UBC's research prowess in statistical inference bolstered with CRC renewal

Aerial view of UBC.

Statistical research at UBC that could help pinpoint the genetic origins of disease and illuminate the mysteries of genetic diversity has received a boost in federal funding from the Canada Research Chairs program.

Jiahua Chen, CRC in Statistical Inference, was among eight Chairs appointed or renewed today at UBC, with the researchers receiving a total of $8.5 million in funding. The UBC contingent is among 102 new and renewed chairs announced Friday by Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, at the University of Alberta.

Chen--originally appointed in 2006--develops statistical methods to estimate subgroups within a mass of data with many variables. His work in developing new statistical theory as well as implementing software can be applied to many disciplines, including astronomy, engineering and genetics.

The Minister of National Revenue Kerry-Lynne Findlay announced UBC’s two new recipients and six renewals at an event on the Vancouver campus to recognize B.C. appointees. The event featured the work of Martin Ordonez, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who was named a new Chair in Power Converters and Renewable Systems. His work aims to maximize the use of renewable energy from wind, solar, and the ocean by developing the next generation of power conversion and storage solutions to produce low emissions power.

UBC is home to 187 Canada Research Chairs and one active Canada Excellence Research Chair. UBC Science is home to more than 40 CRCs.

"The CRC program strengthens UBC’s leading role in world-class research, attracting the best and the brightest minds to work here," said John Hepburn, UBC vice-president, research and international. "The work of these professors creates lasting change within Canada and beyond."

For more information about the Canada Research Chair program, click here.


Vanessa Andreotti, Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change Andreotti studies education for and about international development, and its impact on marginalized populations. She started her career in Brazil and worked in Finland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom before coming to Canada in 2013.

Martin Ordonez, Chair in Power Converters for Renewable Energy Systems Ordonez studies ways to enhance renewable energy sources (solar, wind, ocean current) using technology. He is from Argentina and did his graduate work at Memorial University in Canada.

Renewed CRCs at UBC

Susanna Braund, Chair in Latin Poetry and its Reception Braund studies the poems of Virgil, investigating the appeal classical Latin poetry has in western intellectual history.

Jiahua Chen, Chair in Statistical Inference Chen uses statistic models to tease out information for the study of genetic diversity and for pinpointing the genetic origins of disease.

Denise Daley, Chair in Genetic Epidemiology of Common Complex Diseases Daley studies genetic susceptibility to asthma and other common diseases.

Erica Frank, Chair in Preventive Medicine and Population Health Frank studies medical education and how a doctor’s health can impact their patients’ health.

Joseph Henrich, Chair in Culture, Cognition and Evolution Henrich studies how people learn from one another and its relation to human evolution.

Judy Illes, Chair in Neuroethics Illes studies the ethics of neuroscience, a field that allows us to understand, monitor and potentially manipulate human thought using technology.

Jiahua Chen, CRC in Statistical Inference, was among eight Chairs appointed or renewed today at UBC, with the researchers receiving a total of $8.5 million in funding.

Chris Balma
c 604-202-5047