Chairholder details Keywords

Irina Rish
Université de Montréal | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Autonomous Artificial Intelligence

What happens in our brains when we solve problems? And, how can we use the answers to that question to improve both our brains and artificial intelligence (AI)? It's what world-renowned AI expert Irina Rish, wants to find out. Her research examines AI at the point where machine learning and neuroscience intersect.

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Autonomous Artificial Intelligence, Rish plans to build an ambitious, cross-disciplinary research centre at the Université de Montréal. Research at the centre will strengthen Montréal’s role as a hub for AI research and further advance Canada’s leadership in AI. Rish and her research team will work to bridge the gaps between AI, biology, neuroscience and psychology, and give us a deeper understanding of the human brain. Rish also aims for her team to help make AI more autonomous, with human-level learning abilities, by developing new models and methods for more robust and ethical AI systems.

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University, Montreal

Sriram Subramaniam
The University of British Columbia | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design

While many drugs induce responses and prolong survival, most cancers adapt through clonal evolution to develop treatment-resistant, lethal disease. The discovery of drugs targeting newly identified cancer drivers remains a slow, challenging and costly process. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design will use state-of-the-art tools in genomics, cryo-electron microscopy and computer-aided drug discovery in a precision oncology framework to lead an internationally unique research program. The aim is to revolutionize the way we discover and develop effective anti-cancer treatments. The program will be interdisciplinary, capitalizing on transinstitutional collaborations, including engineering, chemistry and biology, with a variety of partnerships with the private sector. We seek to be the global leaders in the emerging era of integrating genome-derived target discoveries and their translation to patient-oriented research for cancer drug discovery in a timely and cost-effective manner.


Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
University of Manitoba | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Ice, Freshwater Marine Coupling and Climate Change

The observed changes in ice (that is, sea ice, glacial ice and permafrost) are increasing freshwater inputs into the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. These changes are present throughout the system, affecting all levels of ecosystem services, Inuit traditional use of marine areas and global pressure to increase development in the Arctic. Changes in the Arctic also affect processes at lower latitudes, including connections to extreme weather, floods, droughts and climate variability, like the polar vortex, sea level rise and global ocean circulation through export of fresh water to the deep-water convection areas of the North Atlantic. The University of Manitoba’s Canada Excellence Research Chair will generate transformative knowledge, allowing policy-makers, communities, industry and co-management groups to create informed sustainable development, adaptation and mitigation strategies needed to address both the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the opening of Canada’s Arctic Ocean.


Lara Mahal
University of Alberta | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Glycomics

Carbohydrates (or glycans) on the surface of cells are critical players in human diseases, ranging from cancer to microbial infections. Exploiting the roles of glycans in human health provides new opportunities for drug development and personalized medicine. For 15 years, Lara K. Mahal has been at the forefront of creating and using systems-based approaches to decode the role of glycans in human health. Her laboratory invented a key technology—lectin microarrays—that has revolutionized the field of glycomics. Her laboratory also discovered that microRNAs are major regulators of glycan expression and may be the missing link between genomics and glycomics. Her research interests include: unraveling the role of glycans in cancer progression; understanding the role of glycans in microbial diseses and the immune response against bacterial and viral infections; and studying the role of miRNA in controlling the expression of glycans in cells.

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Ursula Eicker
Concordia University | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities

The goal of the research agenda for next-generation communities and cities is to: develop sustainable urban transformation strategies that will support decision-making and faster implementation of sustainable urban energy and resource efficiency measures in the cities; and scientifically monitor and optimize performance of urban districts, entire cities and regions. The Canadian Excellence Research Chair is built on four interconnected vertical research axes: clean energy systems for an efficient built environment; integrated built environment design; smart technologies and optimized community operation; and collaborative community, knowledge mobilization and policies. These will be connected by a horizontal task of an urban platform development, merging software and services created. The Chair will link different academic disciplines from the building, transport, energy, biodiversity and socio-economic sectors, while bringing the right urban stakeholders together to discuss urban development. Based on a sound theoretical basis, the research will be translated into the design and implementation of hardware and information and communications technology solutions for a sustainable city infrastructure.

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Vincent Mooser
McGill University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine: Genes to Drug Targets for Next-Generation Therapies

Large-scale sequencing of the human genome opens up unprecedented opportunities to identify and validate new drug targets and to accelerate and improve the probability of success for drug development. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine program intends to capture these opportunities by capitalizing on the cutting-edge resources at McGill University and affiliated hospital-based research institutes in terms of knowledge in genomic medicine, computational capabilities, sequencing infrastructures, access to patients and cohorts, and possible engagement with industry in this effort. The Chair will use the latest technologies in bioinformatics, high-throughput genome editing and genetically enriched clinical trials to prioritize disease-relevant genes, determine optimal indications and perform proof-of-concept studies on individuals who are genetically selected to respond optimally to a particular pharmacological intervention. This research will significantly benefit the Canadian population, propel McGill to the forefront of genomic medicine-based pharmaceutical sciences and accrue substantial funding from industry and other partners.


