Newest CRCs Part of National Milestone

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

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