strengthen the study’s ability to examine this new course of treatment.

“What has evolved in critical care medicine is a realization that more and more people are experiencing, and surviving, critical illness,” says Dr. Heyland. “We have a large number of survivors of critical illness who, in addition to muscle weakness and impaired physical functioning, can also suffer from such conditions as depression and anxiety, as well as cognitive impairments following release from the intensive care unit. These impairments can have long-lasting health impacts for both the surviving patient and their family members. This study will play an important role in improving the physical outcomes for ICU survivors.”

The research conducted during the NEXIS project is supported by a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information on the NEXIS trial, please visit the website.

New research into pre-eclampsia

Queen’s doctor works on new process to prevent or treat pre-eclampsia.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has recognized a promising new treatment for pre-eclampsia being developed by Queen’s University researcher Graeme Smith. Dr. Smith recently received a $198,942 Catalyst Grant which will help advance his research.

“The only treatment we have for pre-eclampsia right now is delivery which often leads to premature births and that just isn’t a solution,” says Dr. Smith (Obstetrics and Gynecology). “Treatments using different types of medications have not been successful.”

Pre-eclampsia is a disorder in pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure. The disease affects two to eight per cent of pregnancies worldwide and is one of the most common causes of death due to pregnancy and it increases the risk of poor outcomes for both mother and baby.

Dr. Smith and his team are researching increasing the normal production of carbon monoxide in humans as well as external exposure to low doses of carbon monoxide in pregnancy. Studies have shown the gas is an important substance that, at low concentrations, plays an role in the health of pregnant and non-pregnant humans.

Carbon monoxide could provide the key to improving the blood flow between mother and baby to help prevent or treat pre-eclampsia.

“We have different approaches to try to determine if this will work including turning on or turning up the carbon dioxide production in our bodies or using a drug treatment to increase carbon monoxide in pregnant mothers,” says Dr. Smith. “There is still a long way to go as we have to prove this is safe but we are taking solid first steps.”

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines. Queen’s University is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities.

Public policy commission submits interim report

The Principal’s Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen’s University has submitted its interim report to Principal Daniel Woolf.

“I would like to thank members of the commission for their diligent work to this point in the process,” Principal Woolf says. “The interim report offers an in-depth look at the current state of public policy in Canada, and the opportunities and challenges Queen’s faces in this field. I look forward to the commission continuing its work over the next several months and receiving its specific recommendations later this year.”

For more than a century, public policy studies have played an important role at Queen’s, with many alumni serving as a great source of institutional strength in the public sphere. The public policy landscape has shifted in recent years, though, with future policy leaders facing new learning requirements. Furthermore, the public policy education landscape is now more crowded, with 29 schools of public policy across Canada.

Principal Woolf established the commission on September 2016 to determine how this historically strong area could be reinvigorated, both within the School of Policy Studies and in other externally facing academic units at Queen’s. Chaired by Michael Horgan, MA’79, the commission is examining how Queen’s can modernize its approach to public policy in light of changes in public policy-making and public service, as well as new learning requirements for policy leaders.

At the outset, we had a sense that the public policy landscape is evolving. Through broad consultations, we gained a better understanding of just how rapid these changes are occurring.
— Michael Horgan, Chair, Principal's Commission on the Future of Public Policy at Queen's University 

After its initial meeting in October 2016, the commission conducted broad consultations to review the evolving landscape of public policy in Canada, with a particular focus on the relationship and interaction of academic institutions and the public sector.

The commission organized a number of formal consultation sessions with alumni, public sector leaders in Toronto and Ottawa, and Queen’s faculty, adjunct professors and fellows, staff, and students in Kingston. The commission conducted one-on-one and group meetings and telephone conversations, in addition to inviting submissions based on discussion questions it posted on its website.

“At the outset, we had a sense that the public policy landscape is evolving. Through broad consultations, we gained a better understanding of just how rapid these changes are occurring,” Mr. Hogan says. “Through the summer and fall, we will analyse the implications of these changes for Queen’s in order to put forth recommendations that will allow the university to respond effectively and strategically to this new environment.”

Visit the commission’s website to read the interim report and learn more about its work and membership. While the consultation phase has concluded, additional feedback and comments can still be sent to future.publicpolicy@queensu.ca.

Scholars receive prestigious national chairs

Three Queen’s researchers receive Canada Research Chairs from Government of Canada.

An internationally-renowned chemist who has reshaped the field, Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has been named the new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry.

Arriving at Queen’s in 2002 as a Queen’s National Scholar, Dr. Crudden’s research investigates the interaction of organic compounds with metals in the synthesis of novel materials and for the development of highly active catalysts. Her work has widespread applications in pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agriculture – a testament to the depth and breadth of her research.

