Distinguished Researcher - 2010
Professor Physics and Engineering Physics
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. Dr. John Tse, Canada Research Chair in Materials Science and professor in the department of physics and engineering physics, is a 2010 recipient.
In a career that has spanned more than three decades, Dr. Tse has established an international reputation as an outstanding experimental and theoretical and materials scientist whose colleagues have described him as a pioneer in his field—equally at home in both theory and experiment.
Dr. Tse is recognized as a leader in the application of sophisticated computational and experimental methods to determine the relationship between the structure and properties of complex solids. As a Canada Research Chair, he explores the behaviour of materials under high pressures and temperatures—research that could lead to advanced alloys and electronics, as well as a better understanding of the chemistry and dynamics of Earth’s molten iron core.
In one of his most recent achievements, Dr. Tse has identified a new family of superconductors. Along with colleagues in Germany, he produced the first experimental proof that superconductivity can occur in hydrogen compounds known as molecular hydrides, which is the first step in designing better superconducting materials for a wide variety of industrial uses.
Dr. Tse is a prolific scientist who had authored or co-authored more than 410 peer-reviewed publications with many in prestigious journals such as Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He is frequently invited to speak on his work nationally and internationally and has served on national and international professional review and planning committees. He has acted as a referee and reviewer for numerous leading journals. He played a key role in the development of the Canadian Light Source, including acting as Chair of the Oversight Committee during the construction of the CLS and sitting on the Beamline Advisory Committee.
In recognition of an outstanding career, Dr. Tse has garnered numerous awards and honours. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008, twice won the Steacie Institute for Molecular Science Outstanding Achievement Award (2000 and 2003), and was appointed as a Distinguished Scholar at the National Science Council in Taiwan (2003-2004). He also received the Noranda award of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 1995.
Dr. Tse earned his BSc from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his PhD (chemistry) from the University of Western Ontario. He joined the National Research Council after graduation, eventually achieving the distinguished rank of Principal Research Officer at the prestigious Steacie Institute of Molecular Sciences before coming to the U of S in 2004.
Professor Plant Sciences
The New Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through creation, expansion and critique of knowledge. Curtis Pozniak, associate professor in the Crop Development Centre (CDC) and the plant sciences department, is the 2010 recipient.
Since earning his PhD in 2003, Prof. Pozniak has been steadily gaining a reputation in Canada and around the world as a rising star in the area of plant genetics and breeding.
Prof. Pozniak’s research program links basic research on the genetics and expression of agronomic disease resistance and end use quality traits with his applied research in the development of durum and other classes of wheat cultivars (strains) for Western Canada. Canada is one of the world’s major producers of durum wheat, primarily used to make pasta, and countries that import durum have stringent quality requirements. To be approved for production, new cultivars must meet a variety of quality criteria. In 2008, Prof. Pozniak released the cultivar CDC Verona, the first new durum cultivar from the University of Saskatchewan to pass this rigorous assessment in 18 years.
Prof. Pozniak is a Canadian leader in molecular genetics of wheat and has incorporated marker- assisted selection into his program at the CDC. This technique uses various DNA markers that are tightly linked to genes to screen for specific traits critical to end-use quality, such as pigment, disease resistance and cadmium concentration. His program is now routinely screening molecular markers for these end-use quality traits and the markers he has developed are being used by crop improvement programs globally.
Prof. Pozniak has attracted over $10 million in research funding from diverse organizations including the federal and provincial governments, commodity groups and industry. His commitment to mentorship at this early stage in his career is outstanding, supervising both MSc and PhD students—many of whom have already published or had manuscripts accepted in high-quality journals. He has authored or co-authored 20 scientific manuscripts since 2004 and has been associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Plant Science for the past five years. He has been a grant reviewer for the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and provincial funding agencies.
In 2008, Prof. Pozniak won the Best Research Poster Presentation at the International Durum Wheat Symposium. He has been invited to speak at provincial, national and international conferences and in 2008 he represented the Canadian Seed Trade Association at the International Seed Federation’s Working Group on Molecular Markers for Variety Protection in Geneva, Switzerland. In July of this year, he was granted the Young Agronomists award by The Canadian Society of Agronomy in recognition of his outstanding contributions to agronomy.
Prof. Pozniak earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (environmental science) and his PhD in plant genetics and breeding from the U of S. He joined the CDC and plant sciences department in 2003.