Cohort: Researchers

Our research cohort comprises a wealth of expertise and renown in chemical, biological and mechanical engineering.

Barbara Dalpke

Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Her research experience covers fibre science and fluid dynamics related to paper machines. Her work also covered modelling of jet impingement and early roll forming.

Bhushan Gopaluni

Associate Dean, Education and Professional Development
Primary research interests are in process modeling and control, experimental design, adaptive estimation for non-linear systems.. He is interested in developing and studying the properties of data-based models for a variety of chemical and biological systems. Applications of these approaches are of importance in the oil and gas, pulp and paper industry, and biomedical engineering.

Boris Stoeber

Professor and Associate Head, Teaching, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Boris pursues research in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The majority of his work is in the areas microfluidics and sensing technology. With his team, he investigates flow physics of complex microflows. Also in his line of research is to develop new sensing concepts for environmental sensing and for biomedical applications. Other work focuses on micro-optical devices and the development of functional material and fabrication processes for sensors and actuators.

Emily Cranston  

Associate Professor
President’s Excellence Chair in Forest Bioproducts
Sustainable Nanocomposites and Hybrid Materials from Cellulose and Other Biopolymers

  • Designing and characterizing innovative bio-based nanocomposites and bio-inspired materials
  • Exploring the applications of cellulose nanocrystals, cellulose nanofibrils and biopolymers in novel devices and products through interdisciplinary research
  • Measuring surface forces, morphology and tribology through advanced microscopy
  • Characterizing soft matter coatings, gels and emulsions using reflectivity and adsorption techniques
  • Extending state-of-the-art nano-testing tools and analyses to investigate new phenomena.

Heather Trajano

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Her research focus explores and harnesses fundamental knowledge of biomass fractionation and conversion for maximum economic and environmental benefit.Some specific research interests are i) Fundamentals of biomass deconstruction to separate carbohydrates from lignin, ii) Recovery and purification of extractives and iii) Heterogeneous catalysis for chemical production.  Heather searches for biorefining opportunities that complement existing forestry operations by utilizing waste streams and by-products.

James Olson

Dean, Faculty of Applied Science
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
An industry-leading expert in the application of physics and fluid mechanics, James Olson’s research has led to revolutionary developments in the pulp and paper industry.  He currently leads a five-year university-industry collaborative research program whose primary goal is to reduce energy consumption in allied industry through the development of several innovative technologies. James is also the lead researcher on the development and commercialization of the Fibre Quality Analyzer (FQA), a device that measures the physical properties of pulp fibres in suspension, and has become the accepted world standard for measuring key fibre properties.

Mark Martinez

Director, Pulp and Paper Centre
Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Fluid mechanics, flow visualization, multiphase flows and computational fluid dynamics with applications to industrial problems consititute Mark’s research areas. A few of his research projects lie in these fields: Advanced particle fractionation systems; effect of embossing patterns on flow imbibition in porous media; production and characterization of micro fibrillated cellulose and hydrogels pressure filtration of soft porous-particle suspensions; silica removal in bamboo pulps; modelling of the heat transfer in cyclotron targets, and novel biomaterials from cellulose.

Nuwan Sella Kapu

Sessional Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Nuwan’s research spans many different areas. He leads a team on a biorefinery project to make high-quality pulp, cellulosic ethanol, and biopolymers from bamboo. Nuwan works with a pulp and paper company to identify valuable chemicals in what he terms as a byproduct stream and on novel applications of nanocrystalline cellulose.

Orlando Rojas

Professor and Canada Excellence Research Chair
Chemical & Biological Engineering | Wood Science | Chemistry
Prof. Rojas is the 2018 Recipient of the Anselme Payen Award and is an elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.  In UBC, he will lead the UBC BioProducts Institute, an enabler of the transition to a sustainable bio-based circular economy by using plant-based resources.

Paul A. Watkinson

Professor Emeritus
Research interests fall primarily in two main areas: Biomass gasification, and deposition and fouling of heat exchangers and process equipment.

Richard J. Kerekes

Professor Emeritus

In fibre processing, Richard’s main interest is pulp refining, where his work has focused on understanding the forces in refiners which bring about desired changes in fibre properties.

Research in papermaking has focused on the hydrodynamics of blade formers. Work on wet pressing concentrated on extending the decreasing permeability model to equilibrium conditions. This extended model has been used to estimate the limits of wet pressing attainable on commercial paper machines.

