New Canada Research Chairs support innovative uOttawa research

Canada research chairs

By University of Ottawa

Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, OVPRI

First row, from left to right: Jackie Dawson, Arezu Jahani-Asl, Deborah Siegal. Second row, from left to right: Albert Stolow and Simon Chen
First row, from left to right: Jackie Dawson, Arezu Jahani-Asl, Deborah Siegal. Second row, from left to right: Albert Stolow and Simon Chen
The University of Ottawa has earned three new Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) that will consolidate its expertise in climate change and brain and cardiovascular health. The University is also proud to announce the renewal of two CRCs to professors whose research activities contribute to the advancement of photonics and neuroscience.

The news was publicly released on January 12 during a national announcement by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“Through the vital support of the Canada Research Chairs Program, five accomplished professors will be able to propel their research to the next level, as they work on solutions to address pressing societal issues such as brain and heart diseases and the effects of climate change in the Arctic,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research and innovation. “These new and renewed research chairs will build on our strengths to better understand and improve our world.”

Jackie Dawson (Faculty of Arts), Canada Research Chair in the Human and Policy Dimensions of Climate Change

Professor Jackie Dawson’s research program explores the benefits and risks of the increased marine navigability and ship traffic in the Arctic due to shrinking sea ice brought about by climate change. She will model future shipping trends and their implications for fragile ecosystems and Northern communities, as well as identify opportunities for Indigenous co-governance of Arctic marine policy.

Arezu Jahani-Asl (Faculty of Medicine), Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology of Disease

Professor Arezu Jahani-Asl studies neural stem cells, a group of cells that contribute to the plasticity and regeneration of the brain. At the same time, rewiring of these cells can lead to brain diseases, such as aggressive cancers and neurodevelopmental disorders. Professor Jahani-Asl is working on identifying molecular events and signalling pathways that are altered in these cells in the diseased brain, with the ultimate aim of finding better treatment for these diseases. Her research has also received funding for infrastructure from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Deborah Siegal (Faculty of Medicine and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute), Canada Research Chair in Anticoagulant Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

Bleeding is a serious complication of antithrombotic therapy used widely to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. The goal of Professor Deborah Siegal’s research is to improve the safety of this therapy, which reduces the formation of blood clots. She will focus on optimizing anticoagulant management around emergencies, such as serious bleeding or urgent surgery, as well as the role of antithrombotics for treating ischemic stroke in individuals with cancer.

Albert Stolow (Faculty of Science), Canada Research Chair in Molecular Photonics

Professor Albert Stolow’s research brings the power of next-generation, ultrafast laser science to the study of X-ray spectroscopy, nonlinear optical microscopy, and the ultrafast quantum dynamics of electrons. This helps improve our atomic-level understanding of electronic charge transfer processes in molecules and materials (i.e., photovoltaics and solar energy conversion). Professor Stolow also develops enhanced chemical imaging methods that have applications in biophotonics (biomedical imaging) and the new field of geophotonics (mineralogy).

Simon Chen (Faculty of Medicine), Canada Research Chair in Neural Circuits and Behaviour

An emerging leader in the field of in vivo imaging and neural dynamics, Professor Simon Chen aims to better understand the brain’s motor cortex, which is responsible for voluntary movement, and the neural circuit activity involved in motor skill learning. Uncovering such mechanisms will help shed light on post-traumatic recovery in motor-related brain injury and on diseases such as stroke and Parkinson’s.

Learn more about our Canada Research Chairs

Minister Champagne also announced the allocation of more than $260 million nationwide in graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships for 2020-21. These scholarships and fellowships, including the Canada Graduate Scholarships, are awarded by the Tri-agencies (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research). Congratulations to all University of Ottawa recipients of scholarships and fellowships!