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3 new Canada Research Chairs for Concordia

Habib Benali, Benjamin Eppinger and Pedro Peres-Neto are national leaders in biomedical imaging, healthy aging and biological diversity
December 4, 2017
By Renée Dunk

From left: Pedro Peres-Neto, Benjamin Eppinger, Habib Benali. From left: Pedro Peres-Neto, Benjamin Eppinger and Habib Benali.

Take two experts from scientific fields related to healthy aging, add one leading biodiversity scholar and what do you get?

Concordia’s three new Canada Research Chairs (CRC), representing a total investment of $3.3 million from the Government of Canada.

Habib Benali, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the CRC in Biomedical Imaging and Healthy Aging, supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Benjamin Eppinger, associate professor of psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), is the CRC in Cognitive Neuroscience of Decision-Making in Healthy Human Aging, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Pedro Peres-Neto, a professor in the Department of Biology, is the CRC in Spatial Ecology and Biodiversity. His research in the Faculty of Arts and Science is also supported by NSERC.

Christophe Guy, VP of Research and Graduate Studies, says research stemming from the federal government’s chair program strengthens Canada's international competitiveness. It also helps train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision and teaching.

“I congratulate these three researchers on being awarded Canada Research Chairs,” he says. “I have no doubt that their continued investigations will lead to important fundamental and applied discoveries in biodiversity and environmental sciences, biomedical imaging and aging across the lifespan.”

The focus of their research

In his work, Benali, who is also interim scientific director of the PERFORM Centre, explores how multimodal imaging and computational modelling can be used to better understand which factors promote a healthy lifestyle.

With funding from the CRC program, he will research brain activity in healthy aging, with the goal of shedding light on factors predicting neurodegenerative disease.

Eppinger, another PERFORM member, conducts research in a similar vein. His work is geared toward gaining a better understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying changes in learning and decision-making across the human lifespan.

Eppinger’s CRC program investigates how children and older adults prioritize and integrate information during learning, as well as how social information affects adaptive learning.

For the majority of his career, Peres-Neto’s research has asked, what controls which species where in ecological communities? The overall objective of his CRC work is to develop frameworks to improve our understanding about the processes underlying spatial patterns of biological diversity.

It will also link ecological and evolutionary mechanisms to understand complex biodiversity patterns.

Concordia currently has 20 active chair holders: seven funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), 10 through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and three through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Find out more about all of
Concordia’s research chairs.

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