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Queen’s Prizes for Excellence in Research announced

Three early-career researchers are recognized for advancing research and discovery in their respective fields.

Jennifer Tomasone
Dr. Jennifer Tomasone (Photo: Sam Shepherd)

Three researchers have been awarded with Queen's University’s highest internal research award, the Prize for Excellence in Research. Jennifer Tomasone (Kinesiology and Health Sciences), Cao Thang Dinh (Chemical Engineering), and Chantelle Capicciotti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Chemistry, and Surgery) are early-career researchers who have demonstrated significant contributions to research in their fields: physical activity, renewable energy, and glycobiology.

The Prize for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Vice-Principal (Research Portfolio) and celebrates researchers with distinguished contributions to their fields and who have earned their highest degree in the last 10 years. Each recipient of the prize is nominated by the dean of their faculty. Nominations are then reviewed by a selection committee who place an emphasis on representing the diversity of the Queen’s community and its research. The recipients are awarded a cash prize of $5,000.

“I am delighted to present the first Prizes for Excellence in Research of my tenure to such accomplished and inspiring early-career researchers,” says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research). “It is gratifying to acknowledge researchers early on in their careers and early prizes can be an important foundation for mid- and later career recognition. From climate change to human health and disease, your award-winning research contributions will advance our understanding of people and the planet.”

Cao Thang Dinh
Dr. Cao Thang Dinh (Photo: Garrett Elliott)

Dr. Tomasone’s primary goal is to optimize physical activity participation for Canadians of all abilities. Her research is significant nationally, as Dr. Tomasone leads the most comprehensive knowledge translation campaign in the 40-year history of Canadian movement guidelines. Her research also goes beyond borders to aid efforts in movement guidelines internationally, working with organizations like the World Health Organization. Within the community, Dr. Tomasone is the co-Director of Revved Up, an exercise program for more than 200 adults with a disability in Kingston.

Dr. Dinh has been designated by Web of Science as one of only three Queen’s researchers most-cited globally in 2021. His program centres on using renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide, air, and water into valuable chemicals. The aim is to provide solutions for a fossil-fuel-free energy and chemical industry, focusing on the design of novel electrocatalytic systems using renewable energy. This research provides a compelling route to mitigate climate change and enable widely accessible renewable energy.

 Chantelle Capiciotti
Dr. Chantelle Capiciotti (Photo: GlycoNet)

Dr. Capicciotti is a Queen’s National Scholar whose interdisciplinary research in glycobiology and carbohydrate chemistry has been recognized as innovative on an international scale. Drawing from chemistry, biochemistry, and cell biology, she has developed streamlined methods to synthesize complex carbohydrates, and novel biochemical tools to study their interactions. Dr. Capicciotti leverages this interdisciplinary work to understand the biological functions of these crucial biomolecules. Her research is providing innovative insights into the role that the thick ‘sugar coating’ on cells plays in human health and disease, including cell signalling, virus infections, and cancer immune evasion.

The Prizes for Excellence in Research will be presented during convocation. To learn more about the awards, or past recipients, visit the Vice Principal (Research) Portfolio website.