Oct. 21, 2020

2020 Killam Annual Professorships awarded for creative writing, reservoir science, mental and physical health

Annual awards demonstrate excellence in research, teaching and community involvement

The University of Calgary Killam Annual Professorships have been awarded to five professors with outstanding scholarship. From creative writing to reservoir science and mental and physical health, each professor has demonstrated significant commitment to their field of study and their students.

The 2020 professorships are awarded to Dr. Zhangxing (John) Chen, PhD; Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD; Dr. Deborah Marshall, PhD; Dr. Raylene Reimer De Bruyn, PhD; and Professor Aritha van Herk.

“This is a very distinguished list of nationally and internationally recognized UCalgary faculty,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “Their scholarship, dedication to their work and students represent the very best in academic excellence and I am proud to congratulate each of them on receiving the 2020 Killam Annual Professorships.”

  • Photo above, from left: Zhangxing (John) Chen, Keith Dobson, Deborah Marshall, Aritha van Herk, Raylene Reimer De Bruyn.

The Killam Annual Professors are selected for excellence in research and teaching for a decade or more while also serving their academic discipline and community. The recipients are nominated by the dean of their faculty and selected through peer review.

Dr. Zhangxing (John) Chen, PhD, professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, NSERC/Energi Simulation Industrial Research Chair in Reservoir Simulation, and Alberta Innovates (iCORE) Industrial Chair in Reservoir Modelling

Chen has made enormous contributions to chemical and petroleum engineering, energy and environmental engineering, and multi-disciplinary studies in fluid flow and its applications to various industries. He has received dozens of international awards, published 13 monographs, edited eight books, presented hundreds of invited conference papers, owns 24 patents, and his publications have received nearly 15,000 citations.

In 2007, Chen came to UCalgary to advance understanding of Canadian oil and gas reservoirs and improve recovery through computer modelling, simulation and visualization. In 2008, he created a research consortium with 15 companies that have provided over $75 million to address knowledge gaps in the energy industry.

Read more about Chen and his extensive research.

Dr. Keith Dobson, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, and director, UCalgary Depression Research Laboratory

Dobson is a national and international leader in mental health and stigma reduction. His scholarship has advanced the field and changed how practitioners help people with mental health disorders by refining our understanding of the causes of depression. His research on stigma related to mental illness has helped transform perceptions and attitudes in professional contexts as well as promote best practices for respectful treatment among health care workers, first responders, schools and communities.

His pioneering research into cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has changed treatment for people with depression. He is a generous mentor, outstanding teacher and his many publications have been cited about 22,000 times.

Read more about Dobson and listen to him discuss mental wellness.

Dr. Deborah Marshall, PhD, professor in Community Health Sciences, Arthur J.E. Child Chair for Rheumatology Outcomes Research, Tier II Canada Research Chair in Health Services and Systems Research (2008-2018)

Marshall’s research is improving patient outcomes through more effective and efficient delivery of patient-centred health services. She leads a world-class applied research program in rheumatology, using patient preferences, patient engagement and simulation modelling methods.

Her core research interests are in assessing precision health from a broad perspective with respect to how treatment and health-care services can be tailored to patients based on their biologic profiles and preferences; addressing health-care delivery in a system-wide context centred on the patient; and advancing methods in patient-oriented research and preferences. She has received many prestigious awards that underline the impact of her teaching and research.

Read more about Marshall and some of her extensive research.

Dr. Raylene Reimer De Bruyn, PhD, professor, associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Kinesiology, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cumming School of Medicine

Reimer De Bruyn is an internationally recognized leader in nutrition and chronic disease. She is advancing our understanding of how diet impacts the gut microbiota and how dietary interventions can change the microbiota to improve health and prevent disease.

Notably, Reimer De Bruyn is researching how prebiotic fibre can mitigate obesity risk across the lifespan by selectively promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Her work has shown this intervention reduces body fat, improves appetite control, reduces inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity. Reimer De Bruyn’s groundbreaking basic science and translational clinical trial work has garnered significant scientific and media interest and led to innovation in consumer food products.

Read more about Reimer and some of her extensive research.

Aritha van Herk, author and creative writing professor in the Faculty of Arts

A critic, writer and valued mentor, van Herk is one of the leading figures in Canadian literature. She is the author of five award-winning novels, hundreds of literary and cultural criticism publications and creative works as well as countless articles and reviews. Her fiction engages with place, movement and restlessness and includes women characters as outliers and rogues. 

Through ficto-criticism, which merges fiction, theory and criticism, she is pushing the boundaries of academic writing. With geografictione, a genre she invented, van Herk combines concepts of travel and narrative. She is currently working on a short story collection and a new novel.

Read more about  Professor van Herk and her distinguished career.