University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Young Pioneers

Eight U of T faculty and alumni named to Canada's "Top 40 under 40"

Four University of Toronto faculty members and four alumni were named to Canada’s “Top 40 under 40” in May. The list, compiled each year by the Caldwell Partners, honours high achievers under the age of 40. Professors Tom Chau, Brendan Frey, Vivek Rao and Aaron Schimmer joined the 2007 list.

Chau (BASc 1992, MASc 1994) is a biomedical engineering researcher who holds the Canada Research Chair in pediatric rehabilitation, and develops devices that assist children with disabilities. His groundbreaking research has resulted in therapeutic technologies such as sophisticated prostheses that assist children’s mobility, and sensitive touch screens that allow kids to communicate even if they can’t speak.

Frey (PhD 1997) is a pioneer in the computer science of “affinity propagation,” in which novel algorithms allow computer programs to analyze data more rapidly than ever. Using methods that mimic the human brain, Frey’s technology stands to speed up research in areas such as genetics, economics, traffic planning
and drug testing.

At 33, Rao (MD 1992, PhD 1998) became the youngest surgeon appointed to Toronto General Hospital’s division of cardiac surgery, for his expertise in artificial hearts. An associate professor of cardiovascular surgery, Rao performs up to 250 heart surgeries a year and is a leading heart-transplant practitioner.

Schimmer’s (MD 1993, PhD 2001) cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto is paving the way for improved treatment of acute leukemia. Schimmer leads a team of researchers to find drugs that could exploit weaknesses in cancer cells without harming healthy cells, thus reducing the side-effects of cancer treatment.

Four other U of T alumni made the “Top 40 under 40” list. Neil Branda (BSc 1989 Trinity), a chemistry professor at Simon Fraser University, researches the relationship between a molecule’s structure and function. Four-time Olympic gold medallist Johann Koss (MBA 2004) leads Right to Play International, a humanitarian organization that advocates sport for children. Kirstine Layfield (BA 1988 UC) is executive director of network programming for CBC Television. Mark Wiseman (MBA 1996, LLB 1996) is senior vice-president, private investments, for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. He and his team manage $10.8 billion in assets.

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