April 22, 2005

Three new Canada Research Chairs mean brain gain for McMaster

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McMaster's three newest Canada Research Charis, Raja Ghosh, Marie Elliot, and Romyar Sharifi.

Hamilton, ON - McMaster University now hosts 56 prestigious Canada Research Chairs. Three new chairs at McMaster announced today will help reduce the cost of producing important health-care products, understand how bacteria can help combat disease, and find answers to unsolved mathematical problems.

McMaster chemical engineer Raja Ghosh, Canada Research Chair in Bioseparations Engineering, uses membrane-based technologies for bioseparations engineering. Bioseparations engineering is an important step in the development and manufacture of pharmaceutical products. However, the process is technically difficult and expensive. Ghosh's research is expected to cut down the cost of production of biopharmaceuticals, and thus make important health-care products more affordable and widely available.

McMaster microbiologist Marie Elliot, Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics, is examining aspects of Streptomyces coelicolor, the most-studied member of the Streptomyces bacterial family. These bacteria produce a large number of useful drugs, including two-thirds of all known antibiotics and many cancer-fighting agents. An understanding of these bacteria is essential to maximize the production of medical compounds. Elliot came to McMaster from the John Innes Centre in the UK.

McMaster mathematician Romyar Sharifi, Canada Research Chair in Number Theory, uncovers links among a variety of mathematical objects in order to shed light upon basic, yet astonishingly complex, properties of integers. Number theory, which arose in ancient times, plays a crucial role in many modern technologies, including encryptions that are used to pass secure information over the Internet. Sharifi came to McMaster from the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany.

“These three new Canada Research Chairs epitomize what the program stands for – retaining, repatriating and recruiting the world's best researchers,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president of research and international affairs. “Thanks to this program, we have retained Raja Ghosh, an exceptional chemical engineer; we have repatriated a Canadian born scientist who was working in the UK in Marie Elliot; and in Romyar Sharifi we have recruited an outstanding mathematician from Germany.”

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 23,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.