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Lassonde Research Innovation Award 2020 Release

We are pleased to announce the results of our 2020 Lassonde Research Innovation Awards which awarded two Innovation Awards and one Graduate Mentorship award to emerging and established faculty members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Recipients include:

  • Innovation Award – Early Researcher: Professor John Lam, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Innovation Award – Established Researcher: Professor Alex Czekanski, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Graduate Mentorship Award – Professor Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

“We are extremely proud to acknowledge these researchers, nominated by their colleagues and selected through an academic committee. These awards recognize their extraordinary research achievements, innovation in their respective fields and the knowledge translation happening at Lassonde in both science and engineering,” says Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, John Moores.

Please see below for full details on each of the 2020 Lassonde Research Innovation Award recipients.

Innovation Award – Early Researcher: John Lam

Since his start at York University in 2014, Prof Lam has quickly established a dynamic research program developing novel electronic converter solutions for renewable energy and green technology applications.

Prof Lam is an avid inventor with four issued patents in power electronics. His most recent significant invention was the development of a novel class of high frequency step-up transformer-less medium voltage power converters for use in utility wind and solar farms. These inventions, along with his innovative power conversion research, have attracted funding from federal agencies (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Innovation Fund (CFI)), provincial agencies (Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Ontario Research Fund (ORF)), and numerous industrial partners to support research in the Advanced Power Electronics Laboratory for Sustainable Energy Research (PELSER), a laboratory where he is both founder and director.  As a senior Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) member with >80 peer-reviewed IEEE research publications, Prof Lam serves as an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics journal and his significant contributions to the institute were recently acknowledged with the 2018 Outstanding Reviewer award.

Innovation Award – Established Researcher: Alex Czekanski

Prof Czekanski is a top researcher in the fields of elastomer modeling and additive manufacturing. Prior to joining York University in 2014, Prof Czekanski worked in industry as an engineering manager at leading, global automotive supplier Magna International. He is a leader in facilitating industrial and interdisciplinary research. Since joining the world of academia he has partnered with seven different companies to develop revolutionary technologies. He has received over $6.3M in funding for his research program from federal, provincial and industrial partners which has resulted in >35 published papers from his group, the Innovative Design and Engineering Analysis Laboratory (IDEA Lab). Prof Czekanski’s leadership extends to the education of mechanical engineering students at York as he has led the development of new course infrastructure and generated exclusive coop opportunities in industry for York engineering students.

Graduate Mentorship Award – Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh

The goal of the Lassonde School of Engineering at York is to create renaissance engineers and Prof Ghafar-Zadeh’s mentorship approach fully encapsulates this spirit of creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Prof Ghafar-Zadeh leads an interdisciplinary laboratory, the Biologically Inspired Sensors and Actuators Lab (BioSA), which recruits students from both the electrical engineering & computer science and biology departments. Each of his 83 trainees has navigated the interface between electrical signals and biological functions and this design facilitates the enrichment of his students and has led to over 30 published articles in interdisciplinary journals. Prof Ghafar-Zadeh actively encourages students to pursue internships and has both encouraged and facilitated the commercialization of student work.

Alumni from his laboratory have used their varied experiences to continue within academia while many have gone on to work in the industry.  

“Professors John Lam, Aleksander Czekanski and Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh’s accomplishments exemplify Lassonde’s rapid growth into an interdisciplinary and research-intensive Professional School. With areas of focus including power convertors, algorithms and point-of-care diagnostics, each award recipient has leveraged their expertise and networks to generate high-impact research and enriching student experiences,” says Jane Goodyer, Dean, Lassonde School of Engineering.

Join us in congratulating these well-deserving Professors!


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