The University of Ottawa recognizes two young researchers

Milena Parent and Jeremy Kerr receive Young Researcher of the Year awards for their exceptional contributions to research and training students.

by Martine Batanian

Jeremy Kerr, a dedicated researcher Associate professor in the Department of Biology, Jeremy Kerr, is becoming an increasingly influential figure in the field of biodiversity. His dedication to protecting the environment and human health is gaining him admiration from peers and students alike. He received a Young Researcher of the Year Award for his contribution to conserving biodiversity and ecosystems through his research on changes in global biodiversity and in the field of macroecology. 

“We have made some very exciting major discoveries,” explains the senior researcher with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Facility for Ecoinformatics Research. “One of the discoveries has resolved a long-standing problem among macroecologists, showing that we can predict how climate change will affect where species are found.” 

It turns out that the techniques used by Kerr in his research on climate change have surprising applications in the field of human health. Recently, Jeremy Kerr and his team became involved in the fight against malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. “Through the use of satellite images, we were able to track the breeding habitat for mosquito species that transmit malaria and to predict the prevalence of malaria among children in Tanzania. If we can predict where malaria would be most severe, we can direct anti-malaria efforts to those areas. Our hope is to reduce the terrible malaria burden confronting these communities.”

Milena Parent, a pioneer in her field When the winners of the Young Researcher of the Year awards were announced, Milena Parent, associate professor at the School of Human Kinetics, was wrapped up in the excitement of the Olympics. Her research in the areas of sport management and community-based sports partnerships, which earned her this award, had put her right in the heat of the action earlier this year in Vancouver. 

“The University agreed to my temporary assignment with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) because it would allow me to follow this organization for four months,” she says. In fact, Milena Parent is the first researcher ever to study Olympic organizing committee governance and to also be a member of the committee. 

Her current research allowed her to focus specifically on the role of the different levels of government involved in the Vancouver Olympic Games with two specific goals in mind: to identify the ways the different governments coordinate activities among themselves and how coordination between them and VANOC occurs; to evaluate the democratic governance of the Games with respect to performance and responsibility. The hope is that this study will allow recommendations to be developed to help governments better manage future events.

Congratulations to both our researchers! 

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