This year we are profiling each of the Ontario Research Chairs (ORCs). ORCs are university research professorships created to drive provincial research and develop excellence, to create world-class centres of research, and to enhance Ontario’s competitiveness in Canada’s knowledge-based economy. Each profile has been written by Sharon Oosthoek, and is posted on the Research Matters blog every other Thursday between February and June. We hope, as you get to know them, that you discover something you didn’t know before about Ontario university research. You never have to look far to find the unexpected.