Lakehead University Researchers Receive $2.35 Million in Grants

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THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University researchers are receiving $2.25 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for 33 research projects.

This year’s total includes $1.56 million for 12 Discovery grants, which amounts to 72 per cent more funding than last year’s Discovery grants.

Some of these researchers will explore a new design that will make bridges more durable and examine the benefits of using various tree species to mitigate the impact of reduced water in boreal forests.

Dr. Muntasir Billah, Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, is receiving $155,000 to spend five years developing a bridge system that can endure multiple hazards at the same time, such as an earthquake and a tsunami or an earthquake and a flood.

“Successful completion of this research will not only create guidelines for practitioners to design and analyze bridges against multiple hazards, but also develop innovative smart structural components that will enhance bridge safety,” Dr. Billah said.

This research will significantly improve Canada’s highway infrastructure resilience, which means Canadian communities will have economical, safe, and low-risk bridges when subjected to extreme natural hazards.

Dr. Han Chen, Professor in Natural Resources Management, is receiving $275,000 to spend five years examining how various tree species can mitigate the negative impacts of reduced water availability in boreal forests. This research relies on a water-alteration experiment in natural boreal forests.

“The success of my research program is highly dependent on the effective training of highly qualified personnel,” Dr. Chen said. “Our findings will help develop strategies to cope with climate change in Canada’s boreal forests.”

“This NSERC funding allows our researchers to do important work that will have a profound impact in Northwestern Ontario, Simcoe County, and around the world,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

Funding from NSERC also generates support from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities.

In 2018/19, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

New NSERC Grants 2018-19 – Total: $2,252,613

Faculty Member Grants

Collaborative Research & Development Grant – Two to three-year grants

  • Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Department of Chemical Engineering, Production of water-soluble products from tall oil lignin – Ligno tall process, $150,000. In addition, $150,000 received from CRIBE, $100,000 from Ontario Centres of Excellence, and $75,000 from Resolute Forest Products for this project.
  • Dr. Peter Hollings, Department of Geology, Mineral chemistry as a vector to mineralization in porphyry systems, $173,300, with an additional $92,508 from partner organization AMIRA International Limited.

Discovery Grants – Five-year grants (unless otherwise noted)

  • Dr. Ehsan Behzadfar, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigation of Rheology and Processing of Multilayer Polymer-Based Products, $140,000.
  • Dr. Muntasir Billah, Department of Civil Engineering, Performance-Based Approach for Multihazard Resilient Design of Highway Bridges, $155,000.
  • Dr. Han Chen, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, The role of tree species diversity in mitigating negative impacts of reduced water availability in boreal forests: Patterns and mechanisms, $275,000.
  • Dr. Jian Deng, Department of Civil Engineering, Parametric Resonance and Stochastic Dynamic Stability of Structures: Theory, Experiments, and Applications, $130,000.
  • Dr. Ebrahim Rezaei Geshnizgani, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigating New Frontiers of Catalytic Ozonation for Air Pollution Control, $140,000.
  • Dr. Jinqiang Hou, Department of Chemistry, Development of stereospecific radio-flourination methods, $120,000.
  • Dr. Salama Ikki, Department of Electrical Engineering, Software-Radio Strategies for Heterogeneous Communication Networks, $28,000 (one-year grant).
  • Dr. Deli Li, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Probability Asymptotic Theorems and Their Applications, $90,000.
  • Dr. Cui Liang, Department of Civil Engineering, Multiscale/Multiphysics Testing and Modelling of Cemented Paste Backfill-Rock Interface Behaviour and Application to the Design of Cemented Paste Backfill Structures, $130,000.
  • Dr. Baoqiang Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering, A Novel Membrane Biofilm Reactor for Microalgae Cultivation and Harvest and Wastewater Treatment, $140,000.
  • Dr. Maria Grazia Viola, Department of Mathematical Sciences (Orillia), L^p operator algebras that look like C*algebras and q-deformed free group factors, $75,000.
  • Dr. Qiang Wei, Department of Electrical Engineering, Innovative High Power Converters and Controls for Next Generation Offshore Wind Energy Systems, $140,000.

Discovery Launch Supplements – $12,500 for one year 

  • Dr. Ehsan Behzadfar, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigation of Rheology and Processing of Multilayer Polymer-Based Products, $12,500.
  • Dr. Muntasir Billah, Department of Civil Engineering, Performance-Based Approach for Multihazard Resilient Design of Highway Bridges, $12,500.
  • Dr. Liang Cui, Department of Civil Engineering, Multiscale/Multiphysics Testing and Modelling of Cemented Paste Backfill-Rock Interface Behaviour and Application to the Design of Cemented Paste Backfill Structures, $12,500.

  • Dr. Ebrahim Rezaei Geshnizgani, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigating New Frontiers of Catalytic Ozonation for Air Pollution Control, $12,500.
  • Dr. Jinqiang Hou, Department of Chemistry, Development of stereospecific radio-flourination methods, $12,500.
  • Dr. Qiang Wei, Department of Electrical Engineering, Innovative High Power Converters and Controls for Next Generation Offshore Wind Energy Systems, $12,500.
  • Engage Grants – Six-month grants
  • Dr. Michael Campbell, Department of Chemistry, Neutron activation analysis of precious metals using a medical cyclotron as the neutron source, $23,105 (in partnership with Goldcorp Canada Limited – Musselwhite Mine).
  • Dr. Lew Christopher, Department of Biology, Valorization of Lignin as a Crop Seed Additive, $25,000 (in partnership with Retrievall Inc.).
  • Dr. Siamak Elyasi, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigation of Electrochemical Reaction in Advanced Oxidation Systems (AOS) Using Numerical Analysis, $25,000 (in partnership with BioLargo Water).
  • Dr. Salama Ikki, Department of Electrical Engineering, Machine Learning based Cyber Threat Intelligence and Detection in the Smart Grid, $25,000 (in partnership with N-Dimension Solutions Inc.).
  • Dr. Baoqiang Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering, Characterization of Membrane Fouling for Optimization of Membrane Filtration Processes for Improved Water Recovery, $25,000 (in partnership with AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure).
  • Dr. Kefu Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Optimization of Trailer Boat Tail using Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations, $25,000 (in partnership with Transtex Composite).
  • Dr. Azim Mallik, Department of Biology, GIS model for riparian forest management in Ontario emulating post-fire residual forest patterns, $23,400 (in partnership with Resolute Forest Products).
  • Dr. Osama (Sam) Salem, Department of Civil Engineering, Structural Fire Performance of Steel Beams Protected with Innovative Hot Melt Intumescent Composite (HMIC) Material, $24,808 (with an additional $5,000 from 3M Canada Company, and $19,968.00 from OCE VIP I Program).
  • Dr. Wilson Wang, Department of Mechanical Engineering, An Intelligent System for Fault Diagnostics in Mining Equipment, $25,000 (in partnership with GoldCorp Incorporation).

Graduate Student Funding

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program – $17,500 for one year

  • Davide Marchese, Physics, Organization of Supramolecular Structures on Boron Doped Si-(111)

  • Mackenzie Simpson, Computer Science, Optimization of Emergency Department Scheduling

  • Joseph Tassone, Computer Science, Machine Learning for Forest Fire Detection
  • Victor Xiao, Biology, Study of B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) activation in Haemophillus influenzae