Engineering

Saint Mary’s PhD student to receive Research Nova Scotia Quest Award

Brendan Grue, a Saint Mary’s University (SMU) PhD in Applied Science student, is the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s (RNS) prestigious Quest Award.

“I was surprised and honoured to be chosen,” said Grue. “I think it reflects the growing research community here at Saint Mary’s.” 

Brendan Grue, a Saint Mary’s University PhD in Applied Science student and the recipient of the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s (RNS) prestigious Quest Award.

Brendan Grue, a Saint Mary’s University PhD in Applied Science student and the recipient of the 2019 recipient of Research Nova Scotia’s (RNS) prestigious Quest Award.

Grue is researching the development of a new class of orthopedic implants to hopefully reduce the use of metallic plates and alleviate the need for autograft surgery. An autograft is a procedure where bone or tissue is transferred from one spot to another on a patient’s body. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Samuel Veres, an associate professor for the Division of Engineering at Saint Mary’s University.

“Brendan's wide-ranging and multidisciplinary laboratory talents have been incredibly important to our lab,” said Dr. Veres. “Thanks to him we are now in a position to substantially expand our work in scaffold development for tissue repair and regeneration.”

The Quest Award is presented to the graduate student researcher who demonstrates the greatest promise and potential for excellence in health research. Grue was selected from among applicants with the highest standing in the recent RNS Scotia ScholarsOM Award competition. The competition is open to graduate and doctoral students from across Nova Scotia universities, making the win for Grue also a win for Saint Mary’s.

"Saint Mary's University appreciates the ongoing support from Research Nova Scotia for graduate students in the health sector through the Scotia Scholars program," said Dr. Adam Sarty, associate vice-president, Research and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at Saint Mary's. "We are very fortunate to have an exemplary student like Brendan in our Ph.D. in Applied Science program to pursue his work in Biomedical Engineering. On behalf of Saint Mary's, I want to congratulate Brendan on receiving this special recognition from Research Nova Scotia."

According to Grue, the available treatment options for patients in need of orthopedic implants can require expensive and potentially dangerous revision or implant retrieval surgeries.

“Metallic and various synthetic bone grafts may not be as biocompatible or as conducive to the healing environment within bone,” said Grue. “I’m engineering an alternative using mineralized bovine collagen that has the ability to degrade over time as well as give the support the body needs to repair itself.”

To create his implants, Grue is using bovine forelimb tendons that are a current waste product of the meat processing industry in Nova Scotia. The use of bovine collagen in implants is already Health Canada approved, making his source material both sustainable and practical for clinic uptake. “I’m taking advantage of the architecture that’s already within nature and building upon it to construct something that will hopefully allow the body to repair itself,” he explains.

With roughly one year left in his PhD program, Grue is focused on the final phase of his research in which he will assess the body’s potential response to the collagen-based implant.

“There is a particular need within Nova Scotia’s aging population to have interventions that allow for enhanced bone repair due to a higher incidence of bone-related injuries within this group,” said Grue. “I’m excited to see the potential this could have to help Nova Scotians and support the continuation of research in this area.”

In the future, Grue aspires to attend medical school, stating the applied nature of his research has further motivated his decision. “As a clinician scientist, I will be able to apply lessons learned from my research to patients directly and allow what I learn from patients to shape future research directions.”

Saint Mary's engineering team wins major industry prize

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A team of engineering students and the Laboratory of Control Systems and Mechatronics (LCSM) research lab led by Dr. Adel Merabet, has won a Typhoon HIL402 lab, one of only 10 available to educational institutions in North America and 50 worldwide.

 “The students enrolled in an online course to obtain the HIL Specialist Certification,” said Dr. Merabet. “The team consisted of four graduate students from my LCSM research lab and 18 undergraduate students from my Circuit Analysis (EGNE 2311) course.”

 The prize includes a free HIL402 hardware unit and a lifetime Typhoon software license.

“The hardware and the software will be used in the LCSM research lab in the Division of Engineering to conduct research on renewable energy and microgrids,” said Dr. Merabet.

The Typhoon Awards 10 for 10 program, celebrating 10 years in business, recognizes academic institutions and research groups that use the company’s technologies, which include an online learning hub for professionals and students. The master model and simulation-based systems engineering tools are designed for future power electronic and power systems engineers.

Universities and research groups who focus on disciplines such as electrical engineering, power electronics, and power systems were eligible to submit a nomination for a 10 for 10 program Award. With these awards, Typhoon HIL recognizes academic institutions that utilize their products in academia and share their work with the Typhoon academic community. 

Typhoon HIL Inc. is the market and technology leader in the rapidly-growing field of ultra-high-fidelity controller-Hardware-in-the-Loop (C-HIL) simulation for power electronics, microgrids, and distribution networks.

SMU Alumnus becomes Canadian citizen on Canada 150

Stephen Robinson-Enebeli (centre right) stands with (from left to right) Dr. Mary Ann White, a recipient of the Order of Canada who presided over the citizenship ceremony; the Honourable Lena Diab, Minister of Immigration and Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie; and a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Stephen Robinson-Enebeli (centre right) stands with (from left to right) Dr. Mary Ann White, a recipient of the Order of Canada who presided over the citizenship ceremony; the Honourable Lena Diab, Minister of Immigration and Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie; and a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Saint Mary’s engineering alumnus Stephen Robinson-Enebeli will always remember where he was on Canada’s 150th birthday: surrounded by friends and family, in the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, becoming a Canadian citizen.

Saint Mary’s was a very welcome start to my life in Canada.
— Stephen Robinson-Enebeli

“The room was overflowing,” he recalls. “I was so moved by the number of people who came in solidarity to welcome new Canadians, and to welcome me.”

Stephen immigrated to Halifax from Nigeria in June 2012, and he started Saint Mary’s Diploma of Engineering program that fall. He credits the university’s academic and non-academic support services, coupled with professors eager to help students succeed, with helping him integrate quickly and achieve his goals.

“Saint Mary’s was a very welcome start to my life in Canada,” says Stephen. “Everyone was so warm and friendly. With their support, I quickly became familiar with the culture of a new country and was able to thrive in university.”

After completing a Bachelor of Science and Diploma of Engineering at Saint Mary’s in 2015, Stephen pursued a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Dalhousie University, with a focus on mechanical engineering. This summer, he’s completing an internship at Welaptega Marine Limited, a Halifax-based subsea mooring inspection company, where he is modelling offshore underwater assets. He plans to graduate this Fall and is thinking about graduate school.

For Stephen, becoming a citizen on Canada’s sesquicentennial was an honour he won’t soon forget.

“Every dignitary who spoke at the ceremony reflected the sentiment in the room,” he recalls. “That of loving appreciation for Canada and the diversity of its citizens.”

Stephen Robinson-Enebeli (centre right) stands with family members and citizenship ceremony officiants.

Stephen Robinson-Enebeli (centre right) stands with family members and citizenship ceremony officiants.