News at Medicine - May 2018 - Expert expansion: New Canada Research Chair

Expert expansion: New Canada Research Chair
May 3, 2018
New federal investments totalling more than $4.5 million will enhance Memorial’s research expertise in areas ranging from climate change to health care to oceans research.

Five new Canada Research Chairs (CRC) — one of the country’s highest honours for research excellence — have been appointed at Memorial. The results were made available on Thursday, May 3.
At the Faculty of Medicine, incoming researcher Dr. Touati Benoukraf has been appointed Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics for Personalized Medicine.
Dr. Benoukraf joins Memorial from the National University of Singapore. His research aims to generate and analyze individual genomic data sets to discover novel mechanisms involved in pathogenesis and therapeutic resistance.
He says Memorial is an ideal university for his research, allowing his team to “fight diseases with genomic analytics.”
“The Faculty of Medicine at Memorial goes beyond the clinic with its important computational infrastructure via the Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative, which is an ideal environment for my research,” said Dr. Benoukraf.
“Moreover, along with clinicians and biologists, Memorial has experts in biostatistics and computer science, who are focusing on analyzing large biological data sets. This critical mass is propitious for enhancing multidisciplinary research.”

Innovative research

“For nearly two decades, the Canada Research Chairs program has played a critical role in helping recruit and retain elite scholars to our university and Newfoundland and Labrador,” said President Gary Kachanoski.
“This latest investment demonstrates the Government of Canada’s value in cutting-edge research at our university. I thank the federal government for its continued commitment and wish our newest Canada Research Chairs much success.”

Multi-year funding

Two faculty members have been named tier 1 chairs, which are seven-year awards for $200,000 each year with the possibility of one seven-year renewal; while three researchers were named tier 2 chairs, which are five-year awards for $100,000 each year with the possibility of one five-year renewal.
In addition to the CRC announcement, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) also announced a total of $260,700 in funding for the five researchers for infrastructure.
The other CRC announcements are:
  • Dr. Uta Passow, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Biological Oceanographic Processes, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science
  • Dr. Sue Ziegler, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Boreal Biogeochemistry, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science.
  • Dr. Amanda Bates, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Marine Physiological Ecology, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science
  • Dr. Katleen Robert, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Ocean Mapping, Marine Institute

Boosting global profile

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), says Memorial is recognized internationally for its research leadership and innovation in the areas of oceans- and health-related research.
“Our newest Canada Research Chairs will further that global profile, allowing Memorial to forge new worldwide partnerships and attract the next generation of top graduate students to our university,” he said.
“These researchers will join strong teams in their disciplines and I look forward to hearing about their accomplishments in their new roles.”