new faculty

Dr. Hoi-Kwan (Kero) Lau

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Physics

Theoretical quantum information science: Dr. Lau’s research group studies the theoretical physics of engineered quantum systems and analyzes their applications in quantum information processing. Their focus is on bosonic systems, which are ubiquitous across numerous platforms (e.g. photonic, atomic, superconducting devices) with advantages such as high information capacity and scalability, but are less studied due to their high complexity. By developing novel strategies to understand and remedy the imperfections of realistic systems, Dr. Lau’s research will lead to more advanced quantum devices, such as large-scale quantum computers and accurate quantum sensors. 

Read more:  Dr. Lau's profile on the Department of Physics website.

Dr. Lorena Braid

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells: Dr. Braid’s research program explores the identity, function and regulation of human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), and studies how aging, stress, diet and environmental pollutants affect MSCs. Understanding how such changes are propagated at a systemic level and alter the body’s ability to detect and defend against aberrant cells (cancer) and immune responses (autoimmune diseases) is key to developing better diagnostics and treatments. Her team combines classic genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry techniques with high-throughput live cell imaging and next-generation sequencing to probe how MSCs influence cells in the context of immunology, cancer, aging, wound healing, metabolism and regeneration.

Read more: Dr. Braid's profile on the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry website.

Dr. Haolun Shi

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Biostatistical modeling and analysis of complex functional and longitudinal data: Dr. Shi’s research program uses statistical methods and models to explore various areas in biostatistics, such as medical imaging, survival analysis, and clinical trial design, with the goal of developing useful computational tools and new statistical methodologies for modeling and analysis of complex functional and longitudinal data. Taken together, Dr. Shi’s research will be of interest to practitioners in research areas such as Alzheimer's disease, medical imaging, and pharmaceutical research, in which the analysis of complex functional and longitudinal data is needed.

Read more:  Dr. Shi’s profile on the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science website.

Dr. Lisa Julian

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Biological Sciences

Stem cell identity: Dr. Julian’s research program explores the biological processes that regulate stem cell identity and behaviour, aiming to uncover early drivers of development and disease. Stem cell populations generate all cell types of a developing organism; thus, knowledge of their regulation is critical to understanding how our tissues are built and maintained. She employs human pluripotent stem cells to generate 2D and 3D organoid models of the developing brain. By exposing these cells to environmental stressors or introducing disease- and cancer-causing gene mutations the transcriptional regulators, signaling pathways, and organelle systems that underly tissue development and long-term integrity are elucidated.

Read more:  Dr. Julian's profile on the Department of Biological Sciences website.

Dr. Valentin Jaumouillé

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Mechanobiology and morphodynamics of immune cells: Dr. Jaumouillé’s research explores how immune cells generate and sense mechanical forces using quantitative high-resolution live cell microscopy. Many cellular processes employed by immune cells require force generation: recruitment and migration, killing by phagocytosis or degranulation, antigen discrimination. Moreover, immune responses are largely affected by the mechanical properties of the tissue environment. The program, positioned at the interface of immunology, cell biology, biophysics and microbiology, aims to understand molecular and biophysical mechanisms involved in the clearance of microbes or malignant cells toward developing new therapeutic approaches.

Read more: Dr. Jaumouillé's profile on the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry website.

Dr. Himchan Jeong

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Predictive modeling for ratemaking and reserving of property and casualty insurance: Dr. Jeong’s research program explores statistical methods, with the goal of applications in ratemaking and reserving, which is one of the core functions of a property and casualty insurance company. To consider diverse aspects of dependence in claim modeling, he uses techniques such as traditional longitudinal and multivariate data analysis and contemporary statistical learning including regularized regression.  

Read more:  Dr. Jeong’s profile on the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science website.

Dr. Jake Levinson

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Mathematics

Combinatorial aspects of algebraic geometry: Dr. Levinson’s research program focuses on classification and enumeration in algebra and geometry, with the goal of understanding moduli (parameter) spaces for objects such as planes, curves and surfaces. Enumerative questions are among the first questions to pursue, because the answer is just a number: the count of how many objects there are of a particular type. In turn, the tools developed to pursue these "finite" questions pave the way to understanding higher-dimensional and global questions about these moduli spaces and the objects they parametrize. A key theme of this program is to develop crossover results connecting the techniques, intuitions and avenues of inquiry of geometry and combinatorics.

Read more:  Dr. Levinson's profile on the Department of Mathematics website.

