Prairie Post (East Edition)

Canada Research Chair appointmen­ts support U of L expertise in water and agricultur­e

- Contribute­d

Two University of Lethbridge researcher­s have earned Canada Research Chair appointmen­ts, as announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Dr. Jean-Denys Hamel, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemist­ry, has been appointed a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Organofluo­rine Chemistry and Catalysis. Dr. Steve Wiseman, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been reappointe­d a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Aquatic and Mechanisti­c Toxicology.

“We’re extremely pleased to see both Dr. Hamel and Dr. Wiseman recognized and supported for their excellent work,” says Dr. Dena McMartin, the University’s vice-president (research). “Dr. Hamel’s research has far-reaching applicatio­ns in agricultur­e and pharmaceut­icals, while Dr. Wiseman’s work is essential in helping maintain the health of our extremely valuable aquatic environmen­ts. Their appointmen­ts highlight the importance and impact of the work of our faculty members to southern Albertans and society as a whole.”

A year ago, Hamel joined the U of L’s Canadian Centre for Research in Advanced Fluorine Technologi­es (C-CRAFT) where he leads an innovative research program in the emerging field of organofluo­rine chemistry. Fluorine is vital to the developmen­t of drugs, agrochemic­al agents and fine materials. Organofluo­rine chemistry requires greener

chemical processes and shorter syntheses due to its increased number of applicatio­ns.

“As an early-career researcher, it is very exciting to see the University of Lethbridge, and now the CRC program, sharing a common vision with me regarding the true potential of organofluo­rine chemistry and its positive impact on society,” says Hamel. “I am looking forward to contributi­ng in positionin­g Canada at the forefront of research in that field.”

Thousands of unique chemicals are released into the environmen­t from both natural and man-made sources. Aquatic systems are sinks for many of these chemicals, but little is known about their effects on aquatic organisms. Wiseman’s research program evaluates whether chemicals have adverse effects on aquatic organisms, with an emphasis on fish, and develops new tools to accurately predict toxicities.

“I feel very fortunate to have my CRC Chair renewed for an additional five years,” says Wiseman. “This

would not have happened without the hard work of the students, post-docs and research assistants who have been a part of my research team. This support from the CRC program, and the University of Lethbridge, will allow me to expand the research performed during the past five years, and more than anything, allow me to keep training the next generation of scientists.”

Along with Hamel’s appointmen­t as a Canada Research Chair, he has also been awarded $140,000 through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) for infrastruc­ture supporting his research in catalytic organofluo­rine chemistry.

About the Canada Research Chair program

The Canada Research Chair Program was establishe­d by the federal government in 2000 as part of a national strategy to attract and retain a diverse set of researcher­s. Chairholde­rs achieve research excellence in engineerin­g and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social

sciences. Tier 1 Chairs, for leading researcher­s in their fields, are appointed for seven years and are renewable once. Tier 2 Chairs, for exceptiona­l emerging researcher­s, are appointed for five years and are renewable once.


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