Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs program was created by the federal government in 2000 to attract and retain top researchers. Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) are nationally recognized experts who contribute knowledge, understanding, and solutions to society. Tier 1 and Tier 2 CRCs are nominated by universities, but must also be confirmed by their peers as being exceptional researchers and potential leaders — even world leaders — in their field. There are 10 active Canada Research Chairs at Brock, with more to be announced. Brock University has a total of 14 Canada Research Chair allocations.

We welcome Brock University’s newest Canada Research Char, Dr. Yifeng Li. As Tier 2 CRC in Machine Learning for Biomedical Data Science for his work using artificial intelligence and machine learning for drug development. See story in The Brock News.

We acknowledge the passing of Dr. Tomáš Hudlický, active Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Organic Synthesis and Biocatalysis. Dr. Hudlický specialized in synthesizing natural compounds used in drugs to fight cancer. One particularly noteworthy breakthrough was Dr. Hudlický’s creation of variations of the synthetic compound pancratistatin (PST), which he patented. He had spent more than 25 years researching PST’s chemical structure and constructing molecules that had similar structures and functions. Read the obituary in The Brock News.

As Tier 2 CRC in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience, Dr. Baird is studying a “new water paradigm,” a view that recognizes the complex interactions between freshwater social and ecological systems that are constantly being influenced by internal and external forces. “I’m interested in management and governance approaches that incorporate ideas of resilience: the ability to adapt and change to support human and ecosystem well-being.”

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As Tier 2 CRC in Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging, Dr. Campbell challenges conventional laboratory tasks that test older participants’ ability to remember things or make new associations. “The common view is that memory declines with age. I think our view of age-related memory decline is quite exaggerated or at least it’s misplaced, in that it’s probably more to do with a loss of attentional control,” she says.

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As Tier 1 CRC in Gender, Work, Care and Community, Dr. Doucet explores the changing meanings and practices of care work, paid work, and domestic consumption for women and men, which increases scholarly and popular understandings of gender equalities and gender differences in paid and unpaid work and contributing to effective policies and community programs for Canadians who have caregiving responsibilities.

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As Tier 2 CRC in Behavioural Neuroscience, Dr. Duarte-Guterman is investigating how parenthood and aging influence the formation of neurons in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for learning and memory and the regulation of stress and anxiety.

As Tier 2 CRC in Tissue Remodelling and Plasticity throughout the Lifespan, Dr. Fajardo studies how muscles change in form and function over the course of a lifetime. His team is trying to optimize muscle health and physiology to improve whole body health under conditions of aging, spaceflight, obesity, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and heart disease.

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As Tier 2 CRC in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics, Dr. Holmes examines how the brain and nervous system interact with the mechanics of hand, arm, shoulder and neck muscles in the performance of a variety of tasks. His lab simulates workplace tasks using motion capture technologies, virtual reality and robotics.

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As Tier 2 CRC in Youth Mental Health and Performance, Dr. Kwan is investigating new theoretical and practical approaches to understanding ‘movement behaviours’ – sleep, sitting, and physical activity – in youth and how these movement behaviours impact youth mental health and well-being.

As Tier 2 CRC in Machine Learning for Biomedical Data Science, Dr. Yifeng Li’s research focuses largely on harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to develop, or refine, drugs to treat cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, among other conditions, and reduce the drugs’ negative side effects.

As Tier 2 CRC in Adjustment and Well-Being in Children and Youth, Dr. Sirianni Molnar is studying the lived experience of young perfectionists and their parents; investigate the roles of acute and chronic stress in perfectionism and its effects on adjustment and well-being; and determine how parent–adolescent relationships moderate links between perfectionism, stress, adjustment, and well-being. “The end goal is to target ways in which stress can be minimized for adolescents high in perfectionism, thus improving their adjustment and well-being and optimizing their performance,” she says.

As Tier 1 CRC in Mechanisms of Health and Disease, Dr. Sze is studying how early life adversities, stressful lifestyles and unhealthy diets can increase damage to the blood vessel lining. He is also investigating if drugs targeting the blood vessel lining can be used to prevent age-related diseases.