Professors recognized for distinguished work

The designation distinguished professor has been conferred on four individuals at the U of S, recognition of their achievements in research, scholarly and artistic work.

By Colleen MacPherson

Three professor emeriti – Dr. Ali Rajput in the Department of Medicine, Che Kan Leong in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, and Roy Billinton in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering – along with Hank Classen in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science join 10 others who have received the designation since the Distinguished Professorship program was established in 2010.

Rajput is a world-renowned expert on movement disorders. He has undertaken critical investigations in the causes of Parkinson's disease and is part of an international research team that recently discovered a gene mutation that can lead to Parkinson's. At the U of S, Rajput established one of the world's largest banks of autopsied brains from Parkinson's patients, which draws scientists from all over the world to his laboratory for research and collaboration.

Leong is a leading expert on the science of reading and development dyslexia. His work has broadened the understanding of the cognitive processes involved in reading and learning to read. In recent years, he has become one of the first researchers to study the processes involved in reading Chinese and to examine the similarities and differences between reading different languages and scripts.

Classen's contributions to poultry welfare, nutrition and management have had a significant effect on the industry with regards to improving animal health and introducing cost-saving measures. He investigated the processes involved in nutrient absorption and is a world authority on lighting regimens, demonstrating that lighting influences the feeding behaviour and health of poultry. Classen has also demonstrated that poultry transport conditions have a serious effect on the welfare, mortality and meat quality.

Billinton is an internationally recognized leader in power system reliability, economics and performance. He developed a wide range of techniques to evaluate the reliability of power systems and has made significant contributions to the development and application of techniques to measure past performance and predict power system reliability. Billinton is co-founder of the Power System Research Group at the U of S, which has become known internationally for pioneering research in the field.

"The contributions of these four scholars are outstanding," said Jim Germida, vice-provost of faculty relations. "Researchers of this calibre advance the U of S as a world-class institution."