Other Research Chairs

Photo of Researcher Reading Book at DeskLakehead University is proud to have a formidable team of experts leading ground-breaking discoveries and developments, including: our Canada Research Chairs, Lakehead University Research Chairs, Science and Environmental Studies Faculty-Based Research Chairs, Lakehead University/Ontario Research Chair in Injury & Disability Prevention, NOHFC Industrial Research Chairs, and Lakehead University/Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute Research (TBRHRI) Chairs.  These Chairs are among those spearheading prominent research initiatives.

Lakehead University Research Chairs

Lakehead University Research Chairs (LURCs) recognize high quality research, scholarly and creative achievement by providing a two-year research grant to support an individual’s program of research. The Lakehead University Research Chairs program is a key element in retaining outstanding research talent at our institution. LURCs are recruited every two years through a competitive process.

Dr. Lana Ray,
Lakehead University Indigenous Research Chair in Decolonial Futures, School of Nursing (2021-2026)

Photo of Dr. Lana RayStart Date:  July 1, 2021

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

  • Anishinaabe resurgence
  • Indigenous health
  • Anishinaabe knowledges
  • Indigenous research methodologies
  • Indigenous education

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

Dr. Ray's research privileges Indigenous ways of knowing and being to advance decolonial futures.

Decolonial Futures:

Through the Chairship, Dr. Ray will forward her research on relationships with land and Indigenous health in Northwestern Ontario, anti-racism in health care, and work toward the recognition of Indigenous knowledges and experience in the admissions and credential processes at post-secondary institutions. Additionally, in acknowledgement of the ongoing and vital role of Indigenous ways of knowing and self-determination to a decolonizing agenda, Dr. Ray will continue to develop projects that strengthen local and international Indigenous research networks and build Indigenous governed research infrastructure.

For more information about Dr. Lana Ray, please visit her profile

Dr. Katherine Kortes-Miller,
Lakehead University Research Chair on Aging and End-of-Life, School of Social Work / Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health (CERAH) (2023-2025)

Photo of Dr. Katherine Kortes-MillerStart Date:  May 1, 2023

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

My research experience is interdisciplinary and collaborative contributing to a broad range of fields of study including: social work, palliative care education, gerontology, and MAiD

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

This proposed research responds to a regionally relevant issue occurring throughout NWO, access to healthcare, specifically access to medical assistance in dying. It is important to understand what information and supports Canadians need at end of life.

Lakehead University Research Chair Project: The Experience of MAiD in Northwestern Ontario; A qualitative research study

According to the Canadian Government’s most recent annual report on Medical assistance in dying (MAiD), there were 10,064 deaths using MAiD in Canada in 2021. It was estimated that there were over 150 MAiD provisions in Northwestern Ontario. Data is not gathered on the number of requests for MAiD made or assessments completed but MAiD not provided in our region. This research will explore experiences of people from Northwestern Ontario who have tried unsuccessfully to access MAiD. Interviews with individuals and their family and friends and digital stories will be used to deepen our understanding and awareness of these experiences. This research responds to a regionally relevant issue occurring throughout Northwestern Ontario, access to healthcare, specifically access to MAiD. It is strongly aligned with Lakehead University’s research priority of Cultures, Societies and Social Justice. The objectives of this research project are to:

  1. Acquire a deeper understanding of the experiences of people living in Northwest Ontario who are attempting to access MAiD but may be unsuccessful;
  2. Increase the understanding about the questions, concerns, and desires that people in northwestern Ontario have about MAiD and other aspects of end-of-life care;
  3. Increase the information people in Northwest Ontario have about MAiD using digital stories;
  4. Expand upon a multi-year research program informed by people who have been impacted by MAiD that will directly address identified knowledge, system and policy gaps; to develop a research relationship with community partners and community members as a basis for future collaboration.

