President's Report 2006 | Research

At the forefront of research

Cultured and wild salmon, unique local dialects, the challenges faced by coastal communities... these are a few of the locally relevant projects that five new Canada Research Chairs will explore at Memorial.

In May, Maxime Bernier, minister of Industry and minister responsible for the Canada Research Chairs Program, announced that Memorial University was awarded five new Tier 2 Chairs worth $2.5 million.

Since the Canada Chairs Program was created in 2000, Memorial has received 22 Canada Research Chairs whose combined total is worth $21.9 million. Their funded research covers an exciting and broad range of fields.

"The chairs program allows us to attract and retain the best scholars in the world," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial's vice-president (research).

"These five scholars will help the university build on its areas of strength and provide graduate and undergraduate students with the opportunity to work with researchers at the forefront of their disciplines."

"The important investments made in university research have re-energized our campuses and given the country's top researchers – our Canada Research Chairs – the support they need to fully realize their innovative ideas," said Minister Bernier.

Dr. Matthew L. Rise

Canada Research Chair in Marine Biotechnology

Dr. Matthew L. Rise

To remain cost competitive, Atlantic salmon farmers must maximize the fish in their pens. This increases the incidence and spread of disease in the fish. Improved understanding of the infectious diseases opens the door for effective diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. It could also lead to disease resistant aquaculture brood stock. Dr. Rise will develop and use genomic tools to characterize host and pathogen gene expression changes occurring during infections of fish with emerging pathogens such as ISAV and P. salmonis. This research will yield products and methods likely to have a positive impact on the health of cultured and wild marine animals.

Dr. Murray A. Rudd

Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College

Dr. Murray A. Rudd

The perceived importance of nature doesn't always lead to sustainable use. Dr. Rudd will focus primarily on three issues to help understand the costs and benefits of actions on "natural capital," and the resulting trade-offs in environmental quality. The three issues include: the recreational and non-use benefits of natural capital; quantifying the costs of environmental conservation to private and public sectors; and cost-benefit results in policy models that explore how to best invest for ecological and socio-economic sustainability.

Dr. Gerard E. Van Herk

Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text

Dr. Gerard E. Van Herk

A recent worldwide study identified traditional Newfoundland speech as the most distinct variety of English on the planet. That makes Newfoundland an ideal language laboratory. During his research, Dr. Van Herk will develop the intellectual infrastructure to record change in progress and to make rich local archival holdings accessible to modern research. Improved access to raw materials will enrich dialect- and languagechange research worldwide.

Dr. Samuel Bentley

CanadaResearch Chair in Seabed Processes and Seabed Imaging

Dr. Samuel Bentley

The ocean seabed is the interface for exchange of organisms, particles, and dissolved compounds between marine sediment deposits and the overlying ocean. It is also a vast and remote, dynamic setting that is difficult to explore.

Dr. Bentley will study geological processes and products of the seabed and near-bottom waters, as well as physical, chemical, and biological processes that contribute to these outcomes.

Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee

Canada Research Chair in Natural Resource Sustainability and Community Development

Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee

Around the world, people live, work and relax in coastal areas. These complex and diverse ecosystems are highly susceptible to natural and human changes. Dr. Chuenpagdee's interdisciplinary research program will include: biophysical studies of coastal areas; investigation of ecosystem values; social organization and governance, all with the aim of promoting coastal sustainability and community resilience.