President's Impact Academy

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The 2021 President's Impact Award is now open. Once you have reviewed the detailed information on Preparing a Nomination, please Submit a Nomination.  Submission is open until Thursday November 12, 2020.

What are the President’s Impact Awards?

This page profiles laureates of the University of Toronto (U of T) and the activities of the Academy. Laureates of the U of T President’s Impact Awards (PIA) are designated by the University as members of the President’s Impact Academy for a minimum period of five years.

How do I become a member of the President’s Impact Academy?

President’s Impact Academy members are selected via the nomination process for the President’s Impact Awards (PIA). For more information about the awards and process, visit President’s Impact Awards & Academy.

2020 Laureates

Tom Chau

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Photo of Tom Chau

For contributions to the development of assistive technologies which give children and youth with severe physical limitations the ability to communicate independently.

An estimated 100,000 nonverbal, but cognitively capable Canadian children and youth with disabilities face social exclusion due to a perceived inability to communicate independently. Through access technology innovations that harness the unique ability of each individual, Professor Tom Chau abolishes communication barriers and gives a voice to children and youth once considered voiceless. Professor Chau has made it his life’s mission to ensure that every child and youth in Canada, regardless of physical ability, will one day enjoy the fundamental human right to communication. He has been tirelessly developing groundbreaking access technologies that have shifted conventional thinking about the communicative potential of nonverbal individuals with severe disabilities. He is a Professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering and Vice President of Research and Director, Bloorview Research Institute.

Professor Chau holds more than a dozen patents for assistive technologies, several of which have been licensed to industry partners. He has also been a tireless advocate for children with disabilities, challenging assumptions through numerous international keynote addresses and over 200 media pieces (e.g., CNN, Discovery Channel), many featuring children with severe disabilities using his technologies. His research has been transforming the lives of children and youth living with severe disabilities. From a blink switch that allowed one child to participate in his bar mitzvah, to a Hummer that gives another child her voice, Professor Chau’s innovations have opened up new doors for young people living with disabilities that hinder their ability to communicate.


Barbara Fallon

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Photo of Barbara Fallon

For valuable linkages made between researchers and child welfare practitioners through timely and relevant knowledge exchange, vital to inform and direct effective child welfare policy and practice.

Professor Fallon is an internationally renowned researcher who believes that children, youth and families deserve the highest quality of child welfare supports and services. For the past 20 years, she has worked in partnership with community experts and trans-disciplinary scholars to collect and analyze child welfare data to inform more effective and targeted interventions that are responsive to the distinct needs and circumstances of different groups of children. She is a Full Professor at the University of Toronto where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare, Tier II. She previously held the Factor-Inwentash Chair in Child Welfare (2013-2018), and was the Associate Dean of Research (2015-2019).

Child welfare is one of the fastest growing social service delivery sectors in Canada, but there is a dearth of evidence about what works best. Professor Fallon has worked to bridge that knowledge gap by collecting reliable national and provincial child welfare data to help inform policy decisions that are rooted in evidence. The impact of Professor Fallon’s research on policy in Canada is significant. Her research reveals stark disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and families in the child welfare systems. Her findings have informed organizations focused on child rights and wellbeing including the United Nations and the Senate Committee on Human Rights. Her research represents an important contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to improve child welfare data collection on First Nations, Metis and Inuit children, youth and families. Professor Fallon has received over 16 million dollars in research grants and contracts as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator, and has an exceptional publication and dissemination record.


Stephen Hwang

Faculty of Medicine
St. Michael's Hospital

Photo of Stephen Hwang

For contributions that have advanced policy to improve the health of people experiencing homelessness and make social justice and health equity central to medical practice.

Professor Stephen Hwang is a world-renowned expert whose research and advocacy has led to advances in Canada and around the world in impacting homelessness and improving health care for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Hwang’s pioneering work has elucidated the causes and risk factors for death among homeless people, the relationship between traumatic brain injury and homelessness, and the effects of homelessness on health status. He has an outstanding record of research leadership, team building, and collaboration, and he has played a pivotal role in advancing Canadian and international scholarship and advocacy related to the issue of homelessness.

