New group of Carswell Scholars could ‘change the world’

Twelve PhD students, six from the Faculty of Science and six from the Lassonde School of Engineering, are this year’s new Carswell Scholars.

The Carswell Scholars with Allan Carswell (centre, grey shirt) and the deans of the Faculty of Science and the Lassonde School of Engineering

The award will give this group of York University students – the third class of Carswell Scholars – an opportunity to delve further into their research, from nanochemistry and self-driving cars to computer vision and population genetics of bees.

The new scholars were feted at a luncheon last week where they had the chance to outline the scope of their research and thank Carswell, a pioneer in the design and development of lidar technology, and his family for their generosity.

Allan Carswell

“The research of all of our scholars has the potential to lead to exciting new discoveries and applications that can make an enormous difference to society – something Allan Carswell knows all too well,” said Faculty of Science Dean EJ Janse van Rensburg.

The Carswell Scholars program was first established in 2016 with a $1-million gift, which created a permanent endowment and expendable fund for Carswell Scholarships, thanks to Professor Emeritus Allan Carswell and the Carswell Family Foundation.

“I truly believe the research questions this group is tackling will change the world,” said Lassonde Dean Jane Goodyer. “And your personal actions will do the same. Thank you, Allan, for all that you support across the York campus and beyond.”

The new Carswell Scholars are as follows:

Faculty of Science

Laura Farkas

Laura Keane of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Iain Moyles, will use applied math to help solve the global challenge of energy and, in particular, improve lithium-ion batteries.

Emanuele Mendicelli of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, under the supervision of Professor Randy Lewis, will explore the possibility of using quantum computing in particle physics.

Farwa Sajadi of the Department of Biology, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jean-Paul Paluzzi, will examine the cellular mechanism and cross-talk between the hormonal regulators in Aedes mosquitoes.

Katherine Akemi Odanaka of the Department of Biology, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Sandra Rehan, will investigate the evolutionary history and population genetics of the cleptoparasitic bee.

Laura Farkas of the Department of Science & Technology Studies, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Kathryn Denning, plans to look at planetary protection and environmental policies pertaining to space, potential extraterrestrial life, the implications of human expansion into the solar system and space governance.

Víctor Flores Romero of the Department of Chemistry, under the supervision of Professor Gino Lavoie, plans to teach nanochemistry and principles of organometallic, apply his knowledge to industry and facilitate an academic exchange.

Lassonde School of Engineering

Rezaul Karim gives a presentation about his work

Rezaul Karim of the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science program, under the supervision of Associate Professor Richard Wildes, will focus his research on computer vision, including the application of deep learning and scene understanding, with semantic segmentation, action recognition and visual tracking.

Seyed-Mohammad Hosseini of the Earth & Space Science & Engineering program, under the supervision of Associate Professor Gunho Sohn, will look into developing an application programming interface.

Parham Mohammadi of the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science program, under the supervision of Associate Professor John Lam, will research power electronics and electrical machinery to create new SiC/GaN-based power electronics converter modules with advanced machine learning-based control to help facilitate energy extraction from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Saba Miri of the Civil Engineering program, under the supervision of Professor Satinder Kaur Brar, is researching the bioremediation of industrial chemicals such as p-xylene, an aromatic hydrocarbon used in the manufacturing of things such as PET plastic bottles and polyester fibre.

Mingfeng Yuan of the Earth & Space Science & Engineering program, under the supervision of Professor Jinjun Shan, will focus his research on self-driving cars.

The sixth recipient from Lassonde has asked to remain anonymous.

All of the Carswell Scholars have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and have shown promise as future research leaders.

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