For more information about Dr. Katherine Kortes-Miller, please visit her profile

Dr. Leila Pakzad,
Lakehead University Research Chair in Respiratory Aerosol Dynamics with Applications to Pharmaceutical Drug Delivery, Department of Chemical Engineering (2023-2025)

Photo of Dr. Leila PakzadStart Date: May 1, 2023

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

Drug delivery, Aerosol characteristics, Deposition efficiency, CFD modeling, Redesign Inhalers

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

This research is of great importance to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in Canada and to the health of Photo of Dr. Leila Pakzad, LURC in Respiratory Aerosol Dynamics with Applications to Pharmaceutical Drug DeliveryCanadian residents. Conventional inhaler devices are widely used but inefficient at delivering pharmaceutical drug aerosols to the lungs due to high (>25%) deposit losses in the device and month-throat airway. Failure to deliver the necessary drug to the lungs may result in severe health problems, ranging from side effects to clinical treatment failure. Reducing these losses means better health outcomes for patients. Further, a lower dose of drugs can be used, which minimizes side effects and lowers costs. Inhaler device performance is, therefore, vital for optimal drug delivery to the site of action and subsequent clinical outcomes.

The design of current inhaler devices is based on limited empirical data. The proposed experimental and modelling research program will improve our understanding of drug aerosol/particle/droplet generation, delivery, and deposition in the human respiratory tract. It will provide guidance to assess the performance of existing conventional inhaler devices, upgrade existing designs, and design novel devices. This will result in more efficient use of medications and, thus, cost savings for the pharmaceutical industry and patients. It will also improve inhaler device design and selection, facilitate more reliable monitoring and control of drug delivery, and increase throughput for existing devices. Thus, the proposed research will contribute to the Canadian pharmaceutical industry's financial health and will impact Canadian society through improved quality of life and health in the face of air pollution and disease.

The research plan could also impact education by fostering innovation in the curriculum of the Chemical Engineering departments. Furthermore, it will promote respiratory drug delivery as an area of specialization in Chemical Engineering. In addition, graduate students participating in the proposed research program obtain practical and modelling skills that will guide them to make significant contributions to the future.

This proposed program is also relevant for inhaler design, making it attractive to companies engaged in such development, besides the expected fundamental contributions to respiratory drug delivery, a new patent application is envisioned.

Lakehead University Research Chair Project: Respiratory Aerosol Dynamics with Applications to Pharmaceutical Drug Delivery

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third leading cause of death worldwide, with mortality to rise to 3.2 million in 2019. Effective treatment of respiratory diseases depends on the properties of the aerosol produced by an inhaler and the lungs' drug deposition efficiency, requiring an understanding of aerosol behaviour.

My multiphase (solid-liquid-gas) flow research focuses on interactions between solid particles, liquid droplets, and gas bubbles in drug inhalation systems. This research proposal aims (1) to link drug deposition to inhaler design and operation and, ultimately, to drug deposition efficiency, (2) to identify and eliminate conditions leading to aerosol drug flow pathologies, and (3) to design a novel aerosol delivery system that can efficiently produce small aerosol particles and deliver a reliable dose to the lungs.

The proposed program will use experimental, numerical, and theoretical methods to address fundamental challenges related to inhaler device design. It will assess the performance of inhalers, guide to upgrade current designs and facilitate the design of new devices.

This research chair appointment is instrumental in allowing me to escalate my research in respiratory drug delivery effectively. Combined with funding from other sources, it will support a growing research group in fluid dynamics, multiphase systems, drug delivery, and CFD modelling and simulation. The proposed research will also lay the foundation for developing research collaborations with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and other faculty members at LU and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

For more information about Dr. Leila Pakzad, please visit her profile

Dr. Connie Russell,
Lakehead University Research Chair in Environmental Education, Faculty of Education (2021-2024)

Photo of Dr. Connie RussellStart Date: April 1, 202

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

  • Environmental education
  • Climate change education
  • Social justice education
  • Humour

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

Many young people are anxious about the planet’s future. Finding ways to more effectively engage, communicate, and work with them on pressing environmental and social issues, within and beyond formal education systems, is vital. Strategic uses of humour in environmental education may have much to offer in helping learners grapple with complex issues in hopeful and productive ways.

Lakehead University Research Chair Project: Humour in Environmental Education

Most of us can come up with more than one example of a personally or environmentally problematic practice that we engage in despite “knowing better.” Yet we often are told that all that students, or the public, need is more information so that they can make rational decisions on behalf of the environment. Scholars of environmental learning and climate change communication have made abundantly clear that we humans are complicated beings and simply transmitting information is generally insufficient for helping people respond well to the sustainability challenges we are facing. Further, the doom-and-gloom discourse that is unfortunately quite common in environmental circles can leave people feeling overwhelmed, so it is no wonder some tune out or retreat in despair.

