University of Saskatchewan

September 23, 2014   

University of Saskatchewan Chairholder Profiles


Tier I Chairs

Daniel Béland
Canada Research Chair in Public Policy
Daniel Béland examines the impact of ideas on policy change through case studies of both Canadian and American public policy. His research will lead to a more thorough understanding of the different relationships between ideas, politics and policy change, and the impact these relationships have on people’s lives on both sides of the border
Personal research website:

Lawrence Brawley
Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Larry Brawley explores how to help people improve their physical activity, and importantly, how to maintain these new behaviours in the long-term. His interventions have already improved the quality of life of individual older adults and he is now investigating how to implement changes at the communal level.

Dean Chapman
Canada Research Chair in X-ray Imaging
Dean Chapman is perfecting diffraction enhanced X-ray imaging (DEI), an X-ray imaging technique which utilizes X-ray scatter to improve image quality. The improved images provided by this technique can show cancers with better clarity while delivering X-ray doses less than three per cent of what current techniques deliver.

Ravindra Chibbar
Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biology for Crop Quality
Ravi Chibbar develops “designer” crops by modifying species at the molecular level, rather than using “genetic modification” as it is usually understood. His previous work with wheat and current work with pulse crops is improving crop quality and giving Canadian producers an edge in the global market.

Ken Coates
Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation
Ken Coates is examining how the economies of scientific and technological innovation can be spread into rural areas rather than being limited to metropolitan areas. By working with government, business and community groups he is identifying opportunities and best practices that will create more diverse economic opportunities in rural areas.

Miroslav (Mirek) Cygler
Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine Using Synchrotron Light
Mirek Cygler uses synchrotron X-rays to learn how disease-causing bacteria invade and interact with cells on the molecular level. His research will enable new strategies for defending against bacteria, especially against antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” like Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile.
Personal research website:

Ajay Dalai
Canada Research Chair in Bioenergy and Environmentally Friendly Chemical Processing
Ajay Dalai is developing environmentally friendly alternatives to petroleum-based fuels such as biodiesel from non-food-grade canola or soybean, and creating liquid fuels from organic materials such as crop residues or industrial waste. Using renewable sources for liquid fuels promises to reduce the pollution from petroleum fuels, while creating new opportunities for Saskatchewan producers and industry.
Personal research website:

Graham George
Canada Research Chair in X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy
Graham George analyzes the molecular composition of elements such as sulfur, arsenic, selenium, and mercury using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. His research is revealing the role these potentially toxic elements play in living systems – including humans –  and is contributing to internatonal efforts to ameliorate the effects of groundwater contamination in Bangladesh..

John Giesy
Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology
John Giesy tracks how contaminants move through an environment and what effects they have on humans and wildlife. As one of the world’s most cited environmental toxicologists, his research provides government and industry with the techniques and knowledge needed to create economic development without causing environmental harm.

Philip Griebel
Canada Research Chair in Neonatal Mucosal Immunology
Philip Griebel is investigating the immune defenses of the small intestine’s mucous membrane in newborns. He has found that these cells have a much greater ability to respond to vaccination than was previously thought. With further investigation, this could be exploited to  help control diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.

Akira Hirose
Canada Research Chair in Plasma Science
Akira Hirose develops technologies based on plasma, the phase of matter that makes up our sun and other stars and is found on earth in such applications as welding . His research  is contributing to worldwide efforts to harness fusion power, as well as plasma-based manufacturing methods for products such as ultra-durable coatings and flat panel displays..
Personal research website:

Safa Kasap
Canada Research Chair in Electronic and Optoelectronic Materials and Devices
Safa Kasap is developing new photoconductor films and detectors to advance X-ray technology into the digital age. Digital radiography offers improvements in diagnosis and uses technology much more affordable than today’s equipment which is often based on technology almost 40 years old.
Personal research website:

James Miller
Canada Research Chair in Native-newcomer Relations
Jim Miller is undertaking a systematic study of treaty-making between Europeans and Natives from the time of New France until present day. By examining 300 years of oral and written agreements, his comprehensive research will lead to an increased understanding of Canadian history useful for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal policy makers today.

Alexander Moewes
Canada Research Chair in Materials Science using Synchrotron Radiation
Alex Moewes is exploring the electronic and magnetic properties of molecules and atoms by using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron . His work is contributing to our understanding of spintronics, a new field which aims to exploit electron  spin as another way of storing data, andpromises dramatic increases in the processing speed of computers.
Personal research website:

Soledade Pedras
Canada Research Chair in Bioorganic and Agricultural Chemistry
Soledade Pedras is exploring natural defense processes used by plants, and in particular compounds called paldoxins that are integral to these defenses. This knowledge could lead to crop protection products that are safer for farmers and the environment.
Personal research website:

Ingrid Pickering
Canada Research Chair in Molecular Environmental Science
Ingrid Pickering uses the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to examine how elements such as arsenic and selenium interact at the molecular level in the environment and within living organisms. Her work is contributing to internatonal efforts to ameliorate the effects of groundwater contamination in Bangladesh.

