News Briefs for the week of February 28

A trio of McGill researchers, Elena Bennett, William Caplin and Brian Chen, win prestigious awards that will help support their work.

Bennett takes Leopold

Elena Bennett of the Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences and the McGill School of Environment has been awarded one of 20 Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2011. Bennett’s research interests include ecosystem services and management of agricultural landscapes.

Leopold winners receive intensive leadership and communications training to help them engage effectively with policymakers, journalists, business leaders and communities confronting complex decisions about sustainability and the environment.

The fellows were chosen for their outstanding qualifications as researchers, demonstrated leadership ability and strong interest in communicating beyond traditional academic audiences.

Killam for Caplin

William Caplin, James McGill Professor of Music Theory at the Schulich School of Music, was one of eight outstanding Canadian researchers recently awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellowship.

The Killam Fellowships, among Canada’s most distinguished research awards, provide two years of release time (valued at $70,000 a year), allowing scholars to devote themselves full time to their research.

The award will enable Caplin to pursue work on “Cadence: a study of closure in tonal music.” The topic of cadence has emerged as a major issue in modern musical scholarship, since it provides a key to understanding how compositions are formally structured.

Chen gets Sloan

McGill Neurologist Brian Chen has been awarded a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship. Chen, a Canada Research Chair in Neural Circuit Formation, investigates a big subject: deciphering the assembly instructions for the brain.

Thanks to the Sloan Fellowship award, he will be able to look at how a gene within the Down Syndrome Critical Region, DSCAM, functions in the normal development of neural circuits and how it contributes to abnormal neural development in Down syndrome.

Chen will receive $50,000 over two years. The Fellowship is awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic, non-profit institution that supports research and broad-based education related to science, technology and economic performance.