Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

July 19, 2006

U of G Gains Four Canada Research Chairs

The University of Guelph has added four more faculty members to its growing cohort of distinguished Canada Research Chairs (CRCs). The Guelph researchers are among 90 new chairs unveiled today in Ottawa by Industry Minister Maxime Bernier.

“Today’s announcement brings to 30 the number of prestigious Canada Research Chairs at the University of Guelph,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “The four new recipients are representative of the exceptional creative capacity that reaches across the institution, and all of them should feel very proud of what they have accomplished.”

In addition, U of G added another Tier 1 chair earlier this month when Linda Parker joined the Department of Psychology as the CRC holder in behavioural neuroscience.

The federal government established the CRC program in 2000 as a way of enabling Canadian universities to attract and retain excellent faculty. There are two types of chairs: Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 chairs are acknowledged as international leaders in their fields and are awarded $200,000 a year for seven years. Tier 2 chairs are considered to have the potential to become world leaders in their fields and receive $100,000 a year for five years.

Today, Guelph physics professor John Dutcher received a Tier 1 chair in soft matter physics. Dutcher co-ordinates Guelph’s interdisciplinary Centre for Food and Soft Materials and is a theme leader (structure-dynamics-function of foods and biomaterials) for Guelph’s Advanced Foods and Materials Network, part of the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence. The development and use of soft materials such as polymers and proteins are expected to revolutionize many sectors of Canadian industry, including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, microelectronics and packaging.

“Receiving the CRC is certainly a great honour,” said Dutcher, who has also developed an internationally-renowned research program in the physics of polymers, biopolymers and bacterial cells. “The CRC brings with it resources that are necessary to allow me to continue to develop my already strong collaborations with researchers in physics and in several other disciplines, while creating flexibility to capitalize on new opportunities. It's a great thing!”

Food science professor Milena Corredig received a Tier 2 chair in food nanostructures, which she called “a tremendous honour and great responsibility. This type of award will give me the opportunity to open up new research areas and new collaborations both nationally and internationally, and to attract high-quality researchers.”

Corredig’s research focuses on incorporating more functional, healthier ingredients in food products. The stability, structure, good taste and quality of food products are a determining factor in dietary choices, she said. “To help consumers eat healthier foods, we have to become more sophisticated in designing food products. Guelph’s Department of Food Science is one of the best in the world, and there is no better place to create a world-class centre in food ingredient functionality.”

Mathematics and statistics professor Hermann Eberl was named a Tier 2 chair in applied mathematics, with a focus on applications in life science and engineering. He will be developing and analyzing mathematical models of biological and physical systems, and apply them to study various problems and questions by computer simulations.

“We have quite a number of people in our department doing very exciting research in biomathematics and biostatistics,” he said. “Guelph is a good place to do this kind of work. I would like to see this chair award as a recognition of the departmental research strength in this area and I hope that it will further reinforce these efforts.”

Madhur Anand, formerly a biology professor at Laurentian University, recently joined U of G as a Tier 2 chair in the Department of Environmental Biology. She will study global ecological change and forest biodiversity.

Her overall objective is to improve understanding of biodiversity structure and dynamics on a global scale, and to use this understanding to predict responses to accelerated change. She will focus on forest systems, with the methodology developed having applications to other complex systems.

Parker, whose chair was approved earlier this year, came to U of G in July from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is investigating the psychopharmacology and neurobiology of learning, emotion, sickness and addiction. She hopes the research will lead to a better understanding of basic neural processes involved in the modulation of the pharmacological properties of drugs, with specific applications to controlling nausea and vomiting produced by cancer chemotherapy.

The CRC program is governed by a steering committee made up of the presidents of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as the deputy minister of Industry Canada.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt 519- 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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