Archives 2009



Study by Ahmed El-Sohemy links vitamin C deficiency and chronic disease in young Canadians

August 5, 2009 | A study conducted by Ahmed El-Sohemy, Canada Research Chair in Nutrigenomics, associates vitamin C deficiency at a young age with the development of chronic disease and long-term health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. The study showed that one in seven young Canadian adults has a vitamin C deficiency and that one in three has less than optimal levels of vitamin C. Study participants — 692 women and 287 men — were recruited from the University of Toronto campus. Until now, the health consequences of having inadequate vitamin C levels at a young age were unknown.

Researchers supported by the Canada Research Chairs program are conducting cutting-edge research in health, the natural sciences, engineering, the social sciences and the humanities. Their work has a direct effect on the quality of life of all Canadians.


Karen Kidd helps bridge gap between scientific community and public

July 22, 2009 | Karen Kidd, Canada Research Chair in Chemical Contamination of Food Webs, is serving as a Science Communication Fellow with the Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) organization. This American non-profit organization aims to increase public awareness of pressing environmental issues and their effects on human health.

Every year, the organization appoints fellowships to 10 science professors whose aim is to increase public awareness about current environmental health science research. The fellows help journalists bridge the gap between the scientific community and the general public by informing them—in plain language—of the latest scientific findings.

A biology professor at the University of New Brunswick, Kidd is researching the effect of industrial pollutants on our freshwater ecosystems, particularly with respect to human health.


Russ Kerr receives medal for discovery of new cancer antidote

July 9, 2009 | Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products Russ Kerr was recently awarded the Premier’s Medal for Innovation for his work on advancing cancer treatment. He is now developing and testing a marine product known as desmethyleleutherobin, a highly promising cancer drug. The prestigious provincial award was handed down by Premier of Prince Edward Island Robert Ghiz.

The Canada Research Chairs Program currently supports over 1,800 of Canada’s top researchers. Their contributions to research often have far-reaching implications, not just for Canadians but on a global scale.

Kerr’s research focuses on developing sustainable production methods for bioactive marine products, and discovering new marine products with the potential to improve the well-being of humans and animals. He currently works out of the University of Prince Edward Island, after moving from Florida Atlantic University.


Ming Zheng gets funding for work on greening automotive industry

July 8, 2009 | A Canada Research Chair and professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Windsor has received $1.4 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to build a new research centre in the geographic heart of Canada’s faltering auto industry.

Ming Zheng is the Canada Research Chair in Clean Diesel Engine Technologies and is the lead investigator of the new Centre for High Efficiency Clean Diesel and Hybrid Powertrain Research.

The centre will expand on the work of the Clean Diesel Research Laboratory already being done at the university’s Centre for Automotive Research and Education. The funding will help the centre improve diesel fuel efficiency with ultra-low emissions using adaptive combustion control. It will also help Zheng and his team research exhaust after-treatment methods, innovative engine design and diesel-based hybrid electric drive-train configurations.

The Canada Research Chairs Program and CFI play a key role in keeping Canada on the cutting edge in the development of green technologies through their support of leading researchers.


David Zingg helps launch new supercomputer

June 29, 2009 | Canada’s research capacity has been significantly expanded with the launch of a new supercomputer at the University of Toronto’s SciNet Consortium. Equipped to perform up to 360 trillion calculations per second, the machine is expected to be among the top 20 fastest computers in world—and the fastest outside of the United States—and operates at 30 times the speed of Canada’s current fastest system.

The computer will be used in a wide variety of disciplines, performing such tasks as accurately simulating the earth's climate one hundred years into the future in only four days, and helping researchers study cosmic background radiation, a calculation-intensive task that offers a glimpse into what the universe looked like 13 billion years ago.

David Zingg is a Canada Research Chair in Computational Aerodynamics and Environmentally Friendly Aircraft Design and played an instrumental role in launching the computer. His research, along with that of his other colleagues in aerospace, will benefit tremendously from this new acquisition.

The SciNet Consortium provides high-performance computing resources to researchers, including Canada Research Chairs, in six key areas: aerospace, bioinformatics, astrophysics, chemical physics, climate changes prediction and medical imaging.


Paul Snelgrove leads network on marine sustainability

June 25, 2009 | For many, lobster is an enjoyable delicacy served seasonally at Canadian restaurants and banquet halls. For communities along the Atlantic coastline, the lobster fisheries are an important livelihood and their long-term sustainability is crucial.

Paul Snelgrove, Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, has recently been chosen to lead the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, which brings together researchers from 15 universities with local fishermen. The network’s main focus is on evaluating and improving the sustainability of Canada’s marine resources, like the Atlantic lobster population.


