Emerging Leaders in Chemical Engineering

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The organizing committee of the 67th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (CSChE), to be held October 22nd-25th, 2017 in Edmonton, is proud to announce the Emerging Leaders in Chemical Engineering Plenary Session. This prestigious session, a first of its kind at the CSChE meeting, will aim to highlight the vision and leadership of four early career researchers.


Four speakers will be selected to give TED-Talk style presentations in the 67th CSChE conference. The speakers should give a perspective talk of their own research topic, and how it will influence science, engineering, and society at large in Canada and abroad. We will not consider narrow technical presentations; the speakers should present their research area and its impact in a broader perspective.

Selected Participants:

Thomas A. Adams II, McMaster University

Title: What Should We Do With Our Energy? How Chemical Engineers Have Tools to Answer Society's Toughest Problems

Thomas AdamsThomas A. Adams II is a Joseph IP Distinguished Engineering Scholar, Associate Chair (Graduate), and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. He completed dual bachelor's degrees at Michigan State University, one in ChemicalEngineering, and the other in Computer Science. He received his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Chair of the Systems & Control Division of the CSChE and the author of the book Learn Aspen Plusin 24 Hours. His research interests are in sustainable process systems engineering, particularly as it relates to the design, simulation, control, and optimization of integrated energy conversion systems. Key areas of application include polygeneration,power generation, solid oxide fuel cells, carbon dioxide capture and mitigation, gasification, nuclear energy conversion, thermochemical and biological biofuels processing, energy storage systems, semicontinuous distillation, and mobile/modular chemical technologies.


Ya-Huei (Cathy) Chin, University of Toronto

Title: Heterogeneous Catalytic Strategies for Sustainable Synthesis of Fuels And Chemicals

Ya-Huei (Cathy) ChinYA-Huei (Cathy) Chin received her B.S. and M.S. degrees (2000) in chemical engineering from University of Oklahoma. While an undergraduate at University of Oklahoma, she was awarded an Undergraduate Research Grant from the Honor’s Office of the University of Oklahoma. She worked with Professor Edgar A. O’Rear III on investigating the seasonal variation and circadian rhythm in the onset of acute myocardial infarction. For her master thesis, she was advised by Professor Daniel E. Resasco in which she investigated the synergistic effects of metal and acid sites for the selective reduction of NOx using light hydrocarbons.
Cathy joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of the ten United States National Research Laboratories in 2000, operated by Battelle Memorial Institute for the Department of Energy (US), as a research engineer and then as senior research scientist. She led the catalyst development task in an intensive effort of commercializing microreactor technology for conversion of natural gas to liquid fuel. She also involved in developing materials and catalytic conversion technology for NOx exhaust emission control, on-anode reforming in solid oxide fuel cell, and H2 production.
Cathy pursued a doctorate degree at the University of California, Berkeley from 2005-2010 under the tutelage of Professor Enrique Iglesia. Her thesis work focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms for natural gas conversion on supported Group VIII nanosized metal clusters. Specifically, she applied isotopic and kinetic methods to interrogate the kinetic responses and dynamics of the surfaces during chemical reactions. In a close collaboration with Professor Matthew Neurock at University of Virginia, she applied density functional theoretical methods to probe the structures and energies of molecules along the reaction coordinate.
Besides teaching and carrying out catalytic research, Cathy plays classical piano, rock climb, hike, and dance.


Prof. Benoît H. Lessard, University of Ottawa

Title: The Future of Organic Electronics and what it means for Chemical Engineering 

Credit: davidtaylorphotostudio.com

Prof. Lessard was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at University of Ottawa in May 2015. Since then he has established his growing group which focuses on the development of novel materials and their implementation into organic electronic devices, such as ultra-thin light emitting diodes, flexible solar cells and printable sensors. Prof. Lessard has been awarded the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Advanced Polymer Materials and Organic Electronics and the 2015 Charles Polanyi Prize in Chemistry. Prior to joining uOttawa, Prof. Lessard completed an NSERC Banting Fellowship at the University of Toronto studying crystal engineering and organic electronic device fabrication. Prior to that he completed his PhD in polymer reaction engineering at McGill University, where he was awarded the NSERC Alexander gram bell CGS as well as the MSED-LANXESS PhD thesis award in polymer science. Since 2008, Prof. Lessard has published 47 peer review journal articles, 6 patent applications, 1 book chapter and presented his work at over 54 international and national conferences. For more information: www.benoitlessard.ca


Vikramaditya G. Yadav, University of British Columbia

Title: Medicine-by-Design: Discovery and Development of a Novel Therapy for Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex 

Dr. Vikramaditya G. Yadav Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering & School of Biomedical Engineering The University of British Columbia When he joined the University of Waterloo as an undergraduate student in chemical engineering, Dr. Vikramaditya G. Yadav coveted a career in Alberta's burgeoning petrochemical sector. He even interned at Imperial Oil during his first summer break from university. Then, one fine evening during second year, he stumbled upon a copy of Juan Enríquez's As the Future Catches You in the library and became instantly captivated with biological engineering. His journey over the past few years has taken him to Sanofi Pasteur, where he worked on designing next-generation vaccine manufacturing processes; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his doctoral degree for a thesis on engineering enzymes and bacteria for synthesis of pharmaceuticals; and later to Harvard University, where he worked on biophysics and biological thermodynamics. Now, as an Assistant Professor at UBC, he leads a wonderful group of researchers working on wide-ranging topics at the interface of biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine and economics. In a short span of 3 years, he has established a world-leading, industrially-connected research laboratory that has attracted over $1 million in research funds, and he is currently working with 4 biotechnology companies in Vancouver to commercialize his research. He also serves on several administrative committees at the University of British Columbia, is the Associate Director of ECOSCOPE, a Vancouver-based entrepreneurship hub for life scientists, and is also the Vice-Chair of the Biotechnology Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada.