FOS Alumni Giving Back
With matching funds from Google’s employee-giving program, Alex established the Finlayson Innovation in User Experience Award, which recognizes Computer Science students who build innovative experiences using existing technology.
“I set up this award when I was reflecting on my life journey and looking for a way to help students who like to tinker and do things with technology they’re ‘not supposed’ to do. I think students like that will change the world in positive ways. I also like that this award creates a personal connection, as I mentor the winners by advising them on their education and career paths. For me, it’s important be part of something bigger than myself. I had a lot of help getting where I am today and others deserve the same. I believe, one day, they will pass it forward. I think all of us can be a force of good in some way.”
— Alex Finlayson
Computer Science ’06
UXE Lead on Search Mobile for Google Search
A long-time mentor to STEM students and new graduates who identify as belonging to a racialized group, Juliet is co-chair of the FOS Mentorship Program along with Chancellor Janice Fukakusa.
“I’ve always loved mentoring others and sharing implicit knowledge that is hard to access. I wish I had known someone when I started out as a student who could have helped me understand university life more and feel less isolated. I think all of society benefits when we can help others become the best version of themselves, which includes building confidence and resilience. I am excited about the potential of students and also about students seeing their own power and potential now, today, not just as a future vision. Mentoring provides me with a sense of purpose and is, I believe, a path toward having kind, considerate and thoughtful people in leadership roles.”
— Juliet Ajambo-Doherty
Molecular Science ’09
Technical Engineer, Ontario Power Generation
Women in STEM Internship
“Real-world applications are what TMU has been known for compared to traditional universities. That’s why we were happy to partner with the Faculty of Science.”
Thanks to a generous $100,000 gift in 2022 from Leacross Foundation, four TMU undergraduate women gained valuable research experience though the Women in
Summer Internship Program at iBEST (Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology). The young beneficiaries participated in developing clinical applications for knowledge they’d previously only studied in class.
For years, Leacross Foundation has helped women across the country build economic independence. Its wide-ranging philanthropy creates exciting and impactful opportunities in education, healthcare, arts and the environment.
“We focus on funding programs that enable women to use their minds in underrepresented and better-paying fields,” says Roslyn Bern, President of Leacross Foundation. “Too many women in STEM at the end of their first degree believe they’re still not good enough to work. We help them put experience on their resumes and gain confidence to succeed. It’s all about support that allows women to trust their talents.”
After touring the research facilities at St. Michael’s Hospital and enjoying lunch with the summer interns, Ms. Bern commented: “Those four women are amazing. They were being mentored by top researchers, and were excited to be part of the process. Everyone at the institute was so proud of their assignments.”
One of the faculty’s long-standing supporters recently made a generous contribution to advance scientific discovery at TMU. YYZ Pharmatech, a Canadian life sciences technology company, has provided $250,000 toward the invention of ultrasensitive tools that enable scientists to reveal biology more profoundly than ever before.
Since 2004, YYZ Pharmatech has partnered with TMU analytical biochemist Dr. John G. Marshall to develop techniques that support next-generation diagnostic and pharmaceutical medicine. Over the years, they’ve quietly pushed the frontier of protein discovery and measurement from blood.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, their greatest achievement, ELiMSA™, came to the fore. The industry leading Enzyme Linked Mass Spectrometric Assay is so sensitive that it can detect biomolecules down to a single molecule.
“Everyone thought ELiMSA is way too sensitive,” says Dr. Marshall. “But when COVID-19 tests began producing so many false negatives, people realized that existing technology is just not sensitive enough. ELiMSA now made possible the early and accurate detection of SARS-COV-2 virus RNA, proteins or antibodies from very low volumes of blood. The technique may be applied to other diseases, providing healthcare services with a relatively inexpensive, accurate testing method for future diagnostics.”
Dr. Marshall’s lab is now looking to explore one of the most crucially important areas of biomedical research: blood
and their receptors on the surface of cells. To that end, YYZ Pharmatech’s recent gift makes possible the purchase of a laser scanning confocal microscope, for use in combination with the lab’s work in protein
Mike Badeau, COO of YYZ Pharmatech, looks ahead at both near and far-reaching benefits: “This truly powerful and impressive instrument will contribute to impactful research. One of the lab’s most important legacies is its people, and this new equipment will help young scientists gain leading-edge skills — such as quantifying the effects of drugs and mutants on cell receptor function in real time — and train them to answer scientific questions that have eluded previous approaches.”