Professor Sinisa Colic (MIE) completed his PhD at U of T Engineering in 2017 in the area of personalized treatment options for epilepsy using advanced signal processing techniques and machine learning. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University where he worked with medical imaging data for the diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders. Professor Colic has already taught several courses at U of T covering a broad range of topics in mechatronics and machine learning, and is now joining MIE as an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. Writer Lynsey Mellon chatted with Colic to learn more about his academic journey.
What drew you to MIE at U of T and made you eager to accept a position here?
I came to U of T because of its world-renowned research and quality of education. I stayed because of the many remarkable people that I’ve met, the beautifully diverse Toronto community, and the many possibilities in AI research and technology. MIE is leading the way in applied AI research and offers some of the most cutting edge courses at University of Toronto, which I am very excited to be a part of.
What is the most memorable experience in your career so far?
That would probably be the yearly MIE444 design competition which I have been fortunate to coordinate for the past 4 years. The competition involves students designing and prototyping an autonomous rover to find, pick-up, and drop off a wooden block. Year after year, I am impressed with our students’ tremendous skill, creativity and determination.
Can you share a little about your research and what you like about it?
Most recently I have been working on applying machine learning techniques to characterize the electrical activities in the brain for the diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation. I’m excited about this work because it could allow people to better manage their mental health and achieve their full potential.
What do you hope to accomplish, as an educator and as a researcher, over the next few years?
As a researcher, I hope to develop a mental health management tool that will allow for fast and reliable identification of mental instabilities to help improve people’s quality of life. As an educator, I would like to provide a good balance between theory and application, to best prepare students for real world challenges.
Do you have any advice for incoming students?
Take every opportunity you can to share your experiences, help others learn what you know, and apply what you have learned to projects you are passionate about.
Do you have a favourite place on campus or in the city?
This is a very difficult question. Toronto has so many interesting neighbourhoods with their own unique feel. If I have to pick, I would say Christie Pits Park is my favourite spot in the city.