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Meet Heather Sheardown, Dean

Dr. Heather Sheardown is dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


About Dr. Heather Sheardown

Dr. Heather Sheardown is Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Sheardown is also the scientific director of C20/20, an incubator for biomedical technologies, and a Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery.

An accomplished researcher, Sheardown runs a large and vibrant research group with more than 10 post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students.  Her leadership of C20/20, an incubator aimed at the commercialization of ophthalmic biotechnologies, has led to three separate spin-off companies. She is also a strong champion of student success.

Sheardown joined McMaster in 1998 and has since taken on successive roles at the institution including as a member of the University Planning Committee and chair of the Budget Committee. She has been involved with the CEAB through the development of curricula for programs and was previously a member of the Professional Engineers Ontario Academic Requirements Committee.

She obtained her Ph.D from the University of Toronto in 1995 and her B.Eng. from McMaster University in 1989.

Awards of Distinction

She is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), which comprises many of Canada’s most accomplished engineers. She is also a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering. In 2020, she received the Hamilton YWCA's Women of Distinction award in Science, Technology, and Trades.


Sheardown has an international reputation for her research on ophthalmic biomaterials, including her innovative work on the development of new materials for artificial cornea and ophthalmic drug delivery.

Sheardown has published extensively and holds several peer reviewed grants. She holds numerous patents on materials and drug delivery systems for treating conditions in the eye including several patents in conjunction with companies for the development of specific products and a recently granted patent on mucoadhesive micelles for treatment of dry eye.

In 2021, Sheardown received funding to use the patented micelle technology as a vehicle for prophylactic drug delivery to the nose and lung. 


At McMaster, Sheardown 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 about 160 faculty members in SEAS and 26 in SEPT, McMaster Engineering is home to 185 faculty members who, along with 150 administrative, technical and research staff members, educate 4,800 undergraduate students and about 1,000 graduate students.



Vision and Mission


Ranked among the top engineering schools in Canada and worldwide, the Faculty of Engineering plays a key role in helping McMaster University earn its well-deserved reputation as one of Canada’s most innovative universities in learning and research.

The McMaster Faculty of Engineering has a reputation for innovative programs, cutting-edge research, leading faculty, and aspiring students. It has earned a strong reputation as a centre for academic excellence and innovation. The Faculty has approximately 180 faculty members, along with over to 4,500 undergraduate and about 1000 graduate students.

An integral part of our innovative culture is the focus on experiential learning and problem based learning that enables students to gain hands-on experience through co-op work terms, internships and assignments that stimulate learning, lead to personal development and discovery, and enhance their ability to function effectively very quickly after moving into their career paths. 

The Faculty attracts approximately $45 million in annual research funding. Engineering faculty, staff and students at McMaster pursue research and learning in more than two dozen research centres, institutes and networks whose interdisciplinary pursuits cross departmental and Faculty boundaries. 

Outside the University, we collaborate regularly on research projects with partners in universities, government and more than 100 companies in Canada and abroad. Our partnerships with global engineering companies are key to the success of our learning and discovery programs.

Thus, through our commitment to innovation, excellence and quality, we create new knowledge and share that knowledge by educating and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders. These leaders go on to make a difference for Canadians and for people around the world. 

We continue to pursue new research programs and partnerships in emerging and topical fields from big data, cyber physical systems and new concepts in communication to manufacturing, infrastructure, nanotechnology and alternative energy – and find new ways to link those programs to new learning opportunities for our students.

At McMaster we constantly think about the future. Our efforts focus on applying engineering to improve the human condition. We hope that this emphasis also resonates with you. Therefore, we invite you to discover and support McMaster Engineering.

Our Mission

The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University is committed to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and service, and to fostering the quality of academic life.

Our Vision

The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University will be known internationally as a leader in research and education supporting the development of engineering practices for a sustainable world.


To contact Heather Sheardown, please reach out to Diana Maltese or Andrea Colbert-DeGeit