University of Alberta researcher wins Nobel prize for Hep C discovery, now working on vaccines
It was the middle of the night on Oct. 5 when University of Alberta professor Dr. Michael Houghton learned he and his collaborators were the Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine for 2020. Dr. Houghton won the Nobel along with scientists Harvey Alter and Charlie Rice for their significant contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world.
Dr. Houghton said he tried to go back to sleep after the 3 a.m. call from a colleague but failed. “In the end I gave up,” he said in an interview with Adam Smith of Nobelprize.org. “And then… [I] got on email and there’s hundreds and hundreds of emails, which is all very nice of course.”
The three scientists discovered the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which causes 400,000 global deaths a year, in 1989.
After their discovery, protecting the blood supply from transmission was job one. The scientists quickly developed a blood test and by 1992 the virus was virtually eliminated from the blood inventory in the developed world.
Their attention then turned to therapeutics. “It took…the whole field and the pharmaceutical industry working for more than 20 years. But eventually, we’ve got these wonderful drugs now that can cure nearly everybody quite quickly and safely.”
Still, HCV remains a global epidemic. “So…the way eventually you have to control an epidemic like this is with a vaccine,” he said. “After many years of work, I think our field feels that it is now feasible…at the University of Alberta I’ve been working on an improved version that we think has a good chance of success, or at least being partially effective.”
Dr. Houghton was recruited to the University of Alberta in 2010 as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Virology in the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology. Two years later, he and his team developed a vaccine for the virus known to cause cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer. The vaccine is now in late-stage testing.
He is also leading an effort to produce a vaccine for COVID-19.
Dr. Houghton said he became interested in microbiology when was 17, “having read about Louis Pasteur’s life and his work, so he was my inspiration.” In terms of what drove his work, especially during years of frustration, he said it wasn’t the promise of awards or accolades. “It’s nice, but what counts for me more is that we’ve been able to prevent millions of hepatitis C infections that otherwise would have occurred through the blood supply. Prizes are very pleasant, but they’re only prizes. I’m much more happy when we can actually intervene with patients and prevent people from getting infected or provide a cure for them.”
Focusing on the nature and significance of art and the aesthetic
One of the foremost contemporary philosophers of art, Dr. Dominic McIver Lopes is a distinguished university scholar and professor in the department of philosophy at the University of British Columbia. His work focuses on the nature and significance of art and the aesthetic.
Dr. McIver Lopes has traced the value of images to how they extend the powers of human perception. His ground-breaking book Philosophy of Computer Art, for example, argued that computer art challenges some of the basic tenets of traditional ways of thinking about art and its creation. He is developing a theory of how aesthetic values guide agents engaged in a variety of aesthetic projects. The elements of his theory could yield novel insights into the origins of aesthetic practices and the foundations of aesthetic education. He is currently working on a book titled Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value.
Dr. McIver Lopes holds a bachelor of arts from McGill University and a DPhil from Oxford University. He has been a fellow of the National Humanities Center and a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Research Professor at the University of Warwick. His awards include an American Society for Aesthetics Outstanding Monograph Prize and a Killam Research Prize..
* Dominic McIver Lopes is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards
Creating new polymers for tissue regeneration
A professor of chemistry and biomaterials and biomedical engineering, Dr. Molly Shoichet was named North American winner of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science award for the development of new materials to regenerate damaged nerve tissue and for a new method that can deliver drugs directly to the spinal cord and brain.
An expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and regeneration, Dr. Shoichet has been tackling the problem of the blood-brain barrier, a tightly interwoven network of cells that protects the central nervous system from toxins but can block helpful medications. Her novel solution is to deliver drugs in a gel-like polymer that can be injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid and then remain near its injection point where the therapy is most effective. The team she leads has also created a polymer for the targeted delivery of drugs and antibodies in breast cancer.
Holder of a bachelor of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Soichet is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and a university professor of chemical engineering and applied chemistry, chemistry and biomaterials and biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto. The recipient of many prestigious distinctions, she is the only person to be a fellow of Canada’s three national academies.
* Molly Shoichet is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Measuring how human activity affects the Earth’s crust
University of Ottawa professor and geophysicist Dr. Pascal Audet was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow for pioneering a technique to measure how human activity affects the Earth’s crust.
An expert in earthquake seismology, Dr. Audet uses GPS data coupled with gravity variations obtained from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite to determine the extent to which large-scale human activity affects the deformation of the earth’s crust and to evaluate its impact on natural hazards.
Recently, his technique played an important role in an international study published in the journal Nature that showed the direct link between human-induced groundwater depletion and the uplift of California’s Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges. This may increase the number of small earthquakes in the adjacent San Andreas Fault.
