New Professors Lecture - Fall 2018

When: December 6, 2018 at 9:30 am
Where: STEM Compex (STM), room 464

Performance, energetics and personality

By Vincent Careau, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Vincent Careau posing in front of trees


During this presentation, I will outline the research program I have established over the past three years at the University of Ottawa. We are studying how performance, energetics and personality interact. I will tell you about the first results obtained on small wild rodents, insects in the laboratory, as well as on humans. A common theme in all our research is the use of quantitative genetic techniques to partition (co)variance between several traits at different levels of variation.

Biography: Dr. Careau completed a B.Sc. degree in Biology at Université de Sherbrooke (2000-2003), a M.Sc. degree at the Université du Québec à Montréal (2004-2006), and a Ph.D. at the Université de Sherbrooke (2007-2010). He then obtained a NSERC postdoctoral fellowship, which he held at the University of California Riverside (2011-2012) and later moved to Australia as an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2013-2015). Dr. Careau is now assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in “Function Ecology”. Dr. Careau’s research program involves the combination of several approaches (quantitative genetics, comparative method, experimental evolution, and field studies) to examine trait co-variation across multiple levels of organization (e.g., intra-individual, inter-individual, inter-population, and inter-specific levels) in order to study co-adaptations among metabolic rate, performance, behaviour, and life-history strategies.

Geometry/topology in Data Science and vice versa

By Maia Fraser, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Maia Fraser posing outside in a rain jacket

Machine learning tools are now used across a broad range of scientific disciplines and underlie many of the technologies we take for granted in daily life. I will give a brief overview and describe how mathematics enables some of these tools, and offers insight into when and why different learning approaches work. I will also close the circle and explain in general terms how an approach of extracting information was useful in tackling an open problem in the mathematical field of contact geometry.

Biography: Maia works at the crossroads of mathematics and machine learning. After an initial PhD in Mathematics from Stanford, she became involved in Computer Science applications while a postdoc at the ETH Zurich and then left academia to work in the high performance computing industry. In 2013 she completed a PhD in machine learning in the Computer Science Dept. at the University of Chicago and then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, before joining the University of Ottawa in 2015.

Academic / Industrial Research: A Perfect Marriage or Intellectual Prostitution…….You be the Judge

By Mike Organ, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences

Mike Organ giving an acceptance speech for his recent award

A description of the evolution of our research operation over the years will be presented and in particular, the role that industrial collaborations played in that evolution. I will discuss the evolution of one project that led to the creation of a family of commercially available catalysts and how we worked from a very fundamental scientific level through to the creation of these catalysts to solve long-standing problems in several industrial sectors (pharmaceutical, electronic materials, etc.)..

Biography: Dr. Organ received his PhD in 1992 at the University of Guelph. He then was an NSERC Postdoctoral Scholar in the laboratory of Prof. Trost at Stanford (1994). His independent career started at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1994 after which he moved in 1997 to York University in Toronto where he rose through the ranks to full professor. Effective January 2016, he is the Director of the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation at the University of Ottawa.

His group pioneered the concept of microwave-assisted, continuous flow organic synthesis as well as several unique technologies that underpin these efforts. His group’s effort in catalysis has led to the creation of a series of N-heterocyclic carbene-based organometallic complexes that have shown unsurpassed reactivity and selectivity in cross-coupling applications. This family of catalysts has been commercialized and is used widely including at scale in the commercial manufacuring of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Dr. Organ has received a number of pretisgious awards and recognitions, including the Raymond U. Lemieux Award for Organic Chemistry by the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis (EROS) 2017 “Best Reagent Award” and the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award.

He started and has run two spin-out companies successfully since 1998.

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