Four York Canada Research Chairs renewed

The federal government has renewed four Canada Research Chairs (CRC) held by York University Professors Colin Coates, Sergey Krylov, Janine Marchessault and Jim Whiteway, whose research projects range from health and digital media to Canadian cultural history and atmospheric science.

As Tier 2 CRCs, each professor will receive $500,000 over five years, for a total of $2 million awarded to York. The renewal is part of a package of CRC appointments announced on Sept. 30.

In all, the government has invested $116 million to fund the appointment of 123 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 38 Canadian universities, including $4.47 million in infrastructure funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation essential to the projects being conducted by 25 of the chairs.

"These CRC renewals recognize the excellence of York’s research in science, social science and the humanities," said Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation at York. "Federal research investments are crucial to attracting and retaining the world’s best researchers. Programs such as the Canada Research Chairs also allow us to sustain York’s globally competitive research programs while enabling research that has an impact upon Canadians’ quality of life and the country’s economic and social well-being."

Colin Coates (right), Chair in Canadian Cultural Landscapes and professor of Canadian Studies at Glendon College, explores how Old World cultures are translated to New World environments, and the ways in which European political and environmental approaches were transformed by their placement in the Canadian context. He also conducts research on colonial political culture in New France, examines the environmental and cultural implications of utopian experiments throughout Canadian history, and considers the environmental implications and cultural significance of common and public lands, providing leadership for research and debate in this area of sustained public concern.

Janine Marchessault (right), Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization and professor of film in the Faculty of Fine Arts, researches how the information society is redefining the artist’s role and shaping urban contexts. Her projects examine distinct articulations of citizenship and culture while understanding how urban planning can be enabled by contemporary art practices in several global and smaller cities. Marchessault is developing new research methods that use advanced media technologies to interpret the cultural ecologies of these cities with the ultimate goal of proposing new planning and policy strategies.

Sergey Krylov (left), Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry and professor in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, is developing novel bioanalytical methods to study the molecular mechanisms of complex diseases, such as cancer, immune diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, which all generate non-identical cell populations and have to be studied at the single-cell level. His research seeks to diagnose these diseases early and develop personalized treatments for them. Krylov is also developing Kinetic Capillary Electrophoresis (KCE) to generate smart diagnostic probes and smart drug candidates to stimulate the search for efficient diagnostics and cures for health disorders that are presently poorly diagnosed and incurable.

Jim Whiteway (left), Chair in Space Engineering & Atmospheric Science and professor in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, investigates planetary atmospheres and environmental issues of climate change and air quality. He is developing and applying new technology for laser remote sensing (lidar machines) that will provide the basis for new atmospheric research projects. Whiteway is also the lead scientist for the Canadian instruments that are performing atmospheric measurements as part of the Phoenix mission to Mars, and which recently discovered the presence of snow on the planet.

Researchers at York University hold a total of 28 Canada Research Chairs, including Professor Jianhong Wu’s chair in Industrial & Applied Mathematics, which was renewed earlier this year. The program is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping universities achieve research excellence in natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, social sciences and humanities.

For more information, visit the Canada Research Chairs Web site.

Submitted to YFile by Elizabeth Monier-Wiliams, research communications officer.