Leslie A. Geddes Prize

Geddes Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Leslie A. Geddes (B.Eng., McGill 1945; M.Eng., McGill 1953; Ph.D., Baylor 1959; D.Sc. honoris causa, McGill 1971) established an annual monetary prize for students in biomedical engineering at McGill, awarded at the discretion of the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Award criteria and time period

The Geddes prize is awarded annually for a PhD thesis for which all reviewer reports were received in the previous calendar year (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31). The award is given based on the thesis, the reviewer reports and the supervisor support letter.

Award Recipients

Year Recipient

Dr. Mahsa Jalali received this award for her PhD thesis entitled: "On-Chip Plasmonic Nanosurface for Molecular Profiling of Single Extracellular Vesicles in Cancer Liquid Biopsy", completed under the supervision of Prof. Sara Mahshid. Dr. Jalali’s research aimed to explore holistic physical properties of cancer EVs, properties detectable by advanced platforms capable of sensing constituent molecule characteristics. Dr. Jalali pioneered the development of such a nanoplatform (MoSERS), leveraging plasmon-enhanced Raman spectra to isolate and profile individual EVs. With this ingenious tool, she demonstrated previously uncharted disparities between EVs carrying specific mutant oncoproteins and those lacking such distinct cargo. She then showcased MoSERS' capacity to decipher EVs content within blood samples, effectively distinguishing brain cancer patients from disease-free individuals. Dr. Jalali’s work effectively correlated EVs' physical properties to their inherent cancer-specific molecular attributes, uniting wet lab techniques for sample isolation with Raman spectroscopy and machine learning. This further led to the establishment of a spin-off company aimed at commercializing this technology.


Dr. Omid Zobeiri received this award for his PhD thesis entitled: “Investigating neural computations underlying vestibular processing of voluntary vs. externally-generated movements”, completed under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Cullen. Dr. Zobeiri’s research has both i) advanced our fundamental understanding how the brain builds predictions in everyday life to ensure postural and perceptual stability, and ii) changed how clinicians evaluate and treat patients with balance disorders. His research answered the fundamental question: how does the brain distinguish between sensory stimuli that are the result of self-generated (i.e., active) versus passive stimulation during active behaviors. He focused on how the brain builds, at the level of single neurons, predictive models of the expected sensory consequences of active behaviors. The results of Dr. Zobeiri’s PhD research will change how textbooks explain predictive coding by the brain. Additionally, his PhD research directly has advanced vestibular rehabilitation via the development of more refined and predictive tests of clinical status.


Dr. Raihaan Patel received this award for his PhD thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitled, “Analysis methods for the study of multimodal MRI and individual variability in brain structure and function”, completed under the supervision of Dr. Mallar Chakravarty. Dr. Patel developed a novel analytical framework which enables simultaneous analysis of information from multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) modalities, such as structural, functional, and diffusion MRI. Each conveys complementary information about the brain, and as such the analysis methods proposed in this thesis take advantage of this complementary nature to provide detailed characterization. Dr. Patel applied these methods to study individual level brain-behaviour relationships in a number of settings including: hippocampal microstructure in healthy adults, cortical structure in relation to cognitive decline in aging, and structure-function organization in healthy adults. Dr. Patel’s thesis helps progress the field of neuroimaging towards individual level analysis of brain-behaviour relationships.


Dr. Saad Aldelaijan received the award for his PhD thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitled “Advanced quality assurance methodologies in image-guided high-dose-rate brachytherapy”. Dr. Aldelaijan designed and implemented an innovative quality assurance framework by digitizing the dosimetric trace of radioactive brachytherapy sources registered by radiochromic media. This information is then used to precisely reconstruct the source positional and dosimetric information simultaneously assuring safe and high quality treatments to cancer patients. To achieve this, a novel multichannel radiochromic film dosimetry protocol and a multidimensional source tracking model were developed and verified. Dr. Aldelaijan’s work empowers the use of image-guided brachytherapy which is an unsurpassed cancer treatment modality when it comes to clinical outcome for many body sites, yet it is underutilized because of unfavorable logistics.


