April 26, 2022

Six researchers named Killam Annual Professors

Researchers are leaders in their fields, with track records of discovery and impact
Killam Annual Professors
Top, from left: Naser El-Sheimy, Marina Gavrilova, Walter Herzog. Bottom, from left: Gilaad Kaplan, Lina Kattan, David Nicholas.

Six UCalgary faculty members have been named Killam Annual Professors, in recognition of their remarkable achievements in research, teaching and community involvement. The annual professorships are awarded to those who have been nationally and/or internationally recognized in their field, with a record of outstanding teaching and research scholarship over 10 years or more.

This year’s Killam Annual Professors are: Dr. Naser El-Sheimy, PhD; Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD; Dr. Walter Herzog, PhD; Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, MD, MPH; Dr. Lina Kattan, PhD; and Dr. David Nicholas, PhD.

“We are proud to announce this year’s group of Killam Annual Professors — six distinguished scholars who are celebrated leaders in their fields,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “They are deeply committed to advancing their disciplines and inspire colleagues and students alike in their pursuit of new knowledge and research impact. I look forward to all that they will continue to achieve.”

Naser El-Sheimy

Dr. Naser El-Sheimy, PhD

Professor, Schulich School of Engineering
Canada Research Chair in Geomatics Multi-Sensor Systems

Naser El-Sheimy has made major contributions to the development, dissemination and commercialization of mobile mapping and integrated navigation system technology.

He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the US Institute of Navigation (ION), and held four professorships at international universities.

El-Sheimy’s work has catalyzed technology transfer and commercialization with tremendous impact. His foundational algorithms and systems have been used by academic peers and industry groups. This has resulted in 20 patents (nine issued and 11 filed) and has generated nearly $5 million in licences for UCalgary.

A dedicated teacher, El-Sheimy has completed the supervision of over 100 postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and visiting scholars. His commitment has been recognized with a total of 26 teaching awards.

He has made significant contributions to Alberta technology through his research and development activities, as the founding researcher and Scientific Director of TECTERRA, an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization that supports commercialization of geomatics technology.

Learn more about Naser El-Sheimy’s research.

Marina Gavrilova

Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Science

Marina Gavrilova is one of the world’s leading experts on machine learning and biometrics. She has raised UCalgary’s profile internationally, introducing new models of information fusion and instigating the area of social behavioural biometrics. Gavrilova co-authored a World Scientific bestselling book, has launched conferences and founded a scientific journal. She has represented Canada as a keynote speaker at international conferences, and received several prestigious awards, including the Order of the University of Calgary.

Gavrilova demonstrates academic distinction, exemplary leadership, and a commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion. Recently, she shared her academic journey in the book Women Negotiating Life in the Academy: A Canadian Perspective. Her research was featured on Discovery Channel, CBC Radio, and in the National Museum of Civilization exhibit.

Gavrilova is a celebrated teacher and mentor. In all her engagements with students and colleagues. Gavrilova keeps focus on diversity and equity. Gavrilova has sparked a passion for STEM for many young aspiring scholars through her advocacy and knowledge engagement activities in the media and global community.

Learn more about Marina Gavrilova’s research.

Walter Herzog

Dr. Walter Herzog, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, jointly appointed in the Schulich School of Engineering, Cumming School of Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine
Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics

Walter Herzog is an internationally recognized leader in musculoskeletal biomechanics and biomedical engineering. He is a world-renowned scholar for his work on skeletal muscle properties, function and mechanisms of contraction, and a pioneer in the development of micro- and nano-technological methods in biomechanics.

Herzog has been celebrated for his exemplary record of teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. During his time at UCalgary, Herzog has supervised over 100 postdoctoral scholars and graduate students, many of whom went on to win prestigious young investigator awards and become leaders in their fields.

He is an internationally sought-after research collaborator, presenter, and leader. Herzog has had a profound impact on his profession, having implemented professional networks around the world. His work has led to the inclusion of researchers, students and organizations from economically developing countries into the international biomechanics community.

Learn more about Walter Herzog’s research.

Gilaad Kaplan

Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, MD, MPH

Professor, Cumming School of Medicine

Gilaad Kaplan is an internationally renowned clinician-scientist in defining the global epidemiology of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Kaplan has identified paradigm-shifting epidemiologic patterns in digestive diseases over the past century, and introduced novel theories to explain the changing epidemiology of IBD across time and geography, while forecasting the future global burden of IBD.

Kaplan’s commitment is embodied by his dedication to train and mentor the next generation of clinicians and academics, and recognition as an international educator in gastroenterology. Kaplan has been the primary supervisor or co-supervisor of 42 trainees. These trainees have published over 50 first-author, peer-reviewed publications while under his supervision and have also received prestigious scholarships.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaplan worked with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to form and lead the national COVID-19 & IBS Taskforce, to address the rapidly evolving issues relating to COVID-19 for the IBD community. Kaplan and team have developed a web-based interactive map that allows the public to track COVID-19 and IBD outcomes.

Learn more about Gilaad Kaplan’s research

Lina Kattan

Dr. Lina Kattan, PhD

Professor, Schulich School of Engineering
Urban Alliance Chair in Transportation Systems Optimization

Lina Kattan is Canada’s foremost transportation researcher and leader in combining innovation and social responsibility, furthering the frontiers of transportation research while benefiting the community and the economy.

Kattan has made pioneering contributions to advanced traffic and demand management, transportation network modelling and analysis, demand estimation and prediction, equity and fairness in transportation and emerging transportation technology research. She is also director of the NSERC-CREATE program in Integrated Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities.

The global reputation of her research program has attracted top talent with expertise across many disciplines. She has supervised over 50 trainees, and recent graduates from her lab have gone onto become faculty members at universities around the world. Kattan takes pride in the fact that 40 per cent of her trainees are women. She emphasizes cultivating a "rainforest" of creative research, collaboration, team building, and personalized mentorship.

Kattan excels at bridging academic and practitioner circles to translate research into practice to benefit society. Through engagement with The City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta, Kattan has guided tangible changes in Calgary’s transportation systems, including public transit, pedestrian crossings, and highways.

Learn more about Lina Kattan’s research.

David Nicholas

Dr. David Nicholas, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Social Work

David Nicholas has an outstanding record of teaching and research scholarship on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and the quality of life for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, and their families. Over the last 10 years, he has focused on EDI and individuals with autism across the lifespan, from adolescence into adulthood. He is an international leader in EDI and vocational issues in autism, advancing pathways to employment and informing navigational support for families.

Nicholas has demonstrated deep commitment to outstanding student learning and experience. He is deeply respected for his ability to create safe and rich learning environments, and creates carefully designed courses, some co-developed with community stakeholders for increased relevance and applicability.

Nicholas has been celebrated for his extensive experience in partnership building. He engages in research that meets the needs of communities and combines local expertise with academic scholarship and extensive partnership engagement to address practical challenges and yield sustainable change.

Learn more about David Nicholas’s research.

Five Killam Research and Teaching Awards honour outstanding teaching, supervision, and research at the University of Calgary. All full-time continuing academic staff may be considered if they meet the additional criteria for a given award. Nominations for the Killam Research and Teaching Awards will open in May 2022, with a deadline of August 10, 2022. Nominations are made by the dean of each faculty. Please contact your faculty awards representative for more information.

Gilaad Kaplan is a professor in the departments of Community Health Sciences and Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine and member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health and the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.

Walter Herzog is a professor in the Faculties of Kinesiology, Veterinary Medicine, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health.

David Nicholas is a professor in the Faculty of Social Work and member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.