Spotlight on researchers
Assistant Professor Weiran Sun
Dr. Sun’s research interests lie in applied mathematics. Within that part of the field of mathematics, she is drawn to the analysis of partial differential equations, especially equations arising from problems in physics. The topics of kinetic theory and fluid mechanics also peek her interest, and as a result her research group explores a variety of questions in these areas, including problems from physics and biology. Dr. Sun’s work is a perfect example of integrating creative problem solving and mathematics into other scientific fields to yield exciting outcomes.
Assistant Professor Timothy Audas
Dr. Audas is interested in how cells respond to changes in their environment. Recently, he showed that a class of biological molecules – noncoding RNA – is essential to many of the stress response pathways used by cells to adapt to changing conditions. In particular, he discovered a noncoding RNA-mediated pathway that causes cellular proteins to clump (i.e., form amyloids) under stress conditions; he suspects that this pathway can go awry and lead to neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Could these diseases be activated by cellular stress events? The increasing incidence of neurological diseases motivates Dr. Audas to unravel how this pathway works and identify compounds that may cause or disassemble amyloids.
Read more: an interview with Dr. Audas, his profile on the Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry website and his lab website
Professor Richard Lockhart
Analysis of Statistical Methodology
Analyzing a data set and getting answers that you like is gratifying, but how can you be sure your analysis is actually working? Statisticians tackle this question; they want evidence of how well an analysis works, and to obtain answers, they analyze methods of analyzing data. Dr. Lockhart is not fundamentally a data analyst; he does analyze data, but the focus of his research is to describe how well various methods are expected to work in different circumstances.
Assistant Professor Jeff Warren
Dr. Jeff Warren is passionate about renewable energy and protecting our planet. His research program aims to develop both chemical and enzymatic technologies that will convert greenhouse gases, e.g., carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, into materials that can be used for making useful products like fuel or plastics. The other side of his research is focused on health sciences, where his group is collaborating on studies involving mutated proteins associated with cancer.
Assistant Professor Stephanie Simmons
Silicon Quantum Computing
With a goal of developing quantum technologies, Dr. Simmons’ work falls squarely between engineering and physics. She believes that silicon is the way to go for quantum computing because “thanks to the hugely successful semiconductor industry, we really understand how to make accurate, reliable nanoscale structures in silicon.” Control and accuracy are essential to realizing the potential of quantum technology and bringing it into the mainstream.
Associate Professor Jonathan Choy
Dr. Choy’s research program is driven by his overriding interest in understanding how the human body’s inflammatory and immune responses develop inappropriately to cause organ transplant rejection and some rheumatological diseases. His research group is committed to making discoveries that will make people healthier. They aim to understand the mechanisms and effectiveness of certain treatments, with an ultimate goal of developing or informing strategies for tackling a range of health conditions.
Professor Jonathan Jedwab
Dr. Jonathan Jedwab loves the simplicity of combinatorics, in that the problems are very easy to state and typically, they have a low barrier to entry, i.e., you don't need to know a whole lot of advanced mathematics to get started. The problems may be deceptively simple, but reaching a solution can require some very complex mathematical tools – that's the attraction to the subject. As a mathematician, what began for him as mathematical problem solving in digital technologies has evolved into a prolific research program that tackles problems across all facets of science, from determining the most stable way an RNA sequence can fold in three dimensions to communicating securely using the principles of quantum mechanics.
Professor Derek Bingham
Dr. Bingham develops statistical methodology for new types of data or new applications in fields ranging from cosmology to glaciology. This applied work is complemented by a fundamental research stream that looks at the broader and more theoretical side of what you can and cannot do with these computational models. Read more...
Professor Diana Allen
People are very attached to water; they are attuned to issues such as sustainability of their water supply, conflicts between water users, and impacts of climate change. Dr. Allen shares these concerns. Read more...
Associate Professor Chris Beh
Activity and movement within a cell is ever-changing: molecules are on the move, going in every direction, all of the time, billions of them moving around every second. The orchestration of intracellular movement, the coordination of events toward purpose is what interests Dr. Chris Beh. Read more...