Dr. Mohamed Ghadie received the award for his PhD thesis in Biological and Biomedical Engineering entitled ‘High-resolution network biology modelling of human proteome variations’. Dr. Ghadie developed a multi-scale approach for in silico modeling of the cell, by applying template-based methods to construct atomic-resolution structural models of nodes and edges in the human protein-protein interaction network ("interactome"). This multi-scale model of the cell enabled Dr. Ghadie to predict how the human interactome is perturbed by genetic mutations, and remodelled in different tissues and cell types through alternative splicing. Dr. Ghadie's calculations led to two discoveries. First, a small percentage of the protein-protein interactions in the human interactome were found to be completely dispensable. In other words, these interactions can be removed from the human interactome without any adverse effects. Second, different protein isoforms, though encoded by the same gene, were found to often play different roles in different tissues and cell types by interacting with different partners. Dr. Ghadie’s findings suggest that the human interactome is more dynamic than previously thought.


Dr. Milad Dagher received the award for his PhD thesis in Biological and Biomedical Engineering entitled “Scalable affinity-proteomics on microparticles”. Dr. Dagher presented a new method to analyze multiple proteins simultaneously. Proteins are widely used for clinical analysis and serve as biomarkers for many diseases. Whereas there has been a longstanding desire to analyze multiple proteins simultaneously, the technologies were not able to do so without compromising on the assay performance, meaning that sensitivity and reproducibility, greatly suffers when multiple proteins are analyzed simultaneously. In this dissertation, Dr. Dagher made two important contributions that overcome this limitation. Firstly, he found a new way of barcoding that allows for conducting large multiplexed assays economically and with a high throughput, which is an important prerequisite for a practical technology. Secondly, Dr. Dagher developed a new assay format that can measure multiple proteins without compromising the assay performance, thus allowing to measure multiple proteins and biomarkers simultaneously with the same performance than when measuring one at a time. Dr. Dagher’s work has led to a publication in one of the most prestigious journals, and Dr. Dagher founded a company to commercialize this technology and make it available and benefit a broader community and the public.


Dr. Jeffrey Munzar received the award for his Ph.D thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitled "Complementary Oligonucleotides Regulate Ligand Binding In Duplexed Aptamers". In his thesis, Dr. Jeffrey Munzar explored the binding dynamics of duplexed aptamers, a common biosensor format that is used throughout the chemical, biological and analytical sciences. He developed a new high throughput screening technology and uncovered new binding mechanisms.


Dr. Carlos Robles Rubio received the award for his PhD thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitled “Computer-Aided Analysis of Infant Respiratory Patterns”. In this thesis Dr. Robles Rubio developed and validated tools to support the quantitative analysis of respiratory patterns in infants. These tools provide the essential basis for the objective analysis of respiratory patterns which are expected to open important new avenues of research into pediatric respiratory disorders.


Dr. Amir Foudeh received the award for his PhD thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitiled “Development of a Novel Biosensor for Rapid and Specific Detection of Legionella Bacteria for On-site Applications”. His project aimed at developing a biosensor microchip for the detection of Legionella phnomophila that involved a multidisciplinary research including microbiology, micro/nano fabrication, surface chemistry, microfluidics and biophotonics. The distinction between live and dead bacteria is important for actual clinical diagnostics and was achieved by the candidate.


Dr. Silvain Bériault received the award for his PhD thesis in Biomedical Engineering entitled "Computer-assisted Neuronavigation for Deep Brain Stimulation using Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging". This thesis describes a novel computer-assisted method for planning deep brain stimulation surgery. This study demonstrates the high aggregative power of the automatic algorithm for simultaneously optimizing multiple surgical constraints and evaluates feasibility of the computed trajectories based on neurosurgeons’ feedback. The finding of this thesis will have great impact in treating patients with neurological problems.

About Dr. Geddes

Prof. Geddes obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at McGill, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by McGill in 1971. At that time he established the Geddes Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Engineering at McGill. Prof. Geddes joined the faculty of Purdue University in 1974 and was founding Director of the Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center there. He conducted research in electromyography, cardiac output, cardiac pacing, ventricular defibrillation and blood pressure. He wrote 20 books, had 22 patents and published over 700 scientific papers. He was the recipient of numerous awards for career contributions to education in engineering and medicine, to the health industry, to medical instrumentation and to the advancement of radio communication, including a 2006 U.S.A. National Medal of Technology. He passed away on 2009 Oct 25 at age 88.

A few links to information about Dr. Geddes:

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