University of Toronto

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

ChemE/IBBME Professor Wins CSChE’s Top Award

University Professor Michael Sefton is the 2012 recipient of CSChE’s R. S. Jane Award

June 8, 2012

University Professor Michael Sefton (ChemE/IBBME) is the 2012 winner of the R.S. Jane Memorial Award, the premier award of The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. This honour is presented annually to a researcher who has made an exceptional achievement in the field of chemical engineering or industrial chemistry.

An international leader in the area of biomedical engineering, biomaterials, and regenerative medicine, Professor Sefton was one of the first to recognize the importance of combining living cells with synthetic substances (polymers) to create artificial organs and tissues – a field now known as tissue engineering. He was also among the first to introduce bioengineering (and especially biomedical engineering) into Canadian chemical engineering, demonstrating the significant synergy between chemical engineering principles and biomedical engineering.

Professor Sefton’s lab pioneered the use of biocompatible materials in artificial tissues. His seminal work led to the discovery of therapeutic biomaterials (materials with drug-like qualities) that exploit biological responses (e.g., blood vessel formation) to create innovative medical devices.

His current groundbreaking research into the creation of modular tissue components seeks to create cardiac muscle (to treat heart failure) and pancreatic tissue (for diabetes) among other possibilities.

Beyond his pioneering research contributions (including numerous publications, reviews, invited papers, and nine US and international patents), Professor Sefton has nurtured a network of bioengineering talent that, today, spreads well beyond Toronto. Testament to his visionary leadership has been his active engagement in the commercialization of biotechnology (he created Rimon Therapeutics Ltd with a graduate student), his development of novel university-industry partnerships (e.g., the Toronto Tissue Engineering Initiative), and his direction of the highly respected Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering.

“Professor Sefton is a pioneer in integrating an in depth understanding of chemical engineering methods, principles and thought processes with biomedical sciences, and has made seminal contributions to the field of chemical engineering. I am pleased that CSChE has recognize his accomplishments with the R. S. Jane Award,” said Yu-Ling Cheng, Acting Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “On behalf of the Faculty, I offer him my heartfelt congratulations.”

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, University Professor Sefton serves on a number of major journal editorial boards, on advisory boards for US medical device companies and US and Irish academic centres, and on boards of Canadian organizations and companies.

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