From assistive technologies to virology: UVic 2022 UVic Canada Research Chairs

Science, Engineering

Three UVic researchers pictured in a graphic.
UVic researchers Thomas Baker, Marianne Black, Mariya Goncheva.

Seven University of Victoria faculty who are leaders in quantum physics, assistive technologies, virology, geophysics, drug discovery, software engineering and biostatistics are named new or renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) today in an announcement by François-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

Thomas Baker, Marianne Black and Mariya Goncheva are new UVic CRCs. Katherine Elvira, Edwin Nissen, Margaret-Anne Storey and Xuekui Zhang are extended for a second CRC term. The funding announced includes $4.7 million from the CRC program and $300,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for new chairs to establish their research labs.

UVic research reflects the university’s commitment to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We rank 12th in the world among 1,406 institutions, including 24 in Canada. Learn more about the 2022 assessment by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

New Canada Research Chairs

Thomas Baker, Physics and Astronomy/Chemistry

Tier II CRC in Quantum Computing for Modeling of Molecules and Materials

Baker studies quantum physics for the purpose of developing new technologies and new quantum algorithms. Using quantum properties to create a new type of quantum computer has the potential to create better algorithms and solve problems that are more difficult for classical computers to handle. 

Marianne Black, Mechanical Engineering

Tier II CRC in Assistive Technologies

Black designs assistive technologies with a focus on augmented reality for people living with osteoarthritis, which is estimated to impact almost 19 per cent of Canadians. She researches the entire lifecycle of devices, starting by identifying the needs of individuals, then developing the technology, and finally validating the results with user studies.

Mariya Goncheva, Biochemistry and Microbiology

Tier II CRC in Virology

Goncheva examines how viruses, like those that cause colds and influenza, interact with bacteria, resulting in more severe illnesses that are difficult to treat. Her goal is to discover when and how novel treatments can reduce illness and boost the efficacy of the Canadian health care system.

Renewed Canada Research Chairs

Katherine Elvira, Chemistry

Tier II CRC in Microfluidics for Drug Discovery and Healthcare

Elvira works at the intersection of chemistry, biology and engineering. Working with the pharmaceutical industry and health care organizations, she’s developing microfluidics technologies that manipulate miniscule amounts of a sample substance on a single chip. The technology will help medical researchers test the properties of a potential new treatment, determining how a drug will transport in the human body before doing live-testing. Elvira is also developing platforms that will allow health care workers to rapidly and accurately assess patient status and deterioration.

Edwin Nissen, Earth and Ocean Sciences

Tier II CRC in Geophysics

Nissen studies earthquakes across the world, from western Canada to Japan, New Zealand and the Middle East. Clarifying the characteristics and behaviour of earthquakes is vital to anticipating patterns of dangerous ground shaking. Nissen and his team are using cutting-edge remote sensing technology to map surface deformation and topography across British Columbia and the Yukon to better understand the characteristics of the seismic hazard in this area and develop more accurate earthquake forecasts.

Margaret-Anne Storey, Computer Science

Tier 1 CRC in Human and Social Aspects of Software Engineering 

As a world expert in software visualization and social technologies, Storey studies how technology can help people explore, understand and share complex information and knowledge. Storey’s research seeks to understand the interplay of technology, human behaviour, cognitive ability and social structure. This allows researchers to design new software tools for interacting with large, complex information resources.

Xuekui Zhang, Mathematics and Statistics

Tier II CRC in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Zhang solves real-world problems by developing new statistical methods and software for analyzing genomic data and applies them to help biological and medical researchers. His methods, algorithms and machine-learning tools will address chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, viral infections in grapevines and bacteria and biotoxins in shellfish. 

Read the government news release here.


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Keywords: community, international, sustainability, research, administrative, partnerships, adaptive technology, computers, health, climate, oceans

People: Thomas Baker, Marianne Black, Mariya Goncheva, Katherine Elvira, Edwin Nissen, Margaret-Anne Storey, Xuekui Zhang

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