The fellowship will allow Dr. Audet to study the impacts of the oilsands in Western Canada.
*Pascal Audet is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Pursue research in physical oceanography
An assistant professor in physical oceanography, Dr. Stephanie Waterman has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship to pursue her research in physical oceanography.
In the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Waterman combines observational and theoretical oceanography to better understand how different components of ocean circulation, operating at different time and length scales, interact. She has been involved in a number of international observational campaigns in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Southern Oceans.
Her Arctic research is organized in conjunction with the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES program, an initiative to better understand biogeochemical processes in the ocean and improve projections of the ocean’s response to global change.
A graduate of Queen’s University, Dr. Waterman completed a PhD in physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was a research fellow at the United Kingdom’s National Oceanography Centre, the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, London and the Climate Change Research Centre and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science before joining the University of British Columbia in 2014.
*Stephanie Waterman is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Original contributions to number theory
Dr. Jacob Tsimerman has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship in Mathematics in recognition of his original contributions to number theory. An assistant professor in the University of Toronto’s department of mathematics, he also won the 2015 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for young mathematicians.
Dr. Tsimerman works at estimating how many solutions there are to a system of polynomial equations using integers — whole numbers that do not have a fractional or decimal component. His work is rooted in the fundamental concepts of number theory and algebraic geometry. “He is one of the few mathematicians to have complete mastery over these two very different areas of mathematics,” notes the prize citation. “This has enabled him to achieve significant progress on a number of fundamental problems lying at the interface of the two subjects.”
Dr. Tsimerman holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto and completed his PhD at Princeton University. Following post-doctoral work position at Harvard University, he joined the University of Toronto faculty in 2014.
* Jacob Tsimerman is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Understanding how the brain is wired
Dr. Julie Lefebvre, scientist in the Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at The Hospital for Sick Children, was awarded a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship in Neuroscience for her work to understand the fundamental mechanisms of how the brain is wired.
Dr. Lefebvre’s research involves studying the roles of genes in the complex formation of neural circuits. “I hope to bridge my work to advance our understanding of how genetic alterations affect brain development and other brain disorders,” says Dr. Lefebvre.
She aims to identify how nerve cells form specific patterns of neural connections that are essential for proper development and functioning of the nervous system. Her research will provide insights into how neural circuits assemble in a healthy brain, and how defects in these developmental pathways contribute to abnormal brain function and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Lefebvre received her bachelor of science from McGill University and earned her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania for research on neuromuscular development. She completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University, investigating molecular mechanisms of neuronal morphogenesis and circuit formation in the retina. She joined The Hospital for Sick Children in December 2013.
* Julie Lefebvre is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Improving our understanding of the immune system
A postdoctoral fellow in cell biology at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Dr. Vanessa D’Costa was awarded a L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Rising Talent grant for her research into mechanisms that allow salmonella bacteria to escape the immune system.
Salmonella is one of the leading causes of food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide. Severe cases of salmonellosis can cause death and contribute to the development of reactive arthritis, an autoimmune disorder. Recent years have seen an increase in infections by drug-resistant salmonella.
Salmonella bacteria cause infection by evading the immune system with the help of toxin-like proteins called effectors, whose function is not fully understood by scientists. Dr. D’Costa’s research aims to determine how these effectors manipulate host cells and enable the pathogen to bypass the body’s disease-fighting systems. Her findings will provide insight into the functioning of other drug-resistant bacteria and, more generally, our understanding of the immune system.
Dr. D’Costa was earlier awarded a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research while completing her PhD at McMaster University and a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Toronto.
* Vanessa D’Costa is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Unravelling the mysteries of the universe
Nobel laureate Dr. Arthur McDonald, professor emeritus at Queen’s University, and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) received the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics “for the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics.” The award was one of five given to experiments investigating neutrino oscillation.
In recognition for his research into neutrinos, Dr. McDonald was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics alongside the University of Tokyo’s Dr. Takaaki Kajita.
Dr. McDonald is the director of the SNO Collaboration that began researching the mysteries of neutrinos at the Sudbury site in 1984. The cavern that housed SNO has since expanded and morphed into a multipurpose underground physics facility called SNOLAB.
Sometimes called “ghost particles,” neutrinos are fundamental to the make-up of the universe, but relatively little has been known about them. Dr. McDonald’s team discovered the transformation of electron-type neutrinos to other types en route from the core of the sun to the Earth — a finding that expands our understanding of the sun and exhibits neutrino properties that go beyond the predictions of the Standard Model of Elementary Particles.
