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Source: Queen's University

10 professors receive Early Researcher Awards

November 10, 2006

Ten promising young professors – working on projects ranging from how speech perception changes with aging, to new tools for assessing obesity and the growth of cartilage tissue – will receive Early Researcher Awards from the provincial government.

More than 100 researchers working at 22 universities across the province have been awarded $100,000 as part of a new program to keep outstanding academic talent in Ontario. Their institutions will contribute $50,000 to each recipient.

"Ontario's Early Researcher Awards program is helping Queen's to attract and retain exceptional early career researchers," says Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe, "but it's also a win-win for Ontario taxpayers. The program strengthens Ontario's economic advantage in key economic sectors while also contributing to the well-being of Ontarians. The research programs of these recent recipients show great promise for making important contributions to human health, leading-edge nanotechnologies, cost-saving innovations in municipal infrastructure, and furthering our understanding of global climate change."

In announcing the new funding, Premier Dalton McGinty said, "We know that jurisdictions that invest in innovation will be home to the most rewarding jobs, the strongest economies and the best quality of life. By providing early career researchers with the tools they need to succeed, we're laying the foundation for generations of research talent to come."

Queen’s recipients of Early Researcher Awards are:

Anne Petitjean (Chemistry), whose research focuses on bio-targeting nanodevices that aim to change the shape of DNA. Her work will help develop new anti-cancer drugs and deepen understanding of existing drugs.

Robert Knobel (Physics), who leads a team that will use nano-electrico-mechanical systems at low temperatures to study the quantum limits of measurement. This research could answer fundamental physics questions and lead to new sensors and measurement techniques with applications in numerous industries.

Xiaolong Yang (Medicine), who will explore the roles of a novel tumor suppressor gene, LATS1, in cell activity during the formation and invasion of tumors. Their work will increase understanding of the roles of tumor suppressor genes and provide valuable information for new diagnosis and treatment protocols.

Stephen Waldman (Chemical Engineering ), who will develop functional tissue that can be used to repair cartilage defects, and avoid the use of synthetic joint replacement devices such as artificial knees and hips. The researchers will grow cartilage tissue and create implantable materials for cartilage repair.

Derek Pratt (Chemistry), whose research looks at the oxidation of biological molecules which generally involves free radicals, to develop a means of controlling or preventing these reactions, for both medical and industrial purposes. His work has broad implications for medicine and also the energy, materials and agriculture sectors.

Ian Janssen (Kinesiology and Health Studies), whose team will develop new assessment tools built on current practices such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. The new tools promise to provide more accurate measures of a person's health risks related to obesity.

Stephen Hughes (Physics), whose research team will carry out fundamental investigations of optical processes in advanced nanoscale materials and explore the consequences of these for next-generation photonics technologies.

Paul Grogan (Biology), who is contributing to models aimed at predicting how the carbon balance of Canada's northern ecosystems will respond to climate change. This work will also provide strategies for government to manage the northern environment under future climatic conditions.

Ingrid Johnsrude (Psychology), who leads a team that will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study how speech is processed under difficult, i.e. noisy, conditions. They will also look at how the brain organization that supports speech perception changes with age.

Amir Fam (Civil Engineering), who is developing a new generation of infrastructure to address the corrosion problem. usingnon-corrosive fibreglass tubes filled with concrete. The research will evaluate this system to develop new design guidelines.


Molly Kehoe, Queen’s News & Media Services, 613.533.2877 Nancy Dorrance, Queen’s News & Media Services, 613.533.2869

Attention broadcasters: Queen’s has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston fibre optic cable. Please call for details.



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