Prof. Freire-Gormaly awarded 2021 Lassonde Innovation Award – Media Outreach Award

Congratulations to Prof. Freire-Gormaly whose nomination to the annual Lassonde Innovation Award competition has been successful. Nominations were evaluated by the sub-committee of PARR, Grants adjudication committee and they were selected as the inaugural winner of the 2021 Lassonde Innovation Award – Media Outreach Award.

The award will be announced at the annual Lassonde Awards Gala (Fall date to be confirmed).

During the pandemic, Professor Freire-Gormaly has spoken to, and appeared on, CTV, City News, and Radio Canada International, to discuss the link between ventilation and the spread of COVID-19.


Lassonde Mourns Passing of PhD Student

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Francis Beamish Tetteh, a PhD student and a member of the Mechanical Engineering community at Lassonde. Francis passed away peacefully on Saturday April 10, 2021. In his year-long battle with cancer, the mechanical engineering community at Lassonde and especially his friends and research group, opened their hearts to support him and stayed with him in every step. He was just 27 years old and will be missed sorely by his family, friends, and supporters.

Francis completed his Bachelor of Science degree with First Class (Honours) in Materials Science and Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – Kumasi in Ghana. He was awarded the Best Material Engineering graduating student in 2015-2016.

His love for higher education had led him to Canada in 2018. His objective for seeking post-graduate studies was based on “teamwork, hard work capability, good delivery, self-discipline, leadership and willing to learn”. He was admitted to the MSc program in Mechanical Engineering at York University under the supervision of Dr. Solomon Boakye-Yiadom. With his hard work and dedication, Francis was transferred to PhD program due to his excellence in both academics and research. Francis did not allow his cancer to slow him down; as he was going through treatment and surgery, he passed his qualifying examination, authored research papers, and fulfilled his Teaching Assistantship duties. Francis is truly an inspiration to us all.

Francis was one of the nicest humans to walk this Earth. He was gracious and humble and was always willing to help a friend.

Rest in Peace, Francis. You are forever in our hearts.

Further information about memorializing Francis Tetteh will be forthcoming.

The Office for Student Counselling, Health & Well-being has put together the following information for grieving
the loss of a loved-one/friend. Please reach out to them should you need to talk to someone.

Nakisa Samadi

Lassonde MASc Student Receives York University’s FGS Thesis & Dissertation Prize

Nakisa Samadi entered the MASc program in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 after completing an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering at Sharif University of Technology (Iran). During her tenure at the Hybrid Biomedical Optics laboratory, she co-developed a low-cost and portable photo-thermal sensing technology for detecting Cannabis consumption at roadside and workplace. She is currently pursuing the translation of her research outcomes into market through Lab2Market and University of Toronto Early Stage Technology (UTEST) entrepreneurship programs, leading to incorporation of a startup company named AfimaCheck ( Nakisa’s research has been published in prestigious scientific journals in the field (, secured the second-place award in the prestigious nationwide City MOGULS startup pitch competition (, and awarded York University’s FGS Thesis & Dissertation Prize.

Paper from Dr. Rezai’s ACµTE Lab in Mechanical Engineering Featured on Cover of Latest “Lab on a Chip” issue

Congratulations to Dr. Rezai and the ACµTE Lab. Their paper “Electric egg-laying: a new approach for regulating C. elegans egg-laying behaviour in a microchannel using electric field” has been chosen as the cover article for the next edition of the journal “Lab on a Chip”. This work is co-authored by Dr. Rezai’s PhD student, Khaled Youssef, and ME undergraduate student, Daphne Archonta. 

The paper, which deals with the novel effect of electric field (EF) on adult C. elegans egg-laying in a microchannel can be found here. We offer our warmest congratulations to Dr. Rezai, Khaled, Daphne and the rest of the lab for this accomplishment.


Two Mechanical Engineering Professors Honoured by the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering

Pouya Rezai, Associate Professor, and George Zhu, Professor and Tier 1 York Research Chair in Space Technology, have received the I.W. Smith Award and the Robert W. Angus Medal from the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering!

Dr. Rezai was awarded the I.W. Smith Award for creative outstanding contributions to Mechanical Engineering achieved less than 10 years after receiving a PhD. Dr. Rezai’s work on multi-phase fluid dynamics within microfluidic and Lab-on-Chip (LoC) devices has helped understand interactions between biological nano- and micro-particles. This work has great potential in health and safety applications such as pathogen and disease biomarker detection.  He was also a recent recipient of funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to develop prototype technology for on-site food and water testing. In addition, Dr. Rezai is a recipient of the Early Researcher Award from the provincial government of Ontario, a member of McMaster Engineering’s Top 150 Alumni and recipient of the Early Researcher Lassonde Innovation Award.

Dr. Zhu was awarded the Robert W. Angus Medal for his outstanding contributions to mechanical engineering practice in Canada. As a researcher, Dr. Zhu has completed significant innovative research in astrodynamics and aerospace and was recognized as a Top Two Percent Researcher by the Stanford’s standardized citation indicators. His impact on mechanical engineering has been profound and Dr. Zhu has been recognized as a College Member of Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also the inaugural Academic Director of Research Commons’ in the Office of Vice-President Research and Innovation at York University where he has spearheaded great research support to scholars across the University.


this article originally appeared here

Prof. Marina Freire-Gormaly Speaks With CTV About COVID-19

Prof. Marina Freire-Gormaly spoke with the National CTV News Channel on Feb. 13, 2021 about Aerosol Transmission of COVID-19 and the importance of the HVAC system for safety of the building occupants.


