The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, announced in Budget 2017, invests $117.6 million to enhance Canada's reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. It provides Canadian institutions with a one-time investment to attract top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers to Canada.
Canada 150 CHAIRs at UBC
Canada 150 Research Chair in Evolutionary Genomics
Judith Elizabeth Mank studies the genetics and selective agents behind sexual dimorphism (differences between the sexes). Such differences are, arguably, the most pervasive form of what is called “intraspecific diversity” in the animal kingdom. In many animals, males and females differ from each other in a broad range of traits, including their morphology, physiology and behaviour. Mank’s cutting-edge research combines population genomic and transcriptomic approaches with functional genetics. The results could reveal the genetic causes behind, and the evolutionary consequences of, sexual dimorphism. To understand sex differences in how diseases occur, and in how patients respond to therapy, Mank and her team also work with biomedics to understand the genetics behind sexual dimorphism in practical, clinically relevant situations.
Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics
Josef Martin Penninger’s basic approach is to genetically manipulate and change genes in mice, and to determine the effects these mutations have on development of the whole organism and in diseases. From these mutations, his team tries to establish basic principles of development, and basic mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. The University of British Columbia’s faculties of medicine and science consider Penninger the world leader in functional genetics research. His recruitment brings strength and eminence to the university, and furthers its efforts to attract top talent to its research community.
Canada 150 Research Chair in Computer Systems
Computing has a role in virtually every aspect of human lives. The computer systems field is one of the central pillars of computer science. Canada’s research strength in computer systems is growing, and fills a prominent and critical role in both academia and industry sectors. Margo Seltzer, a leading researcher in the field, focuses her work on operating systems, file systems, transaction systems, data provenance, graph analytic engines, databases, and health-care informatics. The chair’s research also dovetails well with artificial intelligence and data science. Her team’s research will contribute substantially to building Canada's research capacity across all of these areas.
Canada 150 Research Chair in Moral Psychology
Azim Shariff and his team will research how people’s moral psychology—their feelings about right and wrong—shapes and is shaped by social institutions and group behaviours. One of the chair’s main goals is to advance a scientific approach to addressing longstanding questions about religion’s impacts on moral behavior. Shariff will also study how people’s moral psychology affects their attitudes about pressing issues, such as climate change, criminal punishment, income inequality, and emerging technologies like self-driving cars. By applying their expertise in moral psychology to these and other important societal concerns, the chair will enhance Canadian research landscape.