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Distinguished Professor Yi Min 'Mike' Xie

Professor Mike Xie is the founding director of the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM).  Currently he is an Australian Laureate Fellow and an RMIT University Distinguished Professor.


His team pioneered the evolutionary structural optimisation (ESO) and bi-directional evolutionary structural optimisation (BESO) methods, which have been used by thousands of engineers and architects around the world to design novel structures including several landmark buildings.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.


His research impact in the field of structural optimisation has been recognised by the 2017 AGM Michell Medal and the 2017 Clunies Ross Innovation Award.  In 2019, he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for “significant service to higher education, and to civil engineering”.  In 2020, he was awarded the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation.  In 2022, he received the Sir John Holland Civil Engineer of the Year award.  Professor Xie has published two research monographs and over 400 journal articles and conference papers.  He is one of the most highly cited researchers in his field.  Professor Xie has collaborated with a wide range of local and international companies, including Arup, Aurecon and Boeing.


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Dr Ding Wen 'Nic' Bao

Dr. Nic Bao is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Architecture Technology Stream Cooridnator at RMIT University, specializing in performance architecture, bio-inspired design, computational design, structural optimization, behavioral algorithms, additive manufacturing, and robotic fabrication. Prior to joining RMIT, Nic worked as a full time architect at Bates Smart and Fender Katsalidis from 2013 - 2018, as well as taught as a sessional lecturer at the University of Melbourne and Monash University from 2015 - 2019. He has published over 40 articles and serves as an editorial board member of Architectural Intelligence journal and Sustainable Structures journal. Nic is an Australian and US Registered Architect, and UK RIBA Chartered Architect. He is the director of BW Architects (BWA) and Wonderform Studio, founder of FormX and partner at Ameba. His work has been exhibited at DigitalFutures, NGV Melbourne Design Week, Venice Biennale, Shenzhen Biennale, IASS Expo, Melbourne Design Fair, etc.

Nic received his PhD with the 2021 Research Excellence and Impact Award and Prize from RMIT University, where he gained his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He also holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne and used to study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Nic has been the recipient of numerous awards, including 2021 Young CAADRIA Award, 2021 MUSE Design Awards, 2022 Grand Prix Du Design Paris Gold Award, 2022 IAI Design Awards, 2023 A'Design Awards, 2023 DigitalFUTURES Young Award and 2023 RMIT Award for Research Excellence (Early Career Researcher). Nic also holds various roles within the architectural community, including an officer and chair of awards at CAADRIA, a committee member of the Australian Institute of Architects, DigitalFutures Association, and a key organizing committee member of the IASS 2023 Annual Symposium. He was also invited as a guest lecturer and critic at Tongji University, Universita Di Pisa, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen University, University of Newcastle, UCL Bartlett, ETH Zurich, Southeast University, University of Michigan, etc.


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Dr Ngoc San Ha


Dr Ngoc San Ha is a Lecturer in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering at RMIT University.  He received his PhD degree in Engineering with a specialisation in structural mechanics at Konkuk University in South Korea with an outstanding graduation award in 2014.


Previously, Dr Ha was a Sessional Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at La Trobe University and a Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology and Curtin University.  Currently, Dr Ha is a member of the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University, led by an ARC Laureate Fellow - Distinguished Professor Mike Xie.  Dr Ha's research interests include bio-inspired structures, construction materials, energy absorption of structures and materials, mechanical metamaterials, advanced composite structures and structural analysis under extreme conditions.


Dr Ha has been consistently producing top-notch research outcomes including one book chapter and more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed international journals.  His publications were recognised as highly cited papers in Composite Part B and Journal of Bionic Engineering.  Dr Ha and his co-authors have also received two best-paper awards for their research on biomimetics.  Dr Ha was a guest editor of the Internal Journal of Protective Structures and is currently a topic editor at the journal Materials.  Dr Ha has been involved in several research project grants as an investigator, including ARC Linkage Project and NSF China.



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Dr Yunzhen 'Fred' He


Yunzhen He is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University, where he works on the ARC Laureate Fellowship project.  He received his PhD degree from RMIT University in 2023, with the thesis entitled ‘Creating Diverse and Competitive Designs in Topology Optimisation’.


Yunzhen has a keen research interest in topology optimisation, digital fabrication, and free-form architectural structures. During his PhD studies, Yunzhen developed novel optimisation techniques for achieving innovative structural designs that exhibit outstanding performance.  His research outcomes have been published in leading journals such as ‘Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering’, ‘Automation in Construction’, and ‘Finite Elements in Analysis and Design’. One of his publications received the Best Paper Award at the 13th Research Symposium for Chinese Ph.D. Students and Scholars in Australia.


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Dr Ting-Uei 'Jeff' Lee


Dr Ting-Uei (Jeff) Lee comes from an engineering academic background. He has a strong research interest in modelling complex 3D forms with the consideration of material behaviours using computational design techniques.

Jeff completed his Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2015 and his Doctor of Philosophy in collaboration between UQ and Tianjin University in 2019. Within Jeff’s PhD thesis entitled “Elastic energy behaviours of curved-crease origami”, he has solved a major problem in curved-crease origami research, that is the analytical representation of curved-crease origami with the consideration of material bending behaviours. Applications of his new origami theory include modelling of target folded forms, simulation of compliant folding behaviours and accurate response of physical phenomena. It offers a strong research platform for curved-crease origami ranging from the fundamental geometrical relations to potential engineering applications.

