Ten emerging and established researchers appointed York Research Chairs



TORONTO, Jan. 14, 2015 − Ten emerging and established researchers from across YorkUniversity have been appointed York Research Chairs. The appointments are the first in a new program established to build, support and intensify the world-renowned research under way at the University.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of our 10 new York Research Chairs and congratulate them on this important achievement,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “York Research Chairs are recognized for their leadership in scholarship, research and creative activities. These appointments span the wide spectrum of our comprehensive research strengths and reflect the world-class calibre of research taking place across the University.”

Tier I Chairs

Isabella Bakker, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), received a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Global Economic Governance, Gender and Human Rights. Bakker’s research places a critical lens on global economic policy and governance practices. She is also examining reproductive healthcare, education, and welfare policies, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis with the central aim of supporting the development of progressive, human-centred economic theories and policies.

Christopher Innes, Department of English, LA&PS, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Performance and Culture to advance new research on the historical and contemporary aspects of cultural expression within carnival and street theatre. The award will also support Innes’ research on Bertolt Brecht, cabaret and popular art, as well as the populist basis of Avant-Garde Theatre.

Roger Keil, Faculty of Environmental Studies, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Global Sub/Urban Studies in recognition of his research contributions to the field of urban and environmental research. Keil’s research examines suburbanization, which is now a global phenomenon and a defining feature of the “urban century” we have just entered. His work will add to a greater understanding of our suburban futures, as new forms of work, housing, mobility and governance, as well as how human/non-human nature relationships take shape.

Sergey Krylov, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, was awarded an inaugural Tier 1 York Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry. The appointment supports the development of new technologies for understanding, diagnosing and treating cancer.  As the director of the Centre for Research on Biomolecular Chemistry, Krylov’s lab will work collaboratively with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and instrumentation companies on the development of personalized approaches to cancer medicine.

Obiora Okafor, Osgoode Hall Law School, is the inaugural Tier 1 York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies. Building on an ongoing research project about Canadian/Nigerian cooperation on human rights (including in the sub-areas of economic and social rights, judicial strengthening, institution building, democratization and poverty alleviation), and other research projects, the award supports the expansion of Okafor’s research to include a focus on the study of Canadian human rights cooperation initiatives with all of the countries in Anglophone West Africa.

Tier II Chairs

Mike Daly, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Planetary Science in recognition of his outstanding contribution to space-flight instrumentation research at York. The York Research Chair will enable Daly’s participation in NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and the return of Canada’s first sample of material from another solar system.

Jane Heffernan, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, is an inaugural Tier 2 York Research Chair in Multi-Scale Quantitative Methods for Evidence-Based Health Policy.  Heffernan’s research responds to the pressing need for new statistical, mathematical, and computational methods of mapping, understanding and controlling infectious diseases and aims to influence the development of new evidence-based public health policies. Heffernan is also the director of the Centre for Disease Modelling, and is involved in global health initiatives.

Anna Hudson, Department of Visual Arts and Art History, School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design, is the new Tier 2 York Research Chair in Inuit Cultural Mobilization, which will advance research into Inuit cultural globalization by exploring contemporary fusions of Indigenous storytelling with hip-hop, performance, game design, and videography. Supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant, the Chair will promote the development of a more equitable information and communication technology infrastructure and greater participation by Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut artists in global cultural dialogue, exchange, and digital preservation of Inuit art and cultural heritage.

Fuyuki Kurasawa, Department of Sociology, LA&PS, is an inaugural Tier 2 York Research Chair in Global Digital Citizenship. His research will examine how the rise of digital culture is enabling laypeople and experts to collaborate in tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. Kurasawa will also examine how new technologies are reshaping practices of creation, evaluation, and dissemination of knowledge about such global problems.

Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health to support her research on linking early childhood mental health challenges with behaviours seen when children calm down from painful immunizations. The appointment will enable Pillai Riddell to translate her research findings into a community-based screening and intervention program that will integrate early childhood mental health into routine medical care.

More about the York Research Chair program

The York Research Chairs program is envisioned as an internal twin for the national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. The level of support and recognition provided to York Research Chairs is expected to be aligned with supports and recognition provided through the CRC program.

York Research Chairs are available at two levels analogous to CRC chairs. Tier I York Research Chairs are open to established research leaders at the rank of Full Professor. Tier II York Research Chairs are aimed at emerging research leaders within 15 years of their first academic appointment at the rank of Associate or Assistant Professor. Both have five-year terms that are renewable in the context of open-competition based on peer review and the continuing availability of resources.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 25 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 280 leading universities worldwide. York U’s community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 275,000 alumni.

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca