Medicine and science professors awarded Steacie fellowship and Brockhouse prize
University of Calgary researchers, who are international leaders in their fields, are being recognized for their outstanding work at Canada’s annual awards of excellence in science and engineering.
Sheelagh Carpendale, a renowned leader in information visualization and interactive technologies in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Computer Science, is one of six Canadian researchers to be awarded an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) at the council’s awards ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Glen Armstrong and Kenneth Ng will share the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering with colleagues from the University of Alberta for their ground-breaking work in glycobiology that is leading to the development of more effective vaccines, drug therapies and techniques to combat antibiotic resistance.
“Investing in science and technology has a direct impact on our quality of life,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, minister of state for science and technology. “The accomplishments of these winners demonstrate how these investments benefit Canadians and our economy.”
University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon congratulated Carpendale, Armstrong and Ng, saying the awards are fitting recognition of the impact their work is having on society.
“A Steacie Fellowship and the Brockhouse Prize are among the highest honours researchers in our country can receive,” Cannon said. “Both these awards provide valuable support for the research projects led by these talented professors and fit squarely with the University of Calgary’s strategic direction, Eyes High, to be among Canada’s top five research universities by our 50th anniversary in 2016.”
E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships are awarded to university researchers who are earning strong international reputation for original research. Winners each receive grants of up to $250,000 over two years to support their work, while their university receives up to $90,000 per year to replace teaching and administrative duties during the fellowship. Carpendale’s research team is one of the few in the world developing interactive tabletop display applications, which receive input through natural human actions rather than a mouse, keyboard or special input device.
Her partnership with Calgary-based SMART Technologies has influenced the development of their interactive whiteboards, and has prompted SMART Technologies to include interactive tabletops as part of their multi-touch displays now being used in classrooms and offices around the world.
“By understanding the exact shape of key molecules from an infectious bacteria or virus, we can come up with new substances that can combat it or reduce its ability to gain a foothold and cause an infection in the first place,” said Armstrong, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases and member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.
“It’s great to see our work being developed in ways that will eventually benefit real patients and the health care system as a whole,” said Ng, a professor in the department of Biological Sciences.