CBU Awarded Prestigious Canada Research Chair in Healthy Environments and Communities

Dr. Xu Zhang, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry in the School of Science and Technology at Cape Breton University, has been awarded a prestigious Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Healthy Environments and Communities. Developed as part of a strategy to make Canada a world leader in research and development, Canada Research Chairs are granted to exceptional emerging scholars in the social sciences, humanities, health sciences, engineering and the natural sciences.

“I am honoured to receive this award and to have an opportunity to advance research that contributes to healthy environments and communities,” says Dr. Zhang.

As the CRC in Healthy Environments and Communities, Dr. Zhang will develop a world-class, innovative research program aimed at developing important new knowledge of technologies. His research will contribute to environmental protection, including environmental monitoring and water treatment, and environment-related health sciences, including diagnosing and treating disease.

“The technical focus of my research is the critical topic of generation, detection and elimination of reactive oxidant species (ROS) in various environmental and biological systems,” says Dr. Zhang. “But outside the lab in applied terms, the research can impact water treatment technology and radiation therapy for cancer patients.”

“Dr. Zhang’s important work is promising for Cape Breton and beyond,” says David Dingwall, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University. “Dr. Zhang’s high-calibre research will not only enhance the research that’s happening at CBU, but will build a body of knowledge that supports the health of communities around the globe. We are honoured that Dr. Zhang will continue this vital research as a Canada Research Chair at CBU.”

Dr. Zhang’s research, while primarily focused on developing solutions to environmental and health issues faced by communities in Cape Breton and Atlantic Canada, is significant on a larger scale. Dr. Zhang is a Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute Associate Member, involved in the development of multifunctional material and device platforms for cancer diagnostics and treatment based on nanotechnology.

“Dr. Zhang is an outstanding researcher with significant research outcomes in terms of the impact of his papers, technology development and industry partnerships,” says Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett, CBU Associate Vice-President, Academic & Research. “His work as a Canada Research Chair will build his research capacity to have far-reaching benefits.”

Dr. Zhang looks forward to engaging student researchers over the next five years in his role as a CRC. Since joining CBU in 2014, he has trained, mentored and supervised upwards of 40 students and postdoctoral fellows. He continues to demonstrate passion as an educator as well as a researcher. Congratulations Dr. Zhang!