Associate Professor Sam Doesburg
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Our ability to unravel the biological mechanisms underpinning behaviour and the mind is expanding. Dr. Doesburg leverages brain imaging technology to probe the effectiveness of intervention strategies for autism and ultimately establish a clear, scientifically-founded basis for autism treatments. Read more...
Professor Esther Verheyen
As much as Dr. Verheyen is interested in what causes cancer, her foremost concern is understanding the fundamental processes behind it, the mechanisms that drive organ growth and cell proliferation, the process of making more cells. Read more...
Professor Margo Moore
Dr. Moore is interested in the features of human fungal pathogens that enable them to colonize and survive in the human body. Read more...
Associate Professor Roger Linington
Natural Products Chemistry
Dr. Linington’s research program applies marine microbiology, natural products isolation and structure determination, bioassay design and development, synthetic medicinal chemistry, and 'omics' techniques to tackle biomedical problems. Read more...
Professor John Bechhoefer
Soft Condensed Matter
With interests ranging from the physics of liquid crystals to biological physics, Dr. Bechhoefer is one of SFU’s most versatile scientists. Recently, his research has taken a new direction: thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of small systems. Read more...
Associate Professor Gwenn Flowers
Dr. Flowers’ focus is on the terrestrial cryosphere, or land-based ice; she primarily studies contemporary glaciers and ice sheets. Read more...
Assistant Professor Dawn Mackey
Aging and Population Health
Dr. Mackey is passionate about promoting mobility for older Canadians. Read more...
Professor John Clague
Vancouverites enjoying a walk around the Stanley Park seawall would rather not think about “The Big One”... Read more
Assistant Professor Luke Bornn
Dr. Bornn possesses exceptional skills in statistical modeling and computation. He creates original, scalable statistical models and innovative computational approaches to identify complex patterns from immense, complex datasets. Read more...
Professor Stephen Robinovitch
Injury Prevention and Mobility
SFU professor Stephen Robinovitch's research looks for hard evidence of how falls occur... Read more
Professor Andy Hoffer
More than 30 per cent of intensive care patients put on mechanical ventilation become dependent because the diaphragm quickly atrophies from lack of use. Read more...
Professor Mike Vetterli
High Energy Physics
Scientists from around the world work together on the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Geneva to study collisions of subatomic particles... Read more
Associate Professor Matthew White
As an alpine ski racer for more than twenty years, Matthew White has grappled with almost every condition imaginable on the slopes... Read more
Assistant Professor Vicki Marlatt
Aquatic Ecotoxicology and Endocrine Disruption
The growing threat to ecosystems posed by pollution and climate change highlights the importance of environmental monitoring activities and informed action by governments. Endocrine disruption in wildlife exposed to environmental contaminants is of concern worldwide. Read more...
Assistant Professor Loren Kaake
Transport Phenomena in Organic Optoelectronics
Dr. Kaake is interested in understanding the transport of ions, charges, and heat in polymeric and molecular films. These materials are already used in computer and cell-phone displays and will someday be in widespread use as solar cells and transistors. Read more...
Assistant Professor Ben Adcock
Compressed Sensing Algorithms
High-dimensional approximation is becoming imperative in the data-rich era. Dr. Adcock’s research tackles problems related to the recovery of complex, high-dimensional objects from limited datasets in the realms of modern science, medicine, and engineering. Read more...
Assistant Professor Nathan Ilten
Algebraic Varieties with Combinatorial Structure
Dr. Ilten’s research focuses on understanding algebraic varieties (e.g., toric and Fano varieties), deformation theory and Hilbert schemes, and linear subspaces of varieties. His group tackles geometric problems using combinatorial techniques related to polyhedral geometry, representation theory, and Gröbner basis theory. Read more...
Assistant Professor Eundeok Mun
Emerging Materials in Condensed Matter Physics
Dr. Mun seeks to create novel materials that possess unusual physical properties. He has a knack for growing high-quality crystals and designing complex, precise measurements. His research group grows single crystals of strongly correlated electron systems and characterizes their ground states using extreme experimental conditions... Read more...
Assistant Professor David Sivak
Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics of Molecular-scale Biological Processes
Dr. Sivak’s group applies fundamental theory and computational methods to the efficient design of molecular machines. They seek to understand the communication of energy and information within and between driven biomolecular systems. Read more...