Anna Triandafyllidou
Toronto Metropolitan University | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration

The Canada Excellence Research Chair will explore the links between migration and post-migration processes, forced and voluntary mobility, internal and international migration, and the role of countries of origin and transit. This will produce innovative and usable knowledge. Anna Triandafyllidou and her team will focus on Canadian realities while developing comparative research with and among other countries in various global regions. Their work will engage with stakeholders at local, provincial, national and global levels (including the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees), who will be involved as co-creators of the Chair’s research agenda. The research will develop along five research streams: migration trends; migrant agencies, stakeholders, networks and institutions; comparative analysis of migration and integration policies and their outcomes; addressing the role of cities in managing diversity; and thinking forward: migration challenges for Canada and the world in 2050. The Chair will be supported by an interdisciplinary data and methods lab.


Orlando Rojas
The University of British Columbia | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Forest Bioproducts

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Forest Bioproducts will deliver next-generation materials from renewable, forest-based resources. These sustainable and cost-competitive, advanced materials are key for the success of the bioeconomy and the reinvention of the Canadian forest industry. Benefits to Canada include a cleaner environment and reduced dependency on non-renewable resources. Leveraging genetics, synthetic biology and polymer chemistry/physics, the Chair will produce materials, products and devices that will reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonize our economy and improve our quality of life. These research discoveries will help control the interactions involving lignocellulosic structures at the micron- and nanoscales to achieve enhanced structural, optical and other properties. The effort will involve cellulose- and lignin-based particles, filaments, films and composites. Leading a multidisciplinary team and integrating strong local and global networks, the Chair will produce world-leading science, innovative products and processes, accelerating demand for forest bioproducts with high societal impact.


Katja Mombaur
University of Waterloo | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human-Centred Robotics and Machine Intelligence

Every year, our machines are becoming smarter and more adaptable. Realizing their full potential poses fundamental scientific challenges at the intersection of mechatronics, computer vision, computing, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. It also poses fundamental philosophical, ethical and legal questions. How can these machines operate safely and efficiently in the human world, with all its dynamism, uncertainty and complexity? How should they behave? The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human-Centred Robotics and Machine Intelligence will launch an ambitious multidisciplinary research program, integrating theory, computation and experiment. International collaborations will bring together expertise in mathematics, engineering, health science, social science and philosophy to pioneer a new range of intelligent technologies that will forever change how we live, work and play for the better.

Di Marzo

Vincenzo Di Marzo
Université Laval | CIHR

Canada Research Excellence Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health

Until now, research on the physiopathology of metabolic diseases has focused on endogenous and genetic factors that control our metabolism. The rise of genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic technologies has intensified recent research on energy metabolism, and contributed to better understanding about obesity and its complications.

Vincenzo Di Marzo, Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health, focuses on the integrated study of how the intestinal microbiome and the endocannabinoid system influence metabolic syndrome. The syndrome refers to the physiological signs that indicate increased risk for certain diseases. It is no longer defined solely by excess weight, but also by related variables, including belly fat, hypertriglyceridemia, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (or good cholesterol), high blood pressure and hyperglycemia.

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Pierre Marquet
Université Laval | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics, Pierre Marquet will develop new, multimodal optical techniques at a very high resolution to explore structure and cellular dynamics at the nanoscale. The multimodal aspect makes it possible to measure a large number of cellular parameters at the same time. It will produce a very detailed vision of the cellular processes that lead to a true cellular profile, which could be used to identify new biomarkers and create new theoretical etiological models.

The new optical approaches would strengthen and complement the already highly effective arsenal of neuroimaging techniques, such as MRIs, which are starting to enable the detection of discrete anomalies in brain structure and function among at-risk children. The approaches will also help identify new cellular biomarkers and thereby contribute to characterizing developmental risk trajectories among children of patients being treated in these multigenerational cohorts.

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Erik Snowberg
The University of British Columbia | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics

Erik Snowberg plans to make The University of British Columbia into the world leader in empirical political economy research. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics at the university is using innovative data to understand the effects of politics and policy on the economy. Snowberg and his team’s research will explore how business and environmental groups can collaborate with government to simultaneously improve economic productivity and quality of life.