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Polanyi Prizes celebrate five outstanding Ontario researchers

Toronto, ON – Today five researchers, from a number of Ontario’s leading universities, are being awarded the 2015 Polanyi Prize for advancements in research in their fields.

“It is a great honour to be given the opportunity to recognize the amazing contributions of these emerging researchers,” says Patrick Deane, chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), president of McMaster University, and the1988 winner of the Polanyi Prize for Literature.

Polanyi Prizes are given each year to five exceptional young researchers who are either continuing postdoctoral work or have recently gained a faculty appointment. Each of this year’s winners will receive $20,000 in recognition of their exceptional research contributions and accomplishments in the fields of Physics, Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine.

The winners of the 2015 Polanyi Prizes and the areas of research for which they are being honoured are:

Physics: Riccardo Comin, University of Toronto, wins for research that is shining new light on emerging materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar cells and LEDs. His goal: to reveal the secrets behind the exceptional performance of perovskites, and use this information to envision and design improved solar materials.

Chemistry: Believing that since everyone has a different experience with disease, they should be treated accordingly by health care practitioners, Adam Shuhendler, University of Ottawa, is recognized for his research which examines the therapy response to common diseases and takes a personalized approach to the study of treatment.

Physiology/Medicine: Recognizing that no two knees, hips or joints are the same, Matthew Teeter, Western University, wins for research that explores better ways to design and evaluate hip, knee, and shoulder replacement implants through the use of micro-imaging scans, moving X-rays, and wearable sensor technologies.

Chemistry: Benoit Lessard, University of Ottawa, takes the prize for research that looks at the impact that moisture, oxygen and other gases such as carbon dioxide can have on organic electronics. His research aims to discover new insights that could lead to a new generation of bendable, smart, highly specific and tunable organic electronic sensors.

Physiology/Medicine: Through the examination of Swedish national registries, Kelly Babchishin, Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (University of Ottawa), is recognized for research that seeks to determine whether violent behaviour can be predicted.

“For almost thirty years, the Polanyi Prizes have celebrated the province’s most talented researchers, faithfully – and correctly – believing that Ontario can cultivate the next generation of Nobel Prize winners. Thank you to the province for valuing the free inquiry that must precede every great discovery,” said Dr. John C. Polanyi, Nobel Laureate, Chemistry.