University of Ottawa Investing $1.6 Million to Support and Diversify Research Chairs

Research and innovation
University Research Chair

By University of Ottawa

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

First row, from left to right: Jude Mary Cénat, Paul Corkum, Elizabeth Dubois, Mamadou Fall, Stephen Ferguson, Trevor Hall; second row, from left to right: Eva Hemmer, Peter Jaskiewicz, Chidi Oguamanam, Derek Pratt, Katey Rayner and Vincent Tabard-Cossa
First row, from left to right: Jude Mary Cénat, Paul Corkum, Elizabeth Dubois, Mamadou Fall, Stephen Ferguson, Trevor Hall; second row, from left to right: Eva Hemmer, Peter Jaskiewicz, Chidi Oguamanam, Derek Pratt, Katey Rayner and Vincent Tabard-Cossa
The University of Ottawa is taking new steps to support its researchers’ exceptional work by awarding and renewing a series of internal research chairs.

Besides the four new internal research chairs awarded at the beginning of the year and the two renewed chairs, six additional University Research Chairs (URCs) will enhance research excellence at the University. This announcement stems from the 2021 redesign of the URC program by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. The purpose of the redesign was to promote a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity and research excellence at the University of Ottawa while eliminating barriers to participation among members of under-represented groups in research (women, Indigenous persons, members of visible minorities and racialized groups, disabled persons and LGBTQI2S+ persons) by incorporating principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as recommendations from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment into the program. 

“This major investment by the University in research will enable 12 internal research chairs and their teams to achieve discoveries in such diverse fields as sustainable bio-innovation, nanopores, health, entrepreneurship and communications. It testifies to our desire to consolidate our place among the best research-intensive universities in Canada and in the world,” Sylvain Charbonneau, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, stated. “The program redesign will also spur innovative and interdisciplinary research by our faculty, in a spirit of inclusion, diversity and equity.” 

Holders of the two new Distinguished Research Chairs: 

Paul Corkum (Faculty of Science) – Distinguished Research Chair in Attosecond Science 

Imaging mass cytometry has proven to be a powerful tool for visualizing and identifying biological molecules in micron-scale organic tissues. Professor Paul Corkum’s research program aims to achieve a nanoscale resolution unlocking unprecedented insights into cell functions at their most fundamental scale. 

Stephen Ferguson (Faculty of Medicine) – Distinguished Research Chair in Neurodegeneration 

Professor Stephen Ferguson’s research has significantly advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the signaling and desensitization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), ultimately showing how the regulation of GPCR cell biology can promote new therapeutic treatments for complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. 

Holders of the two new University Research Chairs (spring 2022): 

Derek Pratt (Faculty of Science) – University Research Chair in Free Radical Chemistry and Biology  

Professor Derek Pratt’s group specializes in the mechanisms of free radical reactions. The group applies its insights in diverse contexts to develop new, synthetic methodologies and strategies for the synthesis of novel complex molecules to better understand the mechanism of oxidative cell death that drives degenerative disease and to enable the design of new molecules that prevent it. 

Vincent Tabard-Cossa (Faculty of Science) – University Research Chair in Nanoscale Biophysics and Nanopore Science  

Professor Vincent Tabard-Cossa's research program focuses on elucidating the fundamentals of nanopore transport properties and applying this knowledge and these discoveries to developing new tools and methods for characterizing different biological or chemical systems at the single-molecule level. 

Holders of the two renewed University Research Chairs (spring 2022): 

Trevor Hall (Faculty of Engineering) – University Research Chair in Photonic Circuits and Integration 

Professor Trevor Hall’s research program seeks to advance photonics-based sources of microwave and optical oscillations to resolve the tension between desirable attributes, such as exceptionally low noise and drift, high spurious resonance suppression, wide-range tuning, compact integration and operation at microwave to THz frequencies. 

Peter Jaskiewicz (Telfer – School of Management) – University Research Chair in Enduring Entrepreneurship  

Entrepreneurial families control most businesses worldwide and are a vital part of the global economy, yet little is known about how family differences and changes affect their firms. Professor Peter Jaskiewicz’s research probes the fundamental features of enterprising families, how they shape their firms, and why some family firms behave and perform more successfully than others over time. 

Holders of the six new University Research Chairs (summer 2022): 

Jude Mary Cénat (Faculty of Social Sciences) – University Research Chair on Health in Black Communities  

Through his research activities, which are rooted in an interdisciplinary, intersectional, collaborative and anti-racism approach, Professor Jude Mary Cénat endeavours above all to reduce and eliminate racial disparities in physical and mental health in Black communities. 

Elizabeth Dubois (Faculty of Arts) – University Research Chair in Politics, Communication and Technology 

Professor Elizabeth Dubois’ research program focuses on the social dynamics of automation and AI in political information environments, and on mobilizing knowledge to support the development of better public policy that minimizes online harms and prioritizes the fair and ethical development and uses of automation and AI. 

Mamadou Fall (Faculty of Engineering) – University Research Chair in Geotechnical Engineering for Net Zero Transitions 

Professor Mamadou Fall’s research aims to address the major geotechnological and safety challenges/obstacles that nuclear energy technology still faces, to assist the development and implementation of clean energy production technologies enabling us to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emission by 2050. 

Eva Hemmer (Faculty of Science) – University Research Chair in Materials Chemistry 

Advanced optical materials have tremendous potential to help us solve societal challenges related to health and energy problems. Professor Eva Hemmer’s research will tackle these challenges through the design of next-generation, rare-earth-based nanoparticles, using an innovative microwave-assisted synthesis technology combined with photoluminescence spectroscopy and hyperspectral microscopy for optical characterization. 

Chidi Oguamanam (Faculty of Law - Common Law Section) – University Research Chair in Sustainable Bio-Innovation, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Global Knowledge Governance 

Professor Chidi Oguamanam’s research program aims to advance just societies through equitable participation by the world’s Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in global knowledge production and the resulting benefits. 

Katey Rayner (Faculty of Medicine/University of Ottawa Heart Institute) – University Research Chair in Vascular & Metabolic Inflammation 

Professor Katey Rayner’s research program focuses on the common mechanisms that trigger inflammation in the vascular system during metabolic stress, and how we can use this knowledge to develop new therapeutics and diagnostic tools to treat chronic cardiometabolic diseases.