New Faces: Lassonde welcomes nine faculty members this fall

Lassonde welcomes nine new faculty members this fall in the Departments of Civil Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Mechanical Engineering.

“These new Lassondians will join our current faculty, staff and students to continue implementing innovative ideas in both teaching and research, and delivering on the promises of Renaissance Engineering and digital learning,” said Lassonde’s Interim Dean Richard Hornsey.

Kevin Gingerich
Kevin Gingerich is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering with a focus on transportation studies. He received his PhD in civil engineering from the University of Windsor. His work was conducted for the Cross-Border Institute where he focused on Canada-U.S. trade via truck data processing, analysis, and modelling.

Gingerich’s research interests include transportation network modelling, freight transportation, GIS spatial analysis, and discrete choice modelling. He has previously completed projects for organizations such as Transport Canada, MTO, and Union Gas.

He is joining Lassonde at an exciting time in the transportation field as it evolves rapidly with emerging technologies, increasing data integration, and shifting cultural trends.

Matthew Perras
Matthew Perras is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. His research interests lie in geotechnical and geological engineering with a focus on near excavation surface or Earth’s surface crack growth in brittle rocks, the influence of environmental factors on fracture mechanics processes, and time-dependent brittle rock behaviour.

He received his PhD from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario after working with Niagara Tunnel Project, Geotechnical Department of Hatch Ltd and the award-winning Shikwamkwa Replacement Dam Project. Before joining Lassonde, he was an Oberassistant in the Engineering Geology Group of the Department of Earth Sciences at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Closing the gap between geological engineering practice and geological engineering research continues to be the driving force behind Perras’ research interests. This is reflected in the practical application of his research presented in over 30 journal and conference papers.

Afshin Rezaei-Zare
Afshin Rezaei-Zare is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He received the BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tehran.

He was a Visiting Scientist from 2005 to 2007, and a Postdoctoral Fellow from 2007 to 2009 at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto.

From 2010 to 2017, he was with Hydro One where he worked in the departments of Special Studies, Transmission System Planning, and Transmission Reliability and Performance analytics.

His research interests include electromagnetic transients, power system resilience to geomagnetic disturbance, numerical solution techniques, harmonic analysis, and renewable energy systems. He also has close collaboration with the EMTP-RV developing team in the development of new models for the electromagnetic transient simulations.

Ruth Urner
Ruth Urner is an assistant professor in computer science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Previously, she has held postdoctoral positions at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, as well as at the Department of Machine Learning of Carnegie Mellon University and at Georgia Tech, U.S. She also spent a semester as a Simons-Berkeley fellow at the Simons Institute, Berkeley, in spring 2017.

Urner received her PhD in computer science from the University of Waterloo, Canada, for a thesis in machine learning theory.

Her research focuses on developing formal foundations and understanding of machine learning algorithms and paradigms. An emphasis of her research has been on analyzing what kind of benefits and information we can extract from unlabelled labelled data (eg in semi-supervised or active learning) or data from diverse sources (eg in transfer learning or lifelong learning).

Chen-Wei (Jackie) Wang
Jackie Wang is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He completed his BA in computer science with honours at York University. He then pursued a PhD in computer science, with a specialization in software engineering, at the University of Oxford, U.K.

Wang’s doctoral thesis is on the model-driven development of information systems.

After completing his doctorate in 2012, he worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at both McMaster Centre for Software Certification and York University Software Engineering Laboratory. Between September 2014 and August 2015, he also worked as a part-time software engineering technologist in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Lassonde.

Between September 2015 and June 2017, Wang joined the State University of New York (SUNY) Korea as a research assistant professor, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.

Solomon Boakye-Yiadom
Solomon Boakye-Yiadom is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining the Lassonde School of Engineering, he was an Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department of the University of Waterloo.

His education and training spans materials science, mechanical, biomechanical and aerospace engineering disciplines. Boakye-Yiadom received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba. His research interests are in the processing and characterization of advanced materials, microstructural tailoring of structural materials, microstructural characterization of deformation behavior including fracture behavior of materials under extreme loading conditions, transmission electron microscopy and microanalysis, advanced manufacturing techniques including metal-based additive manufacturing, impact biomechanics and finite element method simulation of deformation behavior.

He has received several awards including the prestigious NSERC’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship and Edward R. Toporeck Graduate Fellowship in Engineering.

Ronald Hanson
Ronald Hanson is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He earned BSc and MSc degrees in mechanical engineering from McMaster University and a PhD in aerospace science and engineering from the University of Toronto, where he received the G.N. Patterson Award.

Prior to joining Lassonde, Hanson worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Southampton in the U.K. and the University of Toronto while consulting for industry, and as the aerodynamicist for Cervelo Cycles in Toronto.

Hanson’s research takes a primarily experimental approach and is centred on the control of flow and turbulence with the underlying motivation of improving the performance of fluid/aero dynamic reliant applications from aircraft to racing bicycles. In particular, his research focuses on the underlying physics of fluid dynamic phenomena and the application of passive and active control strategies for drag reduction. The latter relies on the ability to sense and manipulate the flow and these topics form a close nexus to his central theme.

Jeffrey Harris
Jeffrey Harris is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

He joins Lassonde from the University of Toronto, where he worked as a research associate and sessional lecturer. He has worked to implement active learning and flipped classrooms, and he is an early adopter of new educational technology. Harris is an active member of the Canadian Engineering Education Association. His research interests are in the area of engineering education, including identity formation, teaching assistant development, and the phenomenology of work-integrated learning.

Harris completed his PhD and post-doc in mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto, developing solid oxide fuel cells fabricated by thermal spray processes. His research transcended disciplinary boundaries, drawing on elements of mechanical engineering, materials science, and chemistry.

Garrett Melenka
Garrett Melenka is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta.

Melenka’s research has focused on the design, manufacture, mathematical modeling and experimental analysis of advanced tubular braided composite structures. In addition, his experience in composite materials has translated to the experimental analysis and modeling of additive manufactured structures.

Melenka specializes in the experimental analysis of composite structures using measurement techniques such as three dimensional digital image correlation (3-D DIC) and micro-computed tomography (µCT).