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U of T Engineering welcomes four new faculty members

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Left to right: Elodie Passeport (ChemE, CivE), Margaret Hai-Ling Cheng (IBBME, ECE), Kinnor Chattopadhyay (MSE), Gisele Azimi (ChemE, MSE) (Photos: Roberta Baker and Katia Taylor).

As new and returning engineering students attend their first classes of the year, the excitement on U of T campus is palpable.

But it’s not only the pupils who are looking forward to a fresh start; our newest educators are also excited to join the Faculty, to pursue research and to inspire the next generation of innovators and makers.

U of T Engineering is thrilled to welcome four new faculty members, each with diverse academic backgrounds that will enrich our culture of excellence. Just as we encourage multidisciplinary collaboration amongst our students, our newest faculty members also represent a broad cross section of experiences and interests.

Trained in a number of disciplines, Elodie Passeport (ChemE, CivE) received her PhD in Water Sciences in France before completing her postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley. Prior to her position with Engineering, Passeport worked at U of T in the Earth Sciences department.

Margaret Hai-Ling Cheng (IBBME, ECE) is a U of T alumna herself and, prior to joining the Faculty, she pursued research at the Hospital for Sick Children where she combined her electrical and computer engineering expertise with her biomedical training to develop magnetic resonance imaging technologies.

Kinnor Chattopadhyay (MSE) specializes as a process metallurgist. Upon completing his PhD at McGill, he gained two years of experience in the metals industry working for Hatch Ltd., a global engineering and management consultancy firm.

Alumna Gisele Azimi (ChemE, MSE) received her PhD in chemical engineering at U of T before completing two postdoctoral positions at MIT, one in Materials Sciences and the other in Mechanical Engineering.

U of T Engineering spoke with these four new faculty members to learn more.

What are you most looking forward to in your new position?

EP: I am thrilled to begin building a research group while interacting with graduate students. Although we come to U of T with diverse backgrounds, we share a common interest: the advancement of environmental science and engineering. I also look forward to meeting our undergraduate students and helping to guide their discovery of engineering.

HLC: The university is the ideal place to pass our knowledge on to the next generation. The obligation we have as educators – to inspire students and open their eyes and minds to endless possibilities – is an opportunity and responsibility I truly look forward to. I am also excited about new collaborative research opportunities on campus, especially teaming up with groups who are interested in the fundamentals of science.

KC: One of my goals here at U of T is to collaborate with my colleagues to further develop in the area of process metallurgy. I am also sincerely excited to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the process of metallurgy and extractive metallurgy.

GA: I look forward to performing leading-edge research with the goal of addressing some critical issues that exist in our society and environment. I also love teaching and am excited to inspire and educate the next generation of engineers who will someday make our world a better place.

What were your reasons for choosing the University of Toronto?

EP: For me, U of T’s main attraction was the strength of the colleagues and students. Another reason why this position was so attractive to me was the enhanced opportunities for multidisciplinary research enabled by the cross-appointment.

HLC: The University of Toronto is an amazing institution with strengths in so many research areas.  It is also located in Toronto, which is a great city to live in and one of the best cities to engage in research. Above all, my family is here, and having a wonderful support system is very important to me.

KC: As the best school in Canada, U of T offers the unique opportunity to teach and supervise some of the brightest minds in the country and from around the world.

GA: The University of Toronto is my alma mater so I feel a deep attachment to it. U of T is also one of the best schools in the world, and it attracts talented students and the great faculty who will be my colleagues. I am looking forward to finding success in this tremendous university.

As a new professor, what one piece of advice would you give to new students?

EP: Make your learning experience as enjoyable as possible: search why it’s important, study with your friends, go talk to your professors; U of T has a lot of resources so make the most of them. And be sure to get a very, very warm coat.

HLC: My advice for graduate students is to have good research ideas, keep your head down, work hard, persevere, and get back up when you fail. Focus on your research, but keep your eyes and ears open to activities in the broader research community. Above all, don’t be afraid to tread unconventional research territories.

KC: This is your time to build your future. So love it and live it.

GA: Enjoy these beautiful years of your lives and try your best to learn about science, life and human communications as much as you can. Your time at U of T will build the foundation of a fruitful life.