Campus News

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

News Release

June 27, 2005

New Research Chairs to Focus on Literature, Animal Diseases

An English professor heading a major rethinking of Canadian literature and a pathologist studying life-threatening infections in cats and horses are the University of Guelph’s newest Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), Industry Canada announced today.

Smaro Kamboureli of the School of English and Theatre Studies will hold a Tier 1 CRC in Critical Studies in Canadian Literature. Dorothee Bienzle, of the Department of Pathobiology was named a Tier 2 CRC in Veterinary Pathology. 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.

"There is no question that Dr. Kamboureli and Dr. Bienzle were both exceptional candidates for Canada Research Chairs, and today’s announcement reinforces this fact,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “They are significantly enhancing the breadth of research and scholarship that is making the University of Guelph ever more distinctive.”

Ottawa established the CRC program in 2000 to help attract and retain excellent faculty. “Our universities are vital centres of cutting-edge research and innovation,” said Industry Minister David Emerson, who is responsible for the CRC Program. U of G currently has 24 chairs and expects to eventually have 35.

Kamboureli, who joined U of G last fall, will use her CRC to establish an Institute of Critical Studies in Canadian Literature. The primary objective is to initiate a renewal of purpose and vision in terms of both the instruction of Canadian literature and professor’s roles as academics and citizens.

Scholars in Canada and abroad will take part in a major rethinking of the thematic, disciplinary and institutional assumptions, and the frameworks within which Canadian literature has been produced, studied and taught in the last 20 years. They will produce research on Canadian literature as an institution and develop new methods for examining and teaching the field.

This year, Kamboureli has been planning a major national conference called “TransCanada: Literature, Institutions, Citizenship” with a team of colleagues from Simon Fraser University. The two-part conference, held in Vancouver this month and scheduled for Guelph next year, aims to question structures and institutional models that influence Canadian literature.

The author of more than 10 books, including Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada, which won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian criticism, Kamboureli was formerly a professor and associate dean for research in humanities at the University of Victoria.

Bienzle, a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College since 1999, will focus her research in two major areas: studying cats infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and understanding chronic lung inflammation in horses. FIV is closely related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. FIV results in tumour formation, immunodeficiency and organ dysfunction in cats.

She will study the role of dendritic cells (a type of white blood cell crucial for initiating immune responses) and macrophages (scavenger cells found in the bloodstream and tissues) in influencing the course of FIV infection.

“The disease in cats is analogous to infection of people with HIV,” Bienzle said. “Understanding how the feline virus interacts with its host at the cellular and molecular levels may yield important clues about preventing and treating such infection in all animals, including people.”

In horses, she hopes to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for equine lung disease. She will study the role a specific protein plays in regulating airway inflammation, especially in horses that are continually exposed to dusty indoor air.

The author of more than 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters, Bienzle has received the Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Association for HIV Research, a U of G’s Presidential Distinguished Professor Award, a Medical Research Council of Canada fellowship, and a New Opportunities Award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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