Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development.  Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Tier 1 chair positions must be full professors or associate professors who are expected to be promoted to the full professor level within one or two years of the nomination. Tier 2 chair positions must be emerging scholars.

This past spring the CRC Secretariat launched its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.  More information on the Plan, and York University’s response to it, can be found here.

The York Research Chairs program is envisioned as York University's internal counterpart for the national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program and recognizes outstanding researchers at York. The level of support and recognition provided to York Research Chairs is expected to be aligned with supports and recognition provided through the CRC program.

York Research Chairs are available at two levels analogous to CRC chairs. Tier I York Research Chairs are open to established research leaders at the rank of full professor. Tier II York Research Chairs are aimed at emerging research leaders within 15 years of their first academic appointment at the rank of Associate or Assistant Professor. Both have five-year terms that are renewable in the context of open-competition based on peer review and the continuing availability of resources.

View the Canada Research Chairs List
View the York Research Chairs List

Canada Research Chairs

Peter Backx
CRC in Cardiovascular Biology

Photo of P. BackxPeter Backx is a York University Professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology. His research program focuses on Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia, which severely impairs heart function, contributes to heart disease progression and is the major cause of stroke. Although exercise provides enormous cardiovascular benefit, excessive exercise can also induce AF. His research program will determine the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in AF induction by cardiovascular disease, reveal the modulating influences of exercise, and identify novel approaches for treating and preventing AF.

Thomas Baumgartner
CRC in Sustainable Organomain Group Materials

Thomas Baumgartner, Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, is Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Organomain Group Materials (Tier 1). Baumgartner’s research, focused on the design of novel materials that can be used to lower the anthropogenic carbon footprint, will provide knowledge crucial to the development of essential next-generation technologies for a sustainable future. His program targets several energy-focused topics by addressing the efficient and sustainable use, conversion, and/or storage of energy via advanced synthesis in a bottom-up approach. The research also looks at the design of strongly luminescent species and their application as biomarkers and sensors for a variety of cellular processes.

Christopher Caputo
CRC in Metal-Free Materials for Catalysis

Christopher Caputo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, is Canada Research Chair in Metal-Free Materials for Catalysis (Tier 2). Many chemical reactions to generate desirable products or energy are not favourable under ambient conditions. To overcome this, catalysts are routinely used to lower the activation barrier of these reactions. However, many catalysts are derived from precious and expensive transition metals. Caputo’s research targets new, low cost materials derived from readily available main-group elements to develop next-generation Lewis acidic materials to replace traditional catalysts.

Rosemary Coombe
CRC in Law, Communication and Culture

Photo of R. CoombeRosemary J. Coombe holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture at York University, where she teaches in Anthropology, the York & Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, and the Graduate Programme in Socio-Legal Studies. Coombe's work addresses the cultural, political, and social implications of intellectual and cultural property laws in contexts shaped by neoliberal governmentalities and human rights norms. She is especially interested in international indigenous rights, cultural heritage practice, and postcolonial issues. Prior to being awarded one of the country's first Canada Research Chairs she was Full Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. She holds a J.S.D. from Stanford University with a Minor in Anthropology and publishes widely in anthropology and political and legal theory.

. Douglas Crawford
CRC in Visual-Motor Neuroscience

Photo of D. Crawford

 J. Douglas Crawford is a Distinguished Research Professor and the current Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Visual-Motor Neuroscience , joined the York Department of Psychology in 1995. For over 20 years, his work at the York Centre for Vision Research has focused on the control of visual gaze in 3D space, eye-hand coordination, and spatial memory during eye movements. Crawford has numerous publications and awards including the 2004 Steacie Prize. He is the founder of the York Neurophysiology Labs, the York Graduate Diploma Program in Neuroscience, and the Canadian Action and Perception Network (CAPnet)–a consortium of six research centers which he continues to lead. Most recently he co-founded the 'Brain in Action' International Research Training Program, which he leads on behalf of Canada.

