Eleven researchers awarded Canada Research Chair grants
Oct. 12, 2012
The University of Calgary’s goal of becoming one of Canada’s top five research universities took another stride forward with the announcement of $8.2 million in new research funding through the Canada Research Chair Program on Friday, October 12.
Eleven faculty members have been awarded the prestigious grants, including six researchers who will receive multi-year funding from the program for the first time and five who will have their funding renewed.
“Our government’s top priority is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance) who announced the University of Calgary recipients while in Calgary on Friday. “By investing in talented people through programs such the Canada Research Chairs, our government is supporting cutting-edge research in Canadian post-secondary institutions. This fosters innovation by helping researchers bring their ideas to the marketplace, where they can touch the lives of Canadians.”
Friday’s announcement was part of the Federal Government’s $121.6 million commitment to fund 155 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 42 Canadian universities.
“The Canada Research Chair program promotes the University of Calgary’s Eyes High strategy by allowing the university to recruit some of the world’s brightest researchers and have them pursue their innovative work while adding to the diversity of minds on campus,” said Ed McCauley, University of Calgary’s vice-president (research).
The University of Calgary is committed to becoming one of Canada’s top five research institutions by 2016 in its Eyes High strategy. This Canada Research Chair funding is part of ongoing campus-wide efforts to sharpen the focus on research and scholarship, to enrich the quality and breadth of learning, and to fully integrate the university with the community.
Receiving a Canada Research Chair has allowed University of Calgary alumnus Chris Cully (BSc’99, MSc’01) to return to Calgary as an assistant professor and continue his research into radiation belts surrounding the Earth from his hometown.
“Being named a Canada Research Chair brought me back to Canada from abroad," said Cully, who will use the $500,000 research funding to explore highly energized particles trapped in the Earth's magnetic field that form radiation belts around the planet. "The opportunity to join the University of Calgary in a capacity where I can immediately perform cutting edge research is fantastic," he said.
Established in 2000, the Canada Research Chairs Program invests $300 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most promising minds.
Chair holders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. They improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching and the coordination of other researchers’ work.
BACKGROUNDER – CANADA RESEARCH CHAIRS
New Canada Research Chairs at the University of Calgary
Christophe Altier – Faculty of Medicine ($500,000 over five years)
Christophe Altier is an assistant professor in the physiology & pharmacology department and member of the University of Calgary’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. His principal research focuses is in life sciences related to human health and disease, and his research will help improve understanding of the mechanism of persistent chronic pain.
Chris Cully – Faculty of Science ($500,000 over five years)
Assistant Professor Chris Cully’s work examining radiation belts circling the Earth could have a significant impact on future space missions. By researching a ring of highly energized particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, Cully will have a better understanding of how intense radiation is generated in space. This research could lay the foundation for building satellites and space equipment better able to operate within the radiation belts.
Joe Harrison – Faculty of Science ($500,000 over five years)
Joe Harrison’s work on biofilms – slime-covered communities of microbes that stick to each other and to surfaces – is aimed at helping the over 70,000 people worldwide with cystic fibrosis (CF). Harrison is researching a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pervasive hospital pathogen that builds biofilms in the airways of CF patients and complicates their treatment. Harrison’s research will provide a deeper understanding of chronic infectious diseases, like CF respiratory infections, and the factors that contribute to their resistance to antibiotics.
Matthew Hill – Faculty of Medicine ($500,000 over five years)
Matthew Hill is an assistant professor in the department of cell biology and anatomy and the Department of Psychiatry, and a full member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Hill holds a Canada Research Chair in the Neurobiology of Stress. His research focuses on the endocannabinoid system in stress, studied at the molecular level, with translational interests that extend to the role of endocannabinoids in mood and anxiety disorders.
Mathilakath Vijayan – Faculty of Science ($1.4 million over seven years)
Mathilakath Vijayan is a professor of Environmental Physiology and Toxicology tracking the effect of chemicals that are released from treated municipal wastewater effluents on early development, growth and reproductive performance in fish. His research will address the generational impacts on fish performance due to effluent exposure.
Philipp Woelfel – Faculty of Science ($500,000 over five years)
Philipp Woelfel is an associate professor of Computer Science developing building blocks to make better use of the multiple computer processors found in everything from supercomputers to cell phones. Results of his work can be used to implement more robust and efficient software in future.
Canada Research Chair Renewals
Kris Chadee – Faculty of Medicine ($1.4 million over seven years)
Kris Chadee is a professor in the microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases department, and member of the University of Calgary’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. His research focuses on the major gut parasite Entamoeba histolytica.
Fadel Ghannouchi – Schulich School of Engineering ($1.4 million over seven years)
Professor Fadhel Ghannouchi is a founding director of the Intelligent RF Radio Laboratory. He is developing the next generation of broadband “green” radio systems. In order to cope with demand for higher capacity, wireless infrastructure providers and operators have been searching for new approaches to reduce energy consumption of future base stations and wireless networks. This research will help accommodate increasing demand and reduce the environmental footprint of the industry by reducing power consumption.
Josephine Hill – Schulich School of Engineering ($500,000 over five years)
Josephine Hill is a chemical engineer who specializes in developing clean and efficient energy sources. Her research has led to significant breakthroughs in the areas of fuel cells, hydrotreating and gasification, which is a thermal process that converts solid materials into gaseous fuels. Her research focuses on catalysts, which are substances that affect the rate or direction of chemical reactions and are used in over 85 per cent of all industrial processes.
Shawn Marshall – Faculty of Arts ($500,000 over five years)
Researching glacial dynamics, glacier response to climate change, and global sea level rise, geography professor Shawn Marshall has emerged as a leader in his field. With his Canada Research Chair renewed, Marshall will map out the future of the planet’s glaciers and ice sheets.
Janaka Ruwanpura – Schulich School of Engineering ($500,000 over five years)
Professor Janaka Ruwanpura is the Director of the Centre for Project Management Excellence. He develops tools and best practices for improving productivity in the construction industry to help avoid project delays and cost overruns. Ruwanpura is the developer of the i-Booth, a wireless, mobile kiosk with a touch screen that provides instant access to information needed on job sites, including building plans, staff schedules and weather forecasts. The i-Booth has been tested extensively by industry and the second-generation i-Booth was unveiled earlier this year.