The University of Ottawa continues to support its researchers in advancing knowledge 

Research and innovation
Awards and recognition

By University of Ottawa

Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, OVPRI

The 2023 University research chairs: Vida Dujmovic, Geneviève Dufour, François Larocque, Chibuike Udenigwe and Nafissa Ismail
The 2023 University research chairs. Top row: Vida Dujmovic and Geneviève Dufour. Bottom row: François Larocque, Chibuike Udenigwe and Nafissa Ismail
uOttawa reaffirms its dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge by awarding or renewing a series of internal research chairs.

In total, five University chairs will support excellence in research at uOttawa, including two new internal chairs and three renewed chairs.

The research funded by these chairs covers a wide variety of social issues, ranging from fair trade laws to stress and anxiety in youth, along with the development of new proteins, language rights, and the complexity of representing problems graphically.

“In awarding these new internal chairs, and in renewing current ones that are already very active, our University strengthens its multidisciplinary approach to research,” says Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Sylvain Charbonneau. “It’s the only way to really find solutions to increasingly complex issues while aiming for equity, diversity and inclusion. Our support for these researchers demonstrates, once again, that uOttawa is among the top research-intensive universities in Canada.”

Holders of two new University of Ottawa Research Chairs

Geneviève Dufour, University Research Chair in Sustainable, Responsible and Inclusive Trade Law (Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section)

Issues involving environmental protection and human rights, as well as the promotion of equity, diversity and inclusion, are central to the research conducted by Professor Geneviève Dufour and her team. With nation states seeking to reach their sustainable development goals through trade, Professor Dufour’s research will look at whether trade law can improve respect for human rights, protect the environment, and promote inclusion.

Vida Dujmovic, University Research Chair in Structural and Algorithmic Graph Theory (Faculty of Engineering)

Graphs are everywhere in today’s digital age. They help us understand and represent the complex networks that permeate our society. Professor Vida Dujmovic is a world leader in theoretical computer science whose main expertise is in graph theory. Her research aims to uncover the fundamental structure of graphs in order to solve deep computational and algorithmic problems that arise in all fields of our society.

Holders of Renewed University Research Chairs

Nafissa Ismail, University Research Chair in Stress and Mental Health (Faculty of Social Sciences)

The research led by Professor Nafissa Ismail focuses on understanding how and why adolescents may be more vulnerable to stress-induced mental illness than adults. She will investigate pubertal gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract that occurs during puberty, and its enduring effects on the cellular mechanisms and behaviours associated with stress-induced depression and anxiety.

François Larocque, Canadian Francophonie Research Chair in Language Rights (Faculty of Law – Common Law Section)

The research undertaken by Professor François Larocque will be two-fold: he will analyse the legal framework around language rights and the strategic actions required to influence its development and implementation. A legal clinic to defend language rights will also be launched.

Chibuike Udenigwe, University Research Chair in Food Properties and Nutrient Bioavailability (Faculty of Health Sciences) 

Current global food systems are under pressure to sustainably produce high-quality food and find new sources of protein that don’t harm the environment. Professor Chibuike Udenigwe’s research program is advancing knowledge of the nutritional and health-promoting properties of different food proteins and peptides. One of the main objectives is to study how the structures of emerging, protein-based materials influence gastrointestinal fate and nutritional quality across the lifespan.