University chairs highlight uOttawa research excellence in health sciences, environmental studies and law

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2018

 Luke Copland, Daniel Figeys, Nafissa Ismail, Ronald Labonté, Marie-Eve Sylvestre and Chibuike Udenigwe

[From left to right: Professors Luke Copland, Daniel Figeys, Nafissa Ismail, Ronald Labonté, Marie-Eve Sylvestre and Chibuike Udenigwe]

The University of Ottawa is pleased to announce the awarding of three University Research Chairs, as well as the renewal of a fourth, highlighting exceptional achievements in research. It is also pleased to award, for the first time, two Distinguished Research Chairs, recognizing University holders of Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs who have completed two consecutive terms. 

“Research in health, the environment and law are of strategic importance to the University of Ottawa,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research. “Awarding these chairs will allow these experienced researchers to continue to build on their momentum in these research areas.”

The three University Research Chair holders are:

Nafissa Ismail (Faculty of Social Sciences) — University Research Chair in Stress and Mental Health

Nafissa Ismail aims to understand why adolescents are more vulnerable to developing mental health conditions. Using male and female human and rodent models, she investigates how age and sex modulate the stress response and influence stress-induced changes in the pubertal/adolescent brain. Her research also investigates how the gut microbiota influences the physiological stress response and brain neurochemistry.

Marie-Eve Sylvestre (Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section)University Research Chair in Law and Criminal Justice Policy, and the Regulation of Marginalized People

Marie-Eve Sylvestre documents and analyzes the impact of correctional policy and contemporary punitive practices on poor and marginalized people. The chair focuses on two areas. The first is the criminalization of social problems and the regulation of poor and marginalized people. The second is alternatives to referral to the courts and criminalization, from a judicial reform and social justice perspective.

Chibuike Udenigwe (Faculty of Health Sciences) — University Research Chair in Food Properties and Nutrient Bioavailability

Chibuike Udenigwe studies the chemistry, nutritional qualities and health benefits of food proteins and peptides. He aims to intensify research on plant protein utilization and consolidate industry and academic partnerships, while training highly qualified personnel on novel applications of plant-based proteins in the food industry.

The holder of the renewed University Research Chair is:

Luke Copland (Faculty of Arts) — University Research Chair in Glaciology

Luke Copland’s research investigates the interconnections between recent changes and the dynamics and mass balance of glaciers across northern Canada. Relying on remote sensing and field measurements, Copland will continue to detect controls on glacier motion, and use this information to understand how glaciers are evolving in a warming climate and the factors shaping iceberg production and drift.

The holders of the Distinguished Research Chairs are:

Daniel Figeys (Faculty of Medicine) — Distinguished Research Chair in Proteomics and Systems Biology

Daniel Figeys develops novel techniques and innovative systems biology approaches to complex biological processes and diseases. One of his projects is to develop microbiome assays, to study the effects of different treatments on the microbiome (the collection of micro-organisms, such as bacteria, that live in or on the human body), and to apply these assays to study the response of individual human microbiomes to different drugs and compounds.

Ronald Labonté (Faculty of Medicine) — Distinguished Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity

Ronald Labonté explores globalization as a social determinant of health equity within and between nations. Labonté’s studies focus on the reasons why some countries are poorer and sicker, and others are wealthier and healthier. They also focus on the inherently global issues that affect inequities in disease burdens and health opportunities, for individuals as well as for nations.

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