Perspectives Newsletter Summer 2012

qiang-zhangIt is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of Canadian Society for Bioengineering. First of all, I wish to thank you, the members of the society, for your confidence in me. I am counting on your continued support to make our society a better professional home for those who practice engineering in solving problems in biological systems. A sincere thank-you goes to our Past-President Ron Macdonald for leading the society so ably during 2011-2012. All council members also deserve a big thank-you for their dedication and commitment, in particular our society manager Ali Madani.

I hold a special place for CSBE in my professional heart. A colleague from another engineering department was conducting an informal survey to identify the reasons why people join professional societies. When I was asked why I joined CSBE, my answer was short: because I feel that I am part of CSBE. To her follow-up question: what were you expecting the society to offer you, my answer was: a professional home.

Published in Editorial

The CSBE-SCGAB/NABEC Joint Technical Conference was held on the Orillia Campus of Lakehead University from July 15-18, 2012.  There were four informative workshops on Sunday July 15th followed by paper and poster presentations on Monday and Tuesday, a BBQ on Monday evening, the Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening and 2 post-conference tours on Wednesday. There were also two accompanying person (guest) programs.

During our Awards Banquet, several of our colleagues were honored. They are:


Dr. Jim Townsend
Recipient of the Maple Leaf Award


Dr. Stefan Cenkowski
2012 CSBE Fellow


Dr. Jitendra Paliwal
2012 Young Engineer of the Year


Dr. Hubert Landry
Recipient of the Glenn Downing Award


Hugh Fraser   
Winner of the ASABE Blue Ribbons award


Harold House 
Winner of the ASABE Blue Ribbons award


There were also several students receiving awards from the CSBE-SCGAB and its FOUNDATION for their academic accomplishments. These students are:    

University of Manitoba 

  • Nathan Bartel, Jayaru PallimullaGeeganage, Stacey Hildebrand, Vanessa Krahn and Amy La, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award
  • Amy La, recipient of the CSBE-SCGAB  Undergraduate Thesis or Paper Award
  • Mahesh Sivakumar, recipient of the CSBE-SCGAB  Ph.D. Thesis Award
  • Ingrid Baragar, recipient of the CSBE/SCGAB FOUNDATION Undergraduate Scholarship


 Amy La, University of Manitoba


McGill University

  • Rebecca Chin, Nicholas Matlashewski, and Kristian Swan, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award
  • Allison Busgang, Vivian Mau, Katherine Rispoli, and Wathsala Tennakoon, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Thesis or Paper Award
  • Susan King, recipient of the CSBE-SCGAB Ph.D. Thesis Award
  • Frederic Rene-Laforest and his Design Team, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award (Student Team Competition, 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design)           


McGill Students with Dr. Orsat and Ron MacDonald


Kristian Swan, McGill University



McGill Student Team Competition 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design




University of Saskatchewan 

  • Graham Stuart, Matthew Petruic and Evan Woloski, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award
  • Phani Adapa, recipient of the CSBE-SCGAB Ph.D. Thesis Award

University of Guelph   

  • Alexander Griffith, recipient of the CSBE/SCGAB FOUNDATION Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Matthew DiCicco, recipient of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award  

Université Laval

Justine Beaulieu-Gagné, Vincent Rodrique, Dominick Fluet, Benoit Garon,  Pierre-Yves Pettigrew-Blanchet, Guillaume Sauvageau, Charles St-Arnaud, Jean-Gabriel Turgeon, Guillaume Goulet, Héloise Bastien, Lelia Anderson, Danik Sarrazin, Hubert Soucy, François Blais, and Sylvain Champagne, recipients of the CSBE-SCGAB Undergraduate Design Project Award (Student Team Competition, 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design)  



Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 

Download the PDF Newsletter to read the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2012


The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Engineering Centennial Reunion will be held Sept 20 to 23, 2012 in Saskatoon. Visit http://www.engr.usask.ca/100Years/ for more information on the planned events and festivities.

The CSBE Annual Meeting and Conference will be held on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan July 7-10, 2013. Stay tuned for details on the theme, workshops, tours and call for abstracts.

Technical Note

The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute’s Applied Bioenergy Centre (ABC) designed and commissioned a pilot scale solid state anaerobic digester located at the Western Beef Development Centre Termuende Ranch near Lanigan, Saskatchewan. Funding assistance was provided by Western Economic Diversification, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Canada. The facility is the only solid state digester in Canada and one of two in North America. The goal of the facility is to conduct pilot scale trials to optimize digestion operating parameters and to evaluate the energy balance and economic potential of the technology.

The facility includes two batch reactors, each with a capacity for 10 tonnes of solid substrate. The system includes a leachate recirculation system (for inoculation and “mixing”) and a gas collection, metering and analysis instrumentation. Heated glycol piping inside the vessel maintains the temperature at 38°C.

The scale of the pilot facility also allows assessment of the unique material handling requirements for solid state digestion. Unlike liquid digestion, the substrate cannot be pumped, metered or mixed mechanically. At 20% to 50% total solids content, solid state digesters have a small footprint and do not require water or generate wastewater. The technology allows solid organic waste to be digested in its natural form. The system can also handle heterogenous, “dirty” material that would cause sedimentation and clogging issues in a traditional liquid digester.