John W. Pomeroy
Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change
John Pomeroy is characterizing water resources in the prairies and the north, including scarcity of water and significant snow accumulation. His research is leading to an improved predictive model of water management specifically designed to help people living in these regions prepare for and adapt to for the effects of climate change and increased demand for water from growing populations

Jean-Pierre St.-Maurice
Canada Research Chair in Environmental Sciences
Jean-Pierre St.-Maurice studies the effect of solar storms on the Earth’s upper atmosphere using satellites, a new radar called PolarDARN, and theoretical modelling.  His work will help prevent the negative effects of solar storms on satellites, learn their impact on Earth’s climate, and explain the mysteries of the northern lights.

Jerzy Szpunar
Canada Research Chair in Advanced Materials for Clean Energy
Jerzy Szpunar examines new materials for use by Canada’s energy industry such as radiation-resistant materials for nuclear reactors and technologies that are making hydrogen into a promising source for energy in the future. These improved materials ensure the increased safety and productivity of Canada’s industrial workplaces.

John Tse
Canada Research Chair in Materials Science
John Tse uses the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to explore the nature of compounds and how they behave under extreme pressure, how materials conduct energy, and how electrons behave within materials . His work is leading to better understanding of advanced materials for use in hydrogen and electricity storage as well as the space industry and aircraft manufacturing.


Tier II Chairs

Sylvia Abonyi
Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health
Sylvia Abonyi works with Aboriginal communities to investigate how culture shapes the health of Aboriginal Canadians, particularly in priority areas such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Her community-based research is being used to design culturally informed policies and programs that aim to reduce illnesses and improve the quality of life for those already ill.

Sven Achenbach
Canada Research Chair in Micro and Nano Device Fabrication
Sven Achenbach uses the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to produce microsystems that are 100 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. These manufacturing techniques are the foundation for a wide range of next-generation devices, from medical diagnostics to cell phones.
Personal research website:

David Cooper
Canada Research Chair in Synchrotron Bone Imaging
David Cooper is combining micro-CT scanning and synchrotron X-ray technology to create 3-D images of microscopic structures inside bones –the first non-invasive technique in Canada to do so. He is focusing on osteons, a central component in the process of bone tissue replacement, in order to help find ways to fight osteoporosis and other bone-related health challenges.

Erika Dyck
Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine
Erika Dyck investigates the historical, medical and political attitudes towards mental health care in 20th century Alberta and Saskatchewan. By examining the use of medical experimentation using psychoactive drugs such as LSD, institutionalization and eugenic sterilization, her research is providing important background to inform current discussion around mental healthcare.

Markus Hecker
Canada Research Chair in Predictive Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Markus Hecker fuses new and traditional technologies to better determine how factors such as human pollution and climate change affect western and northern Canadian watersheds. His research will provide solutions to improve the sustainable management of water quality and aquatic species.

Lisa Kalynchuk
Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Neuroscience
Lisa Kalynchuk is identifying the neurobiological changes in the brain that lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Comparing the mechanisms of the brain involved with these disorders may lead to improved pharmacological treatments, and eventually, preventative strategies for high-risk individuals.

Timothy Kelly
Canada Research Chair in Photovoltaics
Tim Kelly is improving the efficiency of organic solar cells with the goal of providing an affordable way to produce electricity from the sun. Current silicon-based solar panels are efficient but expensive to manufacture, while organic solar cells are more economical but less efficient. Byimproving efficiency of organic solar cells, Kelly hopes to make solar energy an more viable energy option.
Personal research website:

Dwight Newman
Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law
Dwight Newman explores ongoing development of indigenous rights and their interactions with natural resource development and constitutional and international law.

Bogdan Popescu
Canada Research Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Research
Bogdan Popescu explores the role of metals in the production of myelin, the insulation for nerves in the brain. This insulation is destroyed in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), so a better understanding of its fabrication could lead to improved drugs and treatments for MS.

Catherine Trask
Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders
Catherine Trask studies how agricultural workers are exposed to musculoskeletal disorders through high-risk factors such as heavy lifting, repetitive movements and vibrating machinery. She develops prevention strategies and works with both government and industry to ensure the end result will improve the health of agricultural workers.

Qiaoqin Yang
Canada Research Chair in Nanoengineering Coating Technologies
Qiaoqin Yang creates nanoengineered composite coatings which are extremely durable against wear and can be designed at the molecular level to have other properties such as high corrosion resistance. These superhard coatings can be used in numerous ways, from improving the durability of machine parts, to lengthening the life of artificial joint implants.
Personal research website:


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