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Bob Russell Zamir Punja Julian Guttman

Left to right: Bob Russell, Zamir Punja, and Julian Guttman.

Kudos for three

June 11, 2009

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Several faculty members have been recognized recently for outstanding contributions in their fields.

Mathematician Bob Russell has been selected by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) as one of its first 180 members to be made a 2009 SIAM Fellow in the inaugural year of the group’s program. All were selected for outstanding contributions to applied mathematics and computational science. SIAM has close to 12,000 members worldwide and almost 500 institutional members in academia, manufacturing, R&D, government, defence, and service and consulting organizations.

Russell’s primary research area is scientific computing. He develops numerical techniques and software that can be adapted to sophisticated mathematical models used in solving mathematical problems involving physical processes. Among other things, his adaptive numerical methods have been used to determine the flow of ground pollutants, understand spontaneous combustion and its role in household fires, study the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and assist in weather prediction.

Biologist Zamir Punja has won the 2009 Canadian Phytopathological Society Award for Outstanding Research for his work in plant pathology and his innovative approaches to disease management on vegetable and horticultural crops.

Punja, an international leader in the development of genetically-modified plants, has one of the most productive and diverse research programs in Canada addressing both basic and applied aspects of plant diseases caused by a range of pathogens, particularly soil-borne fungi.

His outreach has extended beyond the scientific community to the public forum in which he has spoken nationally and internationally about his work. In 2003, Punja’s staunch support as a champion of genetically modified plants earned him SFU’s Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in support of controversy.

Cellular microbiologist Julian Guttman won a Canadian Institutes of Health Research new-investigator salary award, recognizing his research on pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli. These microorganisms are a global health concern, causing disease through their interaction with host cells and control of normal cellular functions.

Such pathogens use bacterially generated proteins to commandeer cells for their own purposes. Guttman’s research is focused on understanding these sub-cellular alterations.

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