April 5, 2004

McMaster University's three new Canada Research Chairs focus on healthy environments

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McMaster University's newest Canada Research Chair holders, (from left to right) Carmel Mothersill, Rick Hackett, and Greg Slater.

Hamilton, ON - Although their fields of research are diverse, McMaster’s newest Canada Research Chairs are all ultimately looking at how to keep us healthier in our environments.

The three newest recipients come from the disciplines of biochemistry, business administration and geochemistry and geochronology. McMaster University now has 47 Canada Research Chairholders.

Professor Carmel Mothersill, Canada Research Chair in Radiobiology, is examining the effects of low-dose radiation on humans and non-human species to determine how dangerous low-doses really are to our health. Mothersill, who recently came to McMaster from Ireland, is particularly interested in the long-term changes in cell behaviour – how they grow and communicate.

Business professor Rick Hackett is studying the links between leadership, work attitudes and performance within the nursing profession. Hackett, Canada Research Chair in Organizational Behaviour and Performance, will investigate the leader-follower relationship between nursing practitioners and supervisors in an effort to fully understand what makes nurses go the extra mile in their work.

Hackett hopes to establish a pioneering centre for leadership research and development in the health-care sector. His work builds on his involvement with the Quality of Nursing Work Life Research Unit in health sciences and the DeGroote School of Business’s graduate health services management program.

Professor Greg Slater, coming to McMaster from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the U.S., is Canada Research Chair in Environmental Isotope Biogeochemistry.

His research will focus on organic contaminants in the environment from sources such as spills, urban runoff and atmospheric degradation. He has developed new techniques to study what happens to contaminants and analyze the microbial processes that affect them. His research will centre on the trends in contaminants in southern Ontario lakes and in pristine areas such as the Arctic to determine where the contaminants are coming from and the microbial processes that control them. This research will help scientists enhance environmental remediation processes.

Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president of research and international affairs, said the Canada Research Chairs program is fulfilling its goal of helping universities increase their research capacity. “No other program has allowed us to build on our research strengths the way this one does. McMaster has reaped the benefits of the Chairs program by retaining our world-renowned researchers while at the same time having the ability to recruit international stars to complement our existing talent.”

The announcement of McMaster’s three new research chairholders is part of a national funding announcement for 137 new Canada Research Chairs.