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Spring 2021 McMaster Engineering Faculty AppointmentsMay 4, 2021

Ten McMaster Engineering faculty members have been appointed to new roles in 2021.

“I’m pleased to congratulate faculty who will continue to help advance McMaster Engineering’s culture of innovation,” said Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering. “They are part of a community that embraces change, pivots research to support COVID-19 and other grand challenge solutions, and ensures students are successful in both virtual and physical settings.” 

Brian Baetz, Director, Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology  

Brian Baetz was appointed as Director of W Booth on January 1, 2021 for a term of five and a half years. Baetz is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil Engineering and has more than 30 years of experience at McMaster, including supervising 28 graduate students at the W Booth School. 

He served as Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering for nine years and Director of the Engineering and Society Program for 10. His teaching awards include the McMaster Student Union Community Engagement Teaching Award (as a member of the CityLAB Semester in Residence Teaching Team) in 2020, the McMaster Student Union Lifetime Achievement Teaching Award in 2012, and the President’s Teaching Award for Excellence in Instruction in 2008.

Hatem Zurob, Chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Hatem Zurob has been reappointed as Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for a second five-year term, commencing July 1, 2021. 

Zurob’s research aims to understand and control microstructure development in engineering materials with the goal of optimizing mechanical properties. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Sawamura Award and Guimaraise Award of ISIJ and the Best Young Researcher Award of Internationally Recrystallization and Grain Growth Conference. In addition, Zurob is a dedicated educator who was recognized with several teaching awards at McMaster. 

John Preston, Associate Dean, Research, Innovation and External Relations

John Preston has been working closely with the Deanery, the Forge, and external stakeholders to foster a culture of innovation for McMaster Engineering students and faculty. In recognition of his efforts, and the Faculty’s desire to continue to cultivate a culture of innovation, the terms of reference for his academic leadership role were revised to include “Innovation” in its mandate. 

Preston, who is also a faculty member in the Department of Engineering Physics, oversees the Faculty’s $45M research portfolio. He is an active device physicist and a material scientist who specializes in the application of laser-based manufacturing approaches for novel device applications. He has been an Associate of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research in the area of Quantum Materials. He served as a founding member of the Board for the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechology and served on the Materials Research Advisory Committee for the TRIUMF National Laboratory.

Leyla Soleymani, University Scholar

Leyla Soleymani, Associate Professor, Engineering Physics and Canada Research Chair in Miniaturized Biomedical Devices, has been appointed as a University Scholar in recognition of her excellence in research productivity and scholarly impact, innovation in teaching and learning, and impactful service.

Soleymani, in partnership with Tohid Didar, mechanical engineering assistant professor, led a team that created RepelWrap, a plastic surface that repels bacteria and viruses. They were named the grand prize winners of the 2020 Create the Future design contest, organized by engineering-design news provider Tech Briefs.

She is also part of team of McMaster and Brock University researchers that created a prototype for a hand-held device to measure a biomarker for cancer, paving the way for home-based cancer monitoring and to improve access to diagnostic testing.

Ravi Selvaganapathy, Co-Director (Engineering) of the School of Biomedical Engineering (effective July 1, 2021)

Ravi Selvaganapathy has been appointed as Co-Director (Engineering) of the School of Biomedical Engineering, effective July 1, 2021 for a five-year term. Ravi is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is currently serving as the Acting Co-Director (Engineering) for a one-year term. He and Ram Mishra, co-director, Health Sciences, will team up in overseeing the graduate program over the coming years. 

Selvaganapathy joined the Faculty in 2005 in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is the current Canada Research Chair in Biomicrofluidics. Recently, Selvaganapathy helped to establish the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials, a network of engineers, clinicians, manufacturers and companies dedicated to improving personal protective equipment products and supply chains in Canada.

Tom Lee, Chair, Walter G. Booth Endowed Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Tom Lee commenced his role as Walter G. Booth Endowed Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation on January 1, 2021 for a period of five and a half years.  

Lee has built a substantial global career that has involved multiple disruptive technology companies and several academic institutions.  He offers a unique blend of experiences with entrepreneurship and academia through which he has developed core insights to contribute to the success of the W. Booth and the Faculty of Engineering.

Neslihan Dogan, Stelco Chair in Sustainable Steel Processes

Neslihan Dogan, associate professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been reappointed as the Stelco Chair in Sustainable Steel Processes, commencing July 1, 2020 for a five-year term. Dogan’s metallurgy research focuses on kinetics and thermodynamics of chemical reactions in steelmaking process using modelling and high temperature experimental techniques. Her research team is finding ways to optimize practices during steel refining processes as the demand for high quality steel is growing. She hopes to help steelmakers reduce material and energy intensity and offer alternative production methods.

Natalia Nikolova, Distinguished Engineering Professor (Effective July 1, 2021)   

Natalia Nikolova, professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, has been appointed as Distinguished Engineering Professor for a five-year term, commencing July 1, 2021  

Since 2008, Nikolova has been the Canada Research Chair in High-frequency Electromagnetics. She is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE).

Nikolova is finding new ways to detect breast cancer and concealed weapons through microwaves. Using radar technology, which employs electromagnetic waves to reveal objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye, she has developed a cost-efficient, safe and compact radar scanner for early-stage breast cancer detection. Nikolva has also created a small radar unit, featured in Wired Magazine, for concealed weapon detection with the same technology.

Richard Paige, Distinguished Engineering Professor (Effective July 1, 2021) 

Richard Paige has been appointed as Distinguished Engineering Professor for a five-year term, commencing July 1, 2021.

Paige joined the Department of Computing and Software in January 2019 as Professor. He also holds a part-time appointment as the Chair of Enterprise Systems at the University of York, UK, where he worked full-time from 2001-2018. His research interest is in model-driven engineering and low-code approaches to software development. At York, he was part of the team that developed the Epsilon model management framework, which is now used widely in industry at companies such as Rolls-Royce, Leonardo, NASA and IBM.

Zahra Motamed, Distinguished Engineering Fellow (Effective July 1, 2021)

Zahra Motamed, mechanical engineering associate professor, has been appointed as a Distinguished Engineering Fellow for a three-year term, commencing July 1, 2021.

Motamed's research interests are in the areas of translational and basic cardiovascular mechanics. Last year, Motamed and her research team received $780,000 in NSERC funding to develop an in-vitro, patient-specific predictive tool and a regulatory testing machine for transcatheter heart valve replacement.