Academic Leaders


We have some amazing academic leaders lined up for the celebrations who are excited to share their thoughts on the future of Materials Engineering. Read below to find out more about their phenomenal contributions to the field!

Fiona Doyle
Dean of the Graduate Division
University of California, Berkeley

Fiona Doyle obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge, and her master’s and doctorate in hydrometallurgy from Imperial College, University of London. She joined the faculty at U.C. Berkeley in 1983 and was appointed to the Donald H. McLaughlin Chair in Mineral Engineering in 1998.  She served as Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2002 to 2005, and Executive Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at Berkeley from 2005 to 2009 and 2011 to 2014.  From 2009 to 2011 she was Vice Chair and Chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.  She was the program leader of the Singapore Berkeley Research Initiative on Sustainable Energy from 2013 to 2015.  In January 2015 she was appointed as Dean of the Graduate Division, overseeing all of Berkeley’s graduate programs and 10,000+ graduate students.

Professor Doyle’s research focuses on solution chemistry and electrochemistry in the processing and behavior of minerals, materials, wastes and effluents.  The applications range in scale from the templated precipitation of nanoscaled structures, through energy storage, chemical mechanical planarization in the electronics industry to the remediation of contamination at abandoned and inactive mine sites.  Professor Doyle has taught undergraduate and graduate courses relating to engineering chemistry, mineral engineering, surface and colloid properties of materials, solution processing of materials, corrosion, and electrochemistry.


Byron Pipes is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (1987) and the Royal Society of Engineering Sciences of Sweden (1995). He served as President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1993-98 and was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Delaware from 1991-93. He served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Director of the Center for Composite Materials during 1977-91 at the same institution. He was appointed John L. Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue University in 2004. He served as Goodyear Endowed Professor of Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron during 2001-04 and was Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the College of William and Mary during 1999-2001, where he pursued research at the NASA Langley Research Center in the field of carbon nanotechnology. He was appointed Robert L. Spencer Professor of Engineering in 1986 in recognition of his outstanding scholarship in the field of polymer composite materials ranging over the subject areas of advanced manufacturing science, durability, design and characterization. He is the author of over one-hundred archival publications including four books and has served on the editorial boards of four journals in his field.

Dr Pipes has been recognized for his leadership in creating partnerships for university research with the private sector, government and academia.  He served as one of the first six directors of National Engineering Research Centers of NSF.   Dr Pipes received his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and the MSE from Princeton University.  He is the recipient of the Gustus L. Larson Award of Pi Tau Sigma and the Chaire Francqui, Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award in Belgium.  He holds Fellow rank in ASC, ASME and SAMPE.  Dr. Pipes has served on a number of National Research Council panels as both member and chair and served two terms on the National Materials Advisory Board. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Delaware.

Brian G Thomas
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Mechanical Science & Engineering

Dr. Brian G. Thomas is the Gauthier Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois and Director of the Continuous Casting Consortium.  His research efforts focus on computational modeling of continuous casting of steel and related processes.  He received his Bachelors of Metallurgical Engineering from McGill University, (Montreal, Canada) in 1979 and Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering in 1985 from the University of British Columbia, Canada.  He has worked in the Research Departments of Algoma Steel, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada and BHP in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Thomas has coauthored over 350 papers, and been recognized with several awards: Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF, Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from SME, Xerox Award from UIUC, Distinguished Scientist and Application to Practice Awards from TMS, Baosteel Honorary Professor, HPC Innovation Award, Fellow of ASM International, and 14 best paper awards (from AFS, AIME, ISS, AIST, TMS, CIM, and ASM International).  He has given over 200 presentations worldwide and co-instructed many short courses to industry, including the annual Brimacombe Continuous Casting Course.

Portrait David Embury
Professor Emeritus, McMaster University

David Embury is Professor Emeritus at McMaster University and has been a frequent visitor at UBC in the past decade. He was educated at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge in the UK and worked at US Steel Corporation prior to joining McMaster University in 1966. He has worked on a wide variety of topics in the area of Materials Science including high strength Aluminium alloys Steels metal matrix composites and metal forming. His research has been relevant to a variety of industries and he has served as a consultant in France, Norway, Australia, The USA and China. His research has been recognised by a number of International societies.

In addition to his research interests, David Embury is passionately interested in teaching and in the development of students. In the last decade he has been very active in education developments in a number of countries but particularly in China where he also has a Humanitarian activity following the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. He considers it a great honour to be invited to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Department at UBC.