Ten University of Ottawa professors receive Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2020

2019 Early Researcher awardees

Top row, from left to right: Emilio Alarcon, Marceline Côté, Aimée Craft, Ksenia Dolgaleva, Cory Harris

Bottom row, from left to right: Tiago Mestre, Daniel McIsaac, Lara Pilutti, Adam Shuhendler, Emily Standen


The University of Ottawa has received 10 Early Researcher Awards from the Ontario government. The award program aims to help new researchers build their research teams.

“For our researchers, receiving the Early Researcher Award is a testimony of their research excellence and promising potential,” said Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “We applaud the fact that their research work will be reinforced with the creation of a new team and encourage them to pursue their quest for excellence.”

The 2019 recipients are:

Emilio Alarcon (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and the director of the Bio-nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Professor Alarcon’s research focuses on the fabrication, development and implementation of new biomaterials and nanomaterials with regenerative capabilities for tissue regeneration of heart, skin, cornea and other connective tissues.

Marceline Côté (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology. Professor Côté’s lab works on emerging viruses, such as the Ebola virus and the corona viruses, and uses molecular virology, chemical biology, and genetic approaches to identify host proteins critical to viral infection. The team seeks to improve our understanding of how to target mechanisms of viral penetration to block the spread of a virus with a view to find new antiviral therapies.

Aimée Craft (Faculty of Law) is a professor of common law and a lawyer who specializes in Anishinaabe and Canadian Aboriginal law. Her research focuses on Indigenous water governance and sustainability, and on the evolution of the legal landscape in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, where Indigenous peoples tend to be disproportionally affected by water insecurity.

Ksenia Dolgaleva (Faculty of Engineering) is a professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who holds the Canada Research Chair in Integrated Photonics. Professor Dolgaleva is a specialist in nonlinear photonics who is recognized for her research work in integrated photonics based on semiconductor platforms.

Cory Harris (Faculty of Science) is a professor in the Department of Biology. His research integrates laboratory, field, and community-based approaches to study the chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of natural products and how people use these products. Working with Indigenous communities, patients, and practitioners, as well as private-sector partners, his team applies a “benchtop-to-community-practice” approach to support the safe and effective use and regulation of natural products.

Daniel McIsaac (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine who leads the Aging Innovation in Perioperative Medicine and Surgery Research Group at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. His research focuses on improving surgery outcomes for older people with frailty by evaluating interventions and health system performance.

Tiago Mestre (Faculty of Medicine) is a professor in the Division of Neurology (Department of Medicine) and a scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. Professor Mestre leads the implementation of the clinical program for advanced treatments of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. His clinical research in movement disorders has focused on developing innovative care delivery models for Parkinson’s disease, as well as drug development for unmet needs in Parkinson’s disease.

Lara Pilutti (Faculty of Health Sciences) is a professor in the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of exercise in the management and treatment of disability in people living with multiple sclerosis. Professor Pilutti is also interested in the application of adapted exercise rehabilitation approaches in neurological populations with advanced mobility impairment.

Adam Shuhendler (Faculty of Science) is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomolecular Sciences who holds the Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology. He also works as a scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. His Molecular Medicine Lab is developing injectable imaging agents to probe fundamental biochemistry not previously imageable in medical diagnostic tests, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Positron Emission Tomography. Thanks to these imaging agents, which have clinical potential, Shuhendler and his team are enabling imaging-based diagnosis and prognosis for concussions, heart disease, and cancer.

Emily Standen (Faculty of Science) is a professor in the Department of Biology. Her lab focuses on evolutionary and comparative biomechanics. By studying biomechanics and comparative physiology and anatomy, her team explores how functional morphology impacts animal behaviour and evolutionary processes.

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