The full clip on the CTV website can be found here.
Professor Freire-Gormaly also spoke with City News, the article on which can be found here.

Prof. Solomon Boakye-Yiadom awarded SME President’s Award

Congratulations to professor Solomon Boakye-Yiadom who was awarded the SME president’s award for his contributions to the manufacturing community of Toronto including training students and advocating local industry.  Professor Solomon is the founding director of  MATAM (Microstructural Tailoring of Advanced Materials) research laboratory. You can read more about his accomplishments here.


Lassonde team reinvents Renaissance engineering course

Lassonde team reinvents Renaissance engineering course

Don’t expect traditional subject matter or standard delivery from the team now teaching Renaissance Engineer 1: Communications, Ethics & Problem Solving at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering.

Andrew Maxwell

Andrew Maxwell

“We always had a vision of the Lassonde School of Engineering as a different type of engineering school that embraces diversity, social science, the United Nations Sustainability Goals and experiential learning,” says Professor Andrew Maxwell, Bergeron Chair in Technology Entrepreneurship and one of the course’s instructors. “To do that, we needed to transform the way we teach.”

Luckily for first-year engineering students, the four faculty members involved with this mandatory course are among those at Lassonde most comfortable with online technology: Maxwell; Jeffrey Harris, an assistant professor in the teaching stream; Mojgan Jadidi, an assistant professor in the teaching stream; and Kai Zhuang, a sessional instructor and educational developer.

Jeffrey Harris

Jeffrey Harris

“If you picked four people to embrace educational innovation at Lassonde, it would be the four of us,” Maxwell noted. “It just happened that we were all teaching this course.”

The four decided to work as a team and reinvent the course – which was originally designed to pioneer the spirit of Renaissance engineering and has continually evolved – for a remote audience, with each person focusing on one area in-depth: communications, ethics, problem-solving and assessment. They had each taught all of the topics previously, so they had no qualms about dividing the work.

“To transition to a fully online environment, we all thought about the pedagogy of remote teaching and learning and tried to incorporate a lot of the best practices for content delivery, engagement with students and assessment,” said Zhuang. “We changed the whole course.”

Each student is assigned to one of the instructors as their guide through the course – their administrator and mentor – but they are able to benefit from the perspectives of all four. Prior to the synchronous class session each week, students are asked to watch videos in preparation. Afterward, the students are asked to reflect on the material individually and to complete related assignments. The faculty also ask them to discuss the material in groups of five or six – groups that will remain the same throughout the year so the students get to know and rely upon each other – guilds, to use the course’s Renaissance language. The guild members are chosen based on their interest in various U.N. Sustainability Goals, since they will be the focus of a winter term project.

“Their job as guild members is to support each other in class and at Lassonde,” said Maxwell. “It’s a way of building community.”

Mojgan Jadidi

Mojgan Jadidi

The teaching assistants hired for the course aren’t just the standard TAs, either. In addition to the usual graduate student TAs, the team has chosen recent engineering graduates or upper-year undergraduates who have experienced the Renaissance engineering course themselves.  Zhuang created a training workshop for them that included some training in coaching.

“They meet every other week with the students to act as mentors for them during their first-year experience,” said Harris.

The course material this year is also a bit different from the past syllabus.

“One thing we’re emphasizing a lot more this year is equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI),” said Harris. “When you have a number of different perspectives, you get better ideas – ideas that work for more people. We also want to open our students’ eyes to how they should treat each other; they need to develop empathy. Teamwork is a big part of being a professional, so we need engineers who know how to treat each other well.”

Maxwell noted that the ethics section of the course, too, is always changing as the world changes.

“Every time there are advances in technology, new ethical issues arise that we’ve never before considered,” he said. We use examples from current events, as well as case studies. We emphasize to our students that people my have the best intentions, but there can be a negative impact. We’re consciously making this a bigger part of the course.”

The communications section of the course also needs regular tweaking, said Jadidi.

“We definitely have a section on fake reporting and one about how students can learn to present their arguments about technology in a way the public an understand,” she said.

Kai Zhuang

Kai Zhuang

As for problem solving, the Lassonde team takes a different approach from many other schools where the students are presented with a problem and asked to solve it. At Lassonde, the teaching team first asks the students to identify the problem.

“We want to help them understand the importance of defining a problem before proceeding,” Maxwell said. “We also offer additional immersive activities outside of class, such as hackathons, that that require them to apply this skill and others they’ve learned.”

Then, there’s the revolutionized grading system for the course. During the semester, students won’t receive numerical grades; the only options are Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations or Revise and Resubmit. The final course grade is a letter grade, but it will be based on assignments, not an exam. In addition, the team is trying to co-ordinate due dates for major assignments with other professors who teach first-year courses.

“We’re trying to look at the first year holistically so we can be sure our students are set up for success,” said Harris, the first-year coordinator.

The overarching motivation behind the course redesign is innovation.

“We try things and the result is innovative,” said Maxwell. “We want to share our passion for research and new knowledge with students and hope they get excited, too.”