People of SFU

Celebrating research excellence: nine scholars recognized as Distinguished SFU Professors

July 27, 2023

Nine Simon Fraser University (SFU) researchers have been named 2023 Distinguished SFU Professors—bringing the total to 40 awarded scholars since the program’s inception in 2019.  

A joint initiative of SFU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic and the Vice-President, Research and International, the Distinguished SFU Professor program recognizes SFU research faculty members of distinction who have achieved exceptional performance and distinguished accomplishments relative to their rank and years of service.

“Congratulations to all of our 2023 Distinguished SFU Professors,” says Wade Parkhouse, SFU’s provost and vice-president academic, pro tem. “These exceptional researchers are breaking barriers and engaging in global challenges to help address humanity’s most complex problems.”

The Distinguished SFU Professor title comes with a special requirement for members to share their work with the public through events such as lectures, panels and presentations.

“I am so pleased to see SFU researchers recognized for their contributions to our communities and beyond,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “Their innovative spirit and ground-breaking discoveries are testaments to SFU’s impact as a leading research university, advancing an inclusive and sustainable future.”

2023 Distinguished SFU Professors

Jeong Bon Kim, Beedie School of Business

Jeong Bon Kim currently ranks as the top accounting researcher in the world in terms of research impact—as a prolific researcher, he has published over 140 refereed journal articles, 39 of which were in top-tier journals. Kim’s research focuses on financial reporting, capital markets, corporate governance and auditing, and international business. Previously, he served as the Page R. Wadsworth Chair in accounting and finance at the University of Waterloo, where he was also the PhD program director. In addition, he served as the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in financial reporting and corporate governance at Concordia University. He was appointed as an Honored Professor at Fudan University and a Distinguished Honorary Professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

Kora DeBeck, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, School of Public Policy

Kora DeBeck’s research focuses on drug policy and substance use among structurally vulnerable populations. Her work helps pave the way for evidence informed and equity-oriented drug policy reform. Since 2013, DeBeck has led the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS), an open prospective cohort that follows over 1,200 street-involved young people who use drugs in Vancouver. Her research contributions include documenting the unintended harms that result from drug criminalization and punitive approaches to substance use. Her research also brings attention to the relevance of social determinants of substance use, including adverse childhood events, colonization and intergenerational trauma, and economic insecurity.

Susan Erikson, Faculty of Health Science

Award-winning medical anthropologist, Susan Erikson researches highly complex political economies that shape human health. In earlier research, she anticipated the rise of global health data as a business currency; the change of health data use, from accountability to invest-ability; and the failure of smartphone contact tracing apps during pandemics. Her current research analyzes the increasing datafication and financialization of health, focusing on how global investors use modeling and AI to make money on pandemics and planetary health change.

Dana Lepofsky, Faculty of Environment, Department of Archaeology

Royal Society of Canada fellow, Dana Lepofsky is a leading archaeologist and ethnoecologist researching the social and ecological interactions of past humans with their environments, focusing on cultural keystone species and places. With decades of success in community-centered research, Lepofsky co-creates and mobilizes knowledge with B.C. coastal First Nations on projects that bring forward Indigenous perspectives and needs. She is committed to exploring and sharing information about the archaeological past, in ways that facilitate connections among Canadian settlers and First Nations. In 2017, Lepofsky received the Warren Gill Award for Community Impact for her work with Indigenous communities that has built trust and enabled other researchers to do the same — strengthening SFU’s path to reconciliation.

Geoff Mann, Faculty of Environment, Department of Geography

Award-winning political economist and writer, Geoff Mann currently researches the impacts of uncertainty on economic and environmental policy. His most recent books are In the Long Run We Are All Dead and Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future, which was awarded the 2019 Sussex International Theory Prize. Mann is a senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a 2022 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship award for his contributions to his field. He is also an appointed member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Krishna Pendakur, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Department of Economics

Economics professor Krishna Pendakur's research expertise lies in discrimination and economic inequality, consumer demand as well as semi- and none-parametric econometrics. In recent years, Pendakur has examined various policy-relevant issues including the effect of the Canada Child Benefit on household spending, gender gaps in resource shares within households, governance and income inequality in Indigenous communities, and the disease burden and policy responses related to mental health and substance abuse. In 2022, Pendakur won the John Rae Prize which recognizes him as one of the top economists in Canada.

Judy Radul, Faculty of Communication, Art & Technology, School for the Contemporary Arts

Internationally acclaimed artist and scholar, Judy Radul’s ambitious and elaborate works are concerned with forms of media, occupying an expanded field of sculpture, cinema, video, robotics, theatrical installation and performance. Her many high-profile residencies, exhibitions, and scholarly contributions reflect her national and international profile. Radul was born in Lillooet, British Columbia, and currently resides between Vancouver, on the territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Skwxwú7mesh and Musqueam peoples, and Berlin, Germany. She received an MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (New York), and a BFA from SFU, where she serves as professor in SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. 

Kendra Strauss, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Kendra Strauss is also the director of the Labour Studies Program and the SFU Morgan Centre for Labour Research. As a labour geographer and feminist political economist, her research interests include labour and regulation, social reproduction, migration, urbanization and the political ecology of social infrastructures. Strauss’ current SSHRC-funded project, Understanding Precarity in British Columbia (UP-BC), investigates the extent and nature of precarious work across all regions of the province and its impact on the lives of racialized communities and Indigenous peoples. With this project, Strauss hopes it will inform public policies in reducing systemic inequalities and enhancing the economic security of British Columbians.

David Vocadlo, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry and Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

David Vocadlo’s interdisciplinary research focuses on developing and using new chemical tools to improve our understanding of how carbohydrates influence cell function, with particular emphasis on their roles in neurodegenerative diseases. He and his team have published over 150 papers and he is an inventor on over 30 families of patents. He is a former Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology, co-director of the Centre for High-Throughput Chemical Biology and the recipient of numerous honours including the EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship, Fellow of the Royal Society, College of New Scholars and Scientists and the Horace Isbell Award of the American Chemical Society. 

See the full list of Distinguished SFU Professors.