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Emma BlanchetteEmma Blanchette, a grad student in physics, won the Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science.

UWindsor physics research hailed as Best Student Paper at international conference

UWindsor physics MSc student Emma Blanchette (BSc 2021) won the Best Student Paper Award at the 48th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, held virtually Sept. 12 to 16.

Blanchette’s talk, entitled “Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for Rapid Pathogen Diagnosis,” was chosen from among all student submissions for a special live virtual competition session with 11 others from all over the world.

Her paper and presentation were selected as one of two winners in this group of finalists, earning her the award, which comes with a certificate and a $500 USD cash prize. She was also recognized publicly at a special award presentation ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

“I am investigating a laser-based technique to detect and diagnose bacterial infections, potentially in minutes,” says Blanchette.

“Because this technique is so fast, it has a lot of potential for improving patient outcomes, reducing death rates, and stopping the antibiotic resistance crisis. Our advancements in this field could make laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy a very important medical diagnostic tool in the future.”

Blanchette, who also recently took second place in the Best Student Poster Presentation competition at the Canadian Association of Physicists annual congress, works in the lab of professor Steven Rehse, and is a former recipient of the 2020 Lucjan Krause Scholarship in the Department of Physics.