Dr. Hwang’s work has had a major impact on concrete policy actions that have ameliorated homelessness. His work helped inspire the creation of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which has mobilized officials in hundreds of cities across the US to house thousands of long-term and medically vulnerable homeless individuals who were at increased risk of death. His research has also led directly to efforts to identify and treat traumatic brain injury among people experiencing homelessness. His work has persuaded governments and agencies in Canada, the US, and other countries around the world to move toward a Housing First approach to end chronic homelessness. Finally, his work has inspired the next generation of health care providers to dedicate their careers to serve people experiencing homelessness and other forms of marginalization, and to address housing and other social determinants of health in their clinical practice and advocacy.


Audrey Macklin

Faculty of Law

Prof. Macklin is also the recipient of the 2020 Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award.

Photo of Audrey Macklin

For the profound impact that she has made on critical issues relating to migration and citizenship, and business and human rights, which has contributed to enhanced protection for some of society’s most vulnerable members.

Professor Audrey Macklin is a foremost academic expert in migration and citizenship law, and in business and human rights. Her policy contributions have been influential in both domains. Her interventions in policy development reflect her professional formation as a scholar, an educator, and a lawyer. Macklin holds the Chair in Human Rights and serves as the Faculty Advisor to Law’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP).

Macklin has authored or contributed to critical policy reports on multiple citizenship, asylum and resettlement, the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, legal aid for immigrants and refugees, national security and non-citizens, and business and human rights. She is regularly invited to testify before Parliamentary Standing Committees and the Senate to comment on pending legislation. She has consulted for the United Nations and domestic tribunals, and participated in international human rights fact-finding missions.

Macklin has litigated high-profile cases, including that of Omar Khadr. She has represented interveners before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in ten cases, and in four cases before the Federal Court /Federal Court of Appeal. In addition to serving as pro bono counsel, Macklin regularly provides academic guidance in formulating legal positions and drafting facta that form the basis of litigation. Macklin’s decades-long engagement with evidence-based, human rights compliant policy, public advocacy and education, and strategic litigation exemplify the impact of her contribution beyond academia.


Anna Shternshis

Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Photo of Anna Shternshis

For the Yiddish Glory project, bridging historical research and music, giving public voice to men, women and children who created music during the Holocaust.

A leading scholar on Russian Jewish history and culture as well as an expert in oral history, Professor Anna Shternshis has developed innovative and highly successful ways of using her research to engage the public. One remarkable outcome of Professor Shternshis’ research project on Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union during World War II is the recording entitled “Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II”, released by the label, Six Degrees, in 2018. Nominated for a 2019 Grammy award, Yiddish Glory was the subject of more than 500 print radio and television features in 50 countries (e.g. The New Yorker, NPR, and the BBC). The songs, thought lost to history, were originally created by men, women and children while they were imprisoned in German and Romanian-run ghettos and concentration camps located in Soviet Ukraine. Jewish solders who served in the Red Army, as well Jewish refugees and evacuees who survived World War II in Central Asia, also wrote songs.

The Grammy nomination and resulting media exposure contributed to unprecedented success for a historical research project in Jewish studies, ensuring that music created as testimonies to atrocities of war would no longer be forgotten and ignored. Millions of people around the world learned about a story of resilience and bravery that both Stalin and Hitler wanted to bury. These songs facilitated a public discussion around how one learns to hear refugee voices (often obscured by a lack of a common language), the ability to tell a coherent story and the cultural gaps between listener and teller. Above all, it achieved the major goal of giving voices to people, who despite being silenced by Hitler and Stalin, continued to sing.

2019 Laureates

Michael Cusimano

Faculty of Medicine
St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Cusimano is also the recipient of the 2018 Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award.

Photo of Dr. Michael Cusimano, Department of Surgery and Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

For his significant contributions to the prevention of traumatic brain injury and development of neurosurgery, and for his professional and public education and advocacy.

Michael Cusimano is a Professor in the Department of Surgery, an internationally recognized neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is founding director of the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael’s Hospital, where he leads an innovative research program and knowledge translation activities that have had an enormous impact in the field of traumatic brain injury and sport concussions.

