Past Issues About Edge


Dr. John Challis, an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of physiology and obstetrics and gynecology, is U of T’s new Vice-President, Research and Associate Provost.

Challis currently serves as scientific director of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and holds an appointment at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. He is also a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Medicine and a former chair of physiology.

“I’m tremendously excited about the opportunity of serving the University of Toronto,” Challis says.

“I look forward to increasing the opportunities that link research and education and working with the deans to help develop major new partnerships and collaboration across the faculties.”

A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Challis received his undergraduate education at the University of Nottingham and PhD from the University of Cambridge. He conducted post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Diego, and at Harvard Medical School before returning to the University of Oxford as a research scientist in 1974.

He came to Canada in 1976 as a Medical Research Scholar at McGill University, joining the University of Western Ontario two years later. Challis served as scientific director of the Lawson Research Institute at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in London, Ontario and as the centre’s vice-president (research). He joined U of T as chair of physiology in 1995.

Challis’s research focus includes hormone mechanisms during pregnancy, fetal development and the influence of intrauterine development on disease after birth. He has published more than 400 scientific papers and articles and has been president of several professional associations in his field.

“John Challis’s demonstrated ability to forge strong partnerships will prove invaluable to the
University of Toronto as we seek to build on our extraordinary strengths across the disciplines,” says U of T president Robert Birgeneau.

Challis will serve a seven-year term effective May 20th.


The most recent rounds of Canada Research Chairs, announced in March 2003 and November 2002, include 39 new chairs at the University of Toronto. The new chairs, which bring U of T’s total so far to 125 and will draw a further $5.4 million annually to the university, include:

Tier 1 chairs (seven-year awards to faculty who are recognized as leaders in their field):
Anne Bassett (psychiatry/Centre for Addiction & Mental Health), David Clarke (medicine),
John Dick (medical genetics and microbiology/University Health Network), Susan George
(medicine/CAMH), David Kaplan (medical genetics and microbiology/ Hospital for Sick Children), Peter McCourt (botany), Steven Narod (public health sciences), Radford Neal (statistics and computer science), Louis Pauly (political science), Donald Redelmeier (medicine), Keren Rice (linguistics), John Roder (immunology/Mount Sinai Hospital), Ze’ev Seltzer (dentistry), Shouyong Shi (economics), Keith Stanovitch (human development and applied psychology at OISE/UT).

Tier 2 chairs (five-year awards for younger researchers who are recognized as rising leaders in their fields): Peter Andolfatto (zoology), Rachel Barney (philosophy), Anne-Emanuelle Birn (life sciences), Benoit Bruneau (medical genetics and microbiology/Hospital for Sick Children), Anthony Chan Carusone (electrical and computer engineering), Belinda Chang (zoology), Ahmed El-Sohemy (nutritional sciences), John Haines (music/medieval studies), Meredith Irwin (paediatrics), Wendy Lou (public health sciences), Joaquim Martins (Institute for Aerospace Studies), Christopher Matzner (astronomy and astrophysics), Jeremy Mogridge (laboratory medicine and pathobiology), Karen Mundy (adult education, community development and counselling psychology at OISE/UT), Alexander Nagel (fine art), Andrew Paterson (public health sciences/HSC), Peter Roy (molecular and medical genetics), Bryan Stewart (zoology), Joseph Thywissen (physics), Homayoun Vaziri (medical biophysics/UHN), Allen Volchuk (cellular and molecular biology), Rinaldo Walcott (sociology and equity studies at OISE/UT), Lu-Yong Wang (physiology/HSC), Wei Yu (electrical and computer engineering).


U of T’s new Molecular Design and Information Technology Centre (MDIT) celebrated its official opening this past January. Located at the Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, the $7.3 million centre is designed to promote interdisciplinary research leading to the discovery of new drugs. At its heart is a powerful supercomputer that gives drug researchers an intriguing three-dimensional view of complex biomolecular systems. The centre has received major support from the Ontario Innovation Trust, Tripos Inc. and SGI Canada.

Janice Stein of political science and James Tully of philosophy are two of the four inaugural Fellows of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. Announced in February of this year, the three-year fellowships recognize innovative approaches to public policy issues.

Two Faculty of Medicine researchers were honoured last fall with awards from the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation in recognition of outstanding medical research careers in Canada. Daniel Drucker received the Distinguished Scientist Award and Susan Quaggin received the Joe Doupe Young Investigator Award.

Stephen Hwang of medicine received the 2002 Canadian Society of Internal Medicine Young Investigator Award, given in recognition of excellence in the field of internal medicine research by a young investigator.

Patrick Macklem of law, author of Indigenous Difference and the Constitution, won the 2002 Donald Smiley Prize, awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association for the best book published in English or French in a field relating to the study of government and politics in Canada.

Dwayne Miller of physics received this year’s Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, bestowed annually by the German-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to celebrate internationally-recognized foreign scientists and scholars and to facilitate collaboration with German researchers.

Detlef Mertins of architecture received the prestigious 2002 Konrad Adenauer Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Given annually to a Canadian scholar whose research in the humanities or social sciences has earned international recognition, the award will allow Mertins to complete his work on German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada honoured Molly Shoichet of chemistry and chemical engineering and applied chemistry and Kim Vicente of mechanical and industrial engineering with Steacie Fellowships, the most prestigious awards given by NSERC. These fellowships recognize researchers who are capturing international attention for outstanding scientific or engineering achievement.



University of Toronto Office of the Vice-President, Research and Associate Provost