About Dr. Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering

Dr. Ishwar K. Puri is dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. At McMaster, he is also an associate member of the departments of engineering physics and materials science and engineering, as well as founding academic director of the Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC).

Professor Puri obtained his Ph.D. (1987), and M.S. (1984) degrees in Engineering Science (Applied Mechanics) from the University of California, San Diego after obtaining a B.Sc. (1982) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delhi (Delhi College of Engineering).

He has directed and mentored the Multiphysics Research Group (MuRG) whose members reside worldwide. For an academic genealogy of the group, which runs through noted scientists such as Theodore Von Karman, Ludwig Prandtl, Gustav Heinrich Wiedemann and the Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, please click here, or here for a pdf version.

He is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), which comprises many of Canada’s most accomplished engineers. He is also a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Puri serves as chair of the Canadian National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science | Conseil canadien des doyens d’ingénierie et des sciences appliquées (NCDEAS | CCDISA). He is an invited member on the board of Engineers Canada| Ingénieurs Canada. Dr. Puri has also served as chair of the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering (CODE).

Dr. Puri is the author of over 170 archival publications and books. These publications have been cited over 4,900 times in the scientific literature per Google Scholar with an H-Index of 40(i.e., forty of his publications have been cited at least 40 times) and an i10-index of 111 (i.e., one hundred and eleven of his publications have been cited at least 10 times).

Dr. Puri is best known for his contributions to the sciences of combustion (with applications to fire safety and combustor design), magnetic fluid and particle transport (by providing insights into thermomagnetic convection, dynamic self assembly and magnetic inks for 3D printing), mathematical biology of disease (that explains the cancer stem cell hypothesis and Alzheimer's disease), and nanoscale transport phenomena (that elucidates new insights into heat transfer and soft matter behavior).

He has edited a book on the Environmental Implications of Combustion Processes, written a textbook on Advanced Thermodynamics Engineering, now in its second edition, and another on Combustion Science and Engineering.
Dr. Puri was a founder and mentor of NanoSpin, startup that developed a cooling system for computers and electronic devices that uses a liquid dispersion of magnetic nanoparticles to dissipate waste heat, and which lead to the founding of CIRC.

At McMaster, Dr. Puri leads a Faculty that is organized into two schools, the student-centred research-focused School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the student-centred practice-focused Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology (SEPT). With 154 faculty members in SEAS and 26 in SEPT, McMaster Engineering is home to 180 faculty members who, along with 150 administrative, technical and research staff members, educate 4,800 undergraduate students and about 1,000 graduate students.

The centerpiece of the strategic vision that Dr. Puri has helped create enables innovative thinking to tackle profound local and global grand challenges that face society today. This vision, Innovation from Excellence, improves inclusion and diversity among students, faculty and staff members, illuminates a path towards greater student engagement by offering opportunities for students to grow into transformational thought leaders and also be eminently employable, and enhances the student experience through community engagement, extracurricular activities and summer research opportunities.

In partnership with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Puri initiated the university’s – and first of its kind in Canada – Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program (IBEHS). The program offers students a five-year biomedical program that integrates engineering and health sciences, allowing multiple pathways to careers in health, engineering and entrepreneurship. After a common first year, students enter either the Bachelor of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering (B.Eng.BME) where they graduate with designations in both a traditional engineering discipline and in biomedical engineering, or the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship (B.H.Sc.) degree program.


Ishwar Puri invites you to visit his blog: Fireside with the Dean

A new student-centered building is improving experiential and problem based learning. Another building being designed and constructed will allow for student and faculty expansion. New Dean’s Excellence Entrance Scholarships target the selectivity of undergraduate students who are admitted. Recently established additive manufacturing laboratories enhance the first-year experience, and student awards for experiential discovery improve hands-on minds-on learning. There is a renewed focus on recognizing teaching and learning.

McMaster Engineering is on a path to increase its doctoral student population and research funding through major investments. A culture of thematic interdisciplinary faculty hiring has been strengthened. The Faculty of Engineering has formalized a mentoring program through its Faculty Development Academy and a new Faculty Leadership Fellow program. Dr. Puri’s initiative led to twenty new honorific positions for Distinguished Engineering Professors, Distinguished Engineering Educators and Distinguished Engineering Fellows in the McMaster Faculty of Engineering, four of which have already been endowed.

Prior to his appointment at McMaster, Dr. Puri was the N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) at Virginia Tech where he served as Department Head of ESM for nine years from 2004 through 2013. During that period, he helped move the ESM program into new convergences at the intersections of the life and physical sciences, and promoted transformative scholarship, particularly through several new faculty hires. He also facilitated comprehensive curricular revisions.

These efforts increased the visibility and reputation of the department. Upon his departure, it was ranked fifth in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2012 in the undergraduate engineering physics/engineering science category.
After his doctoral degree, Dr. Puri served as an Assistant Research Engineer at the University of California, San Diego from 1987-90. In 1990, Dr. Puri was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 1994, and to the rank of Professor in 1999.

He served at UIC as Director of Graduate Studies of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering programs from 1994-97, and 1999-2000; as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies (2000-01); and as Executive Associate Dean of Engineering (2001-04). He served on the steering committee of the UIC Institute for Environmental Studies, and helped facilitate UIC's micro- and nanotechnology initiatives.

While at UIC, he was a 1993 American Association for the Advancement of Science-Environmental Protection Agency (AAAS-EPA) Environmental Fellow, and a 1992 NASA/Stanford University Center for Turbulence Research Fellow. He is an editor of the journal Experimental Heat Transfer.
He has historically been involved with a number of interdisciplinary and campus-wide initiatives. Under his stewardship, ESM was the first department at Virgnia Tech to develop a computational science and engineering program and house the university's graduate certificate in the area.

He led nanotechnology education and ethics (graduate ethics education) programs through grants from NSF. He directed the US Department of Education FIPSE EVALUATE-E Atlantis project that evaluated transatlantic collaborative degree programs in engineering. He was an organizer of the Emerging Issues in Technology Seminar Series that was a partnership between TCE (of the Tata Group of Companies) and Virginia Tech.

Dr. Puri writes on matters of technology and society, and has also been a TEDx speaker.