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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 11 | Nov. 6, 2003

Newest CRCs Part of National Milestone

By Hilary Thomson

An expert in natural disasters, a wine yeast researcher and a specialist in consumer behaviour are among UBC’s six new Canada Research Chairs.

Designed to build Canada’s research capacity, the program of federally funded research positions is now halfway to its goal of establishing 2,000 Chairs at universities across the country by 2005. The federal government has invested $900 million to support the program.

“We are delighted to mark this milestone by adding to our growing body of outstanding recruits,” says Barry McBride, UBC vice-president, Academic and Provost. “To gain these individuals when top universities around the world are competing for them is a testament to the academic research environment in this country and this university.”

The UBC chairs are among 118 such positions at 37 universities -- representing an investment of $102.2 million -- that have been distributed across Canada to universities, their affiliated research institutes and hospitals. UBC has now designated 83 Chairs of the 155 allocated to the university.

Kathleen Vohs, who comes to UBC from the University of Utah, is the Canada Research Chair in Market Research and Consumer Science. She will investigate the psychological basis for consumer behaviour. She will focus on personality traits, self-image and situational factors that determine spending patterns and attitudes about material goods.

Stephanie Chang, from the University of Washington, is an expert in natural disasters. As Canada Research Chair in Urban Sustainability and Disaster Management, she will study and develop disaster mitigation programs that have environmental, social and economic goals. Her work in looking beyond dollar losses to planning for disaster-resilient cities will help guide more effective public spending on disaster preparedness.

Vivien Measday is the Canada Research Chair in Enology/Yeast Genomics. Part of her research involves identifying genes in yeast that are most important for wine fermentation, key information for the B.C. wine industry. In addition, her studies of chromosome segregation in wine yeast will provide insight into diseases -- such as cancer and Down syndrome -- whose hallmark is abnormal chromosome numbers.

Other chair appointments are:

Geoffrey Wasteneys is from the Australian National University. As Canada Research Chair in Plant Cell Biology, he will study how to improve plant cell walls, information that will help the forestry industry to improve fibre properties. He will also develop methods for hybrid seed production in crop species.

Dominik Schötzau, Canada Research Chair in Numerical Analysis of Multiphysics Problems, is from the University of Basel in Switzerland. He is a mathematician who is developing new computational tools for mechanical engineering and science.

Jeremy Heyl, from Harvard University, is the Canada Research Chair in Origins. He is a physicist who studies the early universe and is an expert in neutron stars and black holes.

For more information on Canada Research Chairs, visit www.chairs.gc.ca.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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