Five Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) researchers have been named Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) and four more have received renewals of the award created for the country’s most accomplished and promising minds.

“I warmly congratulate our Canada Research Chairs on this important recognition for their innovative work,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty. 

Jonathan Bramson, vice-dean of research at the FHS, added: “We appreciate the federal CRC program as it allows McMaster and the Faculty to both attract and retain some of the most active minds in health research worldwide.” 

The new CRCs of the Faculty of Health Sciences are:

Gina Agarwal, professor of family medicine, is the Canada Research Chair in Vulnerable Individuals in Primary Care (Tier 1). She is a leader in advancing bench-to-bedside-to-community research addressing the growing burden of chronic diseases in Canada and worldwide. Her outstanding program of research focuseson difficult to reach populations, ensuring equitable access to cutting-edge health research intervention.

Rohan D’Souza, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is the Canada Research Chair in Maternal Health (Tier 2). His main research focus is outcomes research and the reduction of pregnancy-related morbidity.

Mark Loeb, professor of pathology and molecular medicine, is the Canada Research Chair in Infectious Diseases Research (Tier 1). His research includes a National Institutes of Health population genetics program and a randomized controlled trial to reduce the spread of influenza by immunizing children in Hutterite colonies, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His research includes the immunologic and genetic determinants of flu infections.

Alexandra Papaioannou, professor of medicine, is the Canada Research Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Healthy Aging (Tier 1). She is one of a handful of Canadian geriatric medicine specialists leading research that will transform the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases in older adults and allow people to age with dignity. This includes care programs that can be implemented in acute, long-term and community care settings.

Jennifer Walker, an associate professor in the Department of Health Research, Evidence, Methods and Impact, is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health Data and Aging (Tier 2). A Haudenosaunee member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, Walker is internationally recognized in the fields of Indigenous data governance, health service, dementia and aging research. Her community-engaged research program focuses on improving health services and supports for aging and dementia in Indigenous populations and advancing Indigenous data sovereignty principles.

Elena Verdu, Canada Research Chair in Microbial Therapeutics and Nutrition in Gastroenterology, had her chair advanced from Tier 2 to Tier 1.

CRCs at Tier 2 were renewed for Jeremy Hirota, Canada Research Chair in Respiratory Mucosal Immunology; Jonathan Schertzer, Canada Research Chair in Metabolic Inflammation; and Ryan Van Lieshout, Canada Research Chair in the Perinatal Programming of Mental Disorders.

The nine FHS researchers join two other CRCs announced at McMaster this month.

Blaise Bourdin (mathematics and statistics) is the new Canada Research Chair in Mathematical and Computational Aspects of Solid Mechanics (Tier 1).

Chelsea Gabel (health, aging and society) was renewed as the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement, and Innovation (Tier 2).

Tier 1 Chairs, which are held for seven years and renewable once, are for outstanding researchers who are considered world leaders in their fields. For each Tier 1 Chair, McMaster receives $200,000 annually for seven years.

Tier 2 Chairs, which are held for five years and are renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers who have the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, McMaster receives $100,000 annually for five years, with an additional $20,000 annual research stipend for first-term Tier 2 Chairs.

Karen Mossman, McMaster’s vice-president, research congratulates the University’s new and renewed Canada Research Chairs for this prestigious recognition of their important work.

“The Canada Research Chairs program is a vital tool that encourages some of our brightest scientists, and it bolsters both McMaster’s and Canada’s reputations as a global leader of research and innovation,” she says.

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