York Research Leaders celebrated; President’s Awards announced


The President’s Office and the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (VPRI) would like to acknowledge our researchers for their outstanding contributions this year. York University is deeply committed to supporting and recognizing the success of our researchers and scholars.

“It is our great pleasure to acknowledge this year’s President’s Award winners: Professors Christopher Perry, Theodore Noseworthy, Debra Pepler and Eric Hessels,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “All four of these researchers are deeply committed to the University’s mission and vision to advance academic and research excellence for the benefit of all. At the same time, they are helping to establish York among the country’s leading research-intensive universities through their visionary research, leadership and mentorship.”

To see this year’s booklet, which showcases all of the researchers, visit the VPRI website.

“This year, over 70 researchers and academics were acknowledged across all Faculties and professional schools for their outstanding contributions in 2019. We wish to extend our warmest congratulations and best wishes to all for their continued success,” said Interim Vice President Research & Innovation Rui Wang.

The President’s Research Awards

President’s Emerging Research Leadership (PERLA) Award 2020

Christopher Perry

Christopher Perry, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health, was selected for this award (Engineering, Science, Technology, Health and Biomedicine Cluster), as a reflection of his outstanding leadership in and contribution to the fields of exercise physiology, metabolism and skeletal muscle health.

Since 2012, when he came to York, Perry has contributed significantly to the success of the University, both internally and externally. He established the only human muscle biopsy lab at York, where he investigates the basic cellular mechanisms of muscle fitness and applies these discoveries toward developing novel therapies to treat muscle weakness disorders.

In 2016, he was elected to serve as a Director Academic for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, Canada’s major authority in exercise science and prescription. This society focuses on integrating state-of-the-art research into best practice. It is comprised of professionals interested and involved in the scientific study of exercise physiology, exercise biochemistry, fitness and health.

Perry was the recipient of the 2017 Faculty of Health Research Award (early career). He has also received multiple internal and external awards, including funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the James H. Cummings Foundation, the Rare Disease Foundation and industry funding.

Theodore J. Noseworthy
Theodore J. Noseworthy

Theodore Noseworthy, Schulich School of Business, was chosen for this award (Social Science, Art & Design, Humanities, Business, Law and Education Cluster), for his extraordinary leadership and contribution to the fields of marketing and consumer studies.

As the Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good, he develops insights that inform business and policy-makers about the benefits of properly communicated innovation and the potential costs to susceptible consumers and society. He examines how marketers can better communicate product and service innovations to maximize adoption and awareness. This work focuses on new product design and innovation, as well as product categorization, category ambiguity and visual processing.

In 2012, Noseworthy was appointed Scientific Director of the NOESIS: Innovation, Design, and Consumption Laboratory, a world-class behavioural lab at Schulich to extend his primary research programs. The NOESIS lab is intended to foster innovative research into consumption, consumer behaviour and design. Noseworthy has developed this lab with the specific goal of conducting high quality research, training skilled personnel and facilitating knowledge mobilization.

Broadly speaking, Noseworthy’s research program is designed to help combat Canada’s innovation deficit by helping the private sector transfer knowledge into commercialized products and services to grow the economy.

President’s Research Impact (PRIA) Award 2020

Debra Pepler

Debra Pepler, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, was selected for this award for her innovative contributions to psychology and mental health in the areas of bullying, aggression and violence, especially among marginalized children, youth and families. In recognition of these contributions, Pepler was named an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor General.

She is the only psychologist recognized by the Canadian Psychological Association for Distinguished Contributions to both Psychology as a Science and Public or Community Service.

Pepler received a Network of Centres of Excellence grant to establish PREVNet – Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network, funded from 2006-2019. She built this interdisciplinary network with her former PhD student Wendy Craig (Queen’s University), with over 120 researchers, 150 graduate students and 62 national organizations. PREVNet’s researchers and partners co-created over 150 resources for bullying prevention and healthy relationships. PREVNet was the culmination of Pepler’s decades of research linking science with practice and public policy for children’s healthy development and healthy relationships.

Pepler’s research embedded in clinical and community settings has real impact on the lives of children, youth, and families. She has a strong publication record, having written or co-edited 10 books, and more than 200 journal articles, chapters, and reports. In 2007, Pepler was recognized as a Distinguished Research Professor by York for her ground-breaking research.

President’s Research Excellence (PREA) Award 2020

Eric Hessels

Eric Hessels, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science, was chosen for his award (Engineering, Science, Technology, Health and Biomedicine Cluster), for his exceptional contribution to atomic, molecular and optical physics.

Hessels, York Research Chair in Atomic Physics and a York University Distinguished Research Professor, has led numerous research projects that have far-reaching consequences for the understanding of the laws of physics. He is leading a collaboration whose goal it is to use ultra precise measurements of the electron to study one of the fundamental unresolved questions of physics.

In 2019, Hessels led a study published in the esteemed journal Science, which found a new measurement for the size of proton at just under one trillionth of a millimetre. The study confirmed the 2010 finding that the proton is smaller than previously believed.

The year before, Hessels led a team that achieved the most precise measurement of the fine structure of helium ever recorded. His researchers had been working on this for eight years. Hessels is now leading a collaboration (EDMcubed) that is attempting to measure the shape of the electron — or, more specifically, whether its charge is evenly distributed. This measurement will try to shed light on one of the fundamental mysteries of physics: why the universe is made entirely of matter (electrons,protons, etc.) and, unexpectedly, has no antimatter (anti-electrons, antiprotons, etc.). 

To see this year’s booklet, visit the VPRI website. To watch the new video, featuring Celia Haig-Brown, Associate Vice President Research discussing research and academic work across the University and aspiration areas for this work, visit VPRI’s playlist.