Gordon Flett
CRC in Personality and Health

Photo of G. Flett Gordon Flett is a York University Professor in the Psychology department and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Personality & Health . He is the Director of York University's LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research. Flett is most recognized for his seminal contributions to research and theory on the role of perfectionism in psychopathology. Flett’s collaborative work with Dr. Paul Hewitt of the University of British Columbia on perfectionism (which was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) has received widespread national and international attention and has been the subject of numerous media stories, including coverage on CTV, CNN, and the BBC. Other current research interests include the study of domains of resilience in children and adolescents. Dr. Flett also conducts programmatic research on the nature and correlates of suicidality across the lifespan.

Joshua Fogel
CRC in the History of Modern China

Photo of J. FogelJoshua Fogel is a professor in the History Department at York University and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the History of Modern China. His research focuses on the importance of Japan in China’s modern development and the changing attitudes of China towards Japan (as well as vice-versa) from the fourteenth through to the nineteenth century. Fogel’s research is enhanced by a connection with the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), which provides an interdisciplinary focus for the study of Asia, drawing together the research of many prominent scholars. He has written, edited, or translated over fifty books.


David Hood
CRC in Cell Physiology

Photo of D. Hood David A. Hood is a York University Professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health, and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cell Physiology. Hood’s current research focus on skeletal muscle and heart biochemistry and molecular biology; mitochondrial adaptations in muscle subject to chronic contractile activity, including mechanisms of mitochondrial protein import and nuclear gene expression; cardiac muscle adaptations to thyroid hormone. He is also the Director of the Muscle Health Research Centre and recipient of York’s Faculty of Health Established Career Research Award (2009) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Award (2007).

Joel Katz
CRC in Health Psychology

Photo of J. KatzJoel D. Katz is a York University Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Health Psychology. Katz’s research interests focus on psychological, emotional, and biomedical factors involved in acute and chronic pain. He is a Canadian Psychological Association (2009) fellow and an American Psychological Association fellow (2010). Katz is also the recipient of the University of Toronto’s Department of Anesthesia Faculty Recognition Award (2011), York University Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Teaching Award (2011), the Canadian Pain Society Distinguished Career Award (2013) the York U Research Leaders Award (2014), and the Canadian Pain Society Outstanding Pain Mentorship Award (2016).

Raymond Kwong
CRC in Environmental Toxicology

Raymond Kwong, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, is Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology (Tier 2). His research examines the molecular and physiological effects of environmental stressors (e.g., anthropogenic and natural stressors), and the fundamental mechanisms regulating homeostatic processes in fish. The research, integrating environmental toxicology, molecular physiology, and functional genetics, will advance understanding of the mechanisms of toxic action, animal function, and physiological responses to contaminants. This information is critical for improving environmental risk assessment and monitoring, and for identifying sensitive biomarkers in the evaluation of aquatic health in contaminated waters.

Christopher Kyriakides
CRC in Socially Engaged Research in Race and Racialization

Photo of C. KyriakidesChristopher Kyriakides, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Research in Race and Racialization. Kyriakides' 'Racialized Reception Contexts' research program focuses on configurations of racialization in relation to the meaning of ‘East/West’, ‘South/North’ and articulations of racism and nationalism in the reception of refugees in Europe, North America and the Middle East. His research is guided by the understanding that racialization, particularly in light of the post-9/11 ‘war on terror,’ works with the historical conditions of racism specific to a given national formation, but in a dynamic global context. The initial five-country analysis, including Canada, the United States, Italy, Greece and Jordan, will examine the extent to which policy instruments and media discourses related to the ‘global refugee crisis’ negatively impact on racialized communities in each reception context.

Deborah McGregor
CRC in Indigenous Environmental Justice

Photo of D. McGregorDeborah McGregor is a York University Professor in the Osgoode Hall Law School, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice. McGregor is working to advance the theory and practice of environmental justice scholarship by engaging with Indigenous intellectual traditions. Her research program seeks to develop a distinctive environmental justice framework based on Indigenous knowledge systems and the lived experience of Indigenous peoples. Her research will provide a much deeper understanding of environmental injustices facing Indigenous peoples, and even more importantly, lead to viable approaches to addressing such challenges.

