Excellence in Research
The Award for Excellence in Research is presented by the Office of the Academic Dean
to recognize the outstanding research and scholarly accomplishments of a Brescia faculty
member. The award recipient is honoured at the Brescia Baccalaureate Ceremony in June
as the Brescia Excellence in Research Professor (for the award year), and is invited
to give a talk on their research during the award year.
Current Award Recipients
2023 | Dr. Edward Bell
Dr. Edward Bell of Brescia’s Sociology program in the School of Behavioural and Social
Sciences has been selected to receive the 2022-2023 Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Bell’s productive research program spans Sociology, Psychology, and Political
Science, and his publications include two books and many book chapters, journal articles,
and book reviews. His outreach activities include multiple media appearances to discuss
topics such as the heritability of political orientations and political engagement,
which have appeared in print, virtual, and radio outlets.
Dr. Bell’s research colleagues pointed out his keen ability to apply a broad interdisciplinary
view to important human phenomena and described his work as outstanding and his passion
for research inspiring. They also noted that Dr. Bell’s work has enhanced Brescia’s
reputation internationally, and that he is considered one of the most influential
sociologists for personality and behaviour genetics in the world. The Brescia community
knows that Dr. Bell is also a gifted instructor who was awarded Brescia’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2017. We look forward to Dr. Bell’s research presentation as part of the Provost’s
Speaker Series next year.
Meet Serena - One of the many talented women who put her Brescia business foundation
Serena Kung came to Brescia because she appreciated its special position within the
broader Western community. She was impressed by our beautiful campus and was called
to our University’s internationally-recognized School of Foods and Nutrition. Her
seamless transition into Brescia included making lifelong connections, thoroughly
enjoying her interactive courses and taking part in the wide range of initiatives
that tend to be oversaturated at larger institutions.
"What I love about Brescia is you can really find your footing and feel like you are
part of something. Thanks to all the opportunities available there, it kickstarts
your journey in any direction you choose to go. When applied to Ivey, I used my Brescia
experiences to show how much of an impact I was making. It’s not nearly as easy to
demonstrate that level of initiative at other universities."
Clara Sebben's Brescia Journey
A luxury residence suite all to herself, the ability to get to know her classmates
and professors on a personal level and the close proximity to Western are just a few
reasons Clara Sebben decided to attend Brescia. When choosing where she would pursue
her degree, Clara’s top priority was a place that would support her wellbeing and
academic success. Brescia’s commitment to student development empowered Clara to find
her passion and nurture her personal and academic talents
"At Brescia, you actually get everything: the small, engaging classes, so much individualized
attention, intellectually stimulating conversations and lifeenriching relationships.
You walk around at Brescia and everyone smiles and greets you by name. Then, you walk
right across the street to engage with the broader university community and take advantage
of everything a huge institution, like Western, has to offer."
Brescia's Fearless Graduates Make It Without Ever Having to Fake it
By applying everything she did at Brescia, Holly Clemas curated an attention-getting
portfolio that secured her spot within Canada’s leading university fashion program.
Even before coming to Brescia, Holly was fully aware of what business classes could
hold at a co-ed school. She had no desire to get talked over or intimated while trying
to focus on bettering herself and her grades.
"Leadership is modeled by every person and within every program at Brescia. You see
this really diverse representation of what that word means. I like to think I don’t
fit in the mould of a typical businessperson. I have a personality that wouldn’t necessarily
get captured on paper. Who I am wasn’t just allowed for at Brescia – it was encouraged."
Past Award Recipients
2022 | Dr. Janet Madill
Dr. Madill’s research in nutrigenomics, and on the nutritional status of transplant
patients and patients with chronic disease conditions has had a significant impact
on dietetics and the work of registered dietitians. Dr. Madill has published 40 research
articles in peer-reviewed journals, 34 since joining Brescia in 2012. Her research
has been widely disseminated at local, regional, provincial, national, and international
levels including 45 papers in refereed conference proceedings and 82 presentations
at professional meetings/workshops since 2012 (lifetime: 130). Dr. Madill’s research has significant impact at Brescia, locally, and globally.
2020 | Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber
Dr. Marlene Janzen Le Ber, joined Brescia in 2015. Her research broadly focuses on
the complex processes of leadership at both the individual level and at the organizational
level and more specifically on the processes of social innovation that address issues
of social (in)justice and (in)equity for vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized
populations. The contexts for these complex processes of leadership include cross-sector
partnerships, transdisciplinary teams, policy and social change, and women and leadership.
Dr. Janzen Le Ber’s research has been almost continuously funded by Social Science
and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - as a doctoral student, a post-doctoral fellow
(international), an early career researcher, and as a Principal Investigator (PI)
of a large Partnership Development Grant (2017-2021) within seven years of graduating
with a Ph.D., “Mobilizing Narratives for Policy and Social Change.” As the PDG PI,
she leads a team of 7 academic and 6 community coinvestigators, 7 graduate students,
14 collaborators and 14 partner organizations. As part of this grant, she challenged
the team to integrate indigenous ways of knowing. She was also SSHRC PDG ranked #1
across Canada in that competition. In another stream of research, the resulting research
outcomes advance the theorizing of women and leadership through the exploration of
women’s aspirations to lead, women’s leader identity development, and tackling unconscious
bias at the institutional and societal level.
Her research has received international acclaim and according to one reviewer: “Dr.
Janzen Le Ber has dedicated her entire career to inspired and impactful research.
She not only researches leadership, but indeed stands out as a model of leadership
in the type of questions and approaches that help her entire community keep a step
ahead of the grand challenges we collectively face.”
