Four new chairs appointed

April 29, 2004, Vol. 30, no. 1
By Carol Thorbes



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The appointment of four new Canada Research Chairs at Simon Fraser University has significantly strengthened the university's research capacity in the health sciences and technology management.

Jamie Scott, a molecular biologist, internationally known for her groundbreaking efforts to develop a vaccine against HIV-1 (the AIDS virus), has been appointed to a tier one chair.

John McDonald, a psychologist, David Vocadlo, a bio-organic chemist, and Ian McCarthy, a chartered engineer and technology management expert, have been appointed to tier two chairs.

The program awards universities $200,000 for each senior (tier one) appointment and $100,000 for each entry level appointment (tier two), annually.

Tier one chairs have seven-year terms and are renewable. Tier two chairs are for five-years and can be renewed once.

As the Canada Research Chair in immunology and vaccine research, Scott is filling the first of four Canada Research Chairs allocated to SFU's new faculty of health sciences.

Scott is developing vaccines that stimulate the immune system to selectively produce neutralizing and protective antibodies against HIV-1.

Vocadlo has come to SFU's chemistry department from the University of California's departments of chemistry, and molecular and cell biology.

He is internationally respected in the field of glycobiology, the study of how carbohydrates affect critical processes in biological systems.

As a Canada Research Chair in chemical glycobiology, Vocadlo is investigating how certain sugars alter proteins and disrupt cell functions.
Vocadlo wants to understand how this dysfunction contributes to the onset of diabetes and neuro-degeneration.

Funding from the Protein Engineering Network of centres of excellence, another federal program, has helped attract Vocadlo to SFU.
McDonald, also from the University of California, came to SFU's department of psychology almost three years ago.

His chair in cognitive neuroscience will enable him to further his unprecedented research on how perception of objects using one sense influences perception of those objects using other senses.

McDonald's research may lead to improvements in the diagnoses and treatments of various attention-related illnesses.

McCarthy, a Canada Research Chair in management of technology, recently came to SFU's faculty of business administration from the University of Warwick and the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

McCarthy's Canada Research Chair will enable him to further his development of operational and management strategies to ensure that Canada's biotechnology firms thrive.

McCarthy is establishing a centre of biotechnology management at SFU to conduct and disseminate research aimed at improving the performance and sustainability of biotech firms.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation has awarded McCarthy, Vocadlo and Scott about $544,000 in total, in infrastructure grants to support their chairs.

SFU has now filled 23 of its 43 Canada Research chairs.

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