Rewarding curiosity: Dal’s 2023 Governor General’s Gold Medal recipients push boundaries

- June 16, 2023

Dalhousie’s Faculty of Graduate Studies presents the Governor General’s Gold Medals each year to recognize the university’s most outstanding master’s graduates.

Learn more about this year's recipients Morris Odeh and Toren Hynes and their ambitions for the future below:

Humanities and Social Sciences

Morris Odeh, Master’s of Law

Throughout his law degrees, Morris Odeh wondered about the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) machines holding patents and the role of patents in fostering innovation in the field of AI. He then came across a news report on an individual who submitted a patent application for an AI-generated invention in the United Kingdom that fuelled this interest to another level.

Morris crafted his research proposal around the idea of whether AI-generated inventions could be recognized as a valid intellectual property under the Canadian patent regime, comparing laws in the United Kingdom, Australia, and United States. Described as having exceptional skills in his capacity to conceptualize legal issues, research, and methodology, Morris explores the balance of competing interests in granting exclusive rights to AI-generated inventions and how historically marginalized segments of society can be represented in these advancements.

As you can imagine, these are complex topics and discussions fuelled by legal theories and underlying systems. Morris commends the Schulich School of Law’s range of events and activities organized for graduate students, including a weekly research hour that allows graduate students to engage with faculty members and benefit from their experience.

Morris speaks highly of his supervisor, Lucie Guibault, a professor of law and the associate director of the Law & Technology Institute.

“Working with Lucie has been a transformative experience, as it has allowed me to discover my own potential as well as the impact that law can have on shaping critical societal discourse. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Lucie, and I am confident that her mentorship will have a lasting impact on my future endeavors in the field of law.”

Under her continued supervision, Morris will begin his PhD in the fall and expand on his research to other areas of intellectual property (IP), including copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. Specifically, how recent generative AI technologies are revolutionizing concepts of authorship, ownership, and the overall management of IP.

Sciences and Engineering

Toren Hynes, Master’s of Science in Chemistry

It was a first-year chemistry class that originally sparked Toren’s interest in synthetic inorganic chemistry. After learning about the field, he sought out lab work over the summer and worked with Dr. Mark Stradiotto. He admits to knowing very little at the time but finding it enjoyable and wanting to do more research in the area. Toren continued to find the lab components of inorganic and organic chemistry his favourite courses, and later worked in the labs of Dr. Jeff Dahn and Dr. Alex Speed before joining the Chitnis Lab.

Toren is described as exceptionally productive, both in producing review literature and original research. He is a co-author on 12 publications, including two first-author publications. Toren hopes that an increased understanding of bismuth chemistry will help future scientists design more efficient molecules for bismuth-based catalysis, thereby phasing out more expensive and toxic catalysts based on metals such as platinum and palladium.

Toren is an NSEC CGS-M, Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship and Killam Predoctoral prize recipient. Toren also received the John Carstair Arnell prize, the Chemistry department’s award for best Honours thesis along with several other subject specific awards.

Toren completed his Master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Chitnis. “As a supervisor, he likes to spend a lot of time in the lab mentoring students and helping them work through any issues they may be having with their experiments. I enjoyed this aspect of him so much that I ended up doing an honours project and a Master's degree with him!”

Toren will begin his PhD this fall supervised by Dr. Mita Dasog.


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