The Royal Society of Canada welcomes 11 uOttawa researchers

Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A record number of University of Ottawa researchers have been elected fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). This year, seven professors have been awarded this highest distinction for a scholar, scientist or artist in Canada.

In addition, four researchers have been elected to the sixth cohort of the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, which recognizes emerging research leaders.

“The University of Ottawa is proud that so many of its researchers are being recognized for their academic excellence by the Royal Society of Canada,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research. “I wish to congratulate the new fellows and members on this distinction marking their dedication to pushing back the frontiers of knowledge in their respective fields of research.”


Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

 Peter Beyer, Kym Boycott, Robert Boyd, Gilles Comeau, Jeremy Grimshaw, Errol Mendes and Sanni Yaya

From left to right: Peter Beyer, Kym Boycott, Robert Boyd, Gilles Comeau, Jeremy Grimshaw, Errol Mendes and Sanni Yaya

Peter Beyer (Faculty of Arts) of the Department of Classics and Religious Studies is one of the world’s foremost experts on the relationship between religion and globalization. His research has produced groundbreaking findings on religious and cultural diversity in Canada, religious expression of immigrants and Canadian and French-Canadian religious history. His pioneering work has garnered critical international acclaim.

Kym Boycott (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor, a senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute and the Canada Research Chair in Rare Disease Precision Health. She uses genomic sequencing approaches to read the genetic code and uncover the causes of rare childhood diseases. A renowned clinical geneticist, she leads a Canadian consortium of clinicians and scientists dedicated to identifying genes linked to hundreds of these diseases, with a view to incorporate genomic sequencing into routine diagnostics and patient care. Boycott and the consortium’s remarkable research has led to the discovery of 150 new disease genes and has provided diagnoses to thousands of patients.

Robert Boyd (Faculty of Science) is a professor in the Department of Physics and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is the Canada Excellence Research Chair Laureate in Quantum Nonlinear Optics. Within the field of optical physics, his research and pedagogical work focuses on nonlinear optics, including quantum imaging methods, the development of photonic devices and studies of “slow” and “fast” light propagation. His research aims at developing new imaging technology that would give the medical community, among others, the ability to record images of an unprecedented level of detail and quality, and therefore help improve our health and quality of life.

Gilles Comeau (Faculty of Arts) is a professor in the School of Music, where he coordinates the multidisciplinary Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory. Comeau has developed a scientific-based framework for his field of expertise, incorporating research from various disciplines, including psychology, computer science, biomedical engineering, neurosciences, audiology and medicine. He has considerably advanced knowledge on musical literacy, injuries caused by playing a musical instrument, technology-assisted piano pedagogy and performance anxiety, among others.

Jeremy Grimshaw (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor in the Department of Medicine and School of Epidemiology and Public Health, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake. His innovative research in implementation science has contributed to bridging the gap between research and clinical care and to improving health care delivery and systems in Canada, Australia and Europe. Grimshaw’s work has, for example, helped to improve nursing management of patients with acute stroke, increasing the likelihood that patients go home and are alive four years after their stroke.

Errol Mendes (Faculty of Law, Common Law Section) is a professor and lawyer whose teaching and research interests include constitutional law, human rights and international law and governance. The author or editor of 11 books, he has offered unique perspectives in his areas of expertise and has advised governments, corporations, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations on some of the world’s most challenging questions concerning strengthening human rights, the rule of law, combating mass atrocities and promoting equality and non-discrimination.

Sanni Yaya (Faculty of Social Sciences) is a professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies. An internationally recognized pioneer in his field and an accomplished researcher, Yaya has made significant contributions to three key areas: health economics, health funding in Southern countries and inequities in maternal and child health in those regions. Through his research, he has repositioned the importance of health within the social sciences, making it a focal issue in international development.


Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Denis Lacelle, Katey Rayner, Christine Straehle and Vincent Tabard-Cossa.

From left to right: Denis Lacelle, Katey Rayner, Christine Straehle and Vincent Tabard-Cossa

Denis Lacelle (Faculty of Arts) is a professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics who specializes in ground ice conditions and permafrost in the Arctic and Antarctic. Lacelle’s research group has developed a numerical model of ground ice content and its evolution in the upper 30 metres of permafrost, laying the foundation for developing the first quantitative ground ice map of Arctic Canada. The output of this research will be greatly relevant to Northern communities, decision-makers and global climate modellers.

Katey Rayner (Faculty of Medicine), is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and a scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Her research focuses on underlying causes of heart disease such as vascular inflammation, reaching beyond typical risk factors like cholesterol or high blood pressure. Her team is also working on uncovering new genes that might cause heart disease and is investigating how micro ribonucleic acids (RNAs) might be used as therapeutics to treat cardiometabolic diseases in the future.

Christine Straehle (Faculty of Social Sciences) is a professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Her research focuses on the ethics of migration, questions of global justice and notions of vulnerability and autonomy in moral philosophy. She is also recognized as an expert on questions of public health ethics and bioethics, with a focus on access to care and distribution of health resources in Canada and globally.

Vincent Tabard-Cossa (Faculty of Science) is a professor in the Department of Physics and director of the Laboratory for Applied Single-Molecule Biophysics. Through his research program, he has developed nano-scale procedures and tools to study the behaviour of individual biological molecules such as DNA and protein in a purely electronic manner. Tabard-Cossa’s research, with applications in precision medicine and digital information storage, is destined to have a major impact on the everyday lives of Canadians.

The researchers will be inducted to the Royal Society of Canada at a ceremony to be held in Ottawa in November. With this latest cohort, the University of Ottawa now boasts 117 RSC fellows and 24 members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Read the Royal Society of Canada’s media release.

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