Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Awards celebrate excellence

Photo of Dr. Liao

From right, Dr. Baoqiang Liao, recipient of the NSERC Distinguished Researcher Award, with Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Vice-President (Research and Innovation). 


Photo of Dr. Serenko.

From left, Dr. Alexander Serenko was presented with the SSHRC Distinguished Researcher Award certificate by David Tamblyn, Vice-Chair of Lakehead's Board of Governors, and Dr. Connie Russell, Vice-Chair of the Senate Research Committee Awards

March 10, 2016 – Thunder Bay, ON


Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Awards of Excellence Reception was held on Thursday, March 10 to celebrate the dedication and achievements of researchers and students.

Dr. Baoqiang Liao from Chemical Engineering received the NSERC Distinguished Researcher Award and Dr. Alexander Serenko from the Faculty of Business received the SSHRC Distinguished Researcher Award.

The Distinguished Researcher Award is the highest honour conferred by Lakehead for research and scholarly activity. 

“It is a great honor to receive this prestigious award. To reach this stage in my career, I have had a lot of support from Lakehead University, outside of Lakehead and from the industry partners and funding agencies that supported me,” said Dr. Liao, a professor in Chemical Engineering.

“Thanks to the University and the Senate Research Committee for giving me this great award,” he said.

Dr. Liao started at Lakehead in 2002 after working for more than two years as a researcher at Zenon Environmental Inc. (now called GE Water and Process Technology.

It was at Zenon that Dr. Liao defined his research direction in membrane filtration and its application in environmental engineering.

Since joining Lakehead University, Dr. Liao has developed an active research program in membrane separations and their applications in water and wastewater treatment, which attracted more than $1.6 million in external funds to support his research and to train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Dr. Liao has published approximately 50 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters during his time at Lakehead University. 

Dr. Serenko is an associate professor of Management Information Systems in the Faculty of Business Administration.

“Receiving this award would not have been possible without the contribution of my research colleagues, continuous support provided by my Dean, Dr. Bahram Dadgostar, and the encouragement of my family,” Dr. Serenko said.

“Most importantly, I am very grateful to Dr. Brian Detlor who formed the foundation of my research expertise during my doctoral studies at McMaster University,” he said.

His research focuses on scientometrics, knowledge management, and technology addiction. He has published 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and many book chapters and conference papers, and won six best paper awards at Canadian and international conferences.

Dr. Serenko received Lakehead University’s Contribution to Research Award in 2007.

Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President (Research and Innovation), said he is proud of the University’s researchers and students.

“Congratulations to all Lakehead University researchers and students on your success and thank you for everything you do,” Dr. Dean said. “Research and innovation at Lakehead is more impressive every day and it’s because of your contributions.”


Award recipients

High Output and Publication Excellence (HOPE) Awards

  • Bal Ram Adhikari, PhD Biotechnology Program
  • Anastasiia Mishchenko, PhD Chemistry and Materials
  • Melissa Oskineegish, PhD Educational Studies

Postdoctoral Fellows Poster Awards


Category 1: Impact on Health

  • First: Brenda Magajna, Department of Biology
  • Second: Francis Hane, Department of Chemistry
  • Third: Zhonggang Liu, Department of Chemistry

Category 2: Impact on Resource Sustainability/The Environment

  • First: Sapanbir Thind, Department of Chemistry
  • Second: Yiqian Zhang, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Third: Weijue Gao, Department of Chemical Engineering

Building Research Capacity Award

  • Dr. Scott Pound, Department of English


Student Innovation Award

  • Xin Chang, Chemistry


Faculty Innovation Award

  • Vineet Johnson, Kinesiology


Canada Research Chair Award - Lakehead University’s newest Canada Research Chairs received a framed letter from the former Prime Minister.

  • Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Chemical Engineering
  • Dr. Chris Mushquash, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
  • Dr. Michael Rennie, Department of Biology
  • Dr. Matthew Tocheri, Department of Anthropology

Senate Research Committee Awards

Contributions to Research Award

  • Dr. Monica Flegel, Department of English
  • Dr. Wayne Melville, Faculty of Education

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Distinguished Researcher Award

  • Dr. Baoqiang Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Distinguished Researcher Award

  • Dr. Alexander Serenko, Faculty of Business

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Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies.

Maclean’s 2016 University Rankings place Lakehead University second in Ontario and among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities, and first among Ontario’s undergraduate universities for Total Research Dollars, Social Sciences & Humanities Grants, and Library Expenses. In 2015, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit