Skip to main content
Latest News:

McMaster Engineering announces new faculty appointmentsJanuary 4, 2019

We are pleased to announce the following new appointments to the Faculty of Engineering.

Drew Higgins
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering
Appointment: January 2019

Photo of Drew HigginsDrew was born in London, Ontario — a city commonly regarded as the second best London in the world. He studied Chemical Engineering through the University of Waterloo’s 5-year co-op program, which allowed him to gain almost two years of experience working in academic laboratories and industrial settings.

Recognizing that academia suited his lifestyle, he pursued graduate school and completed his M.A.Sc. in 2011 and PhD in 2015 in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Professor Zhongwei Chen. During this time, his research focused on the development of nanostructured catalyst materials for low temperature fuel cells and metal-air batteries. He also spent almost one year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a visiting scholar working with Dr. Piotr Zelenay, Dr. Gang Wu and LANL’s talented fuel cell research team. 

In 2015, Drew began a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University under the supervision of Professor Thomas Jaramillo, carrying out fundamental electrochemical CO2 reduction catalysis research. He was promoted to an Associate Staff Scientist in 2017, and continued with his research in the field of electro-catalysis for electrochemical CO2 reduction, fuel cells and electrochemical water splitting technologies. 

He looks forward to making his return to the Great White North, where he will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University in January 2019. Outside of “work” (quotations suggesting that pursuing one's passion need not be considered work), Drew can be found socializing with friends and colleagues, playing sports, spending time outdoors, or yelling at the television watching his beloved Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Raptors or Toronto Blue Jays.

Vincent Leung
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Appointment: January 2019
Photo of Vincent LeungVincent is recent PhD graduate from Chemical Engineering at McMaster. He is creating vaccine formulations that are thermally stable so they can be easily transported and stored.

“I stabilize labile molecules like enzymes and viruses that are thermally unstable. Most vaccines need to be kept in the cold-chain, which means that they need to be refrigerated and transported in a refrigerated state. Our formulation would make it easier and cheaper to transport vaccines, without the need for refrigeration." This solution could help people living in developing countries who do not have consistent access to electricity. “At McMaster, there's a conscious focus on the larger issues that we face. A brighter world for me means influencing a new generation of researchers who are using their skills to make the world a better place.”

SeonHong Na
Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering
Appointment: January 2019
Photo of SeonHong NaSeonHong Na received his B.S. (2008) and M.S. (2010) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Seoul National University, Korea. After graduation, he worked as an assistant manager for an Engineering and Consulting Company (Kunhaw, South Korea) and a research scientist for the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST, South Korea). He started his doctoral studies in the Fall of 2014 and obtained his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2018.

Dr. Na’s research focuses on computational geo-mechanics, multi-physics and multiscale modeling of natural and engineering systems with particular emphasis on coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in soils and geological materials. His research areas encompass micromechanics of porous media and solid, computational plasticity modeling for extreme environmental conditions, homogenization theory and inverse problem, dynamic wave propagation, and material instabilities (strain localization, soil liquefaction, damage, fracture, phase transition and crystallization). The special geotechnical applications include the thawing and freezing soils, geological carbon sequestration, hydraulic fracture, and nuclear waste disposal.

Richard Paige
Professor, Computing & Software
Appointment: January 2019
Photo of Richard Paige After completing his undergraduate degree at McMaster University (before the Student Centre was even an architectural blueprint), Dr. Richard Paige continued his postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto where he specialized in software engineering and formal methods. It was in Toronto where the fundamental principles that underpin his work were set: he wanted to do applicable research with impact, ideally in collaboration with industry, emphasizing knowledge transfer. And knowledge transfer requires close collaboration with students, via teaching and apprenticeships. He still holds to these principles today.

Richard commenced his academic career in the Department of Computer Science at York University, in North York, Toronto, Canada, in 1997. He spent an enjoyable four years there, and then was claimed as a souvenir by his now wife, who needed to return to the UK. Richard joined the University of York, UK, in 2001 as an assistant professor. He refocused his research on Model-Based Engineering and Safety-Critical Systems, with side interests in Enterprise Systems, Cloud Computing, Security and Data Analytics. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2009 and was awarded a Personal Chair. At that time, he set up the Enterprise Systems group at York, and also founded the Engineering Doctorate Centre in Large-Scale Complex IT Systems. They won funding for 40 postgraduate students over a period of 5 years, and his responsibilities included finding industrial sponsors and supervisors for all of those students.

In 2015, Richard stepped away from the Centre and took on the role of Deputy Head of Department, responsible for Research. His particular focus was on establishing a new department research strategy as well as structures to implement that strategy (e.g., new research groups and themes). In parallel, he led the department's endeavours towards its submission for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Alongside this, he led a research group of 8 postdoctoral fellows, around 20 PhD students, and three other faculty. His return to Canada will allow him to take on new challenges at a very exciting time for McMaster University and the Department of Computing and Software. There are great opportunities out there, and he is thrilled to be a part of McMaster's efforts to take advantage of them!

New Adjunct Faculty Appointments

Dr. Emily Cranston has been appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a five-year term.  Emily has accepted a faculty position with the University of British Columbia in the departments of Wood Science and Chemical & Biological Engineering, where she is the recipient of a President’s Excellence Research Chair position.  She will maintain a connection with McMaster Engineering while her students complete their degrees. 

Dr. Tracy Becker has been appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a three-year term.  Tracy has accepted a faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  She will be collaborating with Dr. Michael Tait and Dr. Georgios Balomenos around earthquake engineering, seismic isolation, and performance based design.  She will also continue to work with Dr. Lydell Wiebe and Dr. Hatem Zurob in new applications of steel heat treatment for seismic applications and will participate on Ph.D. supervisory committees.

Dr. Paul Hynds has been appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a three-year term.  Dr. Hynds is a senior research fellow in the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI), Dublin Institute of Technology at Grangegorman, and participates in the iCRAG groundwater research spoke.  His primary interests are in environmental fate modelling, waterborne infection, and statistical modelling related to microbial contamination by agriculture and human wastewater.  Paul currently collaborates with Dr. Sarah Dickson on two research grants.

Dr. Dimitrios Konstantinidis has been appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a three-year term.  Dimitri has accepted a faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  He will continue working with the Department of Civil Engineering on joint projects and proposals, along with participating on Ph.D. supervisory committees.

Dr. Ayman Saudy has been appointed as an Industry Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a three-year term.  Dr. Saudy is a high-profile figure in the nuclear industry, both domestically and internationally.  His expertise includes: seismic and tornado qualification of nuclear structures, systems, and components; soil-structure interaction; and contaminant performance under design loads and severe accident conditions.  His a member and major contributor to the CSA N289 series standards on the Seismic Design of Nuclear Power Plants.  He collaborates with faculty, graduate students, and research staff.

New Associate Member Appointments

Dr. Seshasai Srinivasan in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology has an Associate Member appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering effective November 1, 2018.

Dr. Amin Reza Rajabzadeh in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology has an Associate Member appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering effective October 24, 2018.

Dr. Boyang Zhang in the Department of Chemical Engineering has an Associate Member appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a three-year term.

Dr. Janie Wilson in the Department of Surgery has an Associate Member appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering effective January 1, 2019 for a five-year term.