Fields-CQAM announces York U lab among new network of research and training labs

Jianhong Wu
Jianhong Wu

A York University lab is among 11 flagship laboratories launched by the Fields Centre for Quantitative Analysis and Modelling (Fields-CQAM) that aim to solve commercial problems using applied mathematics research. The announcement was made on June 28 at the Fields Institute Annual General Meeting.

Fields-CQAM was created in response to a need in the province for a critical mass of high-quality personnel trained in advanced quantitative methodologies and able to draw on knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, from mathematics to social sciences.

The network of 11 research and training laboratories offers cutting-edge research and an expansive graduate training program.

York University Distinguished Research Professor Jianhong Wu Faculty of Science. Photograph by Paola Scattolon
York University Distinguished Research Professor Jianhong Wu, Faculty of Science. Photograph by Paola Scattolon

Based at York University, the Mathematics for Public Health Lab (MfPH) will be run by director and York University mathematics Professor Jianhong Wu in collaboration with investigators David Fisman (U of T), Amy Greer (University of Guelph), Andrew Morris (Mount Sinai), Dongmei Chen (Queen’s University) and Dion Neame (Sanofi Pasteur).

This lab will develop new, tailored modelling frameworks and standardized procedures to inform public health and vaccine production decisions that will strengthen Ontario’s capacity for rapid response to emerging public health issues and vaccine industrial production needs.

MfPH creates an interdisciplinary interface in four targeted areas: acute respiratory infections; vector-borne diseases; food-borne pathogens; and antimicrobial drug resistance. The lab provides training for students, postdoctoral Fellows and health professionals in statistical analysis, optimization, coding and algorithms that are relevant to predicting and preventing disease spread. MfPH will also provide advice to public health agencies and industry collaborators. The lab’s industrial partner is Sanofi Pasteur.

“I am very pleased that the Mathematics for Public Health Lab (MfPh) is among the 11 flagship labs of this major Ontario research network led by one of the most prestigious mathematical research institutes,” said Wu. “The new funding and networking activities will facilitate our collaboration with pharmaceutical industry and public health regulatory organization to provide evidence-based industrial production and public health policy.”

Top researchers in a variety of disciplines will lead the 11 Fields-CQAM laboratories and work with industrial partners like Sanofi Pasteur, Rank Software and Nuralogix to solve commercial problems using applied mathematical research.

“Fields-CQAM will provide opportunities for an increasing number of graduate students to work on applied problems brought to us or discovered with industry partners,” said Ian Hambleton, director of the Fields Institute. “This will equip them with the skills training and hands-on experience critically needed to help them, and ultimately Ontario’s companies, thrive in our competitive world economy.”

During the launch event, a subset of Fields-CQAM lab directors walked attendees through some of the commercial problems they intend to tackle in their proposed research. Covering areas of strategic importance to the province, including artificial intelligence, finance, health, infectious disease, chemical processes and anomalous events, their research is driving innovation forward and working to address the expanding need for data analytics and modelling by creating new training opportunities for students and professionals.

Each lab’s integrated applied research and training program is focused on areas of interest to its partners, ensuring their graduates meet the skills needs of firms in areas of strategic importance to the province. Empowering students with advanced quantitative skills through participation in research, experiential learning internships, and graduate courses and workshops will facilitate their entry into positions in the public, private and educational sectors.

Fields-CQAM’s objective is to meet the current needs of the province with its research and training program,  as  well  as  future  challenges  and  the  potential  impacts  that  the  research  undertaken  by  its laboratories will have on shaping the fields of science and technology.

For a full list of the labs and their areas of study, visit the website.