We’re happy to introduce the new professors who have joined the Faculty of Engineering this Fall. Get to know more about them and their research below.
Dr. Matiyas Bezabeh specializes in the evaluation and design of timber and timber-hybrid structures for earthquakes and strong winds. Prior to joining McGill, he worked as a Scientist/Technical Coordinator at Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin (RWDI) Inc.
He received his Ph.D. and M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2021 and 2014, respectively. He spent four years as a visiting research student at Western University and conducted numerous wind tunnel tests at WindEEE Dome and Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory (BLWTL).
Areas of research: Promoting resilient and sustainable urban development through tall timber construction, including performance-based wind and seismic design of tall timber buildings; uncertainty modelling and propagation; aeroelastic instability of structures; wind directionality; near-collapse behaviour of structures subjected to strong non-synoptic wind systems
Courses you’ll be teaching: Statics; Advanced Design of Timber Structures; Wind Engineering
Things you’re excited to get started at McGill: I am excited to establish my research team, McGill Timber Structures Group (McGill-TSG), which will focus on applied mechanics and resilient design of timber and hybrid structures. I look forward to meeting and working with McGill's students, faculty, and staff.
Research/career highlight you're most proud of: In 2018, I received the Young Scientist Excellence Award at the World Conference on Timber Engineering (WCTE). In addition, FPInnovations has included findings from my doctoral dissertation in their recently released Modeling Guide for Timber Structures and their updated Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada.
Last place you lived: London, Ontario
Last book you read: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Favourite subject in school: High school: History and Math; Undergraduate: Logic 101, Structural Design; Graduate: Wind-Excited and Aeroelastic Response of Structures by Giovanni Solari
Dr. Sarah Jordaan’s interdisciplinary research focuses on life cycle assessment, techno economic analysis, and technology innovation. By integrating these three research topics with improved geospatial texture, her research group — Energy Technology and Policy Assessment (ETAPA) — develops solutions for a more sustainable energy future. Her collaborations have been published in journals such as Nature Climate Change, Science, Environmental Science & Technology, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
She earned her doctorate in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a minor in Computer Science from Memorial University in 2003. Prior to McGill, she held positions at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the Electric Power Research Institute, Shell Canada, the University of Calgary, and the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego.
Areas of research: Life cycle sustainability impacts of electricity generation; geospatial methods for improving granularity of energy infrastructure assessments; sustainability of energy transitions; climate impacts of energy systems and costs of mitigation; sustainability in engineering and design
Courses you’ll be teaching: Life Cycle Assessment; Industrial Ecology
Things you’re excited to get started at McGill: I am very excited to be involved with the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED). If you haven’t already, check it out! On top of that, I’m most excited about building a team of students in my research group and seeing what they can do for sustainability.
Research/career highlight you're most proud of: Student successes. For example, several of my students have won poster competitions at the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment’s annual conference.
Favourite aspect of your work: When students actually laugh at one of my jokes. On a more serious note, my favourite aspect is when research has a positive impact for sustainability in the real world.
Last place you lived: Washington, D.C.
Favourite subject in school: Mathematics
What’s something you can’t live without? Being active, especially outdoors (e.g., hiking)
Dr. Yi Shao’s research aims to improve the sustainability and automation level of the construction industry by promoting circular utilization and autonomous construction. He is a passionate educator and is committed to helping each student realize their unique dreams and fostering a diverse, inclusive, and dynamic education environment.
He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Structural Engineering from Stanford University and spent two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.
Areas of research: Sustainable, resilient, and adaptable structures; advanced materials, especially Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC); topology optimization; robotic construction
Courses you’ll be teaching: Advanced Civil Engineering Materials
Things you’re excited to get started at McGill: A diverse group and an advanced lab on sustainable structures and autonomous construction
Favourite aspect of your work: Through engineering and research, our students make concrete changes to the world
Last place you lived: San Francisco
Something you like to do during your time off: Photography and growing plants
What inspires/motivates you: My students’ dreams
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dr. Lili Wei is a software engineering researcher focused on improving the reliability of modern software such as Android applications and smart contracts on blockchains. She aims to develop automated techniques to reduce software developers’ pain in testing and debugging. Her work during her Ph.D. was recognized by a Google Ph.D. Fellowship and a Microsoft Research Asia Ph.D. Fellowship.
Prior to joining McGill, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), where she also received her Ph.D.
Areas of research: Software engineering with a focus on program analysis and testing
Courses you’ll be teaching: Automated Software Testing and Analysis
Things you’re excited to get started at McGill: It is my first position as a faculty member. I look forward to starting my career and building my research group at McGill.
Research/career highlight you're most proud of: I’m most rewarded when my research techniques are found useful by software developers. This indicates that my work is making a real impact to the software engineering practice.
I also enjoy working with students. Although I’m a new professor, I’ve had plenty of experience working with students when I was a postdoc. It is my great pleasure to see that students can learn from my guidance, and that they share the same passion for software engineering research as I do.
Last place you lived: Hong Kong — a city full of nice food
Something you like to do during your time off: I love playing video games. I play games on Nintendo Switch and Play Station 5. This was one of the reasons I chose to major in computer science when I was an undergraduate student.