January 22, 2020
In an effort to increase collaboration and create a greater sense of community, the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s University hosted its first Canada Research Chair (CRC) networking event. Speaking at event were new CRC chairholders Anna Panchenko, Lindsay Morcom, and Heather Aldersey, in an effort to highlight the diversity of research happening at the university.
“Collaborations are at the heart of science, they allow each one of us to see the big picture from different angles,” says Dr. Panchenko. “CRC events bring together CRC researchers from different fields, this opens tremendous possibilities for interactions and collaborations.”
Dr. Panchenko is the Tier 1 CRC in Computational Biology and Biophysics; Dr. Aldersey is the Tier 2 CRC in Disability and Inclusive Development; and Dr. Morcom is the Tier 2 CRC in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education.
Dr. Panchenko works in the field of cancer research and is studying how mutations arise in DNA and then spread throughout the body.
“These areas of study require new computational methods and techniques,” she explains. “My laboratory develops algorithms to understand cancer progression at the molecular level to come up with new targeted therapeutic strategies.”
The CRC program, Dr. Panchenko says, allows her to focus on her research, gives her research visibility among her peers, and opens the door to collaborations.
Queen’s currently is home to 46 CRC chairs and the university taking part in a national effort to meet new equity and diversity targets amongst chairholders. The university has developed an action plan to identify potential barriers to equity and inclusion in the CRC program at Queen’s and specific actions to address them.
The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) (OVPR) is responsible for ongoing monitoring and updating of this plan and, in concert with the Provost’s Office, Deans, and departments and units, ensuring that the it is successfully enacted.
“I believe diversity helps drive the progress in science and in the world,” says Dr. Panchenko. “Recognizing and acknowledging differences in views and opinions is a crucial step in scientific thinking, it allows scientists to overcome the confirmation bias.”
Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.