Research at the University of British Columbia has received a $20-million boost with the appointment and renewal of 29 Canada Research Chairs (CRC) last week.
The 15 new and 14 renewed research chairs bring UBC’s total number of CRCs to 175, the second largest complement in the country. Eleven Tier One chairs will receive $1 million in funding each over seven years; 18 Tier Two chairs will receive $500,000 each over five years.
The UBC chairs were named last week in Ottawa as part of a national announcement of 310 chairs across Canada – totaling $275.6 million – in celebration of the national research program’s 10th anniversary.
In addition, the Canada Foundation for Innovation announced $13.4 million in research infrastructure investment associated with the appointment of new chairs. UBC will receive $881,000 in new CFI funds.
“For the past decade, the Canada Research Chairs program has played a instrumental role in ensuring that Canadian universities remain competitive in the recruitment and retention of the brightest minds in the world,” says John Hepburn, Vice President Research and International at UBC. “The program’s positive impact on the generation of new knowledge – and the knowledge-driven economy – cannot be overstated.”
The latest round of CRC appointments will see UBC gain strengths in areas ranging from language acquisition to neonatal neuroscience. The 15 new chairs are:
- Purang Abolmaesumi, Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, uses real-time ultrasound imaging to diagnose prostate cancer and to monitor patients during treatment. His research could lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
- The research of Jehannine Austin, Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genetics, aims to make psychiatric genetics relevant to people with mental illness and their families by developing new counseling-based treatments and biologically based treatments.
- Karen Bakker, Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology, will lead interdisciplinary research teams to study the causes of water insecurity, with an aim to develop better public policy on environmental governance and foster water security.
- As Canada Research Chair in Nanoscience, Sarah Burke studies the interaction between light and electrons in nanoscale and organic materials. Her work could lead to new technologies in organic electronics and better materials for solar energy conversion.
- An infant born three months early could face up to 300 life-saving but painful procedures while being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit. As Canada Research Chair in Neonatal Health and Development, Liisa Holsti is finding the most effective ways to assess, minimize and prevent pain and stress for these vulnerable infants.
- Using survey and archival data to study public opinion and elections in Canada and abroad, Richard Johnston, Canada Research Chair in Public Opinion, Elections, and Representation, will shed light on the intricate interaction between electoral institutions and voters’ behaviour.
- As Canada Research Chair in Language Acquisition, Carla Hudson Kam will be studying the mechanisms involved in language learning and answer the age-old question: why are children better at learning languages than adults?
- Yvonne Lamers, Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism, will study the role of B-vitamins in human nutrition with an aim to providing a scientific basis for dietary guidelines that will prevent diseases and improve quality of life.
- As Canada Research Chair in Genome Science, Marco Marra will use genomic science to identify mutations and other molecular drivers of cancer initiation, cancer progression, and resistance to cancer treatments. His work with cancer can also be translated to tackle a diversity of other biological problems and diseases.
- Using advanced imaging technology and bedside brain monitoring, Steven Miller, Canada Research Chair in Neonatal Neuroscience, is studying brain development and brain injury in the newborn with an aim to developing better diagnostic and therapeutic tools for newborns at high risk of brain injury.
- One-fifth of Canada’s population resides in rural areas where access to healthcare services is limited. As Canada Research Chair in Health, Ethics and Diversity, Barbara Pesut’s research aims to improve end-of-life healthcare for people who are at risk for health disparities due to geographic, cultural, or social differences.
- Srikantha Phani, Canada Research Chair in Dynamics of Lattice Material and Devices, will study the mechanical behaviour of new lattice materials. His work will lead to the development of new lightweight structural materials and high frequency mechanical filters to process signals in communication devices.
- As Canada Research Chair in Environmental Law and Sustainability, Benjamin Richardson will study the growing impact of the financial sector on economic development and environmental well-being and help develop new policy tools to promote socially responsible investment.
- By better understanding antibiotic resistance of superbugs on the molecular level, the work of Natalie Strynadka, Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic Discovery and Medicine, will lead to the development of new therapeutic tools to fight these notorious bacterial infections.
- As Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis, Helen Tremlett will investigate the possible underlying factors driving the disease’s progression – from genes to the environment – and whether it is affected by current MS drugs. The research will ultimately lead to an individualized approach to the treatment of MS.
For more information on the Canada Research Chair program and the new chairs, visit http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/.