While there has been a surge of interest in the emotional dimensions of environmental education recently, humour has received little attention. There are many questions worth exploring. Why, when, where, and how do environmental educators use humour? What are the impacts of using humour on teaching and learning, mental health, or environmental engagement? How does humorous environmental education play in different cultural or multicultural contexts? What comedic forms (e.g., stand-up, film, visual and performance art, comics, cartoons) are particularly generative for environmental education? How could environmental educators collaborate with comedians, artists, and writers to create and facilitate humour-infused teaching, communication, or activist projects?

For more information about Dr. Connie Russell, please visit her profile

Dr. Salama Ikki,
Lakehead University Research Chair in Wireless Communications, Department of Electrical Engineering (2021-2024)

Photo of Dr. Salama IkkiStart Date:  April 1, 2021

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

  • Wireless communications
  • Signal processing
  • Wireless networks

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

A successful outcome of this project would directly impact the users of wireless communications systems by allowing high-speed wireless access in new practical configurations.

Lakehead University Research Chair Project: Massive MIMO and Interference Alignment for Future Machine Type Communications

The aim of this research program is to establish a unified theoretical framework for the marriage of machine learning and multi antenna systems involving machine-type-communications with various practical constraints, and to develop sophisticated signal processing algorithms to realize such a concept in realistic environments.

On the system-level, our research will develop novel and sophisticated interference mitigation algorithms and techniques, leading to new models for wireless network architecture layouts under realistic scenarios (which include hardware-impairments, complexity analysis and selection of multiple access strategies). The performance of the proposed algorithms regarding error probability, outage probability, received signal-to-noise ratio statistics, and throughput will be assessed analytically and via simulations.

For more information about Dr. Salama Ikki, please visit his website


Science and Environmental Studies Faculty-Based Research Chairs

Dr. Amanda Diochon,
SES Faculty-Based Research Chair in Biogeochemical Cycling of C in Northern Soils, Department of Geology (2022-2025)

Photo of Dr. Amanda DiochonStart Date: July 1, 2022

Key words associated with the Chair's Research:

Soil organic carbon, biogeochemistry, land management, stable isotope, carbon cycling

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians): 

The influence of soil pH and calcium on soil carbon storage and stabilization are not well known in northern soils. These soils store globally significant amounts of carbon and changes in the pool can affect atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and climate.

Title of SES Research Chair Project: Biogeochemical Cycling of Carbon in Northern Soils

Northern soils store a globally significant amount of organic carbon in soil organic matter (SOM). Decomposition of SOM releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as a by-product of microbial metabolism. Increases in soil pH resulting from wildfire or the application of lime in agriculture should accelerate the decomposition of these large stores BUT the increases in calcium that accompany the pH increase may protect SOM from decomposition. The chair will explore the effect of soil pH and calcium concentrations on the (de)stabilization of SOM in an established long-term field trial.


Lakehead University/Ontario Research Chair in Injury & Disability Prevention

Dr. Vicki Kristman,
Lakehead University  - Ontario Research Chair in Injury & Disability Prevention, Department of Health Sciences, Director & Senior Scientist, EPID@Work Research Institute

Photo of Dr. Vicki KristmanStart Date: April 1, 2022

Key words associated with the Chair's Research: 

Occupational health epidemiology; work disability prevention; psychological health and safety; workplace factors; equity, diversity, inclusion; knowledge mobilization

For more information about Dr.Vicki Kristman, please visit her profile


Biorefining Research Chair

Dr. Seyedrahman Djafaripetroudy
Biorefining Research Chair, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Natural Resources Management

Photo of Seyedrahman DjafaripetroudyStart Date: September 01, 2023

Key words describing Chair's areas of research:

  • Bio-refining
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Innovative green chemistry
  • Lignocellulosic material advancements
  • Sustainable biomass fractionation
  • High-performance and multifunctional nanobiocomposites

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

The Bio-refining Research Chair holds immense importance and is poised to deliver substantial benefits to Canadians. This research is dedicated to advancing sustainable materials research and the bio-refining of lignocellulosic materials, which are crucial for a greener and more eco- friendly future. The anticipated research impact can be summarized as follows: 

Environmental Sustainability:

The project will contribute significantly to environmental sustainability by developing efficient processes for converting underutilized agricultural residues and waste materials into valuable bio-based chemicals and materials. This not only reduces waste but also decreases our reliance on non-renewable resources.

