Exploring livelihood change in upland rural Hmong villages in Maguan County, Yunnan, China

My Master’s thesis will investigate how ethnic minority livelihoods, specifically those of ethnic minority Hmong (Miao) , have changed in rural Southwestern China over the last 20 years. Hmong communities have traditionally made their livelihoods around household based semi-subsistence agricultural production, based primarily on rice or maize. However, new state policies, technologies, and opportunities are changing the means by which Hmong individuals and households are making ends meet.

Deployment of wireless sensor networks for air pollution monitoring

Air pollution is one of the main environmental applications where Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) are widely used. Using WSN for air pollution monitoring usually targets two main applications: 1) regular mapping and 2) the detection of high pollution concentrations. Both of these applications need a careful deployment of sensors in order to get better knowledge of air pollution.

Lattice Boltzmann modeling of moving boundaries

The mechanisms of sound production in single-reed woodwind instruments and human voices are not yet fully understood. Numerical simulations provide a feasible way to model and better characterize their sound production systems. However, there remains a problem in simulating the movement of vibrating reeds or vocal folds (i.e. a moving boundary), especially when the channel between the reed and mouthpiece or the two vocal folds gets very narrow or completely closes.

Pyrolysis of Rice Husks and Analysis of Biochar and Bio-oil

This project focuses on the pyrolysis of rice husks and the analysis of the resulting products, including biochar and bio-oil. Pyrolysis is the decomposition of organic matter under high heat in the absence of oxygen. This project examines the pyrolysis of rice husks. Rice husks account for 20% of the entire weight of the grain. Currently, many rice producers perform uncontrolled burning to dispose of the rice husks due to the high cost of transportation for proper disposal.

Ottan Thullal: A Vanishing Indian Preforming Art

In satisfaction of my PhD dissertation at McGill University, I intend to conduct both archival and field research on Ottan Thullal, a classical art form from Kerala, India. This surviving art form embodies an intangible cultural heritage which is on the verge of disappearing from the historical record. This dissertation aims to trace the historical origins of Ottan Thullal and document the knowledge of its few practitioners. This performance tradition combines dance with music and poetry written in the Malayalam language.

Real-time fault diagnosis and prediction in structures under earthquake excitation

A large number of civil engineering structures in North America have long survived their expected service life. As they continue to age, there is a significant demand to minimize damage under severe environmental impacts such as earthquake. The main objective of this project is to develop and validate vibration-based monitoring and control strategies using modern sensing technologies.

Dynamic Control of Robotic Arm

In the design of robotic mechanisms, dynamic balancing i.e. force and moment balancing is an important issue. The robotic mechanism’s accuracy and efficiency are affected because of the unbalance. Moreover, the forces and moments cause fatigue, noise and disturbance in its structural base. Previous research done by Prof. Chris Zhang include a force balancing method that is termed as adjusting kinematic parameters (AKP) for robotic mechanisms or real-time controllable (RTC) mechanisms. This research includes dynamic balancing method for planar mechanisms only i.e. two dimensional.

Understanding the social function of pre-trial detention: A comparative study between Canada and France

Understanding the recent frequent use of pre-trial detention in Canada and France is crucial, considering its impact on the lives of individuals that are detained while still being presumed innocent, as well as the significant financial costs for the state. This project aims to compare the institution of pre-trial detention and examine the role that it is currently playing in Canada and France – two countries that share different legal traditions namely common law and civil law. The objectives of this research are threefold.

Extrusion of Metal Matrix Composite material: orientation of reinforcements and transfer of properties

The aim of this project is to develop and characterize metal matrix composite materials for applications in the field of power electronics and automotive. The material under study are constituted by a copper or aluminum matrix, reinforced by carbon (fibers or platelets) and it is known that the composite properties depend on the orientation of the reinforcements. The objective of this research is to study and to evaluate the effect of a deformation (e.g extrusion) of the material on its thermal, electrical and mechanical properties.

In Vivo Reprogramming of Spiral Ganglion Glial Cells into Primary Auditory Neurons

Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to hair cells, the sensory transducers of the auditory system, and/or the auditory neurons that transmit this information to the brain. Once these cells are lost the body does not naturally regenerate them. Elsewhere it has been shown that cells of one type may be converted into another cell type. This project involves using viral expression of select transcription factors in the spiral ganglion to convert resident cells into new auditory neurons to restore hearing.