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Canada Research Chair celebrations

BY RHONDA MOORE | JUN 09 2008

What does the term “second life” mean to you? Perhaps it creates images of online games or the life you’ll have when you retire.

For a select group of Canada Research Chair holders who spoke recently at a special panel discussion, “second life” was handy shorthand for the wide range of research they do to improve people’s lives. Their interests include artificial intelligence, assistive robotic devices, neurological implants, bioengineering and regenerative medicine.

The event, held at the end of March at Université du Québec en Outaouais, was organized for chair holders to share their knowledge with each other and the public. It was the first in a series of events planned to celebrate the CRC program and the role it plays in positioning Canada as a global leader in research.

The panel included chair holders David Castle of the University of Ottawa, Judy Illes and Alan Mackworth of the University of British Columbia, Janet Ronsky of the University of Calgary, and Molly Shoichet of the University of Toronto. The researchers discussed how their work provides individuals with the opportunity for a “second life” and the ethical implications of this work, including the age-old question: Just because we can build it, does that mean we should?

“One of the things I love about this field is that it allows me to dream,” said U of T’s Dr. Shoichet, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering.

A second panel, held in French, discussed sustainable development and climate change. It featured chair holders Michel Fournier of the Institut national de recherche scientifique, Daniel Marc Wienstock of Université de Montréal, and Paule Halley, Eliot McIntire and Marie-Hélène Parizeau of Université Laval.

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