Media Release | Oct. 12, 2012

Thirteen Canada Research Chairs valued at $11 million appointed at UBC

University of British Columbia research in areas ranging from physical therapy, to conservation ecology, to climate change received a boost today with the appointment, advancement or renewal of 13 Canada Research Chairs.

The chairs – eight new appointments, three renewals and two advancements from Tier Two to Tier One – are valued at $11 million.  UBC holds the second largest complement of CRC allocations – 186 – at any university in the country.

“The Canada Research Chairs program supports leading edge and innovative research across disciplines,” says Helen Burt, Associate Vice President Research and International at UBC. “The chair holders represent some of the brightest minds in their respective fields and their contribution to knowledge and impact to society cannot be overstated.”

UBC’s chairs are among 155 federally funded research positions awarded or renewed today, representing a total investment of $121.6 million distributed to 42 post-secondary institutions, research institutes and hospitals across Canada. Seventeen B.C.-based chairs were announced in Vancouver by James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

“The research conducted by Canada Research Chairs — including that of my own at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health — makes real differences in people’s lives,” says Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an assistant professor at UBC, physical therapist at Vancouver Coastal Health and the newly appointed Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience. “I am honoured to join this group of leading investigators.”

BACKGROUND | Thirteen CRCs appointed at UBC

The federally funded Canada Research Chair program was launched in 2000 to build Canada’s research capacity. An investment of $900 million supports the establishment of 2,000 Chairs at universities across the country. Learn more about the Canada Research Chairs program at:

Newly appointed CRCs at UBC are:

Amy Angert, Canada Research Chair in Conservation Ecology, will use targeted experiments to determine how climate, species interactions, and dispersal create range edges and quantify evolutionary potential of range-edge populations. Ultimately, this research will help to guide management and policy decisions concerning climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, Cognitive Neuroscience, focuses her research on understanding how exercise can prevent both neurocognitive and physical decline in older adults. Her work to date has shown that exercise improves both cognitive performance and brain function in older adults.

Nicholas Harvey, Canada Research Chair in Algorithm Design, is looking for the most efficient algorithms for problems involving large-scale networks: communication networks, social networks, and transportation networks. He uses cutting-edge mathematical tools to create practical applications for real-world networks.

Michele Koppes, Canada Research Chair in Glacier Studies, examines relationships between climate change, ice dynamics, and the production of glacial sediment and meltwater. Her research will provide new insights into the interaction between ice and warming ocean waters and its impact on ice sheet stability, and the role of changing moisture and temperature on mountain glaciers and freshwater resources.

Brian Kwon, Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury, focuses on “translation” of discoveries from the laboratory into the clinical setting for individuals with spinal cord injuries and taking what we learn from human patients and using it to direct and focus scientific research in the laboratory.

Steven Martell, Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Fisheries Science, is developing unique tools and testing alternative fisheries management procedures for Canadian fisheries in order to improve our ability to manage risk and make more informed decisions about the impacts of policy on society.

Carla Nappi, Canada Research Chair in Early Modern Studies, examines how translation shaped knowledge and use of the natural world and human bodies in early modern China, with an emphasis on better understanding culture and society amid global exchange with the Asia-Pacific.

Evan Wood, Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine, is proposing unique approaches to address substantial health and community concerns in low-income neighbourhoods where poverty, mental illness and drug addiction converge for the betterment of society (more info).


Three CRC appointments have been renewed

William Pinar, Canada Research Chair in Curriculum Studies, is engaging scholars in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico, whose colonial histories render them compelling to Canadian and U.S. scholars with an interest in social justice. Projects in China and India are also underway.

Christian Schoof, Canada Research Chair in Global Process Modeling, is using simulations to address the dynamics of subglacial melt water drainage and its effect on ice flow speeds – a key process in both, Antarctica and Greenland.

Robert Shadwick, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Animal Physiology, is studying the biomechanics in fishes, particularly the specializations that power high-speed and unsteady maneuvers – and in turn, better understand the evolution of large body size in whales.


Two CRCs have advanced from Tier Two ($500,000 over five years) to Tier One ($1.4M over seven years):

Nicholas Coops, Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing, is focused on using remote sensing technologies to improve our understanding of forest structure and function, and their impacts on forest productivity and the maintenance of biodiversity.

Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease, has established a world-class Alzheimer research program and made significant discoveries on how gene expression is regulated and influences Alzheimer’s Disease. He will establish a Canada-China translational medical research program for Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Brian Lin
UBC Public Affairs
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