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SFU researchers among new and renewed Canada Research Chairs

January 12, 2022
SFU scholars, clockwise from top left, Brianne Kent, Hoi-Kwan (Kero) Lau, David Sivak, Lorena Braid among new and renewed Canada Research Chairs

Four Simon Fraser University researchers are among the country’s new and renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC). SFU’s chairholders are advancing research excellence in a wide range of fields, from improving sensors for autonomous vehicle safety using quantum technology, to better understanding how changes in sleep and circadian rhythms contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

“I congratulate the four SFU researchers among the new and renewed Canada Research Chairs,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “The Government of Canada and CFI’s ongoing support is much appreciated as we continue to grow and expand our capacity in research excellence and innovation. This funding will help our scholars take their transformative discoveries to the next level.”

The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the investment of approximately $151 million for 188 new and renewed CRCs at 43 academic institutions across Canada.

The investment is complemented by more than $9.5 million in new funding for research infrastructure to support 43 Chairs at 19 institutions through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF).

SFU currently has 34 CRCs, including 16 Tier 1 chairs and 18 Tier 2 chairs. Since 2001, 80 unique CRCs have been appointed at SFU.

Established by the federal government in 2000, the CRC Program invests up to $295 million each year to attract and retain diverse world-class researchers, and to reinforce academic research and training excellence in Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, climate change and social sciences; improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life; strengthen international competitiveness; and train the next generation of highly skilled people to raise their future successors.

SFU’s new Canada Research Chairs are:

Lorena Braid, molecular biology and biochemistry, Tier 2 CRC in Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Biology

SFU molecular biology and biochemistry professor Lorena Braid's research on mesenchymal stromal cells helps identify and develop new treatments for auto-immune and age-related diseases. She is also receiving funding from JELF for her research.

Brianne Kent, psychology, Tier 2 CRC in Translational Neuroscience and Dementia

SFU psychology professor Brianne Kent’s research examines how changes in sleep and circadian rhythms contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. She is also receiving funding from JELF for her research.

Hoi-Kwan (Kero) Lau, physics, Tier 2 CRC in Quantum Information Science

SFU physics professor Kero Lau’s research advances bosonic quantum technologies, an emerging technology that holds major promise for many industries including transportation and health care. Quantum technology could help improve sensor accuracy for autonomous driving, advance precision medicine and help with rapid virus detection.

SFU’s renewed Canada Research Chair:

David Sivak, physics, Tier 2 CRC in Nonequilibrium Statistical Biophysics

SFU physics professor David Sivak researches energy efficiency and information transmission in the trillions of molecular machines that live in the human body, which perform a variety of tasks necessary to keep us alive. Advancements in this area hold major promise for more efficient drug-delivery systems and computer chips. His is also co-author of a new paper in the New Journal of Physics that further examines intracellular transport.

See the official news release here.