2019 | Dr. Jamie Seabrook
An accomplished researcher, Dr. Seabrook joined Brescia in 2014 after spending over
12 years as a biostatistician for the Department of Paediatrics and Children’s Health
Research Institute at London Health Sciences Centre. His passion lies in research
focusing on the social determinants of child health outcomes and how stress exposure
and risk-taking behaviour impact health disparities. Dr. Seabrook’s recent publications
have garnered significant attention from the media, with one study of >25,000 pregnant
women showing a strong association between air pollution and preterm birth in Southwestern
Ontario. Dr. Seabrook has authored an impressive 99 journal articles, received 27
research grants and won 9 research-based awards. Dr. Seabrook is also an Associate
Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Department of Paediatrics
at Western University.
2018 | Dr. Paula Dworatzek
An accomplished leader, and Chair of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences,
Dr. Dworatzek is known world-wide for her research contributions to her field. She
was the lead author for the Nutrition Therapy chapter of the Clinical Practice Guidelines
for the Canadian Diabetes Association. This major revision of the Clinical Practice
Guidelines has resulted in changes to the clinical practise in Canada and has driven
changes in nutrition guidelines internationally. In addition, Dr. Dworatzek has undergone
and authored pioneering research on the packed lunch intake of children on the Balanced
School Day. This study resulted in many research recognitions, both locally and nationally.
Since arriving at Brescia in 2007, Dr. Dworatzek has instilled her passion and enthusiasm
in both her students and colleagues alike. This passion was realized through the formation
of a peer nutrition education program known as FRESH, at Brescia and Western University.
This collaborative and innovative program, created with Brescia professor Dr. June
Matthews, has now won several awards.
Dr. Dworatzek, as an author or co-author, has 20 papers published in refereed journals,
five academic reports, 25 published abstracts, 12 invited presentations and 43 conference
presentations – internationally and nationally. For her vast contributions to her
field, Dr. Dworatzek was recognized by Dietitians of Canada (DC) as a recipient of
the DC member Recognition Award in 2016 and was named a Fellow of the Dietitians of
Canada (FDC) in 2018.
2017 | Dr. Dominick Grace
Dr. Grace holds an Honors B.A. in English and Theatre from the University of Toronto
and a Master’s Degree and Ph.D from Western University. Beginning his research trajectory
as a medievalist specializing in Chaucer studies, Dr. Grace’s research interests have
now broadened to encompass comics/graphic novels, contemporary Canadian science fiction
and television. Because of his passion and active research, he is often characterized
as being “amongst the top tier of scholars working in these areas.”
Senior Canadian and international scholars have commended Dr. Grace for his extensive
range and diversity of work and its important contribution to preserving and understanding
cultural worlds that can be ephemeral. One scholar applauded Dr. Grace for his efforts
in helping to “make visible to comics scholars and serious comics readers just how
important Canada has been to the history of comics, and how different the trajectory
of comics has been in Canada.”
Dr. Grace has a strong publication record of single-authored, peer-reviewed and refereed
articles, as well as dozens of scholarly and popular culture reviews. Since 2013,
he has been the author of one monograph, The Science Fiction of Phyllis Gotlieb: A
Critical Reading (2015) and co-editor of three Conversations volumes for the University
Press of Mississippi, with three additional co-edited volumes in press.
2016 | Dr. Sharareh Hekmat
Internationally recognized for her research, she has dedicated more than 25 years
to investigating the benefits of probiotic yogurts. Dr. Hekmat and her research collaborators
from Brescia and Western University have received numerous grants to conduct various
clinical trials among patients who suffer from conditions such as IBD, HIV/AIDS and
In 2011, Dr. Hekmat received the Dean’s Award of Excellence-Team Award from the Schulich
School of Medicine and Dentistry, which recognizes exceptional achievement by a team
in areas including research, education, administration, innovation and public service.
In 2015, she received the Founding Contributions to Western Heads East Award and was
honoured at the Africa-Western Collaboration Day at Western University hosted by Western
International, Western Heads East (WHE), The Africa Institute and a number of African
community organizations. Dr. Hekmat’s collaborators state that they have been “very
fortunate to have had her knowledge of nutrition science and probiotics.”
In addition to her innovative research, Dr. Hekmat’s teaching is as equally outstanding,
having trained and mentored numerous Brescia students, who have gone on to successful
careers and professional programs in related fields. Over and above preparing them
for their future careers, her students have described her teaching as “outstanding,”
“warm” and “inspiring.”
2015 | Dr. James Doelman
Dr. James Doelman, a faculty member of Brescia’s Department of English since 2001,
was named the holder of the inaugural Award for Excellence in Research for 2015. This
new award was established in 2014 by the Office of the Vice-Principal and Academic
Dean, with the objective to recognize outstanding research and scholarly accomplishments
of a Brescia faculty member. Dr. Doelman’s major research specialization is in the
areas of 16th and 17th century English literature, and secondary area is in 18th century
Dr. Doelman is consistently committed to unearthing new discoveries and shedding light
on previously unknown Early Modern Literary works. His work in this area is described
as “rare, innovative and changing the way in which we understand poets and poetry
of the English Renaissance in the most foundational way.” Dr. Doelman has worked extensively
on digitizing manuscripts from the Early Modern period, which has increased accessibility
to these works for students and scholars alike. His passion has inspired and engaged
students, who he has successfully trained and mentored in manuscript editing and paleography.
He has held many internal research grants at Brescia and was awarded a five-year research
grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (2003-2008)
for his research on epigrams in early modern England. Dr. Doelman has a strong publication
record of single-authored, peer-reviewed, and refereed articles, including three books.
He is currently completing another book, The Epigram in England: 1590-1640, based
on his research, which will be published later this year by Manchester University
Press. Dr. Doelman also served as an Associate Editor of the online journal, Early
Modern Literary Studies, and was very instrumental in the development of the journal.
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