Dr. McDonald earned his PhD in 1969 from the California Institute of Technology and began his career at Queen’s University in 1989. He has been a professor emeritus since 2013, and holds the university’s Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics.
*Arthur B. McDonald is one of 12 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2016 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating Canada’s 2016 winners of major international research awards.
Demonstrating exceptional creative ability in the arts
An adjunct professor of English and former Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies at University College, University of Toronto, Anne Michaels was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts for fiction. The author of five acclaimed poetry collections and two novels was also named poet laureate of Toronto in 2015.
Professor Michaels is an alumna of the University of Toronto where she later founded the long-distance creative writing program at the School of Continuing Studies. Her first book, The Weight of Oranges (1986), a volume of poetry, was awarded the Commonwealth Prize. She received the National Magazine Award, the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry and a nomination for the Governor General’s Award for her second collection, Miner’s Pond (1991).
Professor Michaels has written two novels. Fugitive Pieces was awarded the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian Fiction Prize and America’s Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. It was adapted into a feature film in 2007..
Her second novel, The Winter Vault, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller prize, the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best Book and the Trillium Book Award.
* Anne Michaels is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards
Tackling the toughest problems of quantum field theory
Perimeter Institute faculty member and adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, theoretical physicist Dr. Pedro Vieira has earned a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship for his explorations into the foundations of quantum field theory. He also won the prestigious Gribov Medal given by the Physical European Society to a young researcher in the theoretical physics fields of particles or quantum field theory.
At Perimeter, Dr. Vieira tackles the toughest and most long-standing problems of quantum field theory. He uses a mathematical technique called holography to translate questions about four-dimensional field theories into questions about two-dimensional string theories. That makes it possible for him to look at the questions through the use of integrability, a powerful mathematical technique for exactly solving two-dimensional theories. Holography then relates the solution in two dimensions back to a solution in four dimensions.
A graduate of the Universidade de Porto, Portugal, Dr. Vieira earned his master’s and PhD at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. He joined the Perimeter Institute in 2009.
* Pedro Vieira is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Unraveling a key evolutionary riddle
Professor in the departments of zoology and mathematics at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Michael Doebeli is “one of the foremost mathematical evolutionary biologists in the world and the main authority for theory on the evolution of organismal diversity,” says a statement issued by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The foundation awarded Dr. Doebeli a fellowship in natural sciences in recognition of his research, which has led to a major change in how scientists understand the origin of new species.
The mathematical model Dr. Doebeli developed seeks to unravel a key evolutionary riddle: what factors underlie the generation of biological diversity both within and between species. His work has shown that new species can form in the absence of geographic separation, something once viewed as theoretically impossible. Dr. Doebeli has also provided new perspectives that have led to a unified understanding of the evolution of cooperation in nature.
Dr. Doebeli completed a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Basel, Switzerland. He received the 2014 Research Award of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society, among other prestigious awards, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
* Michael Doebeli is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Examining the history of Bolshevik eugenics
A historian of Russian medicine and life sciences, Dr. Nikolai Krementsov was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to carry out research on the interactions among science, medicine and literature in Bolshevik Russia (1917-1929). A professor in the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, he focuses on the history of international relations in science and medicine, especially during the interwar and Cold War periods.
Dr. Krementsov’s project is titled “I Want a Baby”: The History of Bolshevik Eugenics. In many countries, eugenics is often associated with genocidal race-purification programs. Not so during the Bolshevik Russia period, where it was based on a desire to improve the genetic fitness of the Russian people. But the movement failed to secure legislative support or spark an organized movement. After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, however, it became an established scientific discipline, exerting influence on social policies. Eugenics was banned in the Soviet Union in 1930 under Joseph Stalin.
“My goal is to examine this history in detail in its national and international contexts. Public discourse and state policies towards science often change when a state’s leadership changes, so drawing lessons from the Bolshevik Russia period may offer insights into the relationships between science and society that many nations grapple with today,” says Dr. Krementsov.
* Nikolai Krementsov is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Outstanding research and teaching career in English literature
A professor and Chancellor Jackman Professor of English at the University of Toronto, Dr. Thomas Keymer was awarded a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship in Humanities in recognition of his outstanding research and teaching career in English literature. The award will enable him to complete a book about the interplay between official press control and politically inflected literature between 1660 and 1820.
Titled Poetics of the Pillory: Literature and Seditious Libel, 1660-1820, the book will expand on a string of lectures he delivered at Oxford University in 2014.
Dr. Keymer’s work in libel and censorship grew out of his interest in the literature of the 17th and 18th centuries as periods of political upheaval. “Authorities at the time went to great lengths to silence writers: repressive laws, the pillory, intimidation and proxy arrests among them,” says Dr. Keymer. “Censorship energized these authors and made them more creative.”
