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Friday, April 7, 2006

  • Global award for UW biotechnologist
  • Keystone profiles classics prof
  • At Waterloo on a rainy Friday
Chris Redmond

World Health Day

[Moo-Young in front of lab equipment]

Global award for UW biotechnologist -- from the UW media relations office

A leading UW researcher has received a global award for breakthrough work in biotechnology, including advances in the production of biopharmaceuticals and the reduction of pollution.

Murray Moo-Young (right), distinguished professor emeritus of chemical engineering, is this year's winner of the international Khwarizimi award for his achievements in biotechnology. The award consists of $7,000 US, a gold medallion and silver statuette.

Sponsored by UNESCO and the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology, the award is given for recognized international excellence in any branch of science. It is named after the famous Persian scientist-mathematician al-Khwarizimi (born about 800 AD), who invented Algebra (al-jabr) and the concept of algorithm (an English transliteration of his name).

Moo-Young is one of Canada's top chemical engineers in the areas of mass transfer, biochemical engineering and industrial biotechnology. His research focus has been on bioprocessing strategies for the chemical, drug, food and bioremediation industries.

The citation for the award says that in Moo-Young's accomplishments, "engineering design principles are developed and implemented for applications in biomanufacturing and bioremediation strategies in the production of biological products, especially biopharmaceuticals, and in the abatement of environmental pollution, especially from recalcitrant organic contaminants."

"I take great satisfaction in seeing my research leading to practical engineering strategies to produce drugs more cheaply and to reduce the level of environmental damage," Moo-Young said. The award was presented in Tehran at a recent ceremony officiated and attended by several dignitaries in one of the Iranian government assembly halls.

To date, Moo-Young has produced 306 papers, nine patents and 14 books. He has served on many professional committees, including the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering Scholarship Awards Committee and the NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) Strategic Grants Committee. In 1985, he was editor-in-chief of the international four-volume reference treatise Comprehensive Biotechnology. He has also been a consultant to industry and government agencies around the world.

Jamaican-born of Chinese heritage, he was educated at the universities of London (BSc, PhD), Toronto (Master of Applied Science) and Edinburgh (postdoctorate). He came to Canada from Britain in 1962. After brief stints at the universities of Toronto and Western Ontario, he joined Waterloo in 1966.


Keystone profiles classics prof

"I was the first woman in my family to attend university," says Phyllis Forsyth (left), retired from UW's classical studies department and the most recent subject of a profile on the Keystone Campaign web site.

She recalls: "My grandmother was my mentor and convinced me of the need for a higher education. She was a refugee from Russia who endured some hard times to raise her family and I cannot imagine a finer role model."

During her 32 years at UW, Forsyth won a Distinguished Teacher Award (in 1977) and collected various other honours, not to mention long experience in administration and in such causes as the status of women on campus. "I served as Chair of Classical Studies for 14 years," she says in her Keystone profile, "as well as on many UW committees. . . . I also served several terms on the Senate and Board of Governors; taught courses in classical civilization; created Classical Studies 100, our basic introductory course; developed the first Distance Education course in Classical Studies; and worked to bring the Classical Studies' DE program to the point where an honours degree could be earned through DE alone.

"I also held cross-appointments in Fine Arts and History. My research involved the poet Catullus and the Aegean Bronze Age."

What makes you proud to have worked at UW? "I got paid for doing two things I love -- teaching and researching. And I had the opportunity to help create a vibrant department of Classical Studies."

Why do you feel the University needs funds today? "Universities are badly underfunded, especially in Ontario, and to remain competitive in the area of scholarships, we need more funding. I am endowing the Mary Rosenthal Scholarship for first-year students, and in my will I plan to leave funds to establish the Phyllis and James Forsyth Scholarship. I want to help offer scholarships to deserving students in the Faculty of Arts." (Rosenthal was the grandmother who inspired her, and James Forsyth is her husband, who had a long career teaching high school science.)

What occupies your time since your retirement? "I am writing poetry -- I have written poetry since high school, but mostly suspended it while in academia. I volunteer for the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair. And Jim and I travel. This time, we're going to the far north -- from Helsinki north to the High Arctic (Samiland) and then down the entire west coast of Norway to Oslo."

Have you lived in any interesting places? "I was born and raised in Boston and came to Canada in 1966 to attend the University of Toronto, where I earned my MA and PhD. We are now based in Waterloo, but our second home is Prince Edward Island. We have done a lot of travelling all over the world, but our hearts belong to Waterloo and PEI."

Aaron Feren, science student, funeral service 11 a.m., Holy Rosary Church, Guelph.

Terpsichore Dance Competition Friday and Saturday, Humanities Theatre.

