University of Saskatchewan

April 15, 2014   

Four top researchers honoured with Distinguished Professorships

May 24, 2013

The University of Saskatchewan has named four new Distinguished Professors honouring leaders in movement disorders, reading science and dyslexia, poultry nutrition and welfare, and power system engineering.

“We have an impressive group of faculty at the U of S. The contributions of these four scholars are outstanding,” said Vice-Provost Jim Germida. “Researchers of this calibre advance the U of S as a world-class institution. The leadership these individuals have displayed in research, discovery and mentorship is truly extraordinary.”

The U of S Distinguished Professorship Program was created in 2010 to celebrate exceptional achievement in research, scholarly and artistic work by U of S faculty or emeriti.

Dr. Ali Rajput is professor emeritus in the Department of Medicine and a world renowned expert on movement disorders. His substantial research on levodopa, the first effective long-term treatment for Parkinson’s disease, settled controversy about possible toxic side effects of the drug and enabled physicians to prescribe levodopa without hesitation to patients who would benefit—changing standard practice in neurology.

Rajput has undertaken critical investigations in the causes of Parkinson’s disease, including environmental and genetic factors. He is part of an international research team that recently discovered a gene mutation that can lead to Parkinson’s. At the U of S, Rajput established one of the world’s largest sample banks of autopsied brains from Parkinson’s patients, which draws scientists from all over the world to his laboratory for research and collaboration. Rajput is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

Che Kan Leong is professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education. His research has focused on the cognitive and psycholinguistic processes of learning to read and developmental dyslexia in English and Chinese. He has authored two academic books, coedited eight others, and published over 100 research papers and book chapters, all in the science of reading and its disabilities. He served as editor-in-chief of Annals of Dyslexia (2001-2006), and is on the editorial board of six other journals. He has ongoing research programs in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Leong is recognized internationally as a major force in his field and has served as a visiting scholar at more than 20 institutions around the world. Among his many awards, Leong has received an Earned D. Litt Degree and the Distinguished Researcher Award from the University of Saskatchewan; the Samuel Orton Award for research into developmental dyslexia and the Margaret Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award, both from the International Dyslexia Association; and a Doctor of Social Science Degree (Honoris Causa) from the University of Umeĺ, Sweden.

Hank Classen is a professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. His contributions to poultry welfare, nutrition and management have had a significant effect on the industry with regards to improving animal health and introducing cost-saving measures.

Among his contributions, Classen investigated the processes involved in nutrient absorption and pioneered the addition of microbial enzymes to cereal-based animal feeds, improving feeding management in many parts of the world. He is a world authority on lighting regimens and demonstrated that lighting influences the feeding behaviour and health of poultry. Classen has also demonstrated that poultry transport conditions have a serious effect on the welfare, mortality and meat quality.

Classen has continuously engaged in commercially relevant research and currently holds eight patents. In 2004 he and his colleagues won the Award of Innovation after they developed a patented process to convert canola meal-a byproduct of canola processing-into multiple products such as high-protein concentrates for the aquaculture industry, customized protein fibre products for cattle feed, and various co-products for use in markets from food to cosmetics.

Roy Billinton is professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is an internationally recognized leader in power system reliability, economics and performance. Billinton has developed a wide range of techniques to evaluate the reliability of power systems and has made significant contributions to the development and application of techniques to measure past performance and predict power system reliability.

Billinton co-founded the Power System Research Group at the U of S which has become known internationally for pioneering research in the field. He has been instrumental in developing many of the theoretical methods and performance indicators commonly used by industry to plan, design, and operate electric power systems at all levels.

Among his countless honours, he is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineers and the American National Academy of Engineering.

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