Economic Growth:

The research will promote the growth of a bio-refining industry in Canada, opening up new opportunities for employment, economic development, and investment. This industry has the potential to drive innovation and create new revenue streams.

Resource Optimization:

By focusing on lignocellulosic materials, we aim to optimize the use of bio-resources, enhancing their value and
reducing the strain on traditional resources. This, in turn, benefits the forestry and agricultural sectors.

Renewable Energy:

The research will contribute to the development of renewable energy sources and eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based products, aligning with Canada's commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy.

Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Training:

The project ensures the development of a skilled workforce in sustainable materials research, thereby contributing to the national and international scientific and technological capacity.

Title of Bio-refining Research Chair Project:

Advancing Sustainable Lignocellulosic Materials for a Greener Future: Fabricating Eco-Friendly Functional Chemicals, Advanced Materials, and Smart Sensors

Public Summary describing Bio-refining Research Chair Project:

The Bio-refining Research Chair project stands at the vanguard of pioneering cutting-edge research in the realm of sustainable materials and the bio-refining of lignocellulosic resources. Our central mission revolves around a profound transformation, one that seeks to revolutionize the conversion of underutilized agricultural and industrial residues into invaluable bio-based chemicals and materials. In doing so, we not only
markedly reduce waste but also significantly diminish our dependence on finite, non-renewable resources, thus engendering profound implications for environmental sustainability. 

Moreover, our strategic positioning empowers us to serve as a potent catalyst for economic growth. We are committed to nurturing the establishment of a robust bio-refining industry within the boundaries of Canada. This emerging sector is poised to create a myriad of employment opportunities, spark innovation, and beckon vital investments. In this capacity, we wholeheartedly endorse and advance Canada's resolute dedication to renewable energy and the consequential reduction of carbon emissions. 

Furthermore, our unwavering dedication extends to the methodical and strategic development of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP), who are poised to emerge as the vanguards of scientific and technological advancement across the expanse of Canada. In summation, the Bio-refining Research Chair project transcends the limitations of a mere undertaking; it emerges as an indispensable cornerstone of our overarching mission. We are committed to galvanizing a greener, more sustainable, and economically prosperous Thunder Bay, and the reverberations of our work extend far beyond, ultimately benefiting the entire region. 

Our groundbreaking research is not just confined to the lab; it resonates throughout Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. It holds the promise of not only environmental sustainability and economic vitality but also a pathway to a greener, more prosperous future. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability knows no bounds as we actively contribute to Canada's renewable energy goals, economic growth, and environmental protection. We envision a future where our initiatives foster a dynamic bio-refining industry, creating jobs, promoting innovation, and driving investments. 

In the core of our mission lies the strategic development of HQP, the architects of Canada's technological and scientific progress. As we advance sustainable materials research, we prepare the next generation of experts to lead and innovate in various industries. The Bio-refining Research Chair project is more than research; it's a promise of a better future for Thunder Bay and the entire Northwestern Ontario region, rooted in sustainable practices, economic prosperity, and technological advancement.

NMR Profile

NOHFC Industrial Research Chairs


Dr. Pedram Fatehi, 
NOHFC Industrial Research Chair in Green Chemicals and Processes, Department of Chemical Engineering

Headshot of Dr. Pedram FatehiStart Date of NOHFC IRC: 2015-01-01, renewed 2020-01-01

Website address of researcher: pfatehi.lakeheadu.ca

Key words describing Chair's areas of research:

  • lignin
  • flocculant
  • dispersant
  • colloid
  • wastewater

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

This research will lead to developing new green chemicals and processes from the pulping industry’s under-utilized biomass.

Title of NOHFC IRC Project

Green Chemicals and Processes

Public Summary describing NOHFC IRC Project

Pedram is working to generate environmentally friendly chemicals out of lignin, a little-used by- product of the pulping industry. He is investigating fundamental processes for converting lignin into water-soluble products for use in the chemical industry. His research should also lead to processes for producing these chemicals that are in harmony with the operations of the pulping industry.