Digestion trials in 2012 utilized solid beef feedlot manure mixed with straw and trials planned for 2013 and 2014 will generate information on the digestion of feedlot manure, wet distiller’s grains, cull potatoes and deadstock. The ABC also collaborates with the University of Saskatchewan on a bench scale solid state digester to conduct replicated trials to validate the results from the pilot facility. For more information on PAMI’s solid state digestion facility, go to http://pami.ca/bioenergy/second-generation/ or email Joy Agnew (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


The Department of Biosystems Engineering has admitted 35 new undergraduate students to the Biosystems Engineering program to start the 2012-2013 academic year.

Several staff members have reached milestones in terms of service to the University of Manitoba. David Levin – 5 years; Jason Morrison – 5 years; Nazim Cicek – 10 years; Derek Inglis – 10 years; and Robert Lavallee – 30 years.

Dr.Stefan Cenkowski was awarded the “2012 CSBE Fellow”, and Dr.Jitendra Paliwal was recognized with the “Young Engineer of the year” award for their outstanding contributions to the agricultural, food and biological engineering at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference,Orillia,ON.

Idris Adelakun, M.Sc. student in Biosystems Engineering, received a First Place Poster Competition Award at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference, Orillia, ON for the poster entitled "Design of a Reusable Multilevel-TDR Probe for Measuring Soil Water Content."

Nathan Bartel, Jayaru Pallimulla Geeganage, Stacey Hildebrand, Vanessa Krahn, Amy La won “Undergraduate design project award”, Amy La was awarded with the “Best undergraduate thesis” and Mahesh Sivakumar won “Best Graduate thesis award” at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference,Orillia,ON.

 Idris Adelakun, M.Sc student in Biosystems Engineering, received a Second Place Poster Competition Award at the Manitoba Soil Science Society Annual General Meeting inWinnipeg,MB on February 3 for the poster entitled "Design of a Multilevel Time Domain Reflectometry Probe for Measuring Soil Water Content at Different Depths." 

“ASABE ¼ Scale Tractor Competition” – Report from the University of Manitoba’s team

The first day, Thursday, was hectic. It rained with cold gusty winds all day. Thank goodness we had the awning and tent and a few tarps to help keep a little dry. But the only way you could warm up was under the hand dryers in the washroom. Most days we stayed at the grounds from around 7am until 10pm. We missed tech'ing in our original time slot in order to finish the tractor for tech'ing first thing Friday morning.

Friday was better. More sunshine. Got through tech with few issues. And design judging and maneuverability went well.

Saturday we did some practice pulls and ended up twisting our stainless steel frame during the actual unballasted pull. So Saturday evening we stayed at the grounds until 11pm reinforcing the frame. Thank goodness we had a little wiggle room for weight. We also helped out a couple other teams, and thank goodness we did because they were able to participate in the ballasted pulls on Sunday.

Sunday we did both ballasted pulls. And the "guts" pull, which means you put as much weight and ballast on and try to break the tractor. We ended up twisting the frame so much that it sat on the front axle, and we seemed to have challenged our front differential as it has been clicking ever since.

Overall we placed 12th out of 27 registered teams. We placed 10th in the written report an improvement from last year but still an area we hope to improve on.  We placed 22nd in the presentation. Obviously that is the area requires a considerable work next year.  We placed 13th in design judging and 7th in maneuverability (a significant improvement from last year when we were eliminated for going over the time limit).  The best result was 4th in the pulls. 


Published in Manitoba Regional News

TheSchool ofEngineering sent a large contingent of engineering students, staff and faculty to the NABEC-CSBE joint conference held inOrillia this summer.  Papers and posters presented focused on a wide range of topics including: biological nanotechnology, renewable energy, robotics in agriculture, and rural air quality. A special thanks to our retired faculty, Ralph Brown, Jan Jofriet, and John Ogilvie, for their tremendous support to the conference.

Student Accomplishments

Biological Engineering students, Alexander Griffith (left in picture) and Matthew DiCicco (right in picture), have won the CSBE  Undergraduate Scholarship award and the CSBE Design Project award, respectively, at the Canadian Society for Bioengineering (CSBE) Annual Meeting held in Orillia from July 15-18th 2012. Both Matthew DiCicco and Alexander Griffith are working in the Bionanolab supervised by Professor Suresh Neethirajan.

At the 43rd Annual Association of Canadian Ergonomists Conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia in August 2012, Luke Harris won the Julien M. Christenson Masters level Student Paper Award.  Luke is a Masters level student in the School of Engineering working under the supervision of Dr. Michele Oliver.  The second and third place papers were also from Dr. Oliver’s research group (Danielle Boucher and Mark Munro).

