The Canada Research Chairs program was created by the federal government in 2000 to attract and retain top researchers. 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 eight Canada Research Chair holders at Brock, with more to be announced in 2019.
As Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience, 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.”
CRC in in Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging, she joined Brock University in January 2017 as assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Her research 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.”
Tier 1 CRC in Plant Biotechnology, 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.
Tier 1 CRC in Gender, Work, Care and Community, came to Brock in 2011 from Carleton University.
“I am exploring 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.”
CRC in in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics. He 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.
Tier 1 CRC in Biocatalysis (biological methods of manufacturing), arrived in 2003 from the University of Florida. “I do research on new pain and cancer medicines, research in green chemistry and natural product synthesis.” His work includes developing processes to manufacture medicinal agents for pain control and alcohol and drug addiction.
CRC in Multiliteracies, came to Brock in 2010 after teaching at Rutgers Graduate School.
“I conduct research on ways of reading, writing, thinking, communicating, visualizing literacy in our day-to-day lives. Much of my research takes place in elementary and secondary schools, and in community hubs such as libraries and museums, exploring the role of community, culture, and social class in our understandings of literacy.”
CRC in Bone and Muscle Development, arrived in 2011 from the University of Toronto. She 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.”