In July 2020, Jeff commenced as a research fellow in the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Mike Xie. Jeff’s active research areas include topology optimisation, origami-inspired engineering, compliant mechanisms, novel architectural geometries, deployable structures, and lightweight/modular constructions.


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Dr Xiaoshan 'Susanna' Lin

Dr Xiaoshan (Susanna) Lin is a Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering at RMIT University. She received her PhD degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 2012.

Before joining RMIT University in 2016, Dr Lin had been working as a postdoctoral researcher at UNSW Canberra, University of Liverpool in the UK and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Dr Lin’s fields of expertise include development of advanced finite element techniques for accurate and efficient numerical simulations, high performance reinforced concrete and composite materials, and structural analysis under extreme conditions.

Dr Lin has been involved in different research projects as a chief investigator, including ARC Discovery Projects and Victorian government funded research projects. In 2019, she published one research monograph on finite element analysis of composite structures. Dr Lin has supervised two PhD students to completion, and is currently supervising ten PhD students and two Masters by Research students.


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Dr Hongjia Lu


Hongjia Lu is a research fellow at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University, where he works on the ARC Laureate Fellowship project.  He received his B.Eng. Degree in civil engineering from The University of Liverpool in 2013; M.Sc. degree in structural engineering from the Imperial College London in 2014; and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Sheffield in 2017 with a thesis entitled ‘Application of layout optimisation to the design of bracing in buildings’.


Hongjia’s research interests include truss layout optimisation, continuum topology optimisation and applications related to building structure design and additive manufacturing (AM).  From 2017 to 2019 he worked as a core software developer at LimitState Ltd and contributed to the development of layout optimisation plugins Limitstate:FORM (Ansys SpaceClaim based) and Peregrine (Rhino-Grasshopper based).  From 2019 to 2020, he worked as a Research Associate on the INTEGRADDE project at the University of Sheffield and focused on the structural optimisation of metal components manufactured using multi-axis AM machines.  He worked at the Zhejiang University in 2021 and headed a research project involving three post-graduate students on AM related topology and layout optimization.


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Dr Jiaming Ma


Jiaming Ma is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University, where he works on the ARC Laureate Fellowship project.  He has a strong research interest in the design and fabrication of innovative structures using topology optimisation and advanced manufacturing techniques.


Jiaming received his double degrees of B.Eng. (Hons.) in mechanical engineering from Shandong University in China and RMIT University in Australia in 2018. He completed his PhD in CISM at RMIT University in 2023, with the thesis entitled ‘Design and Fabrication of Innovative Shell Structures Using Topology Optimisation and Advanced Manufacturing Techniques’.  During his PhD study, Jiaming developed new techniques to create innovative shell structures and examined representative shell structures in nature and engineering applications. His research outcomes have been published in leading international journals.


Jiaming is experienced in topology optimisation, computational morphogenesis, lightweight shell structure design, and novel fabrication and construction methods.  He received the 2022 Hangai Prize from the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS), the Best Research Student Paper Award at the Fifth Australasian Conference on Computational Mechanics, and the Postgraduate Research Excellence Award at CISM. Jiaming was the President of the Chinese Association of Professionals and Scholars in Australia, the General Chair of the 13th Research Symposium for Chinese PhD Students and Scholars in Australia and is the core member of the organizing committee of the IASS Annual Symposium 2023.



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Dr Vahid Shobeiri


Vahid Shobeiri is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University, where he works on the ARC Laureate Fellowship project under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Mike Xie.  He received his PhD degree from The University of Adelaide in 2023, with the thesis entitled "Optimization of Structures Considering Environmental Sustainability" and worked in the industry before and after his PhD study.  He has significant research experience in the environmental sustainability, sustainable manufacturing designs, and computational mechanics, in particular topology optimisation techniques.


Vahid has developed several meta-heuristic and evolutionary optimisation algorithms for the optimal design of nonlinear structures under dynamic/impact loads.  He has published over 20 papers in highly reputable journals and done extensive research on the design of innovative structures using topology optimisation and advanced finite element techniques.  Vahid has been a reviewer for a number of prestigious journals and received several industrial awards.


Vahid’s fields of expertise also include reinforced concrete structures, composite materials, structural dynamics, environmentally friendly concrete, artificial intelligence and life-cycle assessment.


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Dr Jonathan Tran


Dr Jonathan Tran is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, and a member of the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CSIM), School of Engineering, RMIT University.

His research interests lie at the interface between solid mechanics and materials engineering with the aim to develop novel materials that exhibit paradigm-shifting properties for extreme loading protection that can impact the general field of infrastructure and lightweight structural materials.

Dr Tran received his PhD in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University, USA. Dr Tran has supervised over ten PhD students with four completions. He has published three book chapters and over 90 refereed journal articles.


Dr Tran and his PhD students were awarded a number of best paper prizes for their research on computational mechanics and shock & impact on structures. His recent research on 3D printing concrete mimicking lobster’s shell has been featured in over 300 online and broadcast stories in mainstream, science and trade-focused media including Reuters, New York Post, Australian Manufacturing, Daily Mail.


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