A graduate of Cambridge University, Dr. Keymer has taught at Royal Holloway, the University of London and at St Anne’s College, Oxford. He directs the University of Toronto’s collaborative program in book history and print culture, based at Massey College, where he is a senior fellow. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Historical Society and the English Association.
* Thomas Keymer is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Changing the way people think about life
One of the world’s foremost philosophers, Charles Taylor was awarded the first annual award from the Berggruen Institute for changing the way people all over the world think about some of the most basic questions in human life.
Taylor’s writings have been translated into 20 languages, covering subjects that range from artificial intelligence and multiculturalism to language, social behaviour and morality. Among the most influential of his works are Explanation of Behaviour (1967), Sources of the Self (1989) and A Secular Age (2007). His most recent book is The Language Animal (2016).
A global leader in deepening understanding among different intellectual traditions, Taylor’s work resonates particularly in his native land where he has been a leading voice for the unity of Canada and the preservation of the distinctive identity of Quebec.
In 2015, Dr. Taylor shared the prestigious $1.5 million John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity with German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas.
Dr. Taylor completed three degrees at Oxford, culminating in a PhD in philosophy in 1961. Although he has held affiliations at many major universities, his most enduring connection is with McGill, where he taught between 1961 and 1997, and where he is now professor emeritus.
Dr. Taylor’s work also earned him the prestigious Kyoto Prize and the Templeton Prize. A public intellectual, Dr. Taylor led the Bouchard-Taylor commission with sociologist Gerald Bouchard that explored the impact of religious accommodation on Quebec’s identity and values.
*Charles M. Taylor is one of 12 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2016 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating Canada’s 2016 winners of major international research awards.
Reducing the time delay when using digital devices
An assistant professor of computer science at the University of Toronto, Dr. Daniel Wigdor was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship to further his research on human-computer interaction, specifically how to reduce the delay experienced when using smartphones and tablets.
Computing performance has improved significantly in recent decades, but the response time of touchscreens has stalled at 100 milliseconds. Dr. Wigdor wants to reduce that delay and make digital devices feel more like physical ones – like writing on real paper. “My general area of research is leveraging computing technology to enable users to live better lives,” he says.
Dr. Wigdor’s work includes the development of user interface software, interaction methods, sensor hardware, new device form factors, development platforms and operating system enhancements.
After obtaining his PhD at the University of Toronto, Dr. Wigdor worked at Microsoft Research, notably as an expert in user interfaces for new technologies. Simultaneously, he served as an affiliate assistant professor in both the department of computer science and engineering, and the Information School at the University of Washington, among other research positions. He joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2011. He was a recipient of an Ontario Early Researcher Award in 2014.
* Daniel Wigdor is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards
Finding better ways for networks on computer chips to communicate
One of the top computer architecture researchers of her generation, Dr. Natalie Enright Jerger is an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship for her vital work in finding more efficient ways for networks on computer processor chips to communicate. As computing systems grow larger and more complex and more processor cores continue to be crammed onto on a single chip, making those processors talk to each other has become a key impediment to future progress.
Dr. Enright Jerger’s work focuses on tackling three challenges: improving communication between cores, caches and memory; streamlining caching protocols; and improving parallel programming.
Holder of a bachelor of science from Purdue University in Indiana, and a PhD in computer architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Enright Jerger joined the University of Toronto in 2009. Awarded the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award in 2012, she also received the 2014 Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal – Young Engineer for exceptional achievements in the field.
* Natalie Enright-Jerger is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Understanding how shape affects chemistry
An assistant professor in the department of physical and environmental sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Dr. Artur Izmaylov was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship for his ground-breaking research to understand and model chemical dynamics involving multiple electronic states in molecules and materials. These processes are ubiquitous in solar energy harvesting, photoactive protein functioning — the key player in human vision — and catalytic reactions on metallic surfaces.
In its simplest terms, his work focuses on understanding how shape affects chemistry. “It has been known for some time that topology may play a role in chemical dynamics,” says Dr. Izmaylov. “However, it was not clear when exactly it becomes important and how it affects dynamics of molecular systems.”
A graduate of Moscow State University, Dr. Izmaylov holds a PhD from Rice University in Texas and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. He joined the University of Toronto in 2012.
* Artur Izmaylov is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Analyzing big datasets and using math to solve medical problems
Dr. Hau-tieng Wu, assistant professor in the department of mathematics at the University of Toronto, was awarded a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship to further his mathematical work and statistical big data analysis, as well as his research into their medical applications. Among his interests is determining how different breathing patterns affect blood pressure, heart rate and other physiological signals. He also works to assess sleep stages using modern tools such as electrocardiograms.