Dr. Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has been named the new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry. She is joined by Dr. Peter Davies (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering) and Dr. Mohammad Zulkernine (Computing, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Software Reliability and Security) who saw their Canada Research Chairs renewed.

Dr. Crudden’s work in the field of organic chemistry has been lauded as revolutionary and has allowed for the synthesis of compounds previously thought impossible. In recent years, she has published nearly 100 papers in high-impact journals, and her research has been cited nearly 3,000 times. Committed to training the next generation of leading multidisciplinary researchers, she has also supervised 20 doctoral candidates, 19 master’s candidates and 31 postdoctoral fellows – many of whom have taken positions in research and industry.

“This grant will let me spend more time on research while still having the pleasure of teaching Queen’s undergraduates,” says Dr. Crudden. “Our research program has also become very international lately and this research chair will allow me to set aside time to visit collaborators in the U.S., Finland, Scotland, Japan and the rest of Canada.” 

Two other Queen’s researchers have seen their Canada Research Chairs renewed. Peter Davies (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) has been renewed as the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Protein Engineering, while Mohammad Zulkernine (Computing) has been renewed as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Software Reliability and Security.

“The CRC program allows Queen’s to attract top-calibre researchers, to provide them with the tools to succeed, and to make Canada an international leader in research and development,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “Queen’s researchers, including the three CRC recipients announced today, are at the forefront of their fields, conducting research that addresses some of the most challenging and complex problems in science, with potential to have a global impact.”

Dr. Davies’ research focuses on how a protein’s structure enables it to carry out its purpose and how the function of a protein can be changed by altering its structure. His research has numerous potential applications in healthcare and biotechnology.

“I am delighted to have the support of the Canada Research Chair program for another seven years,” Dr. Davies says. “This renewal is a vote of confidence for the research we have been doing in recent years, and it will allow my group to branch out into a new area. We have recently become involved in the study of adhesin proteins that bacteria use to form biofilms and infect various hosts. By studying and engineering these proteins we hope to interfere with their infectivity.”

As technology becomes a larger aspect of our day-to-day lives, security and reliability are of paramount concern. Dr. Zulkernine’s research is focused on addressing these issues at different stages of the development cycle, in order to better protect the next generation of mobile and cloud computing environments.

“This award actually belongs to my current and former graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have worked hard with me to achieve my research goals,” says Dr. Zulkernine. “I am also thankful to my collaborators in the School of Computing, Queen's, and industry partners for their continuous support. This award will attract more high quality students and world renowned software security and reliability researchers to our Queen's Reliable Software Technology (QRST) research group.”

Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program is at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development since 2000. The CRC program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Canadian universities both nominate Canada Research Chairs and administer their funds.

For more information on the Canada Research Chairs program, please visit the website.

Queen’s researchers lead the way in numerous fields, with notable advances made recently in particle astrophysics, cancer research, ecological history and environmental change, and clean energy technology. Through leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines. Queen’s University is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities.

The heart of the matter

Queen’s researcher Amer Johri brings unique technology to Science Rendezvous.

A main focus of Science Rendezvous has always been the hands-on experience – being able to touch, experience and do.

This year’s Heart and Stroke booth promises visitors a unique experience thanks to Amer Johri and his ultrasound machine.

Using volunteer student models, Dr. Johri, a Queen’s University professor,  cardiologist and ultrasound specialist, will be scanning and explaining the different parts of the human heart.

“I really want to explain how the human heart works and how to keep it healthy,” says Dr. Johri, a clinician scientist in the Kingston General Hospital Research Institute. “What better way than to use a real person and a real heart? It will also give kids an opportunity to learn more about ultrasound so they aren’t scared of the technology. We are really just taking a photograph of your heart.”

Each year, Queen’s partners with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to engage the public in an event promoting heart health. A number of Queen’s researchers, including Dr. Johri, receive funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Last year, after attending the event last year with his son, he wanted to participate in providing other children exposure to science.  He and his lab are all volunteering in 2017.

 “The Heart and Stroke Foundation provides critical funding,” says Dr. Johri, “and Science Rendezvous provides a unique opportunity to explain our research in a public forum. It’s also a team bonding experience for everyone that works in our lab – we have a group of interesting and dynamic researchers that are doing amazing work.”

Dr. Johri is the director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Network at Queen’s (CINQ). The goal of the network is to position CINQ as the central node in a global network, working to translate novel cardiovascular imaging and treatment technologies into clinical practice. Some of Dr. Johri’s main research focuses are 3D echocardiography and early stage heart disease detection.

The 10th annual Science Rendezvous Kingston 2017 runs Saturday, May 13 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Rogers K-ROCK Centre. Admission is free.

A whirlwind tour of Washington D.C.

