Two exemplary Arts & Science researchers awarded 2023 Dorothy Shoichet Women Faculty in Science Award of Excellence

November 24, 2023 by Chris Sasaki - A&S News

Two early-career researchers from the Faculty of Arts & Science are recipients of the Dorothy Shoichet Women Faculty in Science Award of Excellence.

Ting Li is an assistant professor, observational astrophysicist and instrumentation astronomer in the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Her research goal is to better understand the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy and galaxies in the nearby universe. She is a world leader in the growth area of ‘galactic archaeology’ — a breakthrough approach to understanding how our galaxy formed and how it evolved, using vast datasets of millions of stellar spectra, from which the chemical composition of stars can be inferred.

“I am profoundly honoured to have been selected as the recipient of the Dorothy Shoichet Award, and I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to my department for nominating me,” says Li. “I am also deeply grateful to Molly Shoichet for establishing an award that supports junior women faculty, especially as I embark on establishing an optical instrumentation lab in my department and take on the role of chairing a large international collaboration. The teaching release granted by the Dorothy Shoichet Award will undoubtedly serve as a pivotal factor in accelerating my career trajectory and furthering my professional development.”

Corliss Sio is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences whose research lies at the intersection of isotope geochemistry, experimental petrology and numerical modeling — and includes research into the geochemistry of asteroids and the moon. As lead principal investigator and a co-investigator, she was instrumental in winning a major Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant for the GEMINAE lab (Geochemistry of Elements and Metal Isotopes in Nature and Experiments) which promises to put U of T at the leading edge of isotope geochemistry.

“I am incredibly honoured to receive this award and am grateful for Professor Shoichet’s generosity and my department’s support,” says Sio. “This award could not be better timed, coming while I am in the thick of building a laboratory that will be the first of its kind in Canada. It will allow me to invest the time needed to get this facility running smoothly, and ensure my students get the training they need to put the lab to work for their research.”

The Dorothy Shoichet Women Faculty Science Award of Excellence was established in 2016 by University Professor Molly Shoichet in honour of her mother who passed away in 2020. The award was created to help early-career female researchers focus on their research and is awarded in any of the physical or life sciences, computer sciences or mathematics within the Faculty.

“These colleagues' productivity and the international impact of their cutting-edge research are remarkable,” says Tamara Trojanowska, vice dean, faculty & academic life. I look forward to seeing their future accomplishments.”

According to Vince Tropepe, vice dean, research & infrastructure, of Li and Sio, “The extent of the impact of their research in their respective fields at this stage of their careers is truly impressive. I am happy to add my congratulations to these two deserving scientists.”

“Ting Li is an outstanding young astrophysicist doing breakthrough research in one of the hottest areas of astrophysics,” says Roberto Abraham, chair of the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. “Galactic archaeology is revolutionizing astrophysics and she is at the forefront of this activity. She is an awesome colleague we are all hugely proud of. Ting is totally deserving of this award!”

“Professor Sio is a highly regarded early-career geochemist with an already established international reputation,” says Sarah Finkelstein, chair of the Department of Earth Sciences. “This tireless leader and advocate for the new GEMINAE lab — a cutting-edge, CFI-funded research facility — has done truly exemplary work toward its establishment. Professor Sio is an exceptional scientist who is highly deserving of the recognition the Shoichet award brings.”