Division of Engineering

Research

In addition to teaching, our faculty members are engaged in a diverse range of cutting-edge research activities. We welcome inquiries from all interested parties, particularly undergraduate students wishing to gain summer research experience, or senior level undergrads interesting in pursuing a Master's degree. Please contact the faculty member whose research activities align most closely with your interests and career goals.

Dr. Adel MerabetControl systems for renewable energy technologies

Dr. Jason RhinelanderMachine learning and optimization

Dr. Vlodek TarnawskiThermal and transport properties of soils

Dr. Samuel VeresBiomedical engineering


Dr. Adel Merabet

Research website: http://www.smu.ca/faculty/adelmerabet/welcome.html


Dr. Merabet's Laboratory of Control Systems and Mechatronics is a research laboratory of the Division of Engineering at Saint Mary's University, centered in mechatronics engineering and technology, offering a broad range of research opportunities in automation, control and energy conversion systems.

Currently, the laboratory is concerned with the development of advanced control and power management systems for renewable energy conversion systems such as wind solar to enhance their capability of optimum power extraction while operating at all regimes and in hybrid mode with storage systems. Also, it will contribute to provide high performance solutions to a wide variety of problems in renewable energy.

The laboratory is committed to finding innovative, cost-effective solutions in the area of control systems related to renewable energy systems (wind, solar and hybrid). Control design and prototyping for wind and solar energy conversion systems are investigated through emulation at laboratory scale for test and validation under complex load conditions.

Contact Information:

If you would like to speak with Dr. Merabet about his research, or if you are interested in graduate studies (MSc in Applied Science, PhD) in areas of control systems, please contact Dr. Merabet at:
adel.merabet@smu.ca


Dr. Jason Rhinelander

Publication list: Google Scholar

Dr. Jason Rhinelander’s research focuses on the areas of machine learning and optimization, which are important contributing sub-fields to Artificial Intelligence. The primary focus of Dr. Rhinelander’s research group is to apply both machine learning and optimization to embedded, real-time system development (both in hardware and software).

Dr. Rhinelander specializes in the use of kernel machine algorithms for online machine learning and big data applications. Kernel machine algorithms can solve problems in computer vision, signal processing, system optimization and extraction of knowledge from large data sets.

Contact information:

Dr. Rhinelander is currently seeking highly skilled MSc students and welcomes inquiries from any person or party interested in his research or consulting activities. Please contact Dr. Rhinelander at: jason.rhinelander@smu.ca


Dr. Vlodek Tarnawski

Research website: http://vtarnawski.wix.com/es-gttp


Dr. Vlodek Tarnawski studies the thermal and transport properties of soils, and how these properties change with mineral composition and moisture level. Reliable estimates of soil thermal conductivity are needed for heat and moisture flow analyses of in-ground engineering systems, facilities, and structures. For example, proper or efficient design of in-ground heat exchangers and heat-pumps, high voltage power cables, hot water or steam pipelines, chilled gas pipelines, and nuclear waste vaults may all require or benefit from thermal analyses, which require detailed knowledge of the local soil’s thermal properties. Analyses requiring thermal properties may also be of benefit when designing buildings, roads, airfields, or extraction processes for natural deposits, such as tar sands.

To date, Dr. Tarnawski has characterized the thermal properties of 40 distinct Canadian field soils, and defined how these properties vary with differing levels of moisture content. Full mineral analysis has enabled Dr. Tarnawski to relate changes in mineral composition to changes in thermal properties. In order to complete these studies, Dr. Tarnawski has designed, built, and characterized both laboratory-based thermal conductivity probes, and portable, smart conductivity probes. Using his extensive knowledge of the thermal properties of soils, Dr. Tarnawski has also conducted several studies of in-ground heat pump feasibility, efficiency, and optimization.

Contact information:

Dr. Tarnawski welcomes inquiries from any person or party interested in his research. Please contact Dr. Tarnawski at: vlodek.tarnawski@smu.ca


Dr. Samuel Veres

Research website: http://smu-facweb.smu.ca/~sveres/

Publication list: Google Scholar

Dr. Veres' research group specializes in studying the relationships that exit between structure and function within the load-bearing tissues of the human body. Unlike traditional engineering materials, where the structure of a design is fixed in order to serve a specific function, the link between structure and function is dynamic and constantly changing within human tissues. Alteration to tissue function—an increase in exercise, for example—can stimulate cells to alter the structure of load-bearing tissues, making them better equipped to deal with the applied forces. Similarly, alteration to tissue structure—an increase in intermolecular crosslinking resulting from diabetes, for example—can change the functional response of cells to applied load, increasing the risk of tissue failure or impairing healing.


Nanoscale mechanical damage to tendon fibres. The left side of image shows undamaged fibres, while the right side shows damaged fibres. 15,000X magnification.

Understanding structure-function relationships within tissues is a necessary prerequisite to designing a wide range of therapeutic interventions, from fracture fixation devices to bioprosthetic heart valves to better conservative forms of treatment like physiotherapy. We are currently engaged in several research projects, the outcomes of which could have significant positive impacts on human health:

  • Understanding the development of strength and toughness in nanoscale collagen fibrils
  • Defining a structural basis for chronic low back pain
  • Investigating nanoscale paths of load transmission from muscle to bone
  • Exploring the anatomical basis for fatigue resistance in energy storing tendons
  • Fabrication of biodegradable, fibre reinforced composites for fracture fixation
  • Using controlled nano-trauma to stimulate beneficial connective tissue remodelling

We offer a rich, interdisciplinary training environment, where a broad range of techniques and concepts are used from multiple disciplines, including biology, chemistry, material science, and engineering. Trainees are encouraged to undertake collaborative projects that involve work with our many academic and clinical research associates, providing access to our larger, regional biomedical community, and fostering the establishment of professional networks.

Contact Information:

Dr. Veres welcome inquiries from all interested parties, including those interested in potential collaborations, consulting services, and students interested in pursuing research at any level of study (undergrad, Master's, PhD, post doc). Please contact Dr. Veres via email at:
sam.veres@smu.ca