Transformative health tech and responsible AI: Two uOttawa innovators recognized with early career researcher awards

Better healthcare
Research and innovation
Awards and recognition
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Research centres and institutes
Technology Law, Ethics and Policy
Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences

By University of Ottawa

Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, OVPRI

Florian Martin-Bariteau and Eva Hemmer
Florian Martin-Bariteau, left, and Eva Hemmer, right.
Professor Eva Hemmer is developing next-generation nanomaterials that could revolutionize therapeutic and diagnostic — known as theranostic — technologies. Professor Florian Martin-Bariteau’s prolific research is advancing debate on technology law and policy.

Their field-defining contributions have earned them Early Career Researcher of the Year Awards from the University of Ottawa’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (OVPRI).

“These researchers truly stand out,” says Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president of research and innovation. “Their work addresses critical issues at the ever-evolving intersections of health, technology and law, driving change in an extraordinary way.”

Eva Hemmer, Faculty of Science

Since joining the Faculty of Science in 2016, Professor Hemmer has established an innovative research program in materials chemistry that focuses on designing novel lanthanide-based nanocarriers for potential applications ranging from bioimaging and optical sensing to energy conversion.

Lanthanides, together with yttrium and scandium, form a series of chemical elements in the periodic table that make up the rare-earth metals. Nanomaterials that contain lanthanides have remarkable optical and magnetic properties. They can be used to improve biomedical theranostic probes, optical sensors and photonic devices, and can also be considered for use in fundamental photoluminescence spectroscopy.

Researchers in Professor Hemmer’s lab aim to help society address global health and sustainability challenges by developing more reliable and straightforward synthetic approaches to creating nanomaterials with lanthanides.

Professor Hemmer, who holds a University Research Chair, helped develop the first single-molecule magnets with optical thermometry capacity, one of the many examples of her interdisciplinary work that is paving the way for new avenues of research in materials chemistry and nanotechnology.

Through local, national and international collaborations, Professor Hemmer has identified novel research directions and increased uOttawa’s visibility on the world stage. She contributes to the longstanding relationship between uOttawa and French research institutes through the France-Canada Research Fund and by hosting French work term students.

She has co-supervised 70 young researchers, mentored international students, and encouraged highly qualified personnel to present their work at scientific meetings, resulting in several awards for the participants. During the 2022 NanoCanada meeting, she was commended for her outstanding record of leadership, engagement, and outreach, including her commitment to bilingualism and to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Florian Martin-Bariteau, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section

Professor Martin-Bariteau’s work focuses on exposing potential problems in emerging areas of law and policy and proposes innovative solutions for issues arising in digital contexts. As both the University Research Chair in Technology and Society and the director of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, Professor Martin-Bariteau is playing a key role in establishing Canada as a leader in policy development for responsible AI and quantum technologies.

Since joining the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2016, he has emerged as one of Canada’s top scholars on the legal and ethical issues associated with the rise of technology. His pioneering research program on the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchains, quantum technologies and cybersecurity brings a much-needed legal perspective to the rapidly changing tech landscape.

Professor Martin-Bariteau leads global research collaborations on responsible AI policy, notably through the launch of uOttawa’s AI + Society Initiative in 2020, and programs funded by the France-Canada Research Fund, CNRS and the Alex-Trebek Forum for Dialogue. In 2021, he co-authored with Professor Teresa Scasa, Artificial Intelligence and the Law in Canada, the first Canadian comprehensive book on the topic.

Professor Martin-Bariteau is ahead of the curve when thinking about technology. He was one of the first researchers in Canada to acquire legal expertise in blockchain technology, which has permeated the legal and financial worlds over the past decade.

He is also a global thought leader on the societal, legal and ethical implications of quantum technologies, taking part in conversations nationally and internationally. Professor Martin-Bariteau’s policy agenda for quantum technologies has been noted by governments and was widely cited in the latest report issued by the Council of Canadian Academies.