First Sherman Jen Research Chair appointed

Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Biologist Dr. Paul Adams has been appointed the first Sherman Jen Research Chair at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Dr. Adams leads the Applied Genomics Centre (AGC) at KPU, which is equipped with state-of-the-art tools for research into genomics and metabolomics – the study of DNA and other molecules within cells.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Dr. Sherman Jen Education Foundation endowed through the KPU Foundation, KPU has created the two Sherman Jen Research Chairs to conduct research that supports its polytechnic mandate.

As the Sherman Jen Research Chair in Applied Genomics, Dr. Adams will work with KPU students and leading researchers at KPU and beyond to improve animal and plant health, sustainability, product development and competitiveness for agricultural sectors in B.C. and Canada.

“I’m very honored to have been selected as the first Sherman Jen Research Chair at KPU, and very grateful to the Dr. Sherman Jen Education Foundation,” says Dr. Adams. “The generosity enables many new opportunities for myself and the research team in the AGC. The chair appointment will allow me to focus on the applied research projects within AGC and build even more industry partnerships and opportunities with our community. This will directly translate to greater scope and resources for KPU students to be involved in exciting applied research within our region.”

After completing his PhD at the University of British Columbia in 2010, Dr. Adams took a postdoctoral fellowship in the Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience departments at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he studied genetic underpinnings of calcium channel signalling and Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr. Adams now has more than 17 years of experience in genetics research. Since 2017, he has led a team at KPU to develop new opportunities to bring high quality genomic and metabolomics solutions to small and medium size enterprises through applied research.

Through efforts Dr. Adams has led, almost $9 million of internal and external funding has been committed to build and sustain the Applied Genomics Centre. He is working with more than 20 academic and industry partners, including companies, industry associations and non-profits.

“Dr. Adams has an exemplary record of student-centred applied research at KPU that serves the needs of industry and community partners in our region,” says Dr. Deepak S. Gupta, associate vice president for research, innovation, and graduate studies.

“Through the Applied Genomics Centre, Dr. Adams and his colleagues have provided our undergraduate students with terrific research experiences that are usually seen only at graduate levels elsewhere, setting them up for success when they graduate.”

Sherman Jen Research Chairs come with a term of five years, renewable for an additional term, in key research areas for KPU. The second of the first two Sherman Jen Research Chairs will be in the area of next-generation design. The competition process for that position is underway.