The third Faculty of Science Strategic Plan update, covering the period May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016, lists the Faculty of Science's achievements and progress within six strategic initiatives.
- Vision Science graduate student Gah-Jone Won won the 2016 National Three Minute Thesis Competition. He is the first Waterloo student to win the competition.
- A paper by chemist Juewen Liu and biologist Mark Servos on biosensor technology was recently named one of the most influential in the history of the journal Langmuir.
- Research from Earth scientist Philippe Van Cappellen's lab predicts the recent boom in global dam construction will impact river water quality by transforming water released downstream.
- Chemist Elizabeth Meiering has discovered a new way to create designer proteins that have the potential to transform biotechnology and personalized medicines.
- Waterloo Science programs and research have been featured by numerous international, national and regional media outlets including the New York Times, WIRED Magazine, Yahoo!, Forbes, Nature, The Guardian, Macleans, TSN, Globe & Mail, Wall Street Journal, Quirks & Quarks, CBC and CTV.
- Biologist Mark Servos’ research on intersex in the rainbow darter was highlighted by in the Globe & Mail’s series Headwaters: The Future of Our Most Critical Resource as part of the ongoing international effort to clean up the Great Lakes’ watershed.
- Astrophysicist Avery Broderick was part of an international team that detected gravitational waves, long-awaited evidence that vindicates the work of Albert Einstein.
- Waterloo physicists David Hawthorn, Michel Gingras and doctoral student Andrew Achkar discovered new properties of superconducting which is the most direct experimental evidence to date of electronic nematicity as a universal feature in cuprate high-temperature superconductors.
- Several Science faculty received prestigious awards and honours this year:
- Chemist Linda Nazar was named an Officer of the Order of Canada;
- John Cherry, a distinguished professor emeritus in the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, was awarded the 2016 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, a top international water prize worth more than $280K;
- Chemist Janusz Pawliszyn was named the 14th most influential person in analytical science by Analytical Scientist’s 2015 Power List which highlights the top 100 personalities that influence the field today; and
- Canada Excellence Research Chairs David Cory and Philippe Van Cappellen were named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada.
- A School of Pharmacy delegation from Science visited Soochow University (China) to develop new research partnerships.
- Combining traditional First Nation methods with the scientific method, biologist Heidi Swanson is partnering with the Kluane First Nation to measure mercury levels in fish. Members of the Kluane First Nation visited Waterloo Science in March.
- Optometrist and vision scientist Kristine Dalton is working with the International Paralympic Committee to develop new sport-specific visual classification systems for Parapan Am athletes.
- Physics and Astronomy graduate students partnered with THEMUSEUM to create LIGHT Illuminated, a new exhibit for the United Nations’ 2015 International Year of Light.
- Building on Faculty of Science exchange visits, biologist Kirsten Müller developed a collaboration with Song Dong Shen from Soochow University.
Industrial Partnerships and Commercialisation
- Earth scientist Lingling Wu partnered with Waterloo Biofilter Systems to evaluate the new Waterloo Biofilter’s geochemical processes. The work helped green technology be accepted in northern Ontario municipalities.
- Pharmacy Professor Praveen Nekkar Rao and alumnus Gary Tin partnered with Cyclica and discovered that a commonly known antidepressant may be useful in fighting some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Waterloo chemists, biologists and earth scientists have partnered with the Southern Ontario Water Consortium to advance the Watershed Management and Monitoring Program, a recent $12M Accelerating Water Technologies Initiative.
- Biology Professor Trevor Charles is the co-founder and Chief Security Officer for Metagenom Bio Inc. which helps industry capitalize on their use of microbial communities to create faster and more cost-effective solutions.
- Velocity Science, a discovery space for Waterloo life and physical science startups, has 27 startups and recently expanded to 2,600+ sq ft to meet the growing demand and interest in entrepreneurship.
- Velocity Science company Vitameter spent four months in Germany at the Bayer Grants4Apps Accelerator.
- A team of Waterloo pharmacy students won this year’s Pharmasave Business Competition, proving they have the business savvy and pharmaceutical know-how to kickstart a business that puts pharmacists on the front line of health care.
- Together, Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences are developing a new Environmental Science specialization in Water Science for domestic and China 2+2 students through China Geosciences University in Wuhan.
- Earth and Environmental Sciences, with Civil and Environmental Engineering, developed and initiated a new undergraduate curriculum in Geological Engineering for fall 2015.
- The School of Pharmacy has implemented a bridging PharmD program which allows individuals with a Waterloo BScPharm degree to take additional courses to earn a PharmD degree.
- The School of Optometry and Vision Science has introduced two new residencies – Sports Vision and Vision Therapy as well as Ocular Disease.
Experiential Learning and Teaching Excellence
- The Science Teaching Complex opened adding 120K sq ft of student-centred space, including a 452-seat amphitheatre, five 150-seat classrooms, 11 teaching labs, undergraduate student services and social space.
- Physics lecturer Rohan Jayasundera won the 2015 Federation of Student Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. He is the second Science faculty member to win the award since its inception last year.
- The School of Pharmacy has created a unique Community of Practice learning model to provide clinical experiences for students. Regional clinical coordinators in 14 regions across the province identify and support outstanding clinical training sites for students.
- All Waterloo Faculties are using Science’s online course evaluation tool, eValuate, which provides faster student feedback for instructors and more accessible analytics.
- Science students excelled at national and global competitions:
- Waterloo’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team won a gold medal, Best Poster - Undergraduate, Best Software tool and was nominated for Best Foundational Advance;
- Waterloo’s Earth Sciences and Geological Engineering students placed second at the World Mining Competition;
- Science undergraduate Fizza Shaji won the National Japanese Speech competition;
- Science student Daniel Zhang and Math teammates won the Global 2016 Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge, the first time a Canadian team has won the competition; and
- Pharmacy student Holly Meginnis was awarded the Ontario Pharmacists Association Student of Distinction Award for leadership and commitment to advancing the profession.