Four U of G Scholars Honoured by Royal Society of Canada

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(L-R) Prof. Amar Mohanty, Prof. Kim Anderson; Prof. Jess Haines, Prof. Kevin McCann

(L-R) Prof. Amar Mohanty, Prof. Kim Anderson, Prof. Jess Haines, Prof. Kevin McCann

Two University of Guelph professors will be inducted as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) during a ceremony on Friday as part of the RSC’s online, week-long Celebration of Excellence and Engagement.

Profs. Amar Mohanty and Kevin McCann are among 87 new Fellows from across Canada.

Election to the RSC is the highest honour a scholar, scientist or artist can receive in Canada. It recognizes outstanding contributions to Canadian intellectual life and knowledge.

U of G professors Kim Anderson and Jess Haines will join the RSC College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists on Friday. The College provides national recognition for an emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leaders who have demonstrated a high level of achievement early in their careers. This year, 50 new College members will be named across Canada.

Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), said the RSC conducts a rigorous evaluation of scholars’ accomplishments in making its annual selections.

“To be inducted into the RSC and the College is extraordinary, richly deserved recognition of scholarly achievement, one that highlights the highest level of research excellence of professors,” he said. “As a University, we applaud our remarkable colleagues.

“We are greatly honoured and proud that these scholars are members of our outstanding University community. They elevate our status as a leading research institution and demonstrate the capacity we have to improve life globally.”

Mohanty, a member of the Department of Plant Agriculture who is cross-appointed to the School of Engineering, has pioneered development of sustainable bio-based materials that reduce the environmental impact of plastics. He is the director of U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre and holds the OAC Distinguished Research Chair in Sustainable Biomaterials.

A professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, McCann is an international leader in theoretical ecology. His work has helped explain ecosystem stability and the impacts of global change and helps to address global food security and sustainability issues.

A faculty member in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN), Anderson studies rebuilding of healthy Indigenous societies as the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Relationships. She plays an instrumental role in efforts to Indigenize the academy, advance Indigenous methodologies and train the next generation of Indigenous thinkers and leaders. She has gained international recognition for promoting understanding and support of Indigenous cultural resurgence, wellness and reconciliation.

A professor in FRAN, Haines is a leading scholar in chronic disease prevention. She bridges epidemiological research on the determinants of child health with effective family-based health promotion interventions. Her work has shown the pivotal role of the family in the development of child health behaviour and has changed how academics, policy-makers and clinicians work to reduce chronic disease risk among families.

The Celebration of Excellence and Engagement has featured daily presentations from scholars, artists and scientists on the RSC’s response to the most pressing issues facing the country, including homelessness, vaccine development, long-term care, mental health, Indigenous health and well-being, and civil liberties.

As part of the event’s G7 Academy Research Summit on the Future of Digital Health, Prof. Nigel Raine, School of Environmental Sciences, moderated an expert panel on the decline of insect biodiversity. He studies pollinator conservation and behaviour and wild pollinator populations in Ontario.