He focuses on analyzing massive datasets by applying proper mathematical tools and theorems.
Dr. Wu earned his medical degree at Taiwan’s National Yang-Ming University and completed his residency at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan. He obtained his PhD in mathematics from Princeton University where he completed postdoctoral research. He also carried out postdoctoral work in the statistics department at the University of California, Berkeley and in mathematics department at Stanford University. He joined the University of Toronto in 2014.
* Hau-tieng Wu is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Furthering research on pre-First World War Germany
A professor of history and German studies, Dr. James Retallack was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Humanities and a Killam Research Fellowship in 2015. These distinctions will enable him to further research on pre-First World War Germany, a crucial moment in German and world history.
Dr. Retallack’s research into pre-First World War Germany illuminates a time when the promise of democratic reform and social justice had not yet been derailed by fascism and communism. He is now writing a biography of Ferdinand August Bebel, one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany and leading figure of the social democratic movement. The book will offer a life-and-times account of the country’s missed opportunities to implement liberalism and democracy and steer away from Nazism.
After graduating from Trent University, Dr. Retallack was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he received a DPhil. He has held grants, fellowships and research prizes from numerous foundations and had held visiting professorships at Germany’s the Free University Berlin and the University of Göttingen and most recently was a visiting scholar at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, also in Germany. He was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2011.
* James Rettalack is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Creating a vision of a unified mathematical world
The Ted Mossman Chair in Mathematics at the University of Toronto, Dr. James G. Arthur was awarded the prestigious 2015 Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics for “his monumental work on the trace formula and his fundamental contributions to the theory of automorphic representations of reductive groups.”
“Arthur’s work is a mathematical landmark that will inspire future generations of mathematicians,” the foundation says.
Dr. Arthur’s developments in automorphic forms and representation theory have opened new approaches to the challenges posed by a theoretical mathematical model developed some 30 years ago by Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands. The model, which seeks to link two branches of mathematics — analysis and algebra — has created a vision of a unified mathematical world in which independent mathematical disciplines will prove to be related. Dr. Arthur’s trace formula has become mathematicians’ most powerful tool in this quest, regarded by many as the most challenging frontier.
Dr. Arthur holds a bachelor of science and master’s of science from the University of Toronto and received his PhD from Yale University. He has been a professor at the University of Toronto since 1978. A fellow of the Royal Society, he was elected a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
* James G. Arthur is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Integrating performance, video and art installation
Multidisciplinary artist Diane Landry was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts to pursue her research and work on a project integrating performance, video and art installation.
For more than three decades, Ms. Landry has investigated the transformative properties of light, sound and motion. She creates works out of ordinary objects, gathered from everyday life, altering their meaning and value and our understanding of them. She also creates performances alongside her sculptural work.
Ms. Landry has been artist in residence in New York, Montreal, at the Banff Centre, in Buenos Aires, Marseille and Utica (New York). Her work has been exposed in Canada and the United States, as well as in Australia, China and Europe. It was recently featured in the internationally touring exhibition, Oh Canada, organized by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
A fine arts graduate of Laval University and Stanford University, Ms. Landry has also received the Jean-Paul Riopelle career grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in 2014, among other awards.
* Diane Landry is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.
Understanding the human mind
Hate. Violence. Love. Anger. Why do humans feel the way they do? The mind is complex, made of neurons and chemicals that give rise to thoughts, ideas, feelings emotions and sensations.
To know thy self is the foundation of understanding humanity.
The American Psychological Foundation awarded the 2015 Joseph B. Gittler Award to Dr. Henderikus Stam, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary. The annual prize honours a psychologist who has made outstanding scholarly contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychological knowledge.
Dr. Stam developed the history and theory specialty in the University of Calgary’s department of psychology. His recent research has focused on contemporary theoretical problems in psychology and the historical foundations of 20th century psychology. He is founder and current editor of Theory and Psychology, a bi-monthly journal. Dr. Stam has published widely and has edited or co-edited more than half a dozen books. He has lectured extensively on theoretical and historical issues in psychology across North America, Europe, China and Australasia.
Dr. Stam holds a bachelor of arts, master’s of arts and doctorate from Carleton University in Ottawa. A founding member and former president of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology, he is also a former president of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He was also president of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology.
*Henderikus Stam is one of 24 Canadian winners of major international research awards in 2015 featured in the publication Canadian excellence, Global recognition: Celebrating recent Canadian winners of major international research awards.