Faculty and Staff

Building a better future: eight SFU innovators named to Royal Society of Canada

September 10, 2019
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Eight Simon Fraser University researchers have been named to the Royal Society of Canada—seven of them as fellows of the society and one as a member of the society’s College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artists. Membership in the Royal Society is Canada’s highest academic honour.

Established in 1882 as Canada’s national academy, the society promotes research and learning in the arts, humanities and sciences. The society awards fellowships to peer-elected and distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions in these fields. The society’s mandate is to build a better future for Canada and the world.

The College of New Scholars recognizes emerging intellectual leaders who have demonstrated high achievement during their early career.

SFU’s 2019 Royal Society of Canada Fellows are:

Tania Bubela, professor and dean, Faculty of Health Sciences. Tania Bubela combines her legal and life sciences training to study the impact and regulation of health biotechnology innovations.

“While the science is developing rapidly, society faces a challenge in how to define the boundaries of ethically acceptable research. My research helps us think through appropriate ways to regulate new diagnostics and therapies and, most importantly, how we ensure that our publicly funded research results in affordable innovations that improve quality of life in ways that are meaningful to patients.”

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Martin Ester, professor, School of Computing Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences. A data-mining pioneer, Martin Ester designs algorithms for reaping database information that can be used in practical applications, such as precision medicine.

“My research investigates data-mining and machine-learning methods to harness the potential of big data. I love the intellectual challenge of designing and implementing efficient algorithms for hard problems, and the opportunities to deploy our algorithms in practical applications for the common good, such as precision medicine."

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Joy Johnson, SFU vice-president, research and international, and professor, Faculty of Health Sciences. Joy Johnson is internationally recognized for defining research, policies and practices that establish better health outcomes for both men and women.

“For a long time, health research was largely sex- and gender-blind. Studies on cardiovascular disease, for example, assumed this was a man’s disease, and ignored women’s unique experiences. This blindness extended to all areas of health research, including mental health and addictions, pharmaceutical research, and injury prevention. My research shines a light on the importance of considering sex and gender in health research.”

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Jian Pei, professor, School of Computing Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences. Jian Pei invented some of the fundamental principles used today in data mining.

“Data is empowering massive breakthroughs that are changing the world as well as us. I have committed myself to this irreversible change. I’m determined to create innovations that will ensure data is produced, shared and used in an effective, efficient, fair and ethical manner.

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Philip Winne, professor, Faculty of Education. A learning scientist, Phil Winne has transformed how we conceptualize, measure, research and facilitate learning.

"My lifetime goal is to understand how teachers, instructional designers and computing technologies can help students more clearly understand how they learn, and then figure out how to learn better.”

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Zuo-Guang Ye, professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science. A leading authority in solid-state materials science, Zuo-Guang Ye has shaped the development, standardization and commercialization of novel electronic materials.

“My research focuses on classes of multi-functional materials that exhibit coupling between different functionalities, such as electro-mechanical coupling leading to piezoelectric effects that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa, and magneto-electric coupling leading to multiferroic materials that can respond to both electricity and magnetization. These materials form the basis of devices such as sensors, actuators, energy harvesters, and high-density memory. They are crucial for the next generation of technologies in medical imaging, diagnosis and treatment, underwater survey, space exploration and the Internet of Things."

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Yuezhi Zhao, professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, School of Communication, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. Yuezhi Zhao is a communication scholar who examines the dynamics of power and democratic governance in Anglo-American, Chinese and global contexts.

“My current research centres on the role of media and information technologies in the internal and external transformations related to China's development in the past 40 years. My research has taken me back to my personal roots in rural China to explore the internal inspirations, dynamics and tensions that have interacted with global forces and processes in shaping Chinese communication and cultural politics.”

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SFU’s 2019 College member is: Anne Salomon, professor, Faculty of Environment. An applied marine ecologist, Anne Salomon helps develop ecologically effective and socially just conservation and management strategies for our oceans.

“Only by understanding how linked systems of people and nature work can we begin to make some intelligent decisions about how best to manage and conserve marine resources and the coupled human-ocean systems in which they are embedded.”

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