University of Saskatchewan

September 19, 2014   

U of S Distinguished Chairs honour Saskatchewan world leaders in research

Brian Rossnagel
October 25, 2010

Four of Canada’s most internationally renowned and accomplished researchers in the fields of animal nutrition, rural health and safety, intelligent control systems, and crop development have been honoured as University of Saskatchewan Distinguished Chairs.

“Through their long careers, these individuals have made accomplishments that have had real and lasting impact,” said U of S Vice-Provost Jim Germida. “In addition, their commitment to teaching and outreach has ensured their knowledge continues to benefit the communities our university serves.”

The Distinguished Chairs Program celebrates outstanding achievement in research, scholarly, or artistic work by U of S faculty or emeriti. The honourary appointments are held for three years, renewable for a second term. Four individuals have been selected in this inaugural round.

David Christensen spent most of his career in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. He began his education at the U of S and completed his graduate studies at McGill. He started his research career at Cornell University in New York before returning to the U of S.

For more than four decades, Christensen built an international reputation for his research in dairy nutrition. He was among the first to recognize the importance of trace minerals in livestock production, and feed formulations based on his research have been widely adopted in western Canada. His work in developing feed applications for agricultural co-products such as canola meal helped open new international markets for Prairie grain producers.

An excellent teacher and researcher, Christensen imparts a blend of science, practical management, and commercial application. Named as a Professor Emeritus in 2003, he has supervised more than 50 Masters and PhD students and still sits on eight graduate student committees. His passion for sharing research knowledge extends to international outreach to Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and Asia. The esteem in which he is held is evidenced by his many national and international awards from the research community, professional industry, and producer organizations.

Dr. James Dosman, the “father of agricultural medicine” in Canada, has devoted his career to improving the health of, and preventing injury to, farmers and their families. He began at the U of S, then completed a residency and postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University that established him in his specialty of respiratory medicine. He returned to the U of S to found the Division of Respiratory Medicine in the College of Medicine in 1975, and, 11 years later, the Centre for Agricultural Medicine – now known as the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA). The organization is the only one in Canada to provide research, education, and health promotion to agricultural and rural populations – a crucial service to the families working in one of the most dangerous occupations in Canada and the U.S.

Dosman worked with local municipal governments to establish the Agricultural Health and Safety Network in Saskatchewan, which has grown to provide health and safety education and services to more than 28,000 thousand farm families. He was instrumental in establishing the Canadian Coalition for Agricultural Safety and Rural Health and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Program. Now a Professor Emeritus, his work to reduce dangers to farm families across the province and the country have won him numerous awards, as well as accolades from the farm communities to which he has devoted his career.

Madan M. Gupta is recognized internationally for groundbreaking work in fuzzy logic (mathematics of human language) and neural networks (mathematics of the human brain) and their application to advanced robotic control systems. Such systems have diverse application, from passenger trains to autofocus systems for digital cameras. A Professor Emeritus and director of the Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory at the College of Engineering, Gupta and his colleagues push the frontiers of computational fuzzy neural networks in fields such as aerospace, medicine, business, and the courts of law. He has shared his knowledge and expertise through both undergraduate and graduate courses in adaptive control systems, neuro-control systems, neuro-vision systems and fuzzy logic, as well as workshops and keynote talks around the world. He has supervised numerous international graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting professors conducting research in these fields.

Gupta was educated in India and pursued graduate studies in the UK, achieving his PhD from the University of Warwick. He joined the U of S in 1967, and was awarded an earned Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in 1998. His publications include more than 900 scientific papers and co-authorship or editorship of about 24 books. He is a Life Fellow of several prestigious international associations, and his research has won international awards. A founder of several professional associations and technical journals, he serves on more than 15 editorial boards.

Brian Rossnagel is one of Canada’s best known crop scientists and one of the world’s top experts in barley and oat breeding and genetics. Based at the Crop Development Centre at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, he is responsible for more than 90 new cultivars, several of which have become the preferred varieties for western Canadian farmers. Some are unique, such as the first hull-less barley, or have set a new standard for quality, such as CDC Dancer oat. He developed the world’s first high oil, low lignin hull feed oat with a similar nutritional profile to barley, and a low-phytate barley which can help reduce the environmental impact of high intensity hog operations.

Rossnagel has served on the executive and as an organizer for several provincial, national, and international oat and barley organizations. He has served on the board of the Canadian Western Agribition, including a term as president. He is committed to ensuring the knowledge and products of research reach the producer and industry. He gives numerous presentations, media interviews, conducts field days and tours, and speaks frequently about his research and particularly, its application to the field. A fierce advocate for sound public policies, he often speaks against those that would impede scientific creativity and innovation.

For more information on the U of S Distinguished Chairs program, visit:


For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
University Research Communications
(306) 966-1425

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