Researching for a better future

Somayyeh Aghbabaei explains her research at the Research Day. Photo by Sachin Bahal
Somayyeh Aghbabaei explains her research at the Research Day. Photo by Sachin Bahal

Engineering students showed there’s a better future at the first ever Research Day at UOIT.


Graduate students displayed their work on a variety of subjects, from electric vehicles to helping people with heart issues.


Janamejaya Channegowda worked with his advisor, Sheldon Williamson, on transportation electrification.


Channegowda’s research is about providing a way to make public transit vehicles electric but in a more efficient way than using traditional lithium-ion batteries found in other electric vehicles.


This is done through using UC voltage instead, which can then be quickly charged at a train or bus stop in less than one minute.


Mehrin Gilani and her advisor, Mikael Eklund, worked on a project about intelligently predicting if an elderly person is in risk of congestive heart failure (CHF).



Gilani found that about one-third of patients who are admitted with CHF are back in the hospital within 90 days of first being discharged. Readmissions can come with high costs and high stress levels for patients.


Gilani’s research involves creating algorithms that can predict critical events that happen to CHF patients. This will reduce the number of heart failure re-hospitalizations.


Qusay Mahmoud is a professor, an Electrical Computer and Software Engineering (ECSE) Department Chair and the event organizer. He made a strong push for this event to happen.


“We are trying to trying to establish a department culture as well as a research culture,” Mahmoud said. “We decided to organize this research day to get started, we have to get started somewhere.”


Mahmoud hopes this will become an annual event.


Students also heard from Sass Peress, an industry leader came to the Research Day as a guest speaker. Peress and his company have a long history with automotive and energy technologies. He has led a number of clean energy and transportation start-ups.


At the event, he talked about asking “the right question.”


The “right question” is the question that coincides with what industry is asking for in terms of helping development. The questions asked by professors or other academic staff may not correspond with what the industry is asking.


Peress has worked with General Motors to help develop solar powered charging stations for electric vehicles. This helped GM bring the Chevrolet Volt to Canada back in 2011.


“There’s more to GM and I want to offer this kind of knowledge and product and project to a variety of different constituents in an agnostic kind of fashion,” said Peress.


In 2011, Peress helped co-found Renewz Sustainable Solutions. Peress’ company is helping to bring developments in electric vehicle charging technologies to the next level.


“I think as a first even, it’s really critical that they do this kind of thing to help promote partnership between industry and research students to be able to understand what other entities are looking for,” said Peress. “It’s wonderful to be on the technology side alone but to be sure that what you’re doing is relevant to prepare in a manner they value. You have to expand your horizons beyond the academic question.”