Meet the 2021 President’s Research Excellence Award winners – Dal News
A stellar group of researchers is being celebrated by Dalhousie through the President’s Research Excellence Awards.
Established in 2018, these awards recognize the research achievements of Dalhousie faculty members. The award for Emerging Investigators recognizes early-career researchers (within seven years of their first academic appointment) who have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their field, while the award for Impact celebrates researchers at any career stage who are having substantial, current impact on their field of research.
“We are proud to recognize this talented group of individuals who are leaders in their fields,” says Alice Aiken, Dalhousie’s vice president research and innovation. “They have played a key role in making us the world-leading research and innovation institute we are today.”
Emerging Investigator awards
Jeanette Boudreau, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Boudreau’s cutting-edge research program is defining strategies for scalable precision medicine for cancer. Her research focuses on the biology of natural killer (NK) cells and their potential application for precision immunotherapies for cancer. Dr. Boudreau’s work has the potential to impact both cancer therapy and our understanding of fundamental NK cell biology.
Leah Cahill, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Cahill leads the nourish research team, a medical research group that examines how risk factors influence cardio-metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Under her leadership, this research team is identifying optimal lifestyle practices as well as the biological pathways that are key for prevention and treatment of these diseases. Dr. Cahill is already being recognized as an expert in her field, receiving several awards including the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine Research Excellence Award (2019), and Faculty of Medicine Grand Rounds Award of Merit.
Saurabh Chitnis, Faculty of Science
Dr. Chitnis’ research is truly ground-breaking. He is designing molecules containing heavy p-block elements (elements on the right hand side of the periodic table), in ways that were previously thought to be impossible, with important implications for new materials synthesis and sustainable catalysis. Since starting at Dalhousie in 2018, he has published ten articles and written a book chapter arising from his independent program. Among the research articles, six are in non-specialist, wide-audience journals. The ability to place his work in such highly visible venues is a testament to the significance of research conducted by the Chitnis group.
Shashi Gujar, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Gujar is an expert in cancer immunotherapy. Simply put, he devises new strategies that can train the cancer patient’s own immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. Such immunotherapies are considered the most promising modern day therapeutic modalities against cancer. Within the initial four years of his appointment, Dr. Gujar has authored 55 research articles, 33 as the lead/senior author. His scientific discoveries will have direct clinical implications, and promise to enhance the outcomes for cancer patients.
Israat Haque, Faculty of Computer Science
Dr. Haque has had a significant impact on research taking place in the computer science community. Her Programmable and Intelligent Networking Lab investigates solutions to networking problems to enhance the world’s internet connectivity, something that most of us rely on in our day to day lives. Dr. Haque and her students have designed novel algorithms to construct reliable routing topologies, quick and resource-efficient failure recovery systems, reliable network measurement solutions, and machine learning-based network failure and anomaly detection systems. She has been recognized as a 2021 Rising Star by Networking2 Women.
Naiomi Metallic, Faculty of Law
Professor Metallic’s research seeks to harness the law to advance the well-being of Indigenous peoples. She strives to integrate three branches of research in support of the following goals: essential service delivery to Indigenous communities, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and Indigenous law. Her research into problems in the delivery of Indigenous essential services is ground-breaking and she is a leading legal expert in this field. She has authored and contributed to numerous reports, academic articles, book chapters, and knowledge mobilization projects calling attention to these problems. Notably, her work with the Yellowhead Institute, an Indigenous-led think-tank has been viewed over 33,000 times.
Research Impact awards
Elaine Craig, Faculty of Law
Dr. Craig’s research focuses on the relationship between legal norms and concepts of sexual integrity and the development of a theory of sexuality that could foster law’s capacity to promote justice. Her scholarship confronts some of the most difficult conceptual issues that arise with respect to the legal regulation of people’s identities, relationships, and intimate lives. She has authored twenty-six articles published in Canada’s leading law journals, two books and numerous reviews. Her work is highly cited by other academics and has been cited at every level of court in Canada, including multiple times by the Supreme Court of Canada.
David Kelvin, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Kelvin is a highly regarded, eminent immunologist at both the national and international levels. Over the past 18 months, he has been instrumental in ensuring that Dalhousie fully participates, at an international level, in the fight against COVID-19. He initiated and coordinated an international team, initially providing key information on the nature of the pandemic and its spread and, most recently, aiming to identify those most at risk of developing severe disease in response to SARS-CoV-2. This work has been funded through multiple CIHR grants, local partnership support from Research Nova Scotia and through funds from the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, Genome Canada and international partners.
Mark Obrovac, Faculty of Science
Dr. Obrovac has extensive industrial experience in the research, development, and manufacture of battery materials. His lab develops next generation materials and innovative processes that enable the production of Li-ion batteries at reduced cost, with less waste and greater sustainability. Despite their simplicity, these new processes have the ability to make never-before-possible designer materials that can improve battery performance while reducing cost. His work is leading to better energy storage which, in turn, is changing how society moves, works and communicates.
To learn more about the President’s Research Excellence Awards, visit the website.