Research News and Achievements

Results of the 2014 NSERC Strategic Project Grants Competition

McGill received 10 awarded projects of 35 submitted applications. The success rate is 28.57% and a total amount awarded to McGill over 3-year period is $4,673,796.
Please find below – 6 successful awardees of 2014 Strategic Grants from the Faculty of Engineering:

Name Hosting department project title
Demopoulos, George Mining & Materials Engineering Solution-thermal processing of nanostructured kesterite absorber materials for sustainable solar cell manufacturing
Kamen, Amine Bioengineering Advanced manufacturing technology of virus like particles for vaccination
Liu, Xinyu Mechanical Engineering Paper-based microfluidic devices intergrating inGaN/GaN semiconductor microtubes for ultrasensitive detection of disease markers
Mi, Zetian Electrical and Computer Engineering Photoelectrochemical water splitting on metal-nitride nanowire arrays: Breaking the efficiency bottleneck of solar-to-hydrogen conversion
Mi, Zetian Electrical and Computer Engineering Tunable, full color tunnel junction nanowire light emitting diodes for smart lighting and display applications
Shao, Yixin Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics Turning municipal solid waste incineration into eco-bricks production

Discovery Accelerator Grants awarded to Two Researchers

Denis Mitchell (Civil Engineering) and Andrew Higgins (Mechanical Engineering) were awarded grants from NSERC’s 2014 Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program (DAS).

The program provides “substantial and timely resources to researchers who have a superior research program that is highly rated in terms of originality and innovation, and who show strong potential to become international leaders within their field". Each award has a total value of $120,000 ($40,000 annually) and is normally paid over three years.

Previous Recipients


  • Marco Amabili (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Raynald Gauvin (Mining and Materials Engineering)
  • Alejandro Rey (Chemical Engineering)
  • Thomas Szkopek (Electrical and Computer Engineering)


  • Damiano Pasini (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Jeffrey Bergthorson (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Francois Barthelat (Mechanical Engineering)


  • Showan Nazhat (Mining and Materials Engineering)


  • Nathalie Tufenkji (Chemical Engineering)
  • Tal Arbel (Electrical & Computer Engineering)


  • Warren Gross (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
  • Srikar Vengallatore (Mechanical Engineering)


  • Alejandro Rey (Chemical Engineering)


  • Meyer Nahon (Mechanical Engineering)

Winners of the 2013 William and Rhea Seath Awards Competition

James McGoff and Charles A. Vincent, both undergraduate students in Mining and Materials Engineering for their “Novel Insulation Inserts for Improving Large-Scale BioPharma Logistics Operations”. LIFEPACK, the company that James and Charles co-founded, is commercializing a novel insulation product for companies seeking to improve their large scale cold chain operations without disrupting their current shipping logistics. Adopting the LIFEPACK product is the quickest and easiest way for companies to improve their cold chain packaging by 40% to 80%. The product’s development was heavily based on a continuous dialogue with key partners in the biopharma industry. These industrial partners included pharmaceutical developers, centralized laboratory services, contract research organizations (CRO’s), blood banks, hospitals, and third party logistics providers (3PL). The award will go towards scaling and sustaining the growth of the company.

Professor Andrew Kirk, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Philip Roche of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, and Professor Mark Trifiro, McGill Department of Medicine and Chief of Endocrinology at the Jewish General Hospital, for their “Multiplex Measurement of PCR Reactions by a Label Free Plasmonic Thermocycler”. This new, better, cheaper, and faster method in the performance of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been demonstrated and patented at McGill. PCR is an essential tool in molecular biological investigations and dominates the field of molecular diagnostics, providing DNA fingerprinting for crime scene analysis as well as identification of disease processes (cancer resistance and susceptibility, hereditary illness and microbial infection). The award will meet the specific aim of delivering the prototype of a miniaturized, multiplex, energy efficient, and rapid real-time PCR platform that outperforms market leaders.

Professor Jun Song publishes in the Journal of Nature Materials

hydrogen modifies material behaviours at the nanoscaleProfessor Jun Song A recent article authored by Professor Jun Song (Multiscale Modeling of Materials Group, Mining and Materials Engineering) in collaboration with Professor William Curtin (Director of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland) was published in the journal of Nature Materials (impact factor 32.84). Song's study, entitled “Atomic mechanism and prediction of hydrogen embrittlement in iron”, reveals clues towards fundamental understanding of hydrogen embrittlement, and provides a framework for interpreting experiments and designing next-generation embrittlement-resistant structural materials. For details, please read the report at the McGill Newsroom.

Xinyu Liu Receives the CMC Award

Xinyu Liu with Ian L. McWalterProfessor Xinyu Liu of the Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory in Mechanical Engineering received the 2012 Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence from the Canadian Microelectronics Corporation (CMC). He is seen here with Dr. Ian L. McWalter, President and CEO of CMC Microsystems. This is awarded annually to a Canadian researcher to recognize excellence in research leading to new understanding and novel developments in microsystems and related technologies. Professor Liu was honoured for developing “innovative microrobotic and bioMEMS technologies that enable high-throughput, automated manipulation and characterization of single cells for biological and medical applications”.

Tom Gleeson Publishes Article in "Nature"

Tom GleesonProfessor Tom Gleeson of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics recently published in Nature (Article: 488, 197–200; 2012). His paper entitled “Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint” received extensive international media coverage, including articles in the Los Angeles Times, Vancouver Sun, La Presse, Chicago Tribune, le Nouvel Observateur, Huffington Post, Nature Geoscience, Sciences & Vie, Sciences & Avenir, CBCnews, Nature News, Science News, CNBC, Agence Science-Press, Tahiti Info, Orlando Sentinel, Boise Weekly, Hong Kong Daily News, The Nation (Pakistan), Newsweek (Pakistan), the Daily Star (Bangladesh), the Saudi Gazette (Saudi Arabia), Terra (Spain) and Yesil Gazette (Turkey) following news wire stories by Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Blog coverage includes the New York Times, National Geographic, NPR , Scientific American, Washington Post, Kennislink, Business Insider, Deutsche Welle, Medical Daily,,, and landfood.ubc.