Robert W. Gooding

Adjunct Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Robert’s research areas span fluid mechanics, flow visualization, pulp screening, fibre separation, and recycling.

Rodger Beatson

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Forestry
Dr. Beatson’s current research interests are dissolving pulp production, the use chemicals to reduce energy consumption in refining and the recovery of hemicellulose from mill residues for use in improving beatability and enhancing paper strength.

Scott Renneckar

Associate Professor, Department of Wood Science
Canada Research Chair in Advanced Renewable Materials
Scott’s research program focuses on creating advanced renewable materials through cutting-edge science that will catalyze a green economy.  These sustainable products sourced from nature are stronger, lighter, and more energy efficient than their petroleum analogs.  He uses materials such as high performance fibres, transparent films and coatings, and nanocomposites in applications for automobile, aerospace, building, and the emerging additive manufacturing industries.

Shahab Sokhansanj

Adjunct Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Shahab’s core research is in feedstock engineering focusing on harvesting, drying, fractionating, and densification of cellulosic biomass. The work has evolved on two fronts:

  • Experimenting with innovative biomass preprocesses to acquire engineering data for design and optimum operation of individual unit operations; and
  • Developing engineering models for simulation of unit operations for optimizing the entire supply chains.

Sheldon I. Green

Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Fluid mechanics; forming section hydrodynamics; pulp fibre separation; pulp pump efficiency and non-Newtonian sprays comprise Sheldon’s main research areas.

His work has covered developing a model of the fibre deposition and dewatering process in paper making, spraying of non-Newtonian fluids, minimizing electrical power consumption in paper mills by improving pulp pump efficiency, and measuring and reducing snow friction of skis (in conjunction with the Canadian Olympic Committee).

Xiaotao Bi

Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Fellow of The Canadian Academy of Engineering

Xiaotao and his team have been developing environmental systems analysis and life cycle analysis tools to model and evaluate biomass energy systems, including Canadian wood pellets, animal wastes and agricultural residues, as well as integrated impacts assessment of biomass combustion, gasification, torrefaction and pelletization processes.

Current research is focused on electrostatic charging of dielectric particles in gas-solids fluidized beds, dual fluidized bed for biomass steam gasification and novel i-CFB reactors for catalytic NOx reduction

Post Doctoral Research Fellows

Helei Lui

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Helei’s expertise targets the development of:

  • Sedimentation models for lithium extraction process
  • Efficient chemical separation process for CO2 capture from flue gas
  • Artificial intelligence and knowledge-based systems for energy and environmental system analysis.

Jingqian Chen

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Her research work is two-fold

  1. Understand and model kinetics of hemicellulose and cellulose hydrolysis
  2. Microscopy analyses of pulp fibres and wood ultrastructure under hydrolysis and pulping treatments

Jordan Mackenzie

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Jordan explores the scalability of 3D extrusion printing to produce tough and environmentally friendly hydrogel tubing with a uniform outer diameter of 10 mm or less. This alginate tubing sample was created using the aforementioned process and demonstrates a major step forward in the scalability of biodegradable materials.

Junnan Chao

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Pulp mill wood residue gasification technology review and screening for renewable natural gas generation purpose.
  • Gasification process simulation and RNG generation process development.

Lei Zhang

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Lei’s research interests are with:

  • Design, installation and operation of pilot-scale gasifiers
  • Using biomass or biochar as the reducing agent in blast furnace, and
  • Investigating 2-phase flow mal-distribution any hysteresis in parallel channels

Long Bai

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Long’s research focus is to design fabricate and functionalize bio-based nanomaterial multiphase systems with advanced architecture through the approach of physical and chemical assembly. Long develops multifunctional applications, including lightweight porous materials, 3D printing inks, and functional delivery carrier.

Siqi Huan

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Her research involves utilizing new fabrication methods such as electrospinning and 3D printing to design and create bio-based materials with advanced architectures for multi-functional applications in biomedical products, energy storage and so on. She studies and designs composites made through single or multi-phase system (e.g., emulsion) with bio-based materials as fillers or stabilizers.

Ying Xiong

Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering 

Ying’s research can be summarized as:

A specific focus on process alarm monitoring and control for industrial applications, including performance analysis and design on fault detection schemes such as filters and divergence based methods, and the application and design of advanced controller economic MPC and reinforcement-learning-based methods.