Katharine Marshall, psychology student, memorial service Sunday 3 p.m., Alma Bible Church, Alma, Ontario.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Samina Yasmeen, University of Western Australia, "Interfaith Dialogue and Diplomacy: The Cartoon Controversy", Monday 11:45, 57 Erb Street West, reservations rsvp@cigionline.ca.

Research project presentations by three graduate students in the Certificate in University Teaching program, Monday 12 noon, Math and Computer room 5136.

Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology presents Alan Cattier and Kim Braxton, Emory University, "Adventures in Space Design: Building and Supporting a Collaborative Computing Lab", Monday 1 p.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, registration online.

Free barbecue for graduate students, promoting Columbia Lake Village, Tuesday 11:30 to 1:30, Graduate House.

At Waterloo on a rainy Friday

A "state-of-the-art headquarters" for one of UW's biggest spinoff companies, Open Text Corporation, will be officially opened this morning at 275 Frank Tompa Drive in the north campus research and technology park. As well as remarks from company officials -- and UW president David Johnston -- the 10:30 celebration is scheduled to include a pancake and maple syrup brunch, the invitation says. Tompa himself, a UW computer science professor and founder of Open Text, will be honoured as the first building on his street goes public. The company's CEO, Tom Jenkins, has this to say about Open Text in an online interview: "Open Text is one of the original Internet companies. It was started in the early 1990s; it created the first search engine for Yahoo! and Netscape. . . . The company has evolved and grown quite steadily from a startup mode, as a venture capitalist project in the early 1990s. . . . It has evolved into making enterprise software based on the Internet, but in the area of collaboration. It allows users or workers within corporations as well as extranets outside the corporation, to basically share information. That information is generally what's called unstructured data -- memos, texts, and meeting minutes and the like. So it's kind of complementary to the type of information that would normally go into a database."

St. Jerome's University tonight presents the annual John Sweeney Lecture in Current Issues in Catholic Healthcare, named to honour a former educator, Ontario cabinet minister and St. Jerome's chancellor. This year's speaker is Kevin Smith, who heads St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener as well as its parent corporation, St. Joseph's Healthcare of Hamilton. "From an insider's perspective," a flyer says, "Kevin Smith will discuss the 2005 Supreme Court decision on healthcare delivery, looking especially at the role that the private sector may play in Canada's future." The talk starts at 7:30 in Siegfried Hall; admission is free.

Apparently there are still delays in printing and distributing the detailed information that UW employees will soon receive about the third annual Employee Wellness Fair, to be held April 24-26. It's sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program and involves special events and "interesting and informative sessions on work-life balance, relaxation techniques, fitness, nutrition and many other helpful and supportive" topics. The EAP committee thinks the details of the three-day event will be worth waiting for, and word is that the flyer should reach people early next week.

The co-op department reports that 3,852 students are scheduled to start work term jobs at the beginning of May this year. The employment rate changes daily, but a report showing the situation as of March 22 showed that 74.5 per cent of them had been matched with jobs ("or have made other plans for the term" and so won't be needing jobs). Last year at the same time, the figure was 71.4 per cent. The employment rate varies by faculty, with engineering, which has the largest group of students scheduled for spring term jobs, just about at the average, 74 per cent. In math the figure was 76.1 per cent, in accounting 96.5 per cent -- and in the teaching program 100 per cent, with exactly one student scheduled for a job and successfully placed. "As is usual for this time of the term," a memo notes, "employer interviews continue."

It's a busy time of year for the used book store, operated by the Federation of Students and located on the lower level of the Student Life Centre. "Why carry your books home?" a flyer asks. "Sell your books at the Used Bookstore before the end of term." If you do so, you'll even come home with a free "high quality laminated bookmark", the flyer promises. Manager John Jongerius says the store's regular hours are 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, but it'll be open on Saturdays tomorrow, April 15 and April 22 from 10 to 5 for post-exam business.

Students in Columbia Lake Village are holding a food drive through the month of April, with contributions welcome at the Community Centre. . . . The last of three "pre-garden" workshops led by Jayme Melrose is scheduled for today (3 to 5 p.m. in Environmental Studies 2 room 173) and will deal with composting. . . . The UW library's extended hours continue as exams approach, with the Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day (except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.) and Dana Porter open 8 to 2 every day. . . .

[Acorns] Finally, I should have taken space before now to mention Misprint, the end-of-year parody produced last week by the student newspaper Imprint. Of special interest was its report that "the estimated 5,000 squirrels on staff" in UW's trees are going on strike "over key issues such as acorn production". The article notes that while the walkout (scamperout?) lasts, "anyone willing to volunteer their time to sit in a tree eating nuts" should fill out an application form.


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