McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Canada Research Chairs for two FHS researchers

Published: April 15, 2015
Gerry Wright
Gerry Wright, director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, had his Canada Research Chair in Molecular Studies of Antibiotics renewed.
John Lavis
John Lavis, professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems.

Two professors of the Faculty of Health Sciences have been awarded senior Canada Research Chairs (CRC) for their research on better health systems and on infectious disease.

John Lavis, a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was awarded a Tier 1 CRC in Evidence-Informed Health Systems. Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, had his Tier 1 CRC in Molecular Studies of Antibiotics renewed.

They were two of four new CRCs and five renewals announced at McMaster University this week.

John Lavis' research program emphasizes "evidence-informed" health systems that will provide the best mix of cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them. Lavis will evaluate innovative strategies that support the use of research evidence in health systems in Canada and internationally, and examine how context and issues influence these strategies.

Gerry Wright will continue his ground-breaking studies on the exploration of the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance. His lab has discovered that antibiotic resistance is ancient, by identifying resistance genes in 30,000-year-old permafrost samples, and applied this fundamental information in the development of innovative strategies to identify new drugs and preserve the activities of existing ones. Wright also pioneered new approaches to identify antibiotic producing bacteria and applied this to identify new antibiotics.

"The sheer number of bacteria and their ability to outwit antibiotics by mutating and exchanging resistance genes present a menacing threat," said Wright. "The resources of the Canada Research Chair program improve our ability to develop new defences against this threat."

The nine Chairs at McMaster represent $10.8 million in total funding for researchers from health sciences, science, engineering and humanities, who are recognized for their promise and their accomplishments.

"The University is extremely proud of the impressive variety of research undertaken by our Canada Research Chairs," said Patrick Deane, president and vice-chancellor of McMaster University. "As leading individuals in their fields, they inspire us with their depth of expertise and research excellence. As a group, they represent the range of disciplines that makes our research-intensive university so successful."

Tier 1 Chairs, tenable for seven years and renewable, are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. For each Tier 1 Chair, the university receives $200,000 annually for seven years.

Tier 2 Chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years.

Other New Canada Research Chairs

  • CRC in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems (Tier I) — Heather Sheardown, professor, chemical engineering
  • CRC in Water and Health (Tier2) — Younggy Kim, assistant professor, civil engineering
  • CRC in Comparative and Environmental Physiology (Tier 2) — Graham Scott, assistant professor, biology

Other Renewed Canada Research Chairs

  • CRC in Mathematical Analysis and its Applications (Tier 1) — Walter Craig, professor, mathematics and statistics
  • CRC in Information Technology (Tier 1) — Jamal Deen, professor, electrical and computer engineering
  • CRC in Russell, Peace and the 20th Century (Tier 1) — Nicholas Griffin, professor, philosophy
  • CRC in Materials Research — CLS/CCRS (Tier 1) — Adam Hitchcock, professor, chemistry and chemical biology

[Read full story on the McMaster Daily News]

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