The University of British Columbia has received $11.6 million for 16 new and renewed federally funded Canada Research Chairs.
With 13 new appointments, and three renewals, UBC now has 186 Canada Research Chairs, the second-highest number in the country. Newly appointed researchers are helping improve stress-tolerant crops, solar electricity and tuberculosis treatments, and making big discoveries about the origins of planets and of life on Earth.
“The CRC program provides a major boost to UBC research, and helps our school attract and retain the best and brightest minds from across the globe,” said John Hepburn, vice president Research and International. “Our professors are making important discoveries that are invaluable to academia and to the world at large, so we’re very grateful for the program’s support.”
Nationally there are 137 new and renewed chairholders in 37 postsecondary institutions, receiving $118,000,000 of new funding.
“Our government is committed to science, technology and innovation to improve our quality of life and create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians,” said Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), who made the announcement in Toronto on October 16. “Our government’s Canada Research Chairs Program develops, attracts and retains top researcher talent in Canada whose research, in turn, creates long-term social and economic benefits while training the next generation of students and researchers in Canada.”
UBC’s newly appointed CRCs are:
Curtis Berlinguette, Canada Research Chair in Solar Energy Conversion, Faculty of Science
Berlinguette leads a research team working on solar energy conversion that is designing new materials to convert sunlight into electricity, and finding economically viable ways to store the energy in clean hydrogen fuels.
Aaron Boley, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy, Faculty of Science
Boley is looking into how planets are formed, taking advantage of knowledge gleaned from recent discoveries of thousands of planets and possible planets outside of our solar system.
Sabin Cautis, Canada Research Chair in Mathematics, Faculty of Science
Cautis is a leading mathematician focusing on algebraic geometry, geometric representation theory, knot invariants, categorification and combinatorics.
Sean Crowe, Canada Research Chair in Geomicrobiology, Faculty of Science
Crowe is a geochemist investigating the early origins of life on Earth, and how early evolution interacted with the planet’s surface chemistry.
Lindsay Eltis, Canada Research Chair in Microbial Catabolism and Biocatalysis, Faculty of Science
Eltis’ research is deepening our understanding of how enzymes work and how certain pathogens survive in their hosts, and contributes to the development of new therapeutics for tuberculosis, and also helps advance green chemistry.
JoAndrea Hoegg, Canada Research Chair in Consumer Behaviour, Sauder School of Business
Hoegg is a marketing researcher investigating consumers’ responses to product design and marketing techniques such as vanity sizing, and relationships between customers and brands.
Michael Kobor, Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, Faculty of Medicine
Kobor’s lab focuses on epigenetics, the relationship between our genes and our environment. His team is working on collaborative research into factors leading to fetal alcohol syndrome, asthma and COPD, as well as the effects of socio-economic status on gene expression.
Jonathon Leipsic, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Cardiopulmonary Imaging, Faculty of Medicine
Leipsic is a radiologist researching cardiovascular imaging such as CT scans and MRIs, and has been internationally recognized for changing the pattern of imaging practice.
Abel Rosado, Canada Research Chair in Plant Physiology and Cellular Dynamics, Faculty of Science
Rosado’s research into how plants respond to stresses – particularly focusing on plasma membrane repair – has important implications for mitigating losses of crop yields in agriculture by helping to develop stress-tolerant crops.
Kate Shannon, Canada Research Chair in Global Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS, Faculty of Medicine
Shannon leads research on the social determinants of sexual health and HIV/AIDS, and access to care among marginalized populations, particularly youth, sex workers, and women at-risk and living with HIV.
Matthijs Smit, Canada Research Chair in Applied Geochemistry of Earth’s Lithosphere, Faculty of Science
Smit researches the geochemistry and tectonics of the interface regions of the Earth’s crust and mantle, such as subduction zones.
Laura Wegener Parfrey, Canada Research Chair in Protist Ecology, Faculty of Science
Wegener Parfrey’s lab is advancing the understanding of the ecology and evolution of microbial eukaryotes such as amoebae. Part of her research involves determining how Western lifestyles have influenced the microbes living in our bodies.
Jiaying Zhao, Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sustainability, Faculty of Arts, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Zhao investigates how scarcity – of time or money, for example – impairs cognition, and how to reduce the cognitive burden of scarcity. She is also seeking ways to encourage pro-environmental behaviour with her research into perceptions of consumption.
Three professors have had their CRC appointments renewed:
Robert Hancock, Canada Research Chair in New Anti-infective Strategies, Faculty of Science, Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research
Hancock and his team are trying to come up with alternative drugs and methods to fight the life-threatening superbugs that exhibit antibiotic resistance.
Frank Ko, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Fibrous Materials, Faculty of Applied Science
Ko’s research into nanofibre technology, mainly focused on complex fibre architecture, design, and manufacturing, is helping advance biotechnology, neuroscience, microelectronics, and nanoscience research.
Stefan Taubert, Canada Research Chair in Transcriptional Regulatory Networks, Faculty of Medicine
Taubert researches worm genetics and molecular biology to better understand human DNA transcription, while offering insight into metabolic conditions such as obesity and diabetes, as well as drug efficiency.
For a full list of the research chairs and their funding amounts, click here.