York U gains six new Canada Research Chairs and two renewed Canada Research Chairs


York University welcomes the appointment of six new Canada Research Chairs and two renewed Canada Research Chairs.

Tier 1 CRCs will receive $1.4 million over seven years and Tier 2 CRCs will receive $500,000 over 5 years. The CRC is part of a package of CRC appointments announced by The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science today.

In all, the government announced an investment of $260 million to fund the appointment of 305 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 53 Canadian degree-granting post-secondary institutions. In addition, Minister Duncan announced $342 million through the Research Support Fund to cover the indirect costs of research at Canadian institutions, as well as $17 million in infrastructure support for the Canada Research Chairs Program through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

“York is delighted to welcome 6 new Canada Research Chairs and two successful renewals.  The CRC program which helps to support some of the world’s best researchers in building their innovative research programs continues to make a strong contribution to the development of research at York,” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation at York University.

Peter Backx, Professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, is Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology (Tier 1).  His research program focuses on Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia, which severely impairs heart function, contributes to heart disease progression and is the major cause of stroke. Although exercise provides enormous cardiovascular benefit, excessive exercise can also induce AF.

His research program will determine the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in AF induction by cardiovascular disease, reveal the modulating influences of exercise, and identify novel approaches for treating and preventing AF.

Rosemary Coombe, Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication, and Culture (Tier 1). She will continue to build a larger research program which explores the proliferation of cultural rights in international policy fields that simultaneously enable new forms of informational capital, afford new opportunities for communities to exercise political autonomies on cultural grounds, and enable the revitalization of living and customary law in resource management.

While mapping an unexplored transnational political actor network that has institutionalised new understandings of biocultural rights and responsibilities, she considers the development of new technologies for community environmental and political self-government.

Christopher Kyriakides, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Research in Race and Racialization (Tier 2).

Kyriakides' 'Racialized Reception Contexts' research program focuses on configurations of racialization in relation to the meaning of ‘East/West’, ‘South/North’ and articulations of racism and nationalism in the reception of refugees in Europe, North America and the Middle East. His research is guided by the understanding that racialization, particularly in light of the post-9/11 ‘war on terror,’ works with the historical conditions of racism specific to a given national formation, but in a dynamic global context. The initial five-country analysis, including Canada, the United States, Italy, Greece and Jordan, will examine the extent to which policy instruments and media discourses related to the ‘global refugee crisis’ negatively impact on racialized communities in each reception context.

Deborah McGregor
, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and Faculty of Environmental Studies, is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice (Tier 2).  McGregor is working to advance the theory and practice of environmental justice scholarship by engaging with Indigenous intellectual traditions.

Her research program seeks to develop a distinctive environmental justice framework based on Indigenous knowledge systems and the lived experience of Indigenous peoples. Her research will provide a much deeper understanding of environmental injustices facing Indigenous peoples, and even more importantly, lead to viable approaches to addressing such challenges.

Doug Van Nort, Assistant Professor in the Digital Media Program and the Department of Theatre in the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, is Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance (Tier 2). His research focuses on the exploration of collective expression and creation in digitally-mediated performance. His work examines questions of instrumentality, gesture and human/machine agency in the context of envisioning new forms of interdisciplinary creative expression. He develops international cross-disciplinary collaborations as case studies and new software/hardware interactive technologies as support mechanisms in the pursuit of new forms of embodied aesthetic knowledge.

Van Nort is the founding director of AMPD’s new DIStributed PERformance and Sensorial immersion (DisPerSion) Lab, a space featuring reactive, intelligent digital media where researchers and practitioners in experimental music, dance, theatre and computation come together to explore how we sense, process and interact with the performing arts in the post/digital age.

Sean Tulin, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, is Canada Research Chair in Particle Physics and Cosmology (Tier 2).  The existence of dark matter is one of the Universe’s great mysteries. All stars, planets, and interstellar gas are made from atoms, and yet atomic matter represents only 15% of the total matter in the Universe. The remaining 85% is dark matter. Dark matter provides the cosmic foundation for galaxies to form, but its microphysical properties remain unknown.

Tulin’s research provides new directions toward discovering dark matter’s elusive particle nature. By combining astrophysics, particle theory, and cosmology, he is developing new ideas to illuminate dark matter’s particle dynamics through its effect on cosmic structure.

Graham Wakefield, Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Art and Art History and the Digital Media Program in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and the founding director of the Computational Worldmaking lab, is Canada Research Chair in Interactive Information Visualization (Tier 2).  His research will advance content creation and interaction design of immersive experiences in virtual and augmented realities, which are becoming ubiquitous in media, entertainment and the arts, by intensifying dynamic visualization and rich participation in increasingly open-ended “worlds”.

Cutting across work in generative art, computer graphics, human-computer interaction, artificial life, complex systems and compiler technology, Wakefield’s research program reinforces influential work being done at York in augmented reality, computer vision, stereoscopic cinema and ubiquitous screens, and will result in transferable research, open-source tools and novel creative works.

Jianhong Wu, Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Director of the York Institute for Health Research, is Canada Research Chair in Industrial and Applied Mathematics (Tier 1). Wu’s research investigates disease modelling through Mathematics.

His fundamental research is inspired by and applied to real life applications in pattern recognition of complex data, prediction of transmission dynamics and spatial spread of communicable diseases, evaluation of mitigation strategies for controlling disease spread and biological invasion. His research program will incorporate the training of highly qualified personel into its highly interdisciplinary research projects and outreach activities so that curriculum development, industrial outreach, policy impact, interdisciplinary collaboration and development of fundamental research are well integrated.

For more information, visit the Canada Research Chairs website.

York University has always been known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world.  Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds.  York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 24 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.

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