New federal funding positions Dal researchers to be global leaders

Two new Canada Research Chairs announced, two renewed

- November 16, 2022

Left to right: Channakeshava Umeshappa and Kate Swanson, Dal's new CRCs, and renewed CRCs Lam Ho and Stefanie Colombo. (Provided images)
Left to right: Channakeshava Umeshappa and Kate Swanson, Dal's new CRCs, and renewed CRCs Lam Ho and Stefanie Colombo. (Provided images)

The Government of Canada announced new funding Wednesday that will empower Dalhousie researchers to take global leadership in migration and immunology scholarship and to explore emerging ideas that promise to generate the discoveries of tomorrow.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, unveiled the news at the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa. As part of the announcement, new Dalhousie Canada Research Chairs (CRC) were named, including Kate Swanson from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Tier 1 CRC in International Peace, Security and Children, and Channakeshava Umeshappa from the Faculty of Medicine, the Tier 2 CRC in Human Immunology and Inflammation.

The federal announcement also included the renewal of Dalhousie CRCs Lam Ho from the Faculty of Science, the Tier 2 CRC in Stochastic Modelling, and Stefanie Colombo from the Faculty of Agriculture, the Tier 2 CRC in Aquaculture Nutrition.

Tier 1 Chairs are awarded to scholars acknowledged by peers as world leaders in their fields. They are appointed for seven-year terms supported with annual $200,000 grants to the university. Tier 2 Chairs hold five-year terms. They are awarded to exceptional emerging researchers regarded as potential leaders. Dalhousie receives $100,000 annually for each of its Tier 2 CRCs, and an additional $20,000 per year for those in their first term.

Also announced today were more than $1 million in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grants, which support short-term research development projects of up to two years in their initial stages. The grants will enable Dalhousie researchers to pursue new lines of inquiry and experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches, and ideas.

“It is thrilling to see our scholars engaged in research that aims to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. From mass migration and infectious disease to food security and inequality, our researchers are embracing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to guide the impact of their research and are focusing their energy to create a better world,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Dalhousie’s vice president, research and innovation.  

Read more about the scholars empowered to pursue their research goals.

New CRCs

Kate Swanson, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in International Peace, Security and Children

Dr. Swanson’s research is focused on the conditions that are driving unprecedented numbers of children to flee Central America and Mexico. It is a situation exacerbated by climate change-induced drought, rising food insecurity, increasingly destructive hurricanes, and lack of capacity to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Her CRC research program aims to understand the experiences and perspectives of child migrants to protect their rights, empower them and address the violence they face. Through a partnership with Dalhousie’s Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security, her research will provide critical data on children’s experiences with violence at the hands of both gangs and security sector personnel to support regional interventions, policy, and practice.

Channakeshava Umeshappa, Faculty of Medicine

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Human Immunology and Inflammation

Dr. Umeshappa’s CRC research program aims to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that cause Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), the most severe type of autoimmune liver disease, with the goal of developing new treatments. He will pursue three closely linked projects. Two will investigate the immunological mechanisms that contribute to PBC development. The third will focus on creating PBC-specific cellular therapies that target and kill disease-causing immune cells. The research will pursue with a leading-edge interdisciplinary team of established scientists, clinicians, and trainees spanning the spectrum of synthetic biology, bioinformatics, immunology, and autoimmunity.

Renewed CRCs

Lam Ho, Faculty of Science

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Stochastic Modelling

Stochastic compartmental models and trait evolution models have the potential to be powerful tools for studying the dynamics of infectious disease epidemics. However, a lack of efficient computational methods has made it difficult to apply them to real-world data. In his CRC research program, Dr. Ho is addressing this challenge by building faster algorithms that provide a direct inference framework for stochastic compartmental models to study the spread of infectious disease. His new framework will detect changes in the dynamics of epidemics and incorporate new information, making significant new contributions to their study.

Stefanie Colombo, Faculty of Agriculture

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Aquaculture Nutrition

Through her CRC research program, Dr. Colombo aims to discover innovative ways to improve nutrition in aquaculture and build the economic and environmental sustainability of the farmed seafood market. Aquaculture will exceed wild fisheries in global seafood production by 2030. However, the industry is hindered by the ability to produce nutritious feed at a sustainable cost. By studying the fatty acid biosynthesis in fish and the impact of climate change on feeds and fish metabolism, Dr. Colombo aims to find innovative feed solutions that improve resiliency of aquaculture in the face of a changing, and challenging, aquatic environment.

2022 Insight Development Grants winners

Lisa Berglund
, Faculty of Architecture and Planning

Project title: The New Eyes on the Street: Understanding Professional Urban Design Practices and Emerging Surveillance Technologies in Public Spaces

Michael Halpin, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project title: Social Disconnection and Masculinity

Lisa Binkley, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project title: Makazinanag: Decolonizing the Fur Trade through Anishinaabe Footwear, 1670-1870

Elizabeth Fitting, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project title: Making the Archive: Coming Out During the AIDS Crisis

Lori Dithurbide, Faculty of Health

Project title: The impact of technology on learning, training, and performance: Implications for coach and athlete interactions

Karen Gallant, Faculty of Health

Project title: Everyday moments of leisure in public spaces

Ana Maria Gonzalez Barrero, Faculty of Health

Project title: Bilingualism, social language, and executive functioning in school-age children with autism spectrum disorders

Matthew Numer, Faculty of Health

Project title: Queering digital connections: Exploring the impacts of technology and the COVID-19 pandemic on older 2SLGBTQ+ adults' friendships, relationships, and communities

Mohammad Hajizadeh, Faculty of Health

Project title: Impact of Retirement Income Programs on the Psychological and Social Wellbeing of Canadian Seniors

Nayha Acharya, Faculty of Law

Project title: Empirical Analysis of Court Connected Mediation Programs

Qi Deng, Faculty of Management

Project title: When Emojis Backfire: Understanding the Effects of Emoji Schema Incongruity in Brand Social Media Communication

Dominika Wranik, Faculty of Management

Project title: Governing under uncertainty: Does public service motivation shield against burnout and boost job satisfaction?

Paola Gonzalez, Faculty of Management

Project title: Designing Medication Incident Reporting Systems to Close the Learning Gap in Community Pharmacies

Philippe Mongeon, Faculty of Management

Project title: The role of journals in structuring knowledge

Yukiko Asada, Faculty of Medicine (Adjunct professor)

Project title: Is unexplained inequality unfair?

James Mcneil, Faculty of Science

Project title: Examining the term premium of interest rates with the Noisy Information model


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