From plant growth to genomics: McGill’s 11 Canada Research Chairs make an impact

Five new and six renewed CRC’s for McGill as part of the Government of Canada’s $200 million science investment
The distinctive pin awarded all Canada Research Chairs.

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, and the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health announced more than $200 million for science, research, and engineering in support of 50 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 45 Canadian research institutions — eleven at McGill. The funding was as part of a suite of national science and research investment.

With the addition of this newest cohort, McGill currently has 180 active chairholders (Tier 1 and Tier 2). The Canada Research Chairs Program is driving a national effort to make Canada one of the world’s top countries for research and development. To achieve this objective, the Government of Canada awards up to $311 million per year through the program to attract and retain a diverse cadre of world-class researchers to Canada.

Complex global challenges

McGill’s new Canada Research Chairs are working on complex global research challenges – for example, developing predictive models and responses to the climate crisis (Prof. Jennifer Sunday), uncovering the intricacies of human vascular disease (Prof. Rhain Touyz), optimizing clinical practice in stroke rehabilitation (Prof. Aliki Thomas), and using machine learning to advance genomic medicine and improve Canadian patient care (Prof. Yue Li). Renewed Chairs will continue to advance their research programs over five or seven years, including renewed Chair in Biomechanics of Plant Health, Anja Geitmann, who was also recently awarded a prestigious Human Frontiers in Science Program grant.

“I am proud to congratulate McGill’s new and renewed Canada Research Chairs on this important recognition for their work,” said Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Together, they embody the spirit of academic leadership, propelling Canada’s research landscape forward and shaping a brighter future for all.”

There are two types of Canada Research Chairs: Tier 1 Chairs, awarded to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields, are valued at $200,000 annually for seven years with one opportunity for renewal; Tier 2 Chairs, valued at $100,000 annually for five years and renewable only once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.

McGill’s 2022-1 round of CRC recipients:

  • Simon Caron-Huot, Canada Research Chair in High-Energy Physics, NSERC, Tier 2 (Renewed)
  • Anja Geitmann, Canada Research Chair in Biomechanics of Plant Development, NSERC, Tier 1 (Renewed)
  • Yue Li, Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning for Genomics and Healthcare, CIHR, Tier 2 (New)
  • Mylene Riva, Canada Research Chair in Housing, Community and Health, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewed)
  • Hamed Shateri Najafabadi, Canada Research Chair in Systems Biology of Gene Regulation, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewed)
  • Samira Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Digital Primary Health Care, CIHR, Tier 2 (New)
  • Thomas Soehl, Canada Research Chair in International Migration, SSHRC, Tier 2 (Renewed)
  • Jennifer Sunday, Canada Research Chair in Global Change Ecology, NSERC, Tier 2 (New)
  • Aliki Thomas, Canada Research Chair in Education, Practice and Policy for Evidence-Based Healthcare, CIHR, Tier 2 (New)
  • Rhian Touyz, Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine, CIHR, Tier 1 (New)
  • Yu Xia, Canada Research Chair in Computational and Systems Biology, NSERC, Tier 1 (Renewed)