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Renowned chemist named U of T Scarborough vice-principal, research

Professor Bernie Kraatz, who joined U of T in 2011 and served as chair of the Department of Physical and Environmental Science since 2012, is UTSC's new vice-principal of research. (Photo by Ken Jones)

UTSC Principal Bruce Kidd announced today the appointment of prominent chemist Prof. Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz, as vice-principal research. Kraatz assumed the post on July 1, 2015 for a five-year term served over six years, ending June 30, 2021.

As vice-principal, research, Kraatz is responsible for stimulating new research, supporting and strengthening ongoing activities (which currently include $9.22 million in research expenditures) as well as enhancing the research environment for undergraduate and graduate students. The portfolio encompasses research administration including ethics reviews, grant applications and the promotion of faculty for recognition and rewards; partnerships and community outreach, and the oversight of facilities including the UTSC vivarium.  Kraatz will also work with U of T Vice-President Research and Innovation Dr. Vivek Goel to advance collaboration within the tri-campus U of T, and will serve as a member of the campus’ executive team.

“Bernie Kraatz will be in a special position at a unique moment to cultivate high-impact academic research as he stimulates, coordinates and supports the research enterprise on this campus,” says Kidd.  “He will be responsible for developing significant partnerships with government, business and other research institutions in Canada and around the world.”

Kraatz earned a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Calgary in 1993. During his career he carried out postdoctoral work in organometallic chemistry at the University of Maryland College Park and the Wiezmann Institute of Science. After working at the Steacie Institute of Science in Ottawa, he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan in 1998. Kraatz moved to the University of Western Ontario in 2007 where he became Faculty Scholar and a Distinguished Research Professor.  He joined U of T in 2011 and has served as Chair of UTSC’s Department of Physical and Environmental Science since 2012.  Kraatz was appointed interim vice principal research in June this year.

“I am deeply honoured to have been selected to lead UTSC’s research venture,” says Kraatz.  “I see my role as that of an advocate for, and facilitator of, our increasingly robust research profile, and I am committed to addressing the need to find new sources of funding in an era of extraordinarily competitive public support for research.”

The selection of Kraatz follows a tri-campus search by a committee including U of T faculty and administrators.  “Members of the search advisory committee and leaders in University governance were highly impressed with Kraatz’s skills, accomplishments, energy, and vision for the future,” says Kidd.

Kraatz succeeds Malcolm Campbell, a leading expert in plant biology and international authority on the regulation of gene expression in plants and the biochemical composition of plant matter.

Kraatz’s research has been principally focused on creating new materials to detect biomolecules ranging from DNA to proteins to whole cells and even biological processes, which has implications for the detection of diseases such as viral infections and cancer. He is also involved in research that probes the underlying molecular causes for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Earlier this year Kraatz received the Principal’s Research Award, acknowledging and encouraging the research activities and achievements of tenured mid- to late career professorial faculty at UTSC. Other awards and recognitions include the PetroCanada Young Innovator Award, the Canadian Research Chair in Biomaterials, the Award in Pure or Applied Inorganic Chemistry from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, and the Florence Bucke Science Prize.

Kraatz is highly research active and has published more than 240 peer-reviewed journal articles.

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