Theodore Noseworthy
CRC in Entrepreneurial Innovation

Photo of T. NoseworthyTheodore J. Noseworthy is a York University Professor at the Schulich School of Business in the area of Marketing and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good. Noseworthy’s research interests focus on new product design and innovation. He predominantly explores how people make sense of new innovative products and how marketers can better facilitate adoption. Noseworthy’s theoretical interests are in the area of product categorization, category ambiguity, and visual processing. In 2012, he was appointed Scientific Director of the NOESIS: Innovation, Design, and Consumption Laboratory, a scientific lab specifically developed to explore the psychological and behavioural consequences of innovative goods and services.

John Tsotsos
CRC in Computational Vision

Photo of J. Tsotsos

John K. Tsotsos is currently the Distinguished Research Professor of Vision Science at York University, where he also holds the NSERC Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision.   He holds Adjunct Professorships in the departments of Computer Science and of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto. He was Director of the Centre for Vision Research from 2000 to 2006. In 2014 he became the founding Director of the Centre for Innovation in Computing at Lassonde. His research efforts span the areas of computer vision, computational neuroscience, human vision, artificial intelligence and robotics. He is the recipient of the 2006 Canadian Image Processing and Pattern Recognition Society Award for Research Excellence, and Service and of the 1st President’s Research Excellence Award by York University in 2009. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Sciences, Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences in 2010 and was awarded their 2015 Sir John William Dawson Medal for excellence in multidisciplinary research.

Sean Tulin
CRC in Particle Physics and Cosmology

Photo of S. TulinSean Tulin, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Particle Physics and Cosmology.  The existence of dark matter is one of the Universe’s great mysteries. All stars, planets, and interstellar gas are made from atoms, and yet atomic matter represents only 15% of the total matter in the Universe. The remaining 85% is dark matter. Dark matter provides the cosmic foundation for galaxies to form, but its microphysical properties remain unknown. Tulin’s research provides new directions toward discovering dark matter’s elusive particle nature. By combining astrophysics, particle theory, and cosmology, he is developing new ideas to illuminate dark matter’s particle dynamics through its effect on cosmic structure.

Doug Van Nort
CRC in Digital Performance

Photo of D. Van Nort Doug Van Nort is a York University Professor in the Department of Theatre and Department of Digital Media, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance. Van Nort’s work is concerned with issues of performance and sensorial immersion in technologically-mediated environments. His research-creation work integrates improvisation and collective performance with machine agents, interactive systems and experiences of telepresence. He is the founding director the Distributed Performance and Sensorial Immersion (DisPerSion) Lab at York.

Leah Vosko
CRC in Feminist Political Economy of Gender & Work

Prof. Leah Vosko

Leah F. Vosko is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender & Work at York University. The CRC renewal in 2017 will allow Vosko to examine impediments to the realization of labour market membership for workers facing multiple dimensions of precariousness in employment across several jurisdictions and fields of employment policy. It will allow her to scale-up to the pan-Canadian level her ongoing research on the effectiveness of workplace regulation in Ontario. Her research program also includes (1) the development of an Employment Standards Database, offering a platform for comparative research on employment standards; (2) the creation of the Canada Labour Code Data Analysis Infrastructure, transforming a large-scale administrative database that the Government of Canada's Labour Program maintains into a research tool yielding new insights into labour standards compliance across the country; and (3) an investigation identifying avenues for realizing labour market membership among workers labouring transnationally.

Graham Wakefield
CRC in Interactive Information Visualization

Photo of G. WakefieldGraham Wakefield Is a York University Professor in the Department of Visual Art & Art History, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Interactive Information Visualization. Wakefield’s research-creation is founded upon a trans-disciplinary training in art, music, virtual reality, mathematics, and philosophy, partnered with extensive professional practice in software engineering. Wakefield’s artworks have been exhibited at major international museums such as ZKM and his research is documented in leading journals and conferences, including a best paper award at NIME 2013.

Jianhong Wu
CRC in Applied Mathematics

Photo of J. WuJianhong Wu is a York University Distinguished Research Professor and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He has a record of exceptional scientific contribution in a number of fields relevant to nonlinear analysis and health research, including health informatics, infectious disease modelling, public health emergency simulations, neural networks, complex data analytics and nonlinear dynamics. Wu is well known for his leadership in several renowned national interdisciplinary projects including the Mpime NCE funded infection dynamics modelling project, and the GEOIDE NCE funded geosimulation of disease spread. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012. He has also been recognized by visiting fellowship internationally such as the Cheung Kong Visiting Professorship and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellow.

