Research for universal good: How TMU students are getting hands-on with societal challenges

At Toronto Metropolitan University students are working side-by-side with faculty researchers to address universal challenges.

To address complex challenges faced by people and communities around the world, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science (FEAS) researchers at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) are tapping into the power and talent of the next generation: their students. From cooperative placements to research grants, FEAS faculty have emphasized finding new ways to make a societal impact alongside their students. Recent work includes the following:

Affordable housing

Last year, 27 fourth-year architectural science students were asked to consider and design housing for immigrant families in Bari, under the guidance of professors Umberto Berardi and June Komisar. The professors emphasized the universal challenge of immigration, aiming for the project’s global relevance by having students design affordable neighbourhoods and housing for recent immigrants and refugees in the towns of Cervaro, Mezzanone, and Segezia in the region of Puglia. Berardi emphasized the universal challenge of immigration, aiming for the project’s global relevance. The students’ approach – employing affordable materials, designing versatile micro-units, and repurposing community structures – offers potential processes and solutions to create safer, more accessible living spaces worldwide. View the full story.

Water security

TMU and the University of Cartagena, supported by the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships Program (QES), are joining forces to safeguard Colombia’s aquifers through the “Water for Life” project. Led by chemical engineering professor Mehrab Mehrvar, this initiative will focus on developing solar disinfection and decentralized wastewater solutions for remote Colombian communities. At the heart of this approach is the involvement of students: the Water for Life team will work alongside doctoral students from Northern Colombia and TMU chemical engineering undergraduates who will be able to learn on-site in Colombia as part of their cooperative placements. This collaboration will help to advance innovative water conservation methods and equip a new generation of researchers with the skills to address global environmental challenges. View the full story.

Quality of care

Under the leadership of biomedical engineering professor April Khademi, a Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Medical Imaging, a breakthrough AI tool has been developed, which has been proven to enhance pathologists’ diagnostic accuracy. This tool has proven its efficacy in a study involving 90 international pathologists, demonstrating significant improvements in analyzing breast cancer tissue, especially in identifying the Ki-67 biomarker. Khademi and her PhD student, Amanda Dy, at TMU, are driving this innovation forward together, focusing on refining diagnostic processes to improve treatment planning and patient outcomes. Their work underscores a commitment to leveraging AI in medicine, aiming to equip pathologists with critical insights for better patient care. View the research paper.

By finding new ways to unite students with faculty researchers, FEAS believes their collective perspectives, skills, and experiences will only strengthen research outcomes and inspire new solutions.

Looking for support on your next research project?

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Learn. Grow. Thrive. Together. 

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