Dr. Jane Fowler

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Biological Sciences

Water quality and microbial biotechnology: Dr. Fowler’s research is focused on developing sustainable methods for biological water treatment and pollutant removal using mixed microbial communities. She conducts full-scale field investigations and lab-scale experimental systems, applying quantitative molecular methods and 'omics' techniques. Dr. Fowler's research aims to develop a mechanistic understanding of microbial community structure and function that is guided by ecological theory, microbial physiology and modeling, and apply this to engineered biological systems. More efficient water treatment systems could result in major societal and environmental benefits such as improved water quality, mitigation of greenhouse gas production, and increased resource recovery.

Read more:  Dr. Fowler's profile on the Department of Biological Sciences website.

Dr. David Stenning

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Read more:  Dr. Stenning's profile on the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science website.

Dr. Amy Lee

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Bioinformatics and genomics: Dr. Lee’s research program takes a systems biology approach to investigate the complex relationships between bacterial pathogens and the human hosts, in order to develop better therapeutics or vaccines. She is interested in understanding: 1) how pathogens maintain and transmit antimicrobial resistant genes in different environments, 2) pathogen virulence strategies, and 3) the resulting host immune responses. Her team uses comparative pathogen genomic analyses, microbial genotype-phenotype association studies and multi-omics profiling of host immune responses to characterize dynamic host-pathogen interfaces. Ultimately, her research aims to make an impact in combating antimicrobial resistance and neonatal sepsis.

Read more:  Dr. Lee's profile on the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry website.

Dr. Matthias Danninger

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Physics

Experimental particle physics: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the most powerful particle accelerator ever built and provides a unique opportunity to explore the high-energy frontier in particle physics. Dr. Danninger uses the ATLAS detector at the LHC to search for signs of long-lived new particle signatures, to shed light on the universe’s biggest remaining mysteries: why matter prevailed over antimatter in the early universe, or what exactly dark matter is. Searching for these particles is highly challenging as they have the tendency to avoid interactions, making them elusive to detection.

Read more:  Dr. Danninger’s profile on the Department of Physics website.

Dr. Don Estep

Prof., Dept. of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Computational probability and uncertainty quantification: Dr. Estep’s research program explores uncertainty quantification for complex systems, stochastic inverse problems, efficient computation, and stochastic models. Combining probability, statistics, and computation, the scope of his work includes theory, implementation and application to scientific and engineering problems. His work is heavily interdisciplinary and has applications to ecology, materials science, detection of black holes, modeling of fusion reaction, analysis of nuclear fuels, hurricane storm surge forecasting, flow in porous media, and electromagnetic scattering.  

Read more:  Dr. Estep’s profile on the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science website.

Dr. Ly Vu

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Read more:  Dr. Vu's profile on the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry website.

Dr. Mani Larijani

Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Biological mechanisms of disease: Dr. Larijani's research program explores processes that mutate and alter the genetic codes of DNA/RNA, with an ultimate goal of understanding these processes and how they impact biological function. Depending on the species, these processes have biological functions such as modulating immune responses, precipitating and aggravating cancer, inducing the evolution of host and viral genomes, and affecting developmental reprogramming and tissue differentiation. Two driving interests are how DNA/RNA-mutating processes impact human health and how these processes evolved from their functional origins of the distant past. This research is enabled by interdisciplinary methods and expertise from biochemistry to computational biology.  

Read more:  Dr. Larijani's profile on the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry website.

Dr. Jessica Pilarczyk

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Earth Science

Coastal hazards: Dr. Pilarczyk’s research program explores how coastal environments have been altered by extreme events and gradual environmental changes. Aiming to improve hazard mitigation for coastal communities, Dr. Pilarczyk examines the clues left behind by past earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, and sea level change.  These clues are preserved in coastal sediments and answer questions regarding the type, duration, frequency, and intensity of hazards impacting a given coastline.  New knowledge generated through this research will provide insight into long-term variability in coastal hazards over the last centuries to millennia.  This improved understanding of long-term processes and impacts will inform models that can be applied to forecast the risk of hazards to coastal communities.

Read more: Dr. Pilarczyk’s profile on the Department of Earth Sciences website.

Dr. Caterina Ramogida

Asst. Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, TRIUMF

Nuclear medicinal inorganic chemistry: Dr. Ramogida’s biomedical research program focuses on the synthesis and development of radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals) for diagnosing and treating cancers. The overarching goal is to use radioactive metal ions, or radiometals, as diagnostic or therapeutic tools for the improved detection and therapy of disease. As drug constituents, the flexibility of radiometals in terms of radiological half-life, decay emission, and chemistry lends extremely well to their incorporation into radiopharmaceuticals for personalized diagnostics and therapies for cancer patients. Critically important is the design, synthesis, and characterization of novel and innovative metal ion chelators that enable promising radiometals to be attached to drug delivery molecules for imaging purposes and/or targeted treatment of cancer.      

Read more: Dr. Ramogida's profile on the Department of Chemistry website.