Georg Zoidl
Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Photo of G. ZoidlGeorg Zoidl is Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Engineering. He is also a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. His research examines the functions of nerve cells in the brain and the visual system as a means to understanding overall brain activity in health and disease. In this process he explores the molecular and cellular machinery enabling communication processes in the brain that contribute to vision, learning and memory, and disease-causing conditions

York Research Chairs

Tier I Chairs

Photo of I. Bakker

Isabella Bakker, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), received a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Global Economic Governance, Gender and Human Rights. Bakker’s research places a critical lens on global economic policy and governance practices. She is also examining reproductive healthcare, education, and welfare policies, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis with the central aim of supporting the development of progressive, human-centred economic theories and policies.

Photo of N. BergeronNantel Bergeron, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Applied Algebra.  Bergeron is one of the pioneers in the development of the theory of combinatorial Hopf algebras that serve as a conceptual laboratory in which researchers can understand and solve complex problems from other areas of science and mathematics. His research program will help to better understand the complexity of algorithms in computer science and mathematics and bring further insights into super-symmetry of nature.

Photo of E. BialystokEllen Bialystok, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, has received a Tier 1 Walter Gordon York Research Chair in Lifespan Cognitive Development. Her research examines the effects of experience on cognitive function and brain organization across the lifespan, with a particular focus on bilingualism as an example of an intense and prevalent experience. The award will support studies of patients with early Alzheimer’s disease to provide a more complete description of these dynamic changes and develop a training protocol based on compensation that will improve cognitive function for all patients.

Deborah Britzman, Faculty of Education, has received a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Pedagogy and Psycho-Social Transformations. Britzman's research interests are in psychoanalysis with education and studies of learning as psychosocial transformation. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Psychoanalyst, she is the author of 100 articles and eight books.

Laurence Harris, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Multisensory Integration. Harris investigates how we integrate information from our different senses to create the perception of our own body, and our sense of position and movement in the world. He is the Director of the Centre for Vision Research at York, an international leader in biological and machine vision research and a core member of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program.

Eric HesselsPhoto of E. Hessels, is a York University Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and a  Tier 1 York Research Chair in Atomic Physics. He is part of a collaboration whose goal is to hold antihydrogen (the antimatter version of the hydrogen atoms) in a magnetic trap and use them to conduct precise tests of the symmetries and physics of antimatter. He is also working on using precision measurements of atomic helium to make a 3-part-per-billion determination of the fine-structure constant, and a precise measurement in atomic hydrogen to determine the size of the proton.

Photo of R. Keil

Roger Keil, Faculty of Environmental Studies, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Global Sub/Urban Studies in recognition of his research contributions to the field of urban and environmental research. Keil’s research examines suburbanization, which is now a global phenomenon and a defining feature of the “urban century” we have just entered. His work will add to a greater understanding of our suburban futures, as new forms of work, housing, mobility and governance, as well as how human/non-human nature relationships take shape.

Photo of S. KrylovSergey Krylov, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, was awarded an inaugural Tier 1 York Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry. The appointment supports the development of new technologies for understanding, diagnosing and treating cancer.  As the director of the Centre for Research on Biomolecular Chemistry, Krylov’s lab will work collaboratively with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and instrumentation companies on the development of personalized approaches to cancer medicine.

Photo of O. OkaforObiora Okafor, Osgoode Hall Law School, is the inaugural Tier 1 York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies. Building on an ongoing research project about Canadian/Nigerian cooperation on human rights (including in the sub-areas of economic and social rights, judicial strengthening, institution building, democratization and poverty alleviation), and other research projects, the award supports the expansion of Okafor’s research to include a focus on the study of Canadian human rights cooperation initiatives with all of the countries in Anglophone West Africa.

