Biochemical engineering pioneer honoured

Western biochemical engineering professor Argyrios Margaritis is being honoured for outstanding contributions to the engineering profession.

Margaritis will receive the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) Order of Honour Award at the Officer Level at the PEO Order of Honour Awards Dinner and Induction Ceremony on April 16 at 6 p.m. in the London Convention Centre.

The Order of Honour is an honourary society of the more than 65,000-licensed member PEO. The award is in recognition of Margaritis' many years of outstanding contributions to the engineering profession in Ontario and Canada.

This is the second prestigious PEO award won by Margaritis who was the 1991 recipient of the PEO Research and Development Award Medal for outstanding research contributions in biochemical engineering.

Margaritis, who was born in Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece, holds a BASc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Masters in Chemical Engineering and PhD in Biochemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, served as Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Western for 11 years. He has supervised and trained 63 masters and doctoral students, currently supervises 7 graduate students, making important research contributions to engineering innovations in biochemical engineering and biotechnology.

A world-renowned expert in biochemical engineering and biotechnology, he has published more than 340 refereed papers and scientific presentations at national and international conferences. He was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 1984. He has been selected and listed in Canadian Who's Who since 1992. He serves on the editorial boards of four professional international journals.

'In being admitted to the Order of Honour, Professor Margaritis receives the association's highest form of recognition," says PEO President George Comrie.

Dean of Engineering Franco Berruti says this latest prestigious recognition is proof of Margaritis' 'outstanding contribution to the profession."

Margaritis also has received many letters of congratulations from Western President Paul Davenport, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Greg Moran, Acting Vice-President (Research) Ted Hewitt, Dean of Science Fred Longstaffe, Nils Petersen, Director General of the NRC National Institute for Nanotechnology former Dean of Engineering Mohan Mathur, and many other colleagues.

Margaritis joined the 2,000-member PEO London Chapter Executive in 1981 and served for many years on its executive and several Committees, including Chair of the chapter twice, in 1990-91 and 2000-01.

He has been active in promoting engineering to high school students through the establishment and his involvement in the annual PEO Engineering Careers Day over the past 14 years. He is the Founding Director and presently on the Board of the Aventis Biotechnology Challenge in the London District in which selected high school co-op students do biotechnology research under the supervision of Western researchers.

Nationally, Margaritis serves on the National Selection Committee of Youth Science Foundation Canada that selects the best 10 science fair projects each year from across Canada.

In recognition of his expertise in biochemical engineering, Margaritis was invited to Chair the PEO Bioengineering Task Force Committee in 2000. The committee issued a 150-page report that defines the core body of knowledge, the areas of practice and skills of a bioengineer, and eventual licensure P.Eng. recognition of bioengineering by PEO as a new engineering discipline.

Margaritis played a key role in establishing the first accredited undergraduate Biochemical Engineering program, including several concurrent degrees programs, and the first Biomedical Engineering Graduate program at The University of Western Ontario.

Margaritis is also active in the local community. He is the founding President of the Macedonian Association of London and Vicinity 'Aristotle" and serves on the Board of Directors of the Greek School of London.

'I wish to express my thanks and appreciation to my family, my graduate students and all my colleagues and friends inside and outside Western for their continuing support which made this award possible for me," says Margaritis.

The PEO Order of Honour Award Dinner Gala and Induction Ceremony at the London Convention Centre is part of other activities during the 2005 Annual General Meeting of the 65,000 professional licensed members.

Nils Petersen, former Vice-President (Research) at Western and now Director General, NRC National Institute for Nanotechnology will be the keynote speaker at the AGM, His presentation will be on 'Nanotechnology and the Role of Engineers".