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Innovative Research Centres and Institutes

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Our Faculty of Science’s research-intensive centres and institutes take a collaborative approach to transforming our world through science.

Leading researchers from across McMaster University work with industry and academic partners from around the world. Together, they explore and solve complex challenges through fundamental and applied research.

Our centres are also catalysts for education and engagement. Postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students have unique opportunities to work alongside experienced faculty and engage with the community to advance scientific literacy.

The centres and institutes in our Faculty of Science are among more than 70 research centres at McMaster University. These centres play a key role in attracting renowned researchers, developing the next generation of researchers and further strengthening McMaster’s leadership as Canada’s most research-intensive university.

Biointerfaces Institute

Biointerfaces Institute Logo

The institute brings leading researchers and industry partners together to develop and commercialize novel biosurface and biomaterial technology and diagnostic tools.

The institute’s researchers are experts in high-throughput synthesis, surface characterization, polymer chemistry, bioassay development and ophthalmic biomaterials, with backgrounds in Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Researchers and industry partners have access to state-of-the-art equipment and instruments for the production, screening and characterization of biosurfaces and biomaterials. Researchers help industry partners translate projects from initial discovery to early stage prototyping.

Director: Dr. John Brennan, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry and Biointerfaces


McMaster Centre For Climate Change

McMaster Centre For Climate Change Logo

The centre’s multi-disciplinary collaborative research program brings together researchers working on climate change research across and beyond McMaster University. Researchers study the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, water resources, human health and society to advance understanding of physical, biological and chemical processes and advance the predictive capabilities of Earth System models. Researchers also explore human perceptions of, and responses to, climate change and its likely impact on health and social activity.

Graduate and undergraduate teaching and scholarship is actively promoted and supported within the centre with a focusing on the environment, climate change and their impacts. Faculty and student researchers also participate in public outreach and provide scientific input to academic and public debates on environmental and climate change issues and encourage the application of scientific knowledge for the sustainability and resilience of ecosystems, water resources, and infrastructure while developing public policies that will meet societal challenges caused by future climate change.

Director: Dr. Altaf Arain, School of Earth, Environment and Society


McMaster Institute For Music And The Mind

McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind Logo

MIMM brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of researchers, including psychologists, neuroscientists, music theorists, musicians, dancers, media artists, mathematicians, kinesiologists, health scientists, and engineers.

Together, they study questions about the physical structure, evolution, neural processing, performance, and perception of music, dance and media arts. Specific questions concern how the auditory and motor systems interact to produce music, how performers synchronize with each other, how people encode and recognize music, and how groups in society are defined by the music they play. Applied research is directed at how music can be harnessed to reduce stress and anxiety, the role of music in early parent-infant relationships, and designing and testing hearing aids that work better for music and in noisy environments.

Director: Dr. Laurel Trainor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior


Origins Institute

Origins Institute Logo

How did the universe begin? How are elements created? How do stars, galaxies and planets form? How did life emerge on Earth, and has it emerged on other planets? What processes account for the diversity and disparity among organism groups? How did consciousness start and from where do humans and our distinguishing features arise? These are among the most interesting and fundamental questions in science and the focus for the Origins Institute.

To find the complex, complicated and intricate answers to these questions, the Origins Institute brings together faculty and student researchers with expertise in anthropology, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics and neuroscience as well as advanced computational and visualization techniques.

In addition to carrying out transdisciplinary research, the institute hosts meetings (conferences, symposia and workshops), colloquia and public lectures throughout the year.

Director: Dr. Jonathon Stone, Department of Biology


PACE – Physical Activity Centre Of Excellence

Physical Activity Centre of Excellence Logo

PACE is a specialized exercise training and research centre where scientists, students, and staff are committed to improving the health and well-being of seniors and adults with chronic health conditions and disability.

PACE is home to state-of-the-art laboratories where a team of exercise physiologists, neuroscientists, and exercise psychologists study and enhance the benefits of exercise for people with cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. Research initiatives at PACE are supported by McMaster’s internationally renowned faculty in the Department of Kinesiology.

PACE provides five community-based exercise programs led by a team of registered physiotherapists, registered kinesiologists, certified exercise physiologists, and more than 200 McMaster undergraduate students.

Director: Dr. Stuart Phillips, Department of Kinesiology and Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health


Brockhouse Institute For Material Research

The study of the structure of materials has a long history at McMaster. The Brockhouse Institute, named after Nobel Prize winner Bertram Brockhouse, is dedicated to materials research, development and analysis. With unique facilities such as the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM); Centre for Crystal Growth; McMaster Analytical X-ray Diffraction Facility; and the Photonics Research Laboratories, the BIMR attracts researcher from across Canada and around the world.

MacDATA Institute

MacData promotes the engagement of researchers and students within McMaster as well as externally with industry, government and community to strengthen McMaster’s position as an international leader on all matters related to data. These include data analysis (AI, machine learning, statistical learning, and statistics) as well as the collection, ethics, transformation, and visualization of data.

McMaster Institute For Transportation And Logistics (MITL)

The MITL is a non-profit organization of private and public sector partners who work together to improve the efficiency of transportation systems and the competitiveness of the logistics and manufacturing sector. Addressing the challenge of climate change, this group recognizes that climate change and environmental emissions are intertwined with economic prosperity and must be considered for the future sustainability of both industry and the planet. MITL is supported by its partners in industry, government and academia.

McMaster Nuclear Reactor

The McMaster Nuclear Reactor, the first university-based research reactor in the British Commonwealth, began operations in 1959. It now serves a core group of researchers exploring the smallest structures of matter, developing new probes for medical diagnostics and studying radiation safety. It also is one of the world’s largest suppliers of the medical radioisotope iodine-125 which is used for the treatment of prostate cancer.