Dr. Cusimano’s work, translated by a variety of means to wide public and scientific audiences, has contributed substantially to the shift in knowledge, attitudes and awareness surrounding the causes and consequences of concussions and head injuries. Following his landmark 2003 publication on the risks of body-checking in hockey, his ongoing research and advocacy at local, national and international levels has stimulated immense public and community engagement, catalyzed further academic research and debate, and ultimately informed changes in national and international sports policy, including rule changes and laws to reduce concussion in youth and elite sports such as hockey, baseball, soccer and football. Beyond his work on injury prevention, Dr. Cusimano’s creativity has also led to significant innovations in skull base and endoscopic neurosurgery that have been adopted globally. The development of new surgical techniques have changed the face of neurosurgery for skull base lesions and improved quality of life for people around the world.


Kamran Khan

Faculty of Medicine
St. Michael’s Hospital

Photo of Dr. Kamran Khan, Department of Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health

For pioneering research on the globalization of infectious diseases that has informed international policy, and for founding BlueDot, a Toronto-based tech company that protects people around the world from infectious diseases with data-driven technologies.

Kamran Khan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and a Clinician-Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. He is an internationally recognized scientist who has pioneered novel areas of research on the globalization of infectious diseases, including real-time tracking and predicting of infectious disease risks using big data, artificial intelligence, and disease modelling.

Dr. Khan’s research has influenced international policy during global health emergencies. For example, during the 2016 Zika outbreak in the Americas, he advised the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on key policy decisions, including possible cancellation or postponement of the Brazil Summer Olympic Games. During the same outbreak, his research – conducted under time-sensitive conditions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – informed travellers’ health policy, identifying specific geographic areas where people could safely travel with minimal risk from Zika virus infection.

An innovator-entrepreneur, Dr. Khan founded BlueDot in 2013, a social benefit corporation that created the world’s first global early warning system for infectious diseases. Through BlueDot Dr. Khan has supported numerous national and multi-national organizations, including the CDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Global Affairs Canada. He holds four patents, with five pending. He has received multiple accolades for his work transcending clinical medicine, academic research, and entrepreneurship, including the Governor General’s Innovation Award, the Ernest C. Manning Innovation Award, Techvibes’ Canadian Innovation Award, and the Canadian Medical Association’s Joule Innovation Grant.


Tania Li

Faculty of Arts and Science

Photo of Professor Tania Li, Department of Anthropology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

For research that has demonstrated fatal flaws in growth-promoting development policies and outlined more equitable alternatives, shaping rural development research and policy internationally.

Tania Li is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a world-recognized scholar with extraordinary impact both within and beyond academia. A socio-cultural anthropologist, her research concerns the challenges of equitable and sustainable rural development, with a particular focus on Indonesia.

Professor Li’s research is rigorously empirical, as she conducts multi-year, primary fieldwork in rural sites where villagers wrestle with market pressures and state directives, as well as growth-oriented development schemes. She examines the fate of people who are squeezed off their land but cannot find paid work, and the predicament of educated, unemployed youth who desperately seek pathways to modern lives. Her research punctures myths about the effectiveness of high growth agriculture to bring benefits to all, and promotes serious, grounded debate about how rural poverty can be reduced, and new forms of impoverishment avoided. Over two decades, Professor Li’s work has definitively shaped both research and policy in the fields of transnational farmland investment, food sovereignty, indigenous land rights, labour displacement, rural livelihoods and land grabbing. Global Affairs Canada, the European Parliament, and official development policy agencies in France and Indonesia have sought her expert advice. Development scholars, practitioners and advocacy groups in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas draw on her powerful, accessible, widely translated, readily-usable knowledge to devise practical solutions for the complex development challenges they encounter in diverse sites. Professor Li’s impactful research was recently recognized with the 2018 Insight Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and her appointment to the prestigious rank of University Professor.


Jeffrey Rosenthal

Faculty of Arts and Science

Photo of Professor Jeffrey Rosenthal, Department of Statistical Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

For contributions to public discourse about the importance of quantitative reasoning, and efforts to improve a variety of societal problems through application of statistical analysis.

Jeffrey Rosenthal is a Professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. An internationally renowned statistician, his outstanding academic career has included several top honours for excellence in research and teaching, including the prestigious President's Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS).

