Prosthetic Communication software for individuals with special needs

My goal is to develop new approaches in speech technologies for physically or cognitively disadvantaged users. This includes applying the specialized automatic speech recognition (ASR) algorithms developed during my doctoral research into real-world tools for speakers with speech disorders. For example, I will develop software-assisted human-human interaction in which speech that is unintelligible because of physical disability is modified to produce a more comprehensible equivalent. This will involve acoustic transformations and speech recognition preprocessing.

Increasing the economic value of non-commercial wood species through induced fungal pigmentation systems

This research proposes to investigate spalting (natural wood pigmentation by fungi) as a method for creating value-added wood products.  Specifically, this research will focus on the development of creating naturally colored wood for commercial applications, as well as increasing the value of blue stained pine wood inadvertently produced by the mountain pine beetle.  Industry benefits from this research include an increased value to both low and high value lumber produced by the company, and gaining a foothold into the newly developing market for spalted wood – a market in which very few in

Macrocyclic peptides as chemical probes for protein-protein interactions

Peptides control a vast range of intra- and intercellular processes. However, linear peptides suffer from instability and poor cell permeability, which limits their application as therapeutic agents. In contrast to linear peptides, cyclic variants are more resistant to both exo- and endoproteases, which explains the therapeutic potential of this class of molecules. Peptide macrocycles have shown remarkable capacity for functional fine-tuning.

Active Flow Control Using Plasma Actuators for Aircraft Drag Reduction

New technologies are needed to meet the environmental targets set for the future of air and ground transportation, and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels for electric power generation. The present project aims at developing a novel flow control technology, which can generate significant aerodynamic improvements, leading to reduction of aerodynamic drag of air and ground vehicles, and better efficiency and durability of wind turbines.

Development and Implementation of viscoelastic Fork Configuration Damper (FCD), for enhanced dynamic performance of high‐rise buildings

The goal of the project is to further develop the Fork Configuration Damper – FCD (patents pending in 7 countries) to enable its implementation in real structures and its commercialization through a University of Toronto startup company. The FCD is a new damping technology developed at the University of Toronto to mitigate wind and earthquake vibrations of high-rise buildings by increasing the level of distributed viscous damping in the structure. The FCD is embedded within structural configurations that are commonly used for high-rise buildings.

Next-Generation Spoken Dialogue Translation System

This proposal describes a research project towards a spoken dialog translation system  that holds a broad range of potential applications. In particular, the proposal describes a system that will be developed and can be integrated in hand-held devices where a user may talk to the system in ones preferred language and the system produces a spoken translation of what is said in another language (e.g. Japanese to English or vice versa). The language barrier between any two dialog partners speaking different languages can be bridged with the help of such a system.

Innovating Computing Devices

In general, if a user is not willing/able to implement himself the solution, attaching sensor and actuator equipment to a computer typically leads to disproportionately expensive  purchases of proprietary hardware or software, which often still requires a considerable time investment. The goal of our planned company is to provide affordable computer-attached electronic equipment to individuals and businesses worldwide. Our devices will: (1) perform data acquisition and control of external hardware, i.e. input/output (I/O) operations; or (2) speed-up compute-intensive calculations.

Cooperative Wireless Cellular Networks: System Design, Analysis and Simulation

The ever growing market demands for higher data rates and more reliable communication are the main drivers behind the technological growth in the wireless telecommunications industry. This R&D project aims to address an innovative technological shift from conventional wireless cellular networks to a paradigm of cooperative cellular networks that can potentially provide multiple-fold improvements in terms of the total data rates.

New tools to study enzyme penetration and activity dynamics within wood cell walls

The main challenges in bioconversion of lignocellulose arise from our limited understanding of the heterogeneous chemistry of the substrate and poor accessibility of enzymes within dense wood cell walls. It is clear that our limited appreciation of enzyme penetration into cell walls and catalysis dynamics is partly due to the constraints of the techniques employed previously. Unlike these other studies, which addressed such questions by examining model substrates, I propose to examine and develop new tools for use on complex solid wood substrates.

Evaluation of the remedial actions in the Toronto and Region Area of concern

The Toronto and Region Area of Concern (TRAOC) has been one of the most polluted sites in the Great Lakes posing health risks to millions of people. The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) has made significant progress towards restoring the system and meeting the delisting targets. Yet, several critical questions still need to be addressed, such as: How close is the Toronto ecosystem currently to meeting the TRAOC RAP delisting criteria? What additional research and assessment will be required to guide remedial actions? Which attributes best reflect the integrity and health of the ecosystem?