Two Faculty of Science profs receive York Research Chairs
Nine emerging and established researchers across the University will join the York Research Chairs (YRC) program, York University’s internal counterpart to the national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, which recognizes outstanding researchers. Two of the researchers are from the Faculty of Science – biology Professor Gary Sweeney and chemistry Assistant Professor Ryan Hili.
The newly appointed YRCs belong to the sixth cohort of researchers to be appointed since the establishment of the program in 2015. The new YRC’s terms start July 1.
“Our new YRCs are leading scholars and mentors in their fields,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “York is committed to ensuring that our research, scholarship and creative activities are of the highest quality and connected to the needs of the communities we serve. The YRC program is central to that commitment, and we are proud to support the ongoing excellence of our outstanding researchers through this initiative.”
This program, launched by Vice-President Research and Innovation Robert Haché, seeks to build research recognition and capacity, with excellence in research, scholarship and associated creative activity serving as selection criteria.
“The YRC program mirrors the federal CRC program, to broaden and deepen the impact of research chairs at York in building and intensifying world-renowned research across the institution. These new YRCs are undertaking visionary work that has local, national and international impact,” said Haché.
Tier I YRCs are open to established research leaders at the rank of full professor. Tier II YRCs are aimed at emerging research leaders within 15 years of their first academic appointment. Both have five-year terms that are renewable in the context of open competition, based on peer review and the continuing availability of resources.
Tier I York Research Chairs
Benjamin L. Berger
York Research Chair in Pluralism and Public Law
Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Benjamin L. Berger is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost experts in law and religion, and constitutional and criminal law and theory. He is an award-winning scholar and teacher, deeply engaged in public and professional education and advocacy. Interdisciplinary and comparative in its approach, Berger’s research is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the unique challenges and complex role of public law in deeply diverse societies.
York Research Chair in Media Arts and Community Engagement
Janine Marchessault, professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, held the Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization (2003-2013). She was the co-founder of Future Cinema Lab and the inaugural Director of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology Research at York University. In 2018, she won a $2+ million Partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for “Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Canada’s Moving Image Heritage,” which involves 43 co-applicants and has collaborators from Canada and across the globe.
York Research Chair in Mechanisms of Cardiometabolic Diseases
Faculty of Science Professor Gary 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. His research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Tier II York Research Chairs
York Research Chair in Youth and Contexts of Inequity
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Professor Uzo Anucha is a scholar who conceptualizes her research as a community dialogue centred on equitable collaborations with community stakeholders. She is the Provincial Academic Director of the Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX), a multi-million investment by the Ontario government. YouthREX is an innovative knowledge hub that makes research evidence and evaluation practices accessible to Ontario’s youth sector through capacity building, knowledge exchange and evaluation leadership.
York Research Chair in Integrated Smart Energy Grids
Hany Farag, a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering, has research interest including the integration of renewable generation, energy storage and electric vehicles, renewable hydrogen and natural gas, and smart grids. Since joining York, Farag has secured more than $500,000 in funding from NSERC and power utilities. He led the development of teaching and research laboratories in the new Electrical Engineering program, worth $2 million. He received an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science in 2018.
York Research Chair in Molecular Evolution
Faculty of Science Professor Ryan Hili’s research interests that 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. Hili received an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science to build a research team in 2018.
York Research Chair in Stigmatization and Social Identity
Schulich School of Business Professor Brent Lyons studies stigma in organizations and how individuals with stigmatized social identities, such as disability, navigate their work and interpersonal relationships to reduce consequences of stigmatization. He has published his work in numerous journals, such as Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Management. He serves on various editorial boards, including that of the Journal of Applied Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
York Research Chair in Space Exploration
Lassonde School of Engineering Professor John Moores is an internationally recognized planetary scientist and space engineer whose research explores the atmospheres and surfaces of other worlds. His research group has been a member of the science and operations teams of five ESA and NASA space missions to Mars and Titan, and has been awarded the NASA group achievement award on 16 occasions. Moores has published 63 papers garnering more than 4,950 citations. He was elected as a Member of the College of New Scholars in the Royal Society of Canada in 2018.
York Research Chair in Relationships and Sexuality
Amy Muise, a professor in the Faculty of Health, studies the maintenance of sexual desire and relationship satisfaction in romantic relationships. This is important given that long-lasting, happy relationships are key contributors to overall health and well-being, and that lowering the divorce rate helps to reduce financial instability and negative health and psychological consequences. Muise was bestowed an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science in 2018. Her research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.
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