News Release

New Canada research chairs foster outstanding research at uOttawa

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Ottawa

uOttawa researchers who received a Canada Research Chairs

image: From left to right, top row: Katalin Toth, Azzedine Boukerche, Michael Geist, Shawn Beug, Jennifer Brunet. Second row: Pierrot Ross-Tremblay, Melanie J. Sekeres, Marceline Côté, Benoît Lessard, Adam Shuhendler. view more 

Credit: University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa has earned a total of 10 Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) covering a broad scope of subjects, from the exploration of disruptive impacts of stress on higher brain functions to the need to preserve Indigenous traditional cultural memories, and emerging computing technologies that pave the way to smart cities.

A total of three Tier 1 CRCs, including two renewals, and seven Tier 2 CRCs, including three renewals, have been awarded to outstanding researchers from the faculties of Arts, Engineering, Health Sciences, Medicine, Science and Social Sciences, who are developing innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to advance their research.

"I am thrilled by the University's results in this most recent competition of the Canada Research Chairs Program. Their funding will support a remarkable cohort of chairholders, as they work on solutions to address pressing scientific and societal issues," said Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. "With the recent launch of our Institutional Knowledge Mobilization Strategy, our chairholders' research will play a major role in reaching our objective to better understand and improve the world around us."

The Canada Research Chairs Program aims to attract, support and retain world-class researchers in post-secondary institutions across the country. In partnership with the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation is also providing funding for research infrastructure through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund to professors Shawn Beug and Katalin Toth.

The new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair is:

Katalin Toth (Faculty of Medicine) -- Canada Research Chair in Neuronal Signalling

Dr. Katalin Toth is an expert on cellular mechanisms essential to memory, learning and spatial navigation. Her research program aims to identify the processes by which neurons create, store and retrieve new memories in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a major role in memory formation. Her studies focus on synaptic interactions between neurons that define information flow in neuronal networks. Understanding these complex processes is essential for developing therapeutic strategies for neurological diseases affecting memory formation.

The renewed Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are held by:

Azzedine Boukerche (Faculty Engineering) -- Canada Research Chair in Large-Scale Distributed Simulation Systems and Vehicular Networking

Professor Azzedine Boukerche is at the forefront of an emerging 5G mobile edge/fog computing and vehicular data analytics technology, a new connected vehicle architecture that elevates the computation, communication and storage burden from the cloud to the edge/fog of the network. His research program aims to advance the development of efficient, scalable, sustainable and meaningful complex distributed and mobile systems, such as autonomous vehicular networks intelligent transportation systems, smart disaster management systems and smart city digital twins.

Michael Geist (Faculty of Law, Common Law Section) -- Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law

A worldwide expert on technology law and policy, Professor Michael Geist addresses pressing policy issues on intellectual property, privacy, e-commerce, and the liability of Internet platforms regarding the conduct of their users. Through theoretical and legal analysis, his research program contributes to developing Canadian-specific policy reforms that seek to strike a balance between safeguarding freedom of expression and addressing risks that can arise from disinformation, privacy breaches and online harms.

The new Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are:

Shawn Beug (Faculty of Medicine and CHEO Research Institute) -- Canada Research Chair in Apoptosis in Cancer and Immunity

Through state-of-the-art molecular and genetic approaches, Professor Shawn Beug's research aims to identify factors required for cell signalling, communication and survival in both cancer and immune cells. The insights gained on factors regulating cancer and immunity will contribute to the development of new immune-based therapies for cancer treatment.

Jennifer Brunet (Faculty of Health Sciences) -- Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity Promotion and Cancer Prevention

A professor of human kinetics, Jennifer Brunet is a leader in the development, implementation and evaluation of tailored interventions promoting physical activity intervention among cancer survivors. Building on a multidisciplinary research approach, Brunet aims to integrate biological, physical, psychological and social perspectives in support of interventions that contribute to mitigating adverse treatment effects and help improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.

Pierrot Ross-Tremblay (Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies, Faculty of Arts) -- Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Intellectual Traditions and Self-Determination

Professor Pierrot Ross-Tremblay (Innu Essipit) researches how to preserve and make accessible the richness of Indigenous stories, testimonies and interpretations, and especially those of Elders. His research supports First Peoples' self-determination in research so that they can independently restore their cultural memories and gain control of their historical narratives to better access the legal and intellectual traditions that these memories convey.

Melanie J. Sekeres (Faculty of Social Sciences) -- Canada Research Chair in Contribution of Neurocognitive Functioning to Brain Health

A professor of psychology, Melanie J. Sekeres will investigate the neural mechanisms underlying chemotherapy-induced cognitive and behavioural disruptions such as memory impairment, anxiety and depression, which are commonly reported in breast cancer patients. Her research program will explore the correlation between lifestyle factors, such as chronic stress and exercise, and the development of cognitive impairment, thus helping to target intervention aimed at promoting recovery from chemotherapy.

The renewed Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are held by:

Marceline Côté (Faculty of Medicine) -- Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Antiviral Therapeutics

Professor Marceline Côté; will pursue her investigation of entry pathways of emerging viruses, such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever (LFV), that can spill over from animal species to humans and cause high fatality rate outbreaks. She will expand her studies of host factors essential for LFV infection, as well as of the development of novel pan-antiviral therapies against these emerging viruses.

Benoît Lessard (Faculty of Engineering) -- Canada Research Chair in Advanced Polymer Materials and Organic Electronics

Professor Benoît Lessard's research program explores the use of novel carbon-based semi-conductor and polymeric dielectric materials, in organic electronic prototype devices. He aims at developing inexpensive materials and manufacturing processes for application such as highly specific point-of-source cannabinoid sensors and bendable solar cells.

Adam Shuhendler (Faculty of Science) -- Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology

Through the development of cutting-edge biomedical imaging technologies, Professor Adam Shuhendler seeks to expand diagnostic imaging capabilities in live subjects, and to better understand biomolecular activities deep in the body. His research will shed light on how biomolecules affect injuries such as concussions, and how they come into play in therapeutic treatments, by creating drug resistance in certain type of cancer treatments.


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