CANADA RESEARCH CHAIRS
Peter Backx (Biology) – Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology (Tier 1)
Professor Backx’s research program focuses on Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia, which severely impairs heart function, contributes to heart disease progression and is the major cause of stroke. Although exercise provides enormous cardiovascular benefit, excessive exercise can also induce AF. His research program will determine the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in AF induction by cardiovascular disease, reveal the modulating influences of exercise, and identify novel approaches for treating and preventing AF.
Sean Tulin (Physics & Astronomy) – Canada Research Chair in Particle Physics and Cosmology (Tier 2)
Professor Tulin’s research provides new directions toward discovering dark matter’s elusive particle nature. The existence of dark matter is one of the Universe’s great mysteries. All stars, planets, and interstellar gas are made from atoms, and yet atomic matter represents only 15% of the total matter in the Universe. The remaining 85% is dark matter. Dark matter provides the cosmic foundation for galaxies to form, but its microphysical properties remain unknown. By combining astrophysics, particle theory, and cosmology, Tulin is developing new ideas to illuminate dark matter’s particle dynamics through its effect on cosmic structure.
Jianhong Wu (Mathematics & Statistics) – Canada Research Chair in Industrial and Applied Mathematics (Tier 1)
Professor Wu’s research investigates disease modelling through Mathematics. His fundamental research is inspired by and applied to real life applications in pattern recognition of complex data, prediction of transmission dynamics and spatial spread of communicable diseases, evaluation of mitigation strategies for controlling disease spread and biological invasion. His research program will incorporate the training of highly qualified personel into its highly interdisciplinary research projects and outreach activities so that curriculum development, industrial outreach, policy impact, interdisciplinary collaboration and development of fundamental research are well integrated.
Georg Zoidl (Biology) – Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (Tier 1)
Professor Zoidl, who also holds an appointment in the Faculty of Health, explores the communication processes in the brain that contribute to disease- causing conditions. Even small changes in communication between nerve cells might get amplified over a lifetime and can be at the heart of a wide spectrum of diseases. Zoidl is addressing the role of electrical communication in the visual system and the brain using genetically-altered zebrafish; their brains and eyes utilize the basic communication principles found in humans. His research combines high-end imaging tools with careful molecular and cellular manipulations to track how information flows into the brain and eye under healthy and diseased conditions, with a focus on epilepsy and ischemia.
MCLAUGHLIN RESEARCH CHAIR
The McLaughlin Research Chair, funded by a $1 million donation from the McLaughlin Foundation, supports world-class life sciences research within the Faculty of Science at York University.
The Chair is currently held by Biology Professor John McDermott. McDermott focuses on the mechanisms that cause a simple cell to become more specialized. This work is primarily undertaken using cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle cells and neurons as model systems, and it is aimed at understanding the role of specialized proteins that bind to DNA to orchestrate gene expression. McDermott is particularly interested in studying the basic regulatory mechanisms involved in muscle cellular differentiation.
YORK RESEARCH CHAIRS
Nantel Bergeron (Mathematics & Statistics) – Tier 1 York Research Chair in Applied Algebra
Professor Bergeron is one of the pioneers in the development of the theory of combinatorial Hopf algebras that serve as a conceptual laboratory in which researchers can understand and solve complex problems from other areas of science and mathematics. His research program will help to better understand the complexity of algorithms in computer science and mathematics and bring further insights into super-symmetry of nature.
Jane Heffernan (Mathematics & Statistics) – Tier 2 York Research Chair in Multi-Scale Quantitative Methods for Evidence-Based Health Policy
Professor Heffernan’s research responds to the pressing need for new statistical, mathematical, and computational methods of mapping, understanding and controlling infectious diseases and aims to influence the development of new evidence-based public health policies. Heffernan is also the director of the Centre for Disease Modelling, and is involved in global health initiatives.
Eric Hessels (Physics & Astronomy) – Tier I York Research Chair in Atomic Physics
Professor Hessels’s area of specialization is in experimental atomic physics and high-precision measurements in excited states of few-electron atoms. A Distinguished Research Professor in the Faculty of Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, he is part of a collaboration whose goal is to use antihydrogen atoms to conduct tests of the physics of antimatter.
Sergey Krylov (Chemistry) – Tier 1 York Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry
Professor Krylov’s appointment supports the development of new technologies for understanding, diagnosing and treating cancer. As the director of the Centre for Research on Biomolecular Chemistry, Krylov’s lab will work collaboratively with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and instrumentation companies on the development of personalized approaches to cancer medicine.
Sapna Sharma (Biology) – Tier II York Research Chair in Global Change Biology
Professor Sharma is interested in predicting the effects of environmental stressors, such as climate change, invasive species, land use change, and habitat alteration, on ecosystems and improving the use of quantitative approaches used to generate these predictions.
Chun Peng (Biology) – Tier 1 York Research Chair in Women’s Reproductive Health
Professor Peng’s long-term goal for her research program is to understand the regulation of female reproduction and the mechanisms underlying the development of ovarian cancer and preeclampsia. Her proposed research will enhance the overall understanding of female reproductive health and reveal novel biomarkers for preeclampsia and therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer.
Amro Zayed (Biology) – Tier 2 York Research Chair in Genomics
Professor Zayed’s research group sequences the genomes of thousands of bees to identify mutations that influence their economically and ecologically relevant traits. Zayed’s program aims to improve the health of Canadian honey bees, which will increase the sustainability and security of Canada’s food supply.