Two ECE graduate students awarded $150K Vanier Scholarships

September 6, 2018

Two graduate students from The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) have been named 2018 recipients of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. Worth $50,000 a year over three years, for a total of $150,000. The funding supports leading-edge doctoral research, including projects on human-robot interaction, therapeutic applications of reversing blindness, and investigating chronic pain, among others.

The Vanier Scholarship recognizes doctoral students at Canadian universities who demonstrate excellence academics, research impact and leadership.

This year’s recipients are:

Surath GomisSurath Gomis (ECE PhD candidate)

Gomis works under the supervision of Professor Ted Sargent (ECE) and co-supervisor Professor Shana Kelley of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. As part of a collaborative team in U of T’s Medicine by Design, Gomis’s work focuses on designing microfluidic devices to characterize and sort retinal stem cells — a rare cell type with promising therapeutic applications of reversing blindness due to degenerative eye disease.

His work provides some of the first insights into retinal stem cell morphology in the push to advance their translation to the clinic.

“This recognition encourages me to think outside of the box and to continue tackling challenging problems in engineering and medicine,” says Gomis. “I would like to thank Professor Sargent and Professor Kelley for their immense support through my early graduate career, and all my colleagues and mentors from the years past who have supported my aspirations in the field.”

Trevor StirlingTrevor Stirling (ECE PhD candidate)

Stirling studies under the supervision of Professor Amr Helmy (ECE), working on the design and implementation of entangled photon lasers on silicon-based computer chips.

These devices will be used to interconnect quantum bits on chip to help realize scalable quantum computing, as well as provide a platform for further research into the applications of quantum light.

Stirling balances his research with the rigorous training and travelling schedule of a competitive athlete — he has represented Canada in trampoline at international competitions around the world.

“It is a great honour to be selected as a Vanier scholar and that my research under Professor Helmy has been acknowledged to have the potential to make an impact within Canada and around the world,” said Stirling. “Receiving this award will allow me the freedom to pursue my research interests, and to continue to train and compete in the sport of trampoline.”

See the full list of U of T Engineering graduate students that were awarded $150K Vanier scholarships.

— With files from Liz Do, Jessica MacInnis and Luke Ng

More information:
Jessica MacInnis
Senior Communications Officer
The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering