CANADA RESEARCH CHAIRS
Peter Backx (Biology) – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology
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.
Thomas Baumgartner (Chemistry) – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Organomain Group Materials
Professor Baumgartner’s research, focused on the design of novel materials that can be used to lower the anthropogenic carbon footprint, will provide knowledge crucial to the development of essential next-generation technologies for a sustainable future. His program targets several energy-focused topics by addressing the efficient and sustainable use, conversion, and/or storage of energy via advanced synthesis in a bottom-up approach. The research also looks at the design of strongly luminescent species and their application as biomarkers and sensors for a variety of cellular processes.
Christopher Caputo (Chemistry) – Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Metal-Free Materials for Catalysis
Many chemical reactions to generate desirable products or energy are not favourable under ambient conditions. To overcome this, catalysts are routinely used to lower the activation barrier of these reactions. However, many catalysts are derived from precious and expensive transition metals. Professor Caputo’s research targets new, low cost materials derived from readily available main-group elements to develop homogeneous and heterogeneous Lewis acidic materials to replace traditional catalysts.
Raymond Kwong (Biology) – Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology
Professor Kwong examines the molecular and physiological effects of environmental stressors (e.g., anthropogenic and natural stressors), and the fundamental mechanisms regulating homeostatic processes in fish. The research, integrating environmental toxicology, molecular physiology, and functional genetics, will advance understanding of the mechanisms of toxic action, animal function, and physiological responses to contaminants. This information is critical for improving environmental risk assessment and monitoring, and for identifying sensitive biomarkers in the evaluation of aquatic health in contaminated waters.
Nikolaus Troje (Biology) – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Reality Research
Professor Troje is a core member of Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) team within York’s Centre for Vision Research. In his BioMotionLab, he uses motion capture and 3D scanning technology to generate individualized avatars to be used in mixed realities. Using virtual reality, he studies how we perceive objects and communicate with other people, how we experience and take ownership of our own body, and how we situate ourselves in the space that we seem to occupy.
Sean Tulin (Physics & Astronomy) – Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Particle Physics and Cosmology
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, Professor Tulin is developing new ideas to illuminate dark matter’s particle dynamics through its effect on cosmic structure.
Jianhong Wu (Mathematics & Statistics) – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Industrial and Applied Mathematics
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) – Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
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. Professor 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.
Joel Zylberberg (Physics & Astronomy) – Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Computational Neuroscience
Zylberberg is a core member of VISTA. He studies the way the brain represents information about the outside world, and the way in which those representations are learned. His immediate goal is to build on his expertise in machine learning and sensory neuroscience to create a camera to brain translator that could restore sight to the blind and could be used in computer vision systems.
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. Professor McDermott is particularly interested in studying the basic regulatory mechanisms involved in muscle cellular differentiation.
GUY WARWICK ROGERS CHAIR IN CHEMISTRY
The Rogers Chair was created as an endowment fund with a donation from Mrs. Mary Rogers in 1988, in memory of her late husband, Guy Warwick Rogers, to support faculty research in the Department of Chemistry.
Starting July 2017, the chair will be held by Professor Cora Young. Young conducts research on environmental chemistry, using state-of-the-science analytical techniques to characterize chemicals, their sources, and their fates in the environment. Her primary area of interest is in atmospheric analytical chemistry, particularly in understanding how the atmosphere interacts with the terrestrial and oceanic environment, how contaminants are transported through the atmosphere, and the mechanisms and chemical drivers of partitioning.
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. Professor Heffernan is also the director of the Centre for Disease Modelling, and is involved in global health initiatives.
Eric Hessels (Physics & Astronomy) – Tier 1 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.
Ryan Hili (Chemistry) – Tier 2 York Research Chair in Molecular Evolution
Professor Hili’s research interests focus on using DNA to program and encode the synthesis of molecular libraries ranging from small molecules to synthetic biopolymers. By using the principles of Darwinian evolution, his lab can evolve these molecular libraries for desired function, yielding small molecule drugs to treat human disease or antibody mimetics for use in medical diagnostics.
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. Professor Krylov is the director of the Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions. His lab will work collaboratively with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and instrumentation companies on the development of personalized approaches to cancer medicine.
Sapna Sharma (Biology) – Tier 2 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.
Gary Sweeney (Biology) – Tier 1 York Research Chair in Mechanisms of Cardiometabolic Diseases
Professor Sweeney is an expert on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. His work focuses on understanding mechanisms of cardiometabolic diseases, such as heart failure, and is designed to advance knowledge that will facilitate our fundamental understanding of causes of these diseases. Thus, his research will result in informed decision-making and improved health care.
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.
Derek Wilson – Tier 2 York Research Chair in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (Tier 2)
Professor Wilson is the director of the Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry (CRMS). He specializes in developing novel mass-spectrometry methods to investigate biomedical problems at a molecular level. He has a Krembil Foundation-funded project that focuses on the causes of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease affecting an estimated 44 million patients worldwide, and with a global disease burden of more than $600 billion. His program is highly collaborative with industry for the accelerated development of anti-neurodegenerative drugs.
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. Professor Zayed’s program aims to improve the health of Canadian honey bees, which will increase the sustainability and security of Canada’s food supply.
Huaiping Zhu (Mathematics & Statistics)- Tier 1 York Research Chair in Applied Mathematics
Professor Zhu is the director of the Laboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems (LAMPS) at York University. He has research interests that include dynamical systems and differential equations; bifurcation theory and applications; Hilbert’s sixteenth problem; mathematical ecology and epidemiology; climate change modelling and impact studies; and developing mathematical models, theories, methodologies and tools for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases.