Posted on Oct. 23: McMaster's newest Canada Research Chairs explore micro-machines, condensed matter physics, immunology

October 23, 2003

    Catherine Kallin, Rafael Kleimen
One day patients may be able to wear a sensor that will conduct a test of their biochemical levels and allow doctors to analyze the results without shipping samples off to a lab.

McMaster University engineering physics professor Rafael Kleiman's research lab may well be home to the creation of this new type of device.

Kleiman is one of the world's leading researchers studying MicroElectroMechanical systems (MEMS)  transforming static silicon chips into minuscule machines that can feel, smell, see, hear and act. Kleiman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in MicroElectroMechanical Systems, plans to work closely with colleagues in McMaster's health sciences faculty to study biomedical applications for micro-machines. Click on to read a profile of Kleiman in the McMaster Review.

"As we start to miniaturize everything, we need to understand how the forces behave on a small scale," said Kleiman, a senior researcher at Bell Laboratories, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies in the U.S., before joining McMaster in July. "Things work differently as we make them smaller and because of that we need to understand how they work so we can exploit them fully."

He is one of three new McMaster researchers to be appointed under the Canada Research Chairs program. The federal government committed $900 million to the Canada Research Chairs program in the 2000 budget to establish 2,000 research positions at Canadian universities. Today's announcement marks the halfway point in the program, which helps universities attract and retain the best researchers and achieve excellence in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, social sciences and humanities.

"This program continues to increase our research capacity and gives us the ability to both recruit at an international level and retain our international stars," said Mamdouh Shoukri,
vice-president research & international affairs. "In this round alone, Rafael Kleiman comes to us from the United States, Andrew MacPherson from Australia and we're thrilled that
renowned physicist Catherine Kallin will continue her research at McMaster."

McMaster's new chairholders also include:

  • Physicist Catherine Kallin, who is the Canada Research Chair in the Theory of Quantum Materials. Kallin studies condensed matter physics and quantum materials and her work is directed toward the development of new devices, finding new applications for quantum computers, magnetic resonance imaging and satellite communications.
  • Andrew Macpherson, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Mucosal Immunology. He is studying how the intestine's immune system protects itself from damage and how antibodies in a mother's milk protect an infant.

For a complete list of McMaster's 44 chairholders please go to