York Research Award Celebration 2017 photo of crowd

York University's Research Leaders' Gala recognizes high-calibre, world-leading research


The York Research Leaders’ Gala, a star-studded annual event in the research community, showcases York’s talent by acknowledging researchers and academics who have won major awards, received large grants, made scholarly contributions in the form of published books or achieved research breakthroughs in the previous calendar year – 2016, in this case. This year, the event took place on April 4 from 4 to 6:30pm at The Underground in York Lanes.

A capacity crowd attended the York Research Celebration, which took place April 4 at The Underground on the Keele campus

“At York University, research and innovation are flourishing. York is undertaking work that has local, national and international significance and impact. We are fulfilling the University’s vision to leverage our research excellence and establish York among the country’s leading research-intensive universities,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, York University’s president and vice-chancellor.

The event opened with a new graphic animated video: the York Research Impact Story, featuring Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation.


“This annual event is, more than anything, a demonstration of York’s commitment to excellence in research, innovation and scholarship. Our researchers − internationally recognized leaders and pioneers in their fields − are deeply committed to advancing innovative research projects across the vast spectrum of disciplines,” said Haché.

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, provided the opening remarks and offered some vital insights on research and innovation.

Joy Kirchner, University librarian, announced the winners from York’s Undergraduate Research Fair.

Barbara Crow, dean and associate vice-president graduate, spoke about the significance of graduate student research, citing the Banting Fellowship, Trudeau Scholars and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars (2016).

Recognizing York University Research Leaders and Book Prize Winners for 2016 was centre stage at this special event.

Award Recipients in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

2016 Research Leaders and Book Prize Winners

  • Naomi Adelson, professor of Medical Anthropology, was awarded the 2016-2017 York-Massey Fellowship. Adelson works primarily with First Nations communities in Canada, and has conducted research in collaboration with the Whapmagoostui Cree of northern Québec since the late 1980s.
  • Lorraine Code, Distinguished Research Professor Emerita of philosophy, has earned the Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies. Presented by the Royal Society of Canada, this award recognizes contributions by a Canadian scholar in the humanities and social sciences to furthering our understanding of issues concerning gender.
  • Julia Creet, Department of English, is the recipient of numerous SSHRC grants and several contracts from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Her co-edited collection, with Sara Horowitz and Amira Dan, on Holocaust writer H. G. Adler won the 2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for the best contribution to Jewish thought and culture.
  • Craig Heron, Department of History, received several awards in 2016 for his book, Lunch-Bucket Lives: Remaking the Workers’ City (2015): the International Labor History Association Book of the Year Award, the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies Book Prize, the Ontario Historical Society Fred Landon Award, and more.
  • Sara R. Horowitz, Department of Humanities, has received the 2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for the best contribution to Jewish thought and culture for her book, H. G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy, co-edited with Julia Creet and Amira Dan. 
  • Jimmy Huang, School of Information Technology, holds a Tier II York Research Chair in Big Data Analytics. His research focuses on information retrieval, text mining, big data analytics and their applications to the web and medical health care.
  • Rachel Koopmans, Department of History, was elected to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists within the Royal Society of Canada. Author of the award-winning Wonderful to Relate: Miracle Stories and Miracle Collecting in High Medieval England, she has now extended her reach into the specialist area of medieval stained glass.
  • David A. B. Murray, Anthropology and Sexuality Studies, is the recipient of the Ruth Benedict Book Prize in the category of outstanding monograph (2016) awarded by the Association for Queer Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association. 
  • Natasha Myers is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, won the 2016 Robert K. Merton Prize from the American Sociological Association’s Science, Knowledge and Technology Section for her book Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers, and Excitable Matter (2015).
  • Valerie Preston, Department of Geography, has received a SSHRC Partnership Grant with funding of $2.5 million from SSHRC and $1.2 million from partners for her project “Migration and Resilience in Urban Canada: Identifying Strengths and Building Capacity.”
  • Gabrielle A. Slowey, Department of Political Science, is the Inaugural Fulbright Chair in Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (2016-2017). Slowey specializes in the fields of Indigenous politics, resource extraction, democracy, land claims and self-government.
  • Leah F. Vosko, Tier I Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender and Work, is the first recipient of the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research, recognizing her contribution to public policy research that advances social justice in Canada.
  • Sandra Whitworth, associate dean Graduate Studies and Research and professor of Political Science, received the International Studies Association (ISA) Distinguished Scholar Award for 2016. ISA Canada recognized Whitworth’s leadership in feminist approaches to international relations, especially in relation to security and human rights activism.

Trudeau Scholars

  • Aytak Akbari-Dibavar
  • Jesse Thistle.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar 

  • Jesse Thistle

Winners from York’s Undergraduate Research Fair

  • Kunali Gohil
  • Danika Goshulak
  • Aria Kama
  • Marina Kudrow
  • Recheta Lieu
  • Marissa Magneson
  • Sinthi Mahendiran
  • Kay Angliss McDowel
  • Nishila Mehta
  • Kajanth Palachchandran

For a more comprehensive listing of winners from across York University, see Y-File.