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 12 active Canada Research Chairs at Brock, with more to be announced. Brock University has a total of 14 Canada Research Chair allocations.

As CRC in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience (Tier 2), 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 CRC in Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging (Tier 2), 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 CRC in Plant Biotechnology (Tier 1), Dr. De Luca came to Brock in 2001 from the biotech giant Novartis, in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, where he studied cellular processes and why plants produce unique natural products as a result of gene mutation. His breakthroughs at Brock include increasing the amounts of cancer-fighting drugs generated by the leaf of the tropical Madagascar periwinkle flower.

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As CRC in Gender, Work, Care and Community (Tier 1), Dr. Doucet explores the changing meanings and practices of care work, paid work, and domestic consumption for women and men. “This research will increase scholarly and popular understandings of gender equalities and gender differences in paid and unpaid work and contribute to effective policies and community programs for Canadians who have caregiving responsibilities,” she says.

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As CRC in Behavioural Neuroscience (Tier 2), Dr. Paula 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. “Parenthood is a crucial experience, yet surprisingly little is known about the impact of this unique experience on the brain and with aging,” she says.

As CRC in Tissue Remodelling and Plasticity throughout the Lifespan (Tier 2), Dr. Fajardo studies how muscles change in form and function over the course of a lifetime. “We’re trying to optimize muscle health and physiology to improve whole body health under conditions of aging, spaceflight, obesity, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and heart disease,” he says.

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As CRC in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics (Tier 2), Dr. Holmes examines how the brain and nervous system interact with the mechanics of hand, arm, shoulder and neck muscles as we perform a variety of tasks. He is in the process of building a laboratory that will evaluate the physical demands associated with a variety of jobs. His lab will simulate workplace tasks using motion capture technologies, virtual reality and robotics.

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As CRC in Organic Synthesis and Biocatalysis (biological methods of manufacturing) (Tier 1), Dr. Hudlický researches new pain and cancer medicines, green chemistry and natural product synthesis. His work includes developing processes to manufacture medicinal agents for pain control and alcohol and drug addiction.

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As CRC in in Youth Mental Health and Performance (Tier 2), Dr. Matthew 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. “It is my hope that findings from this research will help us identify how and when we can best support youth to move more, sit less and sleep better to enhance their mental health and well-being,” he says.

As CRC in Adjustment and Well-Being in Children and Youth (Tier 2), Dr. Danielle 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 CRC in Mechanisms of Health and Disease (Tier 1), Dr. Newman 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. “Hopefully the research will allow us to find a method to make older people live health lives so that they can enjoy their retirement,” he says.

As CRC in Bone and Muscle Development (Tier 2), Dr. Ward came to train Canada’s future leaders in health-related fields and to foster partnerships between the university and industry.“I study how dietary strategies, using a combination of healthful foods or supplements, may be used to help prevent debilitating fragility fractures resulting from osteoporosis,” she says.

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