Areas of Research

The fields of research in the department identified for Ontario Council of Graduate Studies (OCGS) accreditation are Biochemical Engineering, Polymers and Reaction Engineering, and Process Systems Engineering. Within these broad areas, the department has significant research activity in the following areas:


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  • Biomedical Engineering: Tissue engineering including scaffolds for adipose and muscle tissue regeneration, mechanical stimulation to promote regeneration, interaction between surfaces and cells in regeneration, oral delivery of insulin and polymer gel dosimeters. The departments of chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering are formally collaborating to support the graduate Collaborative Biomedical Engineering program that allows graduate students to access courses and co-supervisors in each department, as well as courses in Anatomy, Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Researchers: Brian Amsden, Lindsay Fitzpatrick,  and Laura Wells.

  • Grafene Integrated Functional Technologies (GIFT) Research Cluster: The GIFT Research Cluster is focused on developing graphene-based products, including autonomous sensors, energy storage, fuel cells, and electrically conductive devices. The safety of these new products and their applications will also be assessed in terms of their human health and environmental risks. The cluster includes researchers from the Microfluidic, Colloids and Biosensors (Dominik Barz) as well as from the Sustainable Energy Sources, Processes, Products & Environmental Remediation areas (Aris Docoslis, Marianna Kontopoulou, Louise Meunier, and Brant Peppley).

  • Macro-molecular Science & Technology: Polymer & reaction engineering with a broader title to include biological macro-molecules as well. The department has a particularly strong research concentration in this area, with one of the largest polymer engineering groups in North America and elsewhere internationally. The research expertise spans the entire range of polymer engineering, from polymer reaction chemistry, to polymer reaction engineering, to processing and compounding. Expertise in biopolymers and biomaterials includes hydrogels, scaffold material for tissue regeneration, encapsulation of bioactive materials, polyurethanes for biomedical application and polymer gel dosimetry. Researchers: Brian Amsden, Michael Cunningham, A. Jeffrey Giacomin (CRC Tier I) Robin Hutchinson, Marianna Kontopoulou, Kim McAuley, Scott Parent, Ron Neufeld and Kim Woodhouse.

  • Process Analytics, Optimization & Control: Process control, optimization and applied statistics, including extremum-seeking control, parameter estimation in nonlinear dynamic models, diagnostics for statistical model building and parameter estimation, and systems biology. Researchers: Martin Guay, Tom Harris, Xiang Li, Kim McAuley and Jim McLellan.

  • Microfluidics, Colloids, Biosensors: Fuel cells are at the forefront of technologies that hold immense promise for electricity production in an environmentally responsible and efficient manner. The underlying theme of the research currently undertaken is to aid the development of efficient, robust and cheaper fuel cells and associated system components.

  • Sustainable Energy Sources, Processes, Products & Environmental Remediation: Biological conversion of biological feedstocks to energy, materials and useful ends (e.g., degradation of pollutants). Feedstocks may be virgin sourced or may be waste material such as agricultural waste. Separation of products is also studied including the use of phase partitioning bioreactors to combine bioreaction and separation. Researchers: Andrew Daugulis, Ron Neufeld, Juliana Ramsay, Bruce Ramsay (Adjunct Professor) and Pascale Champagne (cross-appointed).