Governor General's Academic Gold Medal Award
Edmond Young

Fourth-Year PhD student Edmond Young (MIE, IBBME) has been selected as one of three U of T recipients for the 2009 Governor General's Academic Gold Medal Award. The medal is awarded for academic excellence.

Edmond works at the Cellular Mechanobiology Laboratory under the supervision of MIE Professor Craig Simmons, and IBBME Professor Aaron Wheeler. Edmond was presented with his award at a reception held by the School of Graduate Studies June 4, 2009.


Q & A | Edmond Young | PhD, MIE, with cross affiliation in IBBME

1. Can you tell us a little bit about this award and why it’s important to its recipients?

The Governor General's Academic Gold Medal "is awarded to the student who graduates with the highest standing in her or his institution." At the University of Toronto, three gold medals are awarded in total each year, one medal to the top graduate student in the humanities, one in the social sciences, and one in the sciences and Engineering. I was fortunate enough to be selected as this year's recipient in the sciences and Engineering division.

2. How does this award help you or its recipients?

The award is generally regarded as the most prestigious honour given to a graduating graduate student at a Canadian university, and recognizes demonstrated academic excellence throughout his or her graduate studies.

3. Why did you decide to take Engineering at U of T?

After finishing my master's degree at UBC, I wanted to study microfluidics because it was an emerging interdisciplinary research field with potential impact in biomedical sciences. At that time, when I was considering PhD programs across Canada, U of T happened to have an amazing microfluidics research team in MIE, as well as a reputation as the leading research institute in the country. These were the two main reasons why I decided to come to Toronto for my PhD. The fact that Toronto was a vibrant and cultural city didn't hurt.

4. Relevant educational/work/research background. Did you participate in any Skule™ programs?

I did my undergrad and master's both at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in my hometown of Vancouver, BC. I've always had wide-ranging interests in the area of fluid mechanics, and these interests led to my participation in the UBC Aero Design Team, Co-operative Work Experience (equivalent to PEY) work terms at the Air Canada Engineering department, and a master's research project focused on fluid flow in pulp fibre suspensions.

5. Future plans

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through the financial support of an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. The research involves developing technologies to study cancer biology in microfluidic environments so that better diagnostic tools and drug screening methods can be used by clinicians, with the hope of providing better treatment and care to cancer patients. The work builds on the work I did as a Ph.D. student when I engineered similar microfluidic devices to study cardiovascular biology. I hope to continue working in the microfluidics field, hopefully at a Canadian university, where I can contribute to the scientific community and help to improve the health of Canadians and others worldwide.

6. Last words?

This is a very special award to me, and I am so grateful to SGS for giving me this honour. I am most grateful to my advisors Dr. Simmons and Dr. Wheeler for their mentorship, guidance, support, and friendship throughout my studies. Without their help, this would not have been possible.


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