Simon Fraser University

Five new research chairs appointed

Nov 13, 2003 , vol. 28, no. 6

By Carol Thorbes
With the appointment of five new Canada Research Chairs at Simon Fraser University, the federally funded research capacity building program has filled more than half of the 38 chairs allocated to SFU.

The university's 20 chair appointments thus far comes with $2.12 million in funding.

Jonathan Kesselman, a taxation and income security policy analyst from the University of British Columbia will take up a senior chair in public finance in SFU's department of economics.

His work covers the design of tax systems and income transfers, the inter-relations between the two and the finance of social insurance.

Francis Jeffrey Pelletier, a professor of philosophy and computing science for 20 years, comes from the University of Alberta.

As a senior chair in cognitive science in SFU's philosophy department, he will investigate the nature of inference from a number of different perspectives.

An inference occurs when a new piece of information is generated from existing background information.

Cenk Sahinalp, originally from Turkey, was a founding member of the centre for computational genomics and an adjunct professor at the department of genetics, Case Western Reserve university in Cleveland, Ohio.

He is a junior chair appointment in computational genomics in SFU's school of computing science.

James Taylor is coming from Iowa State University to take up a junior chair in environmental history in SFU's history department.

He will examine a mix of bottom-feeding and midwater-feeding fisheries, both coastal and offshore, to map out the range of social, economic and technological challenges that confronted North American fisheries managers in the last century. His work will lead to a better understanding of fisheries management.

SFU kinesiology professor Glen Tibbits has been awarded a senior chair in molecular cardiac physiology.

Tibbits is trying to improve scientists' understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac contractility and the way in which the heart responds to different environmental stimuli.

The Canada Research Chair program awards universities $200,000 annually for each senior chair appointed and $100,000 annually for each junior chair appointed.

SFU's five new chairs are among 118 recently appointed at 37 universities nationally.