Research chairs roundup: the University of Ottawa recognizes top scholars

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Last fall, to cap off a year of distinction in research, the University of Ottawa was awarded four Canada Research Chairs from a namesake federal program that invests about $265 million a year to attract and retain top scholars. In addition, the University granted University Research Chairs to four professors in recognition of their exceptional research accomplishments and solid teaching records.

“The awarding of the chairs honours excellence in strategic areas of research for the University of Ottawa,” said Interim Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “These professors are all blazing new trails in their respective disciplines, advancing knowledge while contributing to crucial issues of national and international scope.”

The latest recipients are:


Canada Research Chairs

Robert Boyd, Faculty of Science, Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics

As an international leader in nonlinear optics, Robert Boyd has helped put the University of Ottawa’s research program in photonics on the world map. His fundamental research on how light interacts with matter continues to break new ground. Future applications of this research include new technologies for optical communications, spectrometers with unparalleled precision and improved security in information transmission.

Ian Kerr, Faculty of Law, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology

Internationally known for his expertise in Internet and privacy law, Ian Kerr is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of robotics and artificial intelligence law and policy. His  research deals with the need to understand the risks, opportunities and related legal, ethical and policy questions raised by the increasing prevalence of robots and artificial intelligence in our daily lives.

Juan (Tito) Scaiano, Faculty of Science, Canada Research Chair in Applied Photochemistry

As founding director of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Advanced Materials Research (CAMaR), Tito Scaiano specializes in the use of light in catalysis and new materials research. His research aims to improve our understanding of catalytic and photocatalytic processes at the molecular level and could lead to advances in spectroscopy and in the energy and biomedical sectors.

Teresa Scassa, Faculty of Law, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy

Teresa Scassa is one of Canada’s foremost experts in intellectual property, privacy, law and technology. The objective of her current research is to advance knowledge, and to develop law and policy frameworks, on questions of ownership and control of a broad range of data, including personal information. Her work is critical to shaping information law and policy in Canada and contributes to international debates on these issues.


University Research Chairs

André Beauchemin, Faculty of Science, University Research Chair in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

André Beauchemin’s research focuses on the interface between organic and medicinal chemistry, and catalysis. He works on the development of new reactions and catalysts for the synthesis of molecules containing nitrogen. This is important for the development of pharmaceuticals since more than 90 percent of drugs on the market contain at least one nitrogen atom in their structure.

Pascale Fournier, Faculty of Law, University Research Chair in Legal Pluralism and Comparative Law

Pascale Fournier’s research on the intersection between religious and secular law from a feminist perspective has made its mark around the world. She studies access to justice, particularly for women and children belonging to minority groups. Her upcoming research will focus on the impact of religious family law on women in Lebanon and will explore the consequences of the migration of Lebanese religious family law in Quebec through private international law.

Julie Morand-Ferron, Faculty of Science, University Research Chair in Cognitive Ecology

Little is known about how rapid environmental change affects behaviour or cognition in wildlife. Julie Morand-Ferron is playing a leading role in developing the evolutionary ecology of cognition, a new subdiscipline of biology. She is probing the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of variations in the cognitive abilities — such as learning, memory and decision-making — of bird populations.

Dawn Stacey, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Research Chair in Knowledge Translation to Patients

Knowledge translation is the use of evidence from research to make informed decisions. Dawn Stacey’s research aims to develop and evaluate knowledge translation tools, such as patient decision aids to engage patients and their families in making decisions about health care. She has also led the development and implementation of cancer symptom practice guides to help nurses guide patients in self-care and the timely management of more severe symptoms.  Her work has informed health policies across Canada and around the world.

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