Oct. 19, 2020

Leaps in microbiome research, understanding childhood pain and water supply modelling

Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards recognize outstanding contributions of early-career faculty

The University of Calgary’s 2020 Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards go to three scholars who are making important advancements in their fields. Each year, the university awards Killam Trusts funds to recognize faculty who have, early in their careers, made outstanding contributions to research.

“Given what these researchers have accomplished in their careers so far, I am confident they will continue to achieve great things,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “They are tackling huge challenges in their respective fields and making crucial breakthroughs in discovery and innovation. It is my great honour to recognize them as Killam Emerging Research Leaders.”

The Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards are given for research related to the mandate of each of Canada’s research councils: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Dr. Marie Claire Arrieta, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of Physiology and Pharmacology and Paediatrics at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) (photo above, left)

Arrieta researches how the early-life gut microbiome gets established in infants, and how it interacts with the immune system. Her work has led to an important breakthrough about asthma, the most common paediatric chronic disease in the world. Her research found specific microbes can causally contribute to the risk of disease, changing the paradigm on how asthma occurs and opening the possibility of preventing it with microbiome therapies.

She also leads the largest microbiome study in premature infants in Canada, aimed at improving the profound microbiome alterations in these infants. She joined UCalgary in 2016. To date, she’s co-written a book, been published in dozens of journals, and been cited more than 4,600 times.

Read more about  Arrieta’s lab, research and study about asthma.  

Dr. Melanie Noel, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts (photo above, centre)

As the director of the Alberta Children’s Pain Research Lab and full member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Noel has made ground-breaking discoveries that have advanced our knowledge of memory of acute and chronic child pain, how those memories are co-constructed within families, and why pain is developed and maintained beyond childhood experiences.

While building up a national and international reputation for research excellence, Noel is a highly valued colleague and mentor, runs an innovative research program and collaborates with leading scientists around the world.

Read more about Noel, some of her breakthrough research, and the Alberta Children’s Pain Research Lab.

Dr. Tricia Stadnyk, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Arts, NSERC Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (photo above, right)

Stadnyk’s interdisciplinary research combines engineering, environmental, and earth and planetary sciences to understand large-scale, continental water resource supply. She has developed a unique hydrologic modelling system that combines isotope tracers with continuous, distributed hydrologic simulation to improve long-term projections of continental runoff. Her research includes pan-Canadian water supply projection, advances in Canadian hydrologic forecasting, tracer-aided modelling and data and monitoring networks.

Together, they contribute to improving hydrological knowledge and forecasting and understanding how climate change will impact water availability. Stadnyk is leading paradigm shifts in hydrology and pan-Arctic systems modelling.

Read more about Stadnyk and some of the accolades she has received for her work.