Three IBBME professors recognized with Ontario Professional Engineers Awards

Three faculty members from the U of T Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) have been honoured by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) with 2017 Ontario Professional Engineers Awards.

Professors Jan Andrysek and Craig Simmons garnered Research and Development Medals, for engineers who have advanced knowledge in engineering or applied science, while Professor Paul Santerre received the Entrepreneurship Medal, for applying new technologies or innovative approaches that have enabled new companies to get started.

Together, they are among six U of T Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering community members to be honoured at the Ontario Professional Engineers Awards gala at the Toronto Congress Centre on November 18, 2017.

Professor Jan Andrysek is IBBME’s clinical engineering program coordinator and leads the Paediatrics, Rehabilitation, Orthotics, Prosthetics, Engineering and Locomotion (PROPEL) Lab at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. His research focuses on the design, development and clinical evaluation of technologies to improve mobility in children and adults with lower-limb impairments. This includes the development of new prosthetic and orthotic technologies, as well as potential interventions such as video game systems for improving postural balance.

Most recently, Andrysek led the development of the “All-Terrain Knee”, now being commercialized through the spinoff company Leg Works. This durable, affordable prosthetic knee joint provides exceptional stability, is easy to fit and maintain, and can be used in harsh environments such as water, making it particularly suitable for use in the developing world.

Professor Craig Simmons is the Distinguished Professor of Mechanobiology and scientific director of the Translational Biology and Engineering Program at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research. He is recognized internationally for his innovative contributions to mechanobiology, an emerging discipline that aims to understand and control the mechanisms by which mechanical forces regulate the biological function of molecules, cells, and tissues.

Simmons has made several fundamental discoveries that have improved our understanding of heart valve function and disease. He has also developed innovative lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies for cellular engineering, including miniaturized platforms for drug screening and testing biomaterials.

Simmons is a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering and a recipient of the U of T Northrop Frye Award, for linking teaching and research.

Professor Paul Santerre is chief scientific officer for Interface Biologics Inc. (IBI), which he co-founded in 2001. IBI develops transformative biomedical polymer technologies to improve the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. The company’s primary focus areas are additives that reduce thrombosis (blood clotting) in medical devices and polymer-enabled drug delivery platforms. Its core technology is a group of surface modifying macromolecules (trademarked as Endexo™), which were developed by Santerre.

IBI now has multi-million dollar commercial partnerships with leading medical device manufacturers worldwide, who are using Endexo and other products to prevent blood clotting related to the use of catheters and other medical devices.

Santerre has received several awards for innovation and entrepreneurship, including the NSERC Synergy Award, the Manning Award and the Governor General’s Innovation Award.

“These awards highlight the tremendous contributions made by U of T Engineers in every facet of engineering, through professional achievement, leadership in their fields, and service to the profession and the community,” said Dean Cristina Amon. “On behalf of the Faculty, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all the recipients on this well-deserved recognition.”