Outstanding uOttawa professors receive Ontario’s Early Researcher Award

Early researcher award
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Medicine
Awards and recognition

By University of Ottawa

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

Leandro Sanchez and Alice Zwerling
A pair of emerging research leaders at the University of Ottawa have received Early Researcher Awards for 2020. Presented by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the award program helps early-career researchers build their teams.

“This award recognizes the remarkable research trajectories of both recipients at such an early stage of their academic careers,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research. “The University is proud of their work in addressing vital issues and of their role in inspiring an upcoming generation of researchers as they establish their teams.”

The recipients are:

Leandro Sanchez (Faculty of Engineering): Much of Canada’s critical civil infrastructure is old and deteriorating. Climate change and increasing traffic volume will further exacerbate the rate of deterioration of aging structures, and rehabilitation would require a massive capital investment. Professor Leandro Sanchez is an expert in the durability of concrete materials. He and his research team are developing automated protocols to assess and manage the integrity of critical infrastructure, such as the bridges, dams, and roads on which we all depend. He is exploring advanced techniques to design sustainable materials for future concrete construction projects that would feature longer-lasting structures, with the objective of reducing public expenditures and the use of non-renewable resources.  

Alice Zwerling (Faculty of Medicine): Rates of tuberculosis (TB) among Inuit are up to nearly 300 times higher than the rest of the Canadian population, leading to a significantly higher number of cases of disease and death. TB is curable but providing specialized health care in remote northern communities is challenging. An epidemiologist and health economist, Professor Alice Zwerling is working with the Nunavut government and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated to model the potential impact and cost-effectiveness of novel, community-wide TB screening programs. Zwerling and her team will also conduct outreach activities with youth in Nunavut to help them better understand the signs and symptoms of TB and how to protect themselves and their community.