Art McDonald inducted into National Academy, gives speech at Canadian Embassy.

It was another full week for Queen’s professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate Art McDonald, as he visited Washington DC for the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and delivered a presentation on the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment at the Canadian Embassy.

Dr. McDonald signs the Book of Membership at the National Academy of Sciences annual meeting on April 29. (Photo Credit: National Academy of Sciences).

On Saturday, April 29, Dr. McDonald was formally inducted as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences at the Academy’s 154th annual meeting. Dr. McDonald was one of 20 fellow researchers from 14 countries to receive the honour. Of the 490 foreign associates, Dr. McDonald is one of only 20 living Canadian researchers with membership in the Academy – a group that includes Queen’s professor emeritus Raymond A. Price (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering).

 “Having conducted my graduate work at Caltech, served as a professor at Princeton and collaborated extensively with U.S. scientists throughout my research career, I am honoured to have been elected to The National Academy of Sciences.” says Dr. McDonald. “At this important time in the dialogue on the importance of scientific research, I am proud to be granted membership in this highly respected group.”

Established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the National Academy of Science recognizes achievement in science and provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the US federal government and other organizations. Election to the Academy is widely considered one of the greatest achievements in science, and approximately 200 of its members have received Nobel prizes.

“Induction into the National Academy is amongst the highest honours that one can receive, and is a testament to the significance of Dr. McDonald’s research,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “This award is further recognition of the groundbreaking research conducted at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory by Dr. McDonald and his collaborators. On behalf of the entire university community, I would like to extend him my most sincere congratulations.”

From L-R: Nigel Smith, SNOLAB Director, Dr. Art McDonald, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, Denis Stevens, Deputy Ambassador, John Fisher, Vice-Principal(Research).

Following the NAS annual meeting, on May 2, Dr. McDonald visited the Canadian Embassy in Washington. The theme of the evening focused on international research collaboration, particularly the US-Canada collaboration on the SNO experiment and at the SNOLAB underground laboratory. Dr. McDonald, along with Dr. John Fisher (Vice-Principal, Research) and Nigel Smith (SNOLAB) gave presentations on the past, present and future of international collaborations at SNOLAB and the value of international collaboration in leading-edge research. Science Minister Kirsty Duncan was also on hand to reiterate the government’s commitment to international collaboration in science.

Queen’s researchers and students are collaborating with colleagues around the world on innovative research projects that have the potential to bring about a wide variety of societal benefits. The university is committed to increasing global engagement by developing new international research collaborations and building sustained multinational partnerships. These activities foster an environment where resources and expertise can be shared and knowledge can be mobilized and translated.

Feeling the power

Queen’s professor Praveen Jain receives the IEEE Canada Phoivos Ziogas Electric Power Medal.

One of Canada’s leading power electronics expert has been recognized by his peers for his pioneering work in the field.

On May 1, Queen’s electrical engineering professor Praveen Jain received the Phoivos Ziogas Electric Power Medal from the Canadian arm of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE Canada). The award recognizes outstanding Canadian engineers who have made important contributions to the field of electric power engineering.

Praveen Jain (Electrical Engineering) received the IEEE Canada Phoivos Ziogas Electric Power Medal in recognition of his numerous achievements as a pioneer in the field of power electronics.

“This is one of the top awards in power engineering in Canada, so it is a tremendous honour to be selected to receive the P. Ziogas Electric Power Medal,” says Dr. Jain. “I was very excited and humbled to receive the news.”

For over 30 years, Dr. Jain has been conducting leading-edge research that has opened up new possibilities in solar power generation. His research has resulted in over 550 publications, 107 patents and numerous spin-off companies which have translated his research into real-world applications. Along with his colleagues and graduate students at the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER), Dr. Jain is working to develop new energy efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly power electronic technologies to meet society’s ever-increasing energy demands.

Dr. Jain’s research has received substantial investments from government and industry alike, including a recently announced $4 million grant from the Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence to advance the development of more efficient, small-scale, point-of-use photovolataic (solar) power systems for residential use. He explains this funding will go towards new, more efficient power systems that can meet growing demand for renewable energy.

“This will help reduce the burden on the existing power grid in the short term and, in time, allow us to replace large-scale electrical generation infrastructure with point-of-use systems,” he adds. “Renewable energy systems can help reduce our environmental impact and meet our growing energy needs. There is a worldwide effort to meet 50 per cent of our energy needs by solar power by the end of the century, and our research will play an important role in making that happen.”

Established in 2007, the IEEE Canada P. Ziogas Electric Power Medal is awarded to outstanding Canadian engineers recognized for their important contributions to the field of electric power engineering.

For more information on IEEE Canada or the P. Ziogas Electric Power Medal, please visit the website.

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