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University of Toronto Scarborough awarded three new Canada Research Chairs

U of T Scarborough congratulates its newest Canada Research Chairs (clockwise from top left): Kagan Kerman (Bioelectrochemistry), Brian Connelly (Integrative Perspectives on Personality) and Bebhinn Treanor (Spatially-Resolved Biochemistry). Photos by Ken Jones.

Brian Connelly is fascinated by the role personality plays in the modern workplace. 

The associate professor in the Department of Management is looking at ways to improve the personality tests employers rely on to hire and evaluate employee performance. The problem is that these tests often have a narrow view of personality that can lead companies to choose manipulators and egoists over more suitable candidates.

Connelly, who today became a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Integrative Perspectives on Personality, is looking at ways to create more accurate, data driven personality tests to better weed out bias and fakery that end up costing companies millions of dollars in retention and hiring costs every year.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” says Connelly, who becomes the Department’s first CRC.

“Knowing the quality of researchers who have received this award, and the quality of the work they have produced as a result, it’s an immense honour to have my name listed among them. I’m excited by the opportunity to highlight the importance of personality in the workplace, and in influencing one’s life course more generally. “

Joining Connelly is Assistant Professor Bebhinn Treanor from the Department of Biological Sciences, who is awarded a Canada Research Chair in Spatially-Resolved Biochemistry.

Treanor’s research focuses on the biochemical processes that drive immune cell activation, specifically the role of B cells. These cells are targets of vaccination because they produce molecules called antibodies, which are important for the destruction of pathogens in the body. Treanor’s research aims to fundamentally understand immune response, how it’s regulated, and how it can be controlled to develop therapies for lymphomas and autoimmune diseases.

Associate Professor Kagan Kerman from the Department of Physical and Environmental Science is also awarded a Canada Research Chair in Bioelectrochemistry.

Kerman’s research applies state-of-the-art, rapid and affordable approaches to the study of Alzheimer’s drugs. His research seeks to improve early detection methods in order to enable disease intervention and improve patient care. This will be critically important as Alzheimer’s afflicts 44 million people globally and is expected to cost the Canadian economy $293 billion per year by 2040.

“We are grateful to the government of Canada for their investment in Bebhinn, Brian and Kagan, who are among the most promising researchers in their fields,” says Professor Bernie Kraatz, U of T Scarborough’s Vice-Principal of Research. 

“This will allow them to continue their innovative work and to train the next generation of promising minds here at U of T Scarborough.”

A total of 25 new Canada Research Chairs were awarded on Dec. 2 to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. 

The majority of U of T’s new chairs – 16 in total – are women.

“It is wonderful to see their excellence more fully represented among our Canada Research Chairs, and I have no doubt that this is a harbinger of further progress in the years to come,” said U of T President Meric Gertler.

The Canada Research Chair program was established in 2000 to advance Canadian research and development, and about $265 million per year is invested to attract and retain the world’s most promising minds.

The chairs who are selected are considered to be leaders in their respective fields who not only achieve research excellence, but will also train the next generation of promising researchers through teaching, coordination and supervision of other researchers’ work. 

© University of Toronto Scarborough