Professor Rosenthal’s bestselling 2005 book Struck By Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, published in 16 editions and 10 languages, introduced an understanding of probability and statistics to lay readers around the world. His tireless public efforts to provide reasoned, quantitative analysis of many important social issues have enhanced the numerical literacy and logical thinking of thousands of Canadians, opening the door to inclusion in important social dialogues. His statistical analysis demonstrating the improbability of lottery "insider wins" became front-page news, subsequently driving the Ontario Ombudsman's investigation and significant lottery policy reforms, and ultimately leading to criminal investigations and to payments of more than twenty million dollars. His novel application of statistical textual analysis to the writing styles of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions demonstrated that these decisions are increasingly drafted by law clerks, exemplifying the potential of statistics to provide quantitative insights into legal practice. Professor Rosenthal continues his unique application of statistical analysis in his 2018 book Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything, which examines the concept of “luck” in its various senses, from the perspective of a professor of statistics.


Karan Singh

Faculty of Arts and Science

Photo of Professor Karan Singh, Department of Computer Science and Co-director of the Dynamic Graphics Lab

For contributions in computer graphics, design and animation, through the creation of commercial software, companies and the Oscar winning animation “Ryan”.

Karan Singh is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and co-director of the Dynamic Graphics Project Lab. Professor Singh’s research in interactive computer graphics has had profound impact beyond academia, in the graphics industry and creative community, through commercial software tools, start-ups, and animated films.

His contributions include Academy Award winning industry software for animation, Maya (Technical Oscar 2003), and reverse engineering, Paraform. He was the Software R&D Director for the 2004 Oscar winning animation film Ryan, and has contributed significantly to other award winning animations. He has co-founded a number of start-ups including Sketch-2, software for real estate planning and leasing (now FindSpace); MeshMixer, design software for 3D printing (acquired by Autodesk in 2011); Flatfab, software for rapid prototyping using laser-cutters (University of Toronto Inventor of the Year Award 2015); and most recently JALI Inc., tools for expressive facial animation, and JanusVR, an immersive web browsing platform for AR/VR and immersive web community with over 150,000 users. MeshMixer, Flatfab and JanusVR are free, open source software, benefiting the 3D printing and laser-cutting maker community of creative professionals, and immersive web experience community respectively. These pieces of software have active user bases and have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times worldwide. The research behind Professor Singh’s creative software tools is highly innovative, having been published at the very top venues in Computer Graphics and Human Computer Interaction, and protected by numerous patents.

2018 Laureates

Lisa Austin

Faculty of Law

Photo of Professor Lisa Austin, Chair in Law and Technology

Lisa Austin is a professor of law and the Chair in Law and Technology. She is cross-appointed to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is a Connaught Scholar and co-founder of the Information Technology, Transparency, and Transformation (IT3) Lab, which seeks multidisciplinary solutions to problems involving privacy and transparency.

Professor Austin is Canada’s leading academic on privacy law and she has a strong international reputation for her work in the field, which focuses on the limits of existing privacy law frameworks and theoretical models to deal with the informational challenges of the 21st century. Her work has had a broad impact on the development of law and policy within Canada. Several core ideas in Professor Austin’s academic scholarship have had a major impact on prevailing legal views within Canada. These include arguments justifying a privacy interest in public spaces and in relation to public records; critiquing the role of consent in private sector privacy models; understanding the privacy interests in communications metadata; and outlining the constitutional dimensions to privacy interests in cross-border data flows—issues that have broad implications for the privacy of all Canadians and their personal information. Her work has been cited by many Canadian courts, including multiple times by the Supreme Court of Canada, and has had a major impact on prevailing legal views, influencing legislators and regulators. She was invited to co-write the Canadian Judicial Council’s policy on access to court records. This policy has influenced how courts manage access to their records and has been cited by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Federal Court in a case dealing with the privacy interests raised by search engines indexing court records. Prof. Austin shares her work widely with the community, and in turn gains a stronger understanding of the needs of the community and the problems they face.