Srinivasan Keshav provides evidence on real costs of text messaging

June 17, 2009 | Canadians sent about 20.8 billion text messages last year. “Texting” has taken Canadians—mostly youth—by storm as a quick means of communicating with family and friends. But, with people using instant messaging now more than ever, how much does a text message really cost?

University of Waterloo computer science professor and Canada Research Chair Srinivasan Keshav recently told a United States Senate committee that the actual cost to mobile phone carriers is not likely to exceed one-third of a cent. Yet, carriers charge up to 15 cents per text for pay-per-use customers—a 4,900 per cent markup. Keshav’s research in mobile systems helps Canadian consumers make more informed choices about their mobile products. Equally innovative on a global scale, he co-invented “fair queuing”—a multitasking method used by computers and found in some version in every router worldwide. Keshav holds a Canada Research Chair in Tetherless Computing—the development of reliable, high-speed communication between portable smart devices and powerful computers. He came to Canada from the US.


Stephen Larter gains international recognition for research on Canada as a global energy producer

June 9, 2009 | Stephen Larter, Canada Research Chair in Petroleum Geology at the University of Calgary, is being recognized internationally for his contributions to science with membership in the United Kingdom’s prestigious Royal Society.

Larter’s work focuses on understanding how petroleum is generated in organic matter-rich shales and then travels—perhaps hundreds of kilometres—before pooling in the pores of rocks where biodegradation can take place. As a Canada Research Chair, Larter has focused his research on the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and is contributing to a global understanding of the formation of oil and gas.

The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy still in existence. Past members include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.


Michael Rudnicki discovers a protein that stimulates muscular regeneration

June 8, 2009 | Michael Rudnicki, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics, and his colleagues at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have discovered a protein—named Wnt7a—that increases the number of stem cells in muscle tissue and fuels the regeneration process. This breakthrough will pave the way for the development of innovate treatments against muscular dystrophy and other muscle-deteriorating diseases.


Beverley Diamond and Jeremy Webber among the 2009 Trudeau prizes recipients

May 21, 2009 | Beverley Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, is a world-renowned ethnomusician. Her work with Aboriginal communities aims, among other things, to improve access to traditional knowledge in a globalized world.

Jeremy H. A. Webber, Canada Research Chair in Law and Society at the University of Victoria and an expert on broad constitutional issues, is known in Canada and abroad for his extensive knowledge of Aboriginal law. He is researching the constitutional structure of democratic governance, with a particular interest in both the opportunities and challenges of cultural diversity.

Each year, the Trudeau prizes are awarded to researchers who have set themselves apart through their research achievements, creativity and social commitment, and who have proven their ability to offer new solutions to major contemporary issues.


Ray Jayawardhana and Julie Lessard among the prestigious Top 40 Under 40

May 11, 2009 | Ray Jayawardhana, Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics at the University of Toronto is unravelling the incredible diversity of planetary systems and understanding where our own solar system fits in—this is the challenge that Ray Jayawardhana has embraced.

Julie Lessard, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics of Stem Cell Hematopoiesis at the Université de Montréal is developing new treatments for blood diseases and cancer. She is not only of great interest for experts, but also for those who are battling these afflictions.

Each year, the Top 40 Under 40 honours 40 Canadians that have not yet reached the age of 40 and who excel in their respective fields.


Frank Plummer exposes the H1N1 virus

May 7, 2009 | Frank Plummer, Canada Research Chair in Resistance and Susceptibility to Infections, and his team at The University of Manitoba succeeded in completing the first genetic sequencing of the virus responsible for influenza A (H1N1). It is not only a world first, but also an important step towards the development of a vaccine.

Update: 30 July 2009 | This world-renowned expert in infectious diseases was recently awarded the 2009 Order of Manitoba for his significant contribution to global health, namely through his work with the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Ottawa’s Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada as chief scientific advisor. In addition to having shown exceptional leadership during the SARS crisis, Dr. Plummer’s groundbreaking studies have greatly contributed to the field of HIV/AIDS research.

Canada Research Chairs researchers are international experts in science, engineering, health, and the social sciences and humanities. Their work has a direct effect on the quality of life of all Canadians.


Paul Corkum wins country’s top scientific prize

March 16, 2009 | The University of Ottawa's Paul Corkum, National Research Council-Canada Research Chair in Attosecond Photonics, recently received the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council’s Gerard Herzberg Gold Medal.

Valued at one million dollars, this scientific prize is one of the most important of its kind in Canada. It was awarded to Dr. Corkum in recognition of his innovative research in the cutting-edge field of attosecond science.