Posts Tagged: Heather MacLean

Profs Heather MacLean & Daniel Posen | PCs pushing electric vehicle investments ahead of June election; too little too late transportation experts say

April 4, 2022 | The Pointer

Grad student profile: Mengqing Kan, PhD candidate

Mengqing Kan (CivE PhD candidate). (Photo courtesy Mengqing Kan)

In advance of the coming Graduate Research Days, February 24 & 25, CivMin contacted previous participants to get their point of view on the event and their research goals at U of T. Our Q&A is with PhD candidate Mengqing Kan.


Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Mengqing Kan. I am from China. I got my bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University, majoring in sustainable business. Then I went to the University of Michigan to pursue my master’s degree in Environment and Sustainability. At U of T I am supervised by Prof. Daniel Posen and Prof. Heather MacLean. I am interested in researching carbon capture and utilization technologies. What attracted you to bring you to U of T?
I decided to come to U of T because my research interests aligned with those of my supervisors and the SPM group. Professors Posen and MacLean were recommended by my master’s supervisors, who provided me advice on PhD programs. Also, because my master’s thesis is about plastics, and Prof Posen has published multiple articles on the subject, I was familiar with Prof Posen’s work before I decided to apply for a PhD. I had an interview with them before to GRD. What kind of experience did you have with Graduate Research Days (GRD) last year?
Last year I was able to participate in GRD online. We used an internet portal to view a video tour of the labs, which was provided by several current students. We also went to other rooms to speak with professors and current students; depending on how many people were in the room at the time, it might be one-on-one or group discussions. It exceeded my expectations because I had enough time to talk to my interested professors, and existing students addressed my questions about the school and program. Had you been to Toronto, or anywhere in Canada, before?
I lived in Vancouver and studied in Simon Fraser University for four years. I have travelled around in the west coast, but I never visited Toronto before. How did you find the city when you first arrived? What made an impression?
When I first arrived, I liked the city. I find commuting by bike in downtown Toronto is incredibly convenient due to the availability of shared bikes and bike lanes. Did you already know Toronto is the most diverse (multiculturual) city in the world?
I did not know that. But I feel Toronto is a very diverse city. Especially at U of T, as many of my classmates and people in my research group came from diverse backgrounds. What kind of impression did you have of the U of T campus upon your first visit?
Because U of T St. George campus is in downtown Toronto, I found it is very convenient to subway stations, gallery, museum, shopping malls, restaurants. Do you now have a favourite place to visit on campus, or perhaps in the nearby neighbourhoods?
I like Philosopher’s walk. Philosopher’s Walk is a leafy walkway at the St George campus. It is a short distance from Trinity College. The Walk’s gorgeous natural setting makes me relax. It’s a good place to gather and walk. You started in September 2021, so now have a bit better idea of what you want to research (correct?). Can you tell us a bit more about this? 
I am interested in use life cycle assessment and mathematics optimization model to investigate how do the various CCU pathways help Canada achieve net zero emissions by 2050 while maximizing economic returns. Do you have any advice for graduate students considering attending GRD this year?
I think GRD is a great opportunity to know our interested supervisors. I recommend prospective students to do some research about professor’s research area; this will help with the communication. What’s next for you in the future?
I will keep working on my research. This summer I plan to attend an academic conference. Is there anything fun/unusual hobby or talent you’d like to share with us?
I like playing table tennis and Guzheng, a traditional Chinese musical instrument.

CivMin has two of seven U of T Engineering researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs

CivMin Prof. Heather MacLean (L) and Prof. Daniel Posen


Two Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin) professors are among seven University of Toronto Engineering researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs (CRC). The announcement  from the Government of Canada was made Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Prof. Heather MacLean and Prof. Daniel Posen are the Department's newest recipients of a CRC. MacLean receives a CRC in Sustainable Systems and Technology Assessment, with Posen receiving a CRC in System-Scale Environmental Impacts of Energy and Transport Technologies.

A full list of the U of T Engineering researchers awarded CRC are:

  • Elizabeth Edwards (ChemE) Canada Research Chair in Anaerobic Biotechnology (renewal) 
  • Penney Gilbert (BME) Canada Research Chair in Endogenous Repair (renewal) 
  • Omar F. Khan (BME) Canada Research Chair in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics
  • Heather MacLean (CivMin) Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Systems and Technology Assessment (new) 
  • Daniel Posen (CivMin) Canada Research Chair in System-Scale Environmental Impacts of Energy and Transport Technologies (new) 
  • Milica Radisic (BME, ChemE) Canada Research Chair in Organ-on-a-Chip Engineering (new) 
  • Ning Yan (ChemE) Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Bioproducts (new) 

A full story published by Engineering News

Meet U of T Engineering’s new Vice-Dean, Strategic

Professor Heather MacLean (CivMin) was recently appointed U of T Engineering’s first Vice-Dean, Strategic. (Photo submitted)

When Professor Heather MacLean (CivMin) first interviewed for a position at U of T Engineering in the early 2000s, she was impressed by the Faculty’s broad perspective.

“My research includes sustainability assessment and life-cycle assessment for energy and transportation technologies and the built environment,” she says. “These topics are highly interdisciplinary and were not widely taught or researched at the time.”

“Most of the other engineering schools where I interviewed were trying to make me fit into a more traditional role, but U of T Engineering saw value in cross-disciplinary research and integrating sustainability within the curriculum.”

Today, MacLean has a unique opportunity to further enhance this broad perspective. As the first Vice-Dean, Strategic at U of T Engineering, she will work with a team of senior leaders to set the tone and direction of the Faculty’s mission for the coming years.

“I’m someone who thrives on challenges, loves learning new things, enjoys collaboration, and aims to be forward-looking,” says MacLean. “I am passionate about further advancing U of T Engineering on the global stage and having a positive impact on students, faculty and staff.”

MacLean has previously served in key leadership positions in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, including Associate Chair, Graduate; Associate Chair, Research; and Acting Chair.

MacLean says her high-level goals include harmonizing the Faculty’s strategy with that of other branches of the University, furthering Institutional Strategic Initiatives, contributing to the new Academic Plan, and continuing implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion policies, especially within research.

She plans to start with a “listening and learning phase,” meeting with internal and external partners to understand their views on opportunities, challenges and priorities of strategic importance. New initiatives will be formulated based on urgency and feasibility, with an eye toward remaining agile to respond to changing circumstances.

MacLean says it’s too early for specifics, but that the strategic direction of the Faculty flows from its greatest asset: its people.

“Each member of our community plays an important role,” she says. “Ensuring that contributions are acknowledged and valued is the foundation required for any progress at the strategic level. I look forward to connecting with everyone, and to synthesizing their thoughts into a cohesive vision for U of T Engineering.”

By Tyler Irving 

This originally published by Engineering News

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