Zubin Austin

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Photo of Professor Zubin Austin, Koffler Research Chair at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Zubin Austin is a professor and Koffler Research Chair at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. He is an award winning educator, having received the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada Education Excellence Award, the province of Ontario’s leadership in Faculty Teaching Award, and has been named a 2016 Canadian Academic leader by pharmacy Business Magazine.

Professor Austin is an international leader in the area of bridging education for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs). The central focus of Professor Austin’s work has been to support better integration of IEHPs into the workforces of Canada and other countries at a time of skills shortages in many parts of the world. His work has been recognized as a “best practice model” by the Conference Board of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (Government of Canada). In 2014, he was commissioned by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the UK (the largest regulatory body for health professionals in the world) to produce a report titled “Preventing small problems from becoming big problems in health and care.” His research has also been translated across disciplinary boundaries in work with national and provincial regulators in such fields as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, midwifery, nursing, and dietetics. He recently completed a report commissioned by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO) focused on competency assessment that has been used nationally and internationally across diverse health and non-health professions. Thousands of IEHPs across more than a dozen health professions have completed educational programs and online modules that have been developed through Professor Austin’s research program, and these IEHPs in turn have provided care to tens of thousands of patients across Canada and around the world.


Ron Deibert

Faculty of Arts & Science

Photo of Ron Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs

Ron Deibert is a professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, which undertakes interdisciplinary research intersecting global security, information and communication technology, and human rights. He is a recipient of the Order of Ontario and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for being “among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communication rights, openness, and security worldwide.”

For over 15 years, Citizen Lab has researched and documented information controls that impact the openness and security of the Internet and threaten human rights, and is unrivalled in its international reputation. Professor Deibert’s research has uncovered state surveillance and censorship threats around the world and has exposed corporations that have provided repressive regimes with technologies that allow them to conduct surveillance on citizens and censor its media. The impact of Professor Deibert’s research beyond academia can be seen in the extensive media coverage Citizen Lab receives, as well as the awards and honours he and Citizen Lab have garnered. The impact of Professor Deibert’s research has also played a key role in the development of technology that protects citizens’ rights to Internet freedom and privacy, including software that allows users to bypass Internet censorship and an online tool that helps users formally request access to personal information being stored by their service provider. He has made it a priority to ensure that his findings are communicated beyond academia. He authored the book Black Code: Privacy, Surveillance, and the Dark Side of the Internet (2013), which was adapted into a feature-length documentary film (“Black Code”) premiering at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and playing at film festivals worldwide.


Kathleen Gallagher

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Photo of Professor Kathleen Gallagher, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Kathleen Gallagher is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Professor Gallagher completed two terms as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC), won a Tier 1 CRC at a competitor university and, remaining at U of T, earned the title Distinguished Professor in 2015. She helped found U of T’s Centre for Urban Schooling.

A leading scholar of social inequality, youth, and schooling, Professor Gallagher has committed herself over the past two decades to research with and for the benefit of young people in marginalized communities—including low-income, poverty-stricken and homeless populations, refugee communities, and communities in which girls and women have been historically discriminated against. Through her pioneering research in drama education and schooling, which engages with questions around the arts, pedagogy, classroom relations, and wider social contexts, she has profoundly changed the lens through which young people are thought about and valued in societies. As a result of sustained and creative efforts to mobilize research findings beyond academia – via, for example, community-based research and outreach, public workshops, policy briefs, high-level networking, influential partnerships and collaborations with artists – Professor Gallagher’s timely work has been taken up across professional, practitioner, governmental and non-governmental organizations and civil society communities, both in Canada and around the world. In particular, her expertise on youth, gender and schooling is regularly seized upon by national and international media outlets, educational associations, schools and institutions, legislative and policy organizations, and think tanks, as these bodies look to build effective strategies for improving the lives of disenfranchised youth. As such, her work has responded to issues affecting some of the most marginalized communities across the globe and here at home, impacting girls in India, girls/women and LGBTQ communities in Taiwan, refugees in Greece, together with socio-economically disadvantaged, homeless, and educationally struggling young people in the GTA and in other low-income regions across Ontario. Perhaps most importantly, Professor Gallagher has forged collaborative and enduring links between university research and community-based organizations, artists, and local, national and international non-profits, government agencies, and think tanks.


