On Aug. 26, five Ryerson professors each received a $150,000 boost to their new research efforts as recipients of the Early Research Award from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science.
The award provides financial support to recently appointed faculty at publicly funded Ontario research institutions. The funding will help the projects develop robust labs and assemble capable research teams. The Ontario government provides $100,000 of each award, while Ryerson contributes $50,000.
Seth Dworkin and Scott Tsai in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science and Costin Antonescu in the Faculty of Science were among the five recipients. All three say that the award will provide a major boost to their research initiatives.
“Receiving the award made me feel very grateful to Ryerson for all the support that I have been given in developing my research program, which lead directly to my application being successful,” said Dworkin.
Dworkin will use the award to further his research into designing cleaner gas turbine engines to reduce emissions that have been linked to lung cancer and global warming.
“The focus of my research is on reducing and eliminating environmental pollutants from transportation,” said Dworkin. His research is focusing on limiting the emissions of “black carbon particles,” or soot, from reaching the atmosphere.
Dworkin will use the funding to expand further the development of computer simulations to better understand how the particles form and how to reduce them.
For Tsai, the award is an important step in protecting biological cells from the human immune system. “My laboratory develops lab-on-a-chip technologies for applications in biomedicine,” said Tai. By applying a coating to individual cells, Tsai hopes to protect them from being attacked by the immune system. His research has important applications for transplant patients, who face the risk of organ rejection.
Antonescu, who works in the department of chemistry and biology, will use the award money to develop high-resolution maps of hormone receptors and examine how hormone signals affect cell growth.
“These signals are altered in cancer, and drive cancer growth and spreading,” explained Antonescu. He added that the maps created by his research “will greatly enhance our knowledge of how hormone signals control both healthy cells and tumors.”
The recipients aren’t the only ones sharing in the excitement of the announcement.
“The award is highly competitive and recipients are among the most promising researchers,” said Usha George, acting vice-president of research and innovation at the university.
George added that “the strategic value for Ontario” is among the evaluation criteria for award recipients.
According to George, “ERAs are prestigious awards. Overall these awards raise Ryerson’s reputation.”