C. PengChun Peng, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Women's Reproductive Health. Peng’s long-term goal for her research program is to understand the regulation of female reproduction and the mechanisms underlying the development of ovarian cancer and preeclampsia. Her proposed research will enhance the overall understanding of female reproductive health and reveal novel biomarkers for preeclampsia and therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer.

Zheng Hong (George) Zhu, Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering in the Lassonde School of Engineering, was awarded a Tier 1 York Research Chair in Space Technology. Zhu is the Director of the Space Engineering Design Laboratory at the Lassonde School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests touch on a number of topics including the dynamics and control of tethered spacecraft systems, electrodynamic tether propulsion and space debris removal, space robotics and advanced spacecraft materials.

Tier II Chairs

Robert AllisonDepartment of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, School of Engineering and a member of the VISTA program, is interested in human perceptual responses in virtual environments and the study of stereoscopic visions. He is also interested in the measurement and analysis of eye movements and the applications of this technology.

Kristin Andrews, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Animal Minds. Andrews' interests are in animal and child social cognition and moral development. She has worked with dolphins in Hawaii and orangutans in Borneo. Her research area is in the philosophy of psychology. Her first book, Do Apes Read Minds?, was published by MIT Press in 2012.

Photo of M. Daly

Mike Daly, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Planetary Science in recognition of his outstanding contribution to space-flight instrumentation research at York. The York Research Chair will enable Daly’s participation in NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and the return of Canada’s first sample of material from another solar system.

Photo of J. HeffernanJane Heffernan, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, is an inaugural Tier 2 York Research Chair in Multi-Scale Quantitative Methods for Evidence-Based Health Policy.  Heffernan’s research responds to the pressing need for new statistical, mathematical, and computational methods of mapping, understanding and controlling infectious diseases and aims to influence the development of new evidence-based public health policies. Heffernan is also the director of the Centre for Disease Modelling, and is involved in global health initiatives.

Photo of J. HuangJimmy Huang, School of Information Technology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, received a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Big Data Analytics. Huang’s research focuses on the areas of information retrieval, big data and their applications to the web and medical healthcare. The objective of his research program is to overcome limitations of existing information retrieval methods and to formally develop a new retrieval paradigm called context-sensitive and task-aware information search for big data.

Photo of A. HudsonAnna Hudson, Department of Visual Arts and Art History, School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design, is the new Tier 2 York Research Chair in Inuit Cultural Mobilization, which will advance research into Inuit cultural globalization by exploring contemporary fusions of Indigenous storytelling with hip-hop, performance, game design, and videography. Supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant, the Chair will promote the development of a more equitable information and communication technology infrastructure and greater participation by Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut artists in global cultural dialogue, exchange, and digital preservation of Inuit art and cultural heritage.

Photo of F. KurasawaFuyuki Kurasawa, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is an inaugural Tier 2 York Research Chair in Global Digital Citizenship. His research will examine how the rise of digital culture is enabling laypeople and experts to collaborate in tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. Kurasawa will also examine how new technologies are reshaping practices of creation, evaluation, and dissemination of knowledge about such global problems.


Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health to support her research on linking early childhood mental health challenges with behaviours seen when children calm down from painful immunizations. The appointment will enable Pillai Riddell to translate her research findings into a community-based screening and intervention program that will integrate early childhood mental health into routine medical care.

rosenbaum-8699-5x7-300R. Shayna Rosenbaum, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and core member of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program is a Tier 2 VISTA York Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory. Combining the study of brain-damaged patients with brain imaging and innovative cognitive tests, she has shown how different forms of memory are represented in the brain and how they contribute to other functions from decision making to social interaction. She is harnessing this knowledge to develop strategies to help healthy older adults and patients overcome memory loss.

Sapna Sharma, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Global Change Biology. Sharma is interested in predicting the effects of environmental stressors, such as climate change, invasive species, land use change, and habitat alteration, on ecosystems and improving the use of quantitative approaches used to generate these predictions.

Photo of A. ZayedAmro Zayed, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Genomics. Zayed’s research group sequences the genomes of thousands of bees to identify mutations that influence their economically and ecologically relevant traits. Zayed’s program aims to improve the health of Canadian honey bees, which will increase the sustainability and security of Canada’s food supply.