New Canada Research Chairs at UCalgary
Eric Gonzalez photo

Aug. 31, 2023

Meet this year’s Canada Research Chairs

Chairholders explore innovative approaches to Indigenous care, respiratory disease, and digital health, while paving the way for next generation of experts

UCalgary has succeeded in recruiting two scholars as part of the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, a testament to their achievements and dedication to research excellence. With this latest addition, the number of active Canada Research Chairs at UCalgary has reached 68. One additional scholar has also had their CRC renewed.

"We take immense pride in the appointment of these esteemed scholars as Canada Research Chairs today," says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). "Their visionary research goals are poised to confront the most critical issues facing society. Through their dedicated research and commitment to mentoring the next cohort, they will pave the way for the future in their respective disciplines."

The CRC program is the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development. The program provides approximately $134 million to support academic research and training excellence in Canadian post-secondary institutions. 

“Congratulations to these talented recipients from all across the country who are doing the groundbreaking work that will contribute not only to Canada’s health and well-being but also to the world’s,” says François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry. “Through this funding, the Government of Canada is investing in the next generation of researchers and inspiring them to continue to think outside the box and tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The new Canada Research Chairs at the University of Calgary:

Marlyn Bennett

Marlyn Bennett

Dr. Marlyn Bennett, PhD | Tier II CRC in Indigenous Children's Well-Being

  • Associate professor, Faculty of Social Work and Werklund School of Education
  • Member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine

Marlyn Bennett is nationally recognized for her research leadership focused on the well-being of Indigenous children. As a community-engaged researcher, she weaves traditional storytelling with technology, fostering connections between culture, landscape, and education. Collaborating closely with community partners, she crafts tailored knowledge mobilization strategies addressing the needs of Indigenous children, women, families, and communities. With a deep understanding of critical systems and structures, her impactful work contributes to positive change in the communities she works with.

Learn more about Bennett on her website

Nargis Khan

Nargis Khan

Dr. Nargis Khan, PhD | Tier II CRC in Tuberculosis and other Highly Infectious Respiratory Pathogens

  • Assistant professor, Cumming School of Medicine
  • Member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine

Nargis Khan is a prominent researcher in the realm of immunology and infectious diseases. Her influential research is focused on three conceptual frameworks of host defense mechanisms: host resistance, disease tolerance, and trained immunity. Khan's innovative perspectives have greatly advanced our understanding of host immune response, specifically tuberculosis (TB) and other respiratory infectious diseases. Khan's ongoing work will help model the science behind the development of diseases, such as TB and COVID-19, to develop efficient ways to prevent their development.

Learn more about Khan on her website

Amir Sanati-Nezhad

Amir Sanati-Nezhad

Dr. Amir Sanati-Nezhad, PhD |Tier 2 CRC in Bio-microelectromechanical systems (CRC renewal)

  • Associate professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering
  • Member of Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine

Amir Sanati-Nezhad is a distinguished researcher and national leader in the fields of biosensors, nano/biomaterials, microfluidics, and molecular diagnostics. His pioneering work focuses on developing advanced nano/biomaterials and biosensors as well as innovative microfluidic systems to create point of care and wearable biosensing devices. Sanati-Nezhad's research has led to the creation of novel diagnostic and prognostic approaches for the management of different diseases including brain injuries/concussion, cancer, and viral/bacterial infections. As the co-lead of Novel Medical Diagnostics, he continues to drive breakthroughs in precision diagnostics, wearable devices, and digital health, offering an improved quality of life and more effective disease management.

Learn more about Sanati-Nezhad on his website

This prestigious group represents the breadth and depth of the research and expertise at the University of Calgary, including the seven research institutes within the Cumming School of Medicine: the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, the O’Brien Institute for Public Health and the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.

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