The students of the Bionanolab of the University of Guelph won the 'Visual Challenge' contest by the ASABE's Resource Magazine. Matthew DiCicco, Mark Fletcher and Anup Suresh's submissions on “Seemingly Spotless Surgical Screw Studied Up-Close”, "Computer-assisted illustration of bionanorobotsmanoeuvring through the blood stream in search of tumors" and "Real-time three-dimensional visualization of fissures inside infested wheat kernel using X-ray micro CT" were selected as winning entries for publication in the September issue of the magazine.

Faculty Accomplishments

Dr. Suresh Neethirajan was interviewed by ArsTechnica, a media magazine from California about the US Food and Drug Administration's guidelines on food packaging nanotechnology. Suresh noted that the FDA guidelines will compel the industries to use clear labelling for ingredients present in the form of nanoparticles, and the food manufacturing industries might be obligated to conduct risk assessment. Read the story online at http://goo.gl/DYS9G.

Published in Ontario Regional News

Colloque sur l’innovation technologique en agroalimentaire

L’Association des ingénieurs en agroalimentaire du Québec (AIAQ) en collaboration avec le Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies (CQVB) organisent un colloque sur l’innovation technologique en agroalimentaire. Cet événement, qui aura lieu le 22 novembre prochain à St-Hyacinthe, Québec, sera l’occasion d’offrir aux ingénieurs en agroalimentaire une opportunité de formation continue et de favoriser les échanges entre les acteurs de l’agroalimentaire.

Deux séries de conférences portant respectivement sur la transformation alimentaire et le génie agricole se tiendront simultanément. Vingt (20) conférenciers feront découvrir les derniers développements industriels en lien avec l’optimisation de procédés, l’automatisation des opérations, la valorisation des sous-produits, l’efficacité énergétique, le travail au champ et la modification de bâtiments agroalimentaires et agricoles.

De ce nombre, le colloque compte sur une conférencière internationale qui aura l’opportunité de nous entretenir d’entrée de jeu sur les résultats de l’étude Global Food Losses and Food Waste Extent, Causes and Prevention publiée en 2011 par l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO). Le président de l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) sera aussi des nôtres pour permettre aux ingénieurs présents de comprendre la nouvelle loi sur les ingénieurs et d’entendre le rôle qu’ils seront appelés à jouer dans les années à venir en termes d’innovation technologique.

C’est donc un rendez-vous à ne pas manquer pour tous ceux qui veulent acquérir des connaissances de pointe en matière d’innovation technologique en agroalimentaire.

Le programme est disponible au lien internet suivant : http://www.aiaq.qc.ca/evenements/172-colloqueinnovation.

Conference on Technological Innovation in Agriculture and Agri-Food Industry

The “Association des ingénieurs en agroalimentaire du Québec” (AIAQ) along with the “Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies” (CQVB) organize a conference on technological innovation in agriculture and in agri-food industry. This event, presented on November 22 in St-Hyacinthe, Québec, will be an opportunity for biosystems engineers to obtain new knowledge and favor exchanges with professionals from the agri-food industry.

Two series of conference respectively on food processing and agricultural engineering will be held simultaneously. Twenty (20) speakers will present the recent industrial developments in systems optimization, factory automation, by-product valorization, energy efficiency, tillage and agri-food facility modifications.

Among them, an international speaker will address during a plenary session the results of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) study on Global Food Losses and Food Waste Extent, Causes and Prevention. The president of the “Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec” (OIQ) will also be there to present the implications of the new legislation on engineers and the role they will have to play in the future in terms of technological innovation.

It is an inevitable event for whoever wants advanced knowledge on technological innovation in agriculture and agri-food industry.

The program can be downloaded here: http://www.aiaq.qc.ca/evenements/172-colloqueinnovation.

Joint Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference
(ON), July 15-18, 2012

Members of CSBE LAC: Franklin Kains, John Ogilvie, Jan Jofriet
Members of NABEC LAC:  Julie Cayley, Michelle Stuckless

The following report gives the highlights and observations of the Annual Technical Conference for CSBE held jointly with NABEC.

The conference ran from July 15 to July 18, 2012.  There were 4 pre-conference workshops on Sunday, the paper and poster presentations on Monday and Tuesday, a BBQ on Monday evening, a banquet on Tuesday evening and 2 post-conference tours on Wednesday.


The conference was held on the Orillia Campus of Lakehead University.   This was a new site for Lakehead University (2 years old) and is located at the edge of town.  The campus is made up of 3 buildings – the AcademicBuilding (main lecture and administration building), the student residence and the cafeteria, all within 50 m of each other.  This made for a very compact conference during the day. The 2 plenary sessions were held in the main lecture hall and the presentations and poster sessions in 4 classrooms on the second floor.

Registration and the Sunday evening reception were held in the common area on the main floor.   The facilities on the whole were excellent and, being new, were in perfect condition.


Academic Building, Lakehead University (Orillia Campus)


Accommodation was provided at 2 local hotels and in the student residences on campus.  Both hotels were 3 km from the university site.  The Best Western was also the site of the Tuesday evening banquet. The university residences rooms turned out to be exceptional.  They were new, well appointed and the room rate was less than half the hotel rates. 

Published in Notices to Members

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