Andreas Laupacis

Faculty of Medicine
St. Michael’s Hospital

Prof. Laupacis is also the recipient of the 2019 Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award

Photo of Professor Andreas Laupacis, Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation

Andreas Laupacis is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. He is also a general internist and the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Laupacis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and, among other awards, was the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services and Policy Research.

Dr. Laupacis is an internationally recognized health services researcher who has made a fundamental impact in a number of areas including clinical, health services, health economics, and health policy research. His impact is demonstrated in a numbers of firsts: he introduced the concept of “number needed to treat”; he introduced research that prevented strokes worldwide; he was one of the first physicians in Canada to advocate for cost-effectiveness studies in health care decision-making and has thereby changed the way governments integrate science into policymaking; and he advocated for the inclusion of patients’ voices. As a general internist and palliative care physician, Dr. Laupacis’ research and health policy work has always been grounded in an understanding of the needs of patients. As such, he was one of the first to articulate the need for greater involvement of patients in research and health policy making, which is now increasingly common. In academic and non-academic settings, Dr. Laupacis has advocated for the use of research evidence in crafting health care policy, and for greater patient and public involvement in the setting of research and health policy priorities. Most recently, he has elevated the level of public discourse about health policy in Canada with widely read websites that are used by those working within the health care system, in medical education, and by students, journalists, and the general public (


Paul Santerre

Faculty of Dentistry

Photo of Professor Paul Santerre, Faculty of Dentistry and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME)

Paul Santerre is a professor of Dentistry with a cross-appointment at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). Professor Santerre’s research and innovation activities have been recognized by numerous awards, including the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in Partnerships of Small and Medium Sized Companies, the Governor General’s Award for Innovation, and the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award for Entrepreneurship.

Professor Santerre is sought after internationally for his expertise in polymeric biomaterial design and biostability of implant materials. This work has led to the development of novel technologies that established startup Interface Biologics (IBI), and more recently, Polumiros Inc. His entrepreneurial activities beyond academia are guided by the urgent need to translate scientific discoveries and innovations into tangible health care benefits, and have culminated in 60 awarded patents to date with 38 patents in progress. Professor Santerre’s inventions cover a very broad range in the area of regenerative biomaterials, including cardiovascular and musculoskeletal applications, as well as novel dental materials and tissue fillers for women undergoing lumpectomies after cancer surgery. Another key example of the impact of these inventions is Interface Biologics’s clot reduction technology, which is now pivotal to the successful use of catheter products in the medical field. This innovation has gone on to transform the lives of many tens of thousands of people around the world who depend on blood catheter technologies. Professor Santerre’s innovative research is impacting life-science jobs, healthcare and quality of life, commercial innovation, and experiential learning.


Zindel Segal

University of Toronto Scarborough

Zindel Segal, Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders and Senior Scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute

Zindel Segal is Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders and a Senior Scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Douglas Utting Research Prize and the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario’s Hope Award.

Professor Segal is the creator and developer of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a novel treatment that prevents relapse in clinical depression. His work is already having an important impact on the treatment of mental health in North American and the U.K., and will soon be extended globally through the training of mindfulness-based therapists and the launch of online MBCT treatment programs. Professor Segal’s relatively low-cost therapeutic technique has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication for preventing relapse of depression, without the serious side effects. MBCT can be delivered in person or online by trained therapists, reducing burdens on national health care systems in multiple ways, and the treatment is couched in the language of mindfulness and resilience which has been found to be significantly less stigmatizing than the languages of psychotherapy or psychopathology, promoting uptake in treatment. Globally, national health systems have adopted MBCT because it is both effective, and with its group structure, often significantly cheaper than the alternatives. MBCT is recommended in a number of national (USA, Canadian, UK) Depression Treatment Guidelines as a first line intervention for preventing depression relapse. Prof. Segal’s work has reached the general public in impressive numbers. His 10 books, including The Mindful Way Through Depression and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, have sold over 350,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 15 languages.


  • Manage nominations for the President’s Impact Awards
  • Coordinate activities of the President’s Impact Academy

VPRI Contact


Daniel Harney

Manager, University Awards & Honours
Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (OVPRI)
(416) 978-7905

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