Research across all disciplines at the University of British Columbia received a $12 million boost in federal funding with more than a dozen professors newly appointed or renewed as Canada Research Chairs.
The UBC chairs are among 135 at 41 postsecondary institutions announced this week, valued at a total of nearly $109 million. The chairs – 10 new, three renewals and two advancements – represent the largest share of the latest round of CRC appointments. Overall, UBC holds the second largest complement of CRC allocations – 186 – at any Canadian university.
“The Canada Research Chairs program has helped UBC and other Canadian universities recruit and retain bright minds in all disciplines from around the world,” said John Hepburn, vice president Research and International at UBC. “We have already seen the scientific and economic impact of their discoveries and this continued support is vital for our future .”
“Our government remains committed to attracting and retaining the world’s best researchers, creating jobs and strengthening our economy,” said Greg Rickford, minister of state (science and technology). “Through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, we are supporting cutting-edge research at Canadian universities and fostering innovation by helping researchers bring their ideas to the marketplace, to benefit Canadians and improve our quality of life.”
Seven UBC researchers also received over a half a million dollars in additional funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which provides state-of-the-art equipment and other support for research infrastructure.
Newly appointed CRCs at UBC are:
Russ Algar, Chair in Biochemical Sensing, Faculty of Science
Prof Algar’s research involves developing nanoparticles as analytical tools, particularly for the optical detection of biological molecules. His research will lead to new methods of diagnosing disease and elucidating how cells function.
Edouard Asselin, Chair in Aqueos Processing of Metals, Faculty of Applied Science
Prof Asselin’s research involves using aqueous systems to extract and process metals. His research will lead to the development of new and more efficient metal extraction and metal coating technologies.
Jason Barton, Chair in Human Vision and Eye Movement, Faculty of Medicine
Prof. Barton is interesting in studying high-level visual processing and the cognitive control of eye movements. His research will increase our understanding of the functional and anatomical basis of perceptual dysfunction in neurological disorders and the impact of visual rehabilitation.
Christiane Hoppmann, Chair in Adult and Development and Health, Faculty of Arts
Prof Hoppman conducts cutting-edge research that targets key psychological factors regarding social resources and motivational processes that explain why some older adults age relatively well whereas other encounter many health problems. Her ultimate aim is to develop novel interventions that capitalize on older adults’ strengths and resources to foster healthy aging.
Linda Li, Chair in Patient-oriented Knowledge Translation, Faculty of Medicine
Prof Li’s research will look at how people make treatment decisions and manage their health and how they communicate with health professionals. She plans to use this information to develop user-friendly digital media tools to help people with chronic disease manage their health.
Alison Lister, Chair in Particle Physics, Faculty of Science
Prof Lister explores the fundamental building blocks of nature to search for signs of new particles of forces. Dr. Lister works on one of the largest international scientific collaborations: The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Her fundamental research will help us understand the nature of fundamental forces and particles.
Ryozo Nagamune, Chair in Control Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Dr. Nagamune’s research aims at contributing to the cost reduction of wind power with advanced control theory, by maximizing the floating off-shore wind turbine’s energy capture and increasing the lifespan of the turbine. His research will provide engineers in wind turbine manufactures with the control technology for minimal energy cost, which will eventually increase the usage of clean and sustainable energy resources.
Galit Sarfaty, Chair in Global Economic Governance, Faculty of Law
Prof Sarfaty’s research address the critical problem of how public vales such as human rights, sustainability, and anti-corruption, are negotiated within the regulations of global economic activity. Studying these three components together will help her understand the interplay between international, national, and local norms that inform global economic governance.
Sohrab Shah, Chair in Computational Cancer Genomics, Faculty of Medicine
Prof Shah is studying breast and ovarian cancers to uncover the mutations that underpin disease progression, chemotherapeutic resistance, and metastatic spread. This research will provide important direction for new therapies and diagnostics in these diseases.
Don Sin, Chair in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Faculty of Medicine, James Hogg Research Centre
Dr. Sin is working to develop a simple blood test that can be used in a doctor’s office to predict which chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients will have a “lung attack” and which patients will not. He also is working to develop a simple blood test to diagnose lung attacks in their earliest stages (before the onset of a full blown attack). These blood tests will help doctors to treat and prevent full blown lung attacks from taking place, so patients can be treated at home and thus reduce the number of patients having to seek emergency care at hospitals.
Boris Stoeber, Chair in Microfluidics and Sensing Technology, Faculty of Applied Science
Dr. Stoeber applies new experimental methods to explain common flow phenomena such as the drying of a droplet on a surface and the deposition of ink into paper. He uses these phenomena to create new smart structures and structures for applications including biomedical devices and environmental sensing.
Juncheng Wei, Chair in Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations, Concentration Phenomena and Applications, Faculty of Science
Dr. Wei’s research aims to develop unified mathematical tools in studying concentration phenomena arising from phase transitions and mathematical biology.
Three CRC appointments have been renewed:
Nemkumar Banthia, Chair in Infrastructure, Rehabilitation and Sustainability, Applied Science
Prof Banthia has made significant contributions to civil society in Canada and globally through his research and development in safe and sustainable civil infrastructure. He has developed cement-based repair materials that are highly durable, eco-friendly and crack-resistant; and he has improved placement processes and found innovative ways to monitor the safety of aging structures. As an experimentalist he first characterizes processes and materials in the laboratory, and then implements solutions in the communities where they are needed.
Susanne Clee, Chair in Genetics of Obesity and Diabetes, Faculty of Medicine
We are currently facing epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Once thought to be adult diseases, these are now being seen in children. Inherited (genetic) factors strongly affect the risk of an individual developing these diseases, but we do not yet know what most of these genes are. This research program seeks to identify these genetic factors. By determining what these genes are, we can understand how they affect the development of obesity or diabetes. This will help us uncover new means of treating these diseases to improve human health and lessen their impact on the health care system.
Dinesh Pai, Chair in Sensorimotor Computation, Faculty of Science
Dr Pai’s long term goal is to create useful computational models of how humans move and physically interact with their environment. By modeling the underlying sensorimotor system itself, as a biological machine, we could achieve good generalization and gain fundamental insights into biological principles. The proposed work will provide key enabling technologies for applications in computer animation, robotics, and human health
For a full list of the research chairs and their funding amounts, click here
For a full list of the CFI recipients and their funding amounts, click here