Lakehead University leads the way in innovation: Professors specializing in early cancer detection, value-added forest products, named Canada research chairs.

Three world-class professors at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay have been named in the latest cycle of the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Dr. Sudip Kumar Rakshit has been renewed as a Canada Research Chair in Bioenergy and Biorefining Processes for a second seven-year term.

Dr. Alla Reznik has been awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Physics of Radiation Medical Imaging for seven years.

Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Low-dimensional Nanomaterials for five years.

The Canada Research Chair is a federal program, established in 2000, to promote R&D excellence in academic research and training excellence post-secondary institutions.

Ottawa spends $295 million annually to attract and retain outstanding scholars and scientists. The chairholders are considered elite-level scientists in their fields of natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

For the past decade, Dr. Reznik has been developing new diagnostic tools to facilitate early detection of cancer.

The ability to detect and diagnose medical conditions accurately and at the earliest stage of disease is critical for effective treatment and recovery, she said in a July 4 university news release.

"I am very pleased to receive such a high appreciation of my work from my peers," said Dr. Reznik, an associate professor in the physics department and senior scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute.

"But the most important thing for me is the opportunity to make an impact in my area of research, which I believe is one of the most humane areas of science."

While imaging devices and technologies have vastly improved the ability to visualize body tissues and processes, they are often coupled with "off-the-shelf" general-purpose detectors that may limit their potential value for specific medical applications.

Alla is also the chief scientific officer at Radialis, a research institute spinoff company, developing early cancer detection technology.

In his second stint as a Tier 1 chair, Dr. Rakshit's focus is on developing new technologies to produce cleaner energy and chemicals.

The aim of his work is to contribute to the development of a circular bio-economy, where materials are kept within use for as long as possible. He has been developing processes to create value-added products, such as alcohol and biodiesel, and platform chemicals...

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