Canada Research Chairs



The Lassonde School of Engineering currently has two Tier I Canada Research Chairs:

  • Canada Research Chair in Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics
  • Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision

Scroll down to read more about their respective research activities and biographies.



Canada Research Chair in Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics (Tier I)

Professor Christian Haas

Every month there are numerous media stories about the state of Arctic sea ice and impending changes to the ecosystem, people and economic development of the North. Why is the sea ice declining, and what impact will this have on the ecosystem? Should Canada prepare for increased resource development in the Arctic and routine shipping along the Northwest Passage? How should Canada respond to increased international interest in the region threatening sovereignty?

Dr. Christian Haas, Canada Research Chair in Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics, is examining the underlying reasons for the recent rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice, and its consequences for the Arctic climate system and ecosystem—for northerners and for access to resources and shipping routes. He is also addressing the role of changes in winds and ice drift, as well as variations in atmospheric radiation, ocean salinity and atmospheric and ocean temperatures, on ice thickness. 

Haas is developing a thorough understanding of the reasons for the recent Arctic sea ice decline in order to help predict future scenarios and identify links to possible human-induced causes of climate change.

He is using airborne and ground-based field campaigns, satellite remote sensing and numerical modelling to obtain ice information. This important information will be used for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and extraction, shipping, and over-ice travel. 

Haas’ research will contribute unique information on ice thickness. This information which is extremely important for safe ice usage and for the design and regulation of offshore structures and ships.



About Christian Haas

For 15 years, Christian Haas has worked with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, where he was the Head of the Sea Ice Section. In 2007 he moved to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, as an Alberta Ingenuity Scholar. Christian is still an adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta and continue to supervise graduate students. Since 2012 he is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics at the Lassonde School of Engineering, York University.



Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision (Tier I)

Professor John Tsotsos

As the Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision, Dr. John Tsotsos is looking for ways to model human mechanisms of visual motion in machines. Integrating the fields of visual psychology, computer vision, robotics, and visual neuroscience, he is developing robotic wheelchairs for the disabled that can be controlled by vision. His research in active vision (computer vision systems equipped with cameras that move and attend to items of interest), motion recognition, and mobile robotics will benefit Canadian industry and the health sciences by advancing software and hardware design and application, as well as by developing better medical diagnostic tools and biomedical visual and motor devices for use by disabled children and adults.

Dr. Tsotsos has led many experimental efforts in active vision. As well, he designed and implemented the first computerized motion recognition system, showing that visual motion converted into digital image sequences can be automatically detected, quantified, and interpreted by a computer. This work was applied to cardiology, providing the first example of an automated system to assess the performance of the left ventricle from X-ray image sequences.

In addition, Dr. Tsotsos showed for the first time that methods of theoretical computer science could be applied to the analysis of biological vision, leading to computer processing architectures for explaining vision problems in the brain. He was the first to formally prove that tasks or specialized knowledge play a critical role in managing human perception. He developed the Selective Tuning Model (STM) for visual attention, which is widely considered the leading model for consolidating current understanding of the process of visual attention. And he applied this model in machine vision. The STM theory of visual attention, together with subsequent experimental evidence, has formed the basis for greater understanding of human perception in the fields of psychophysics and neurobiology.

About John Tsotsos

Dr. John K. Tsotsos is a professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member and former director of York’s Centre for Vision Research. In 2014 he became the founding Director of the Centre for Innovation in Computing @ Lassonde, a research centre whose goal is to foster novel computational solutions to problems in scientific and health disciplines within the Lassonde School of Engineering.