Dr. Peter Hollings
NOHFC Industrial Research Chair in Mineral Exploration, Department of Geology

Photo of Dr. Pete HollingsKey words describing Chair's areas of research:

Ore deposits, mining, exploration, geochemistry

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of theresearch and how it will benefit Canadians):

Results from this research will help enhance Ontario's geosciences, and promote and strengthen existing links with international researchers, generating knowledge transfer to Northwestern Ontario and Canada as a whole.

Title of NOHFC IRC Project:

Industry Research Chair in Mineral Exploration

Summary describing NOHFC IRC Project:

This project will investigate Ni-Cu-PGE mineralized intrusions in the Thunder Bay- Lake Nipigon region of Northern Ontario. We will investigate the ~1.1 Ga Sunday Lake intrusion of the Midcontinent Rift and the ~2.7 Ga intrusions of the Lac des Iles complex, both of which are being explored by Impala Canada Ltd, the industry partner. The project will train five MSc, five HBSc and one PDF to complete an integrated program of research with two key objectives.

1) Characterization of the lithologic, petrographic, lithogeochemical and isotopic attributes of known mineralized intrusions of the Archean LDI complex and their country rocks in order to determine the source of the magma(s), its crystallization and differentiation history, the source of the metals and what role if any contamination played in the magma evolution. 

2) Characterize the lithologic, petrographic, lithogeochemical and isotopic attributes of mineralized intrusions of the MCR . This study will utilize fundamental geological mapping and logging combined with traditional and state-of-the-art analytical techniques to characterize the intrusive history and paragenesis of the mineralized intrusions in the district. By so doing we will train young researchers in the key skills necessary for a successful career in the geosciences whether in academia, government or industry.

The data generated in this study will be used to develop a model(s) for the mineralized intrusions that Impala Canada Ltd. can use to enhance their exploration efforts, and hopefully lead to mineral production. This project will contribute significantly to our understanding of the processes that form magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE systems and the high-grade zones within them. We will develop tools that can be applied by Canadian companies to aid in generating future discoveries.


Lakehead University/Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute Research (TBRHRI) Chairs

Over the last number of years, Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute have established a joint research chair program that will appoint outstanding researchers who will further promote innovative research at both institutions.  The first joint chair was appointed in 2011.

  • Dr. Mitchell S. Albert, Lakehead University - TBRHRI Chair in Molecular Imaging and Advanced Diagnostics, Department of Chemistry, TBRHRI
  • Dr. Michael Campbell, Lakehead University - TBRHRI  Research Chair in Radiochemistry for Molecular Imaging and Advanced Diagnostics, Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, TBRHRI
Dr. Jinqiang Hou
Lakehead University - TBRHRI Radiochemistry Research Chair, Department of Chemistry, TBRHRI

A photo of Dr. Jinqiang HouStart Date of LU/TBRHRI Research Chair: Oct 1st , 2018

Website address of researcher: hougroup.weebly.com

Key words describing Chair's areas of research:

Molecular Imaging, Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Discovery, Computational Drug Design, Machine Learning, Cancer

Anticipated Research Impact (importance of the research and how it will benefit Canadians):

Cancer stands as the leading cause of death in Canada, with metastasis being the primary factor behind cancer-related fatalities. Our research focuses on the discovery of novel molecules as therapeutic drugs and molecular imaging agents, with the potential to enable early cancer detection before it spreads and facilitate the effective management of late-stage cancer.

Title of LU/TBRHRI Research Chair Project

Discovery of Therapeutic Drugs and Diagnostic Imaging Agents

Public Summary describing LU/TBRHRI Research Chair Project

Our research has a long-term goal to discover novel drug candidate molecules and molecular imaging probes as tools to investigate biochemical and biological processes in vivo, through implementing chemical, radiochemical, computational and artificial intelligent technologies. The research approach is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating aspects of basic chemistry research and translational biomedical research to effectively target cancer-promoting biomarkers. Currently we are focusing on targeting three important protein biomarkers (LPA1, Aurora kinases and PAR2) involved in tumorigenesis.