Our members are expert researchers in their fields.

School of Engineering

Distinguished Professor Yi Min “Mike” Xie - Director

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. 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.


Ding Wen “Nic” Bao

Nic Bao is a Lecturer in Architectural Technology in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT University having previously taught at University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University and Tongji University. His research explores design methodologies for establishing a complementary relationship among computational design, structural engineering, behavioural algorithms, performance-oriented architecture, robotic fabrication and intelligent construction.

Nic is a practising Registered Architect in Australia, and a RIBA Chartered Architect in the UK over six years of working experience. He used to work for Bates Smart, Fender Katsalidis, Noel Robinson Architects, Billard Leece Partnership and LAB Architecture. Currently, Nic is the director of the architecture practice Studio Nic Bao.

Nic is completing his PhD at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials, RMIT University, where he received the full PhD scholarship. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne (2014) and a Bachelor of Architecture from RMIT University (2012). His work has been exhibited and published widely and has gained recognition at national and international level including Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, Digital Futures in Shanghai, IASS Expo in Barcelona, Annual Design Research Exhibition in Melbourne, Shenzhen Biennale, Future Prototypes Exhibition of Melbourne Design Week, Time + Architecture Magazine, Current Chinese Science etc.

Dr Mohamed Gomaa

Mohamed has been working in both academia and practise since 2010, with teaching and research experience spanning across Egypt, UK and Australia. He obtained his PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2020. He holds a master’s degree from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, UK. Mohamed’s research focuses on integrating digital fabrication techniques and sustainable materials, with a special interest in additive manufacturing. Mohamed has a strong background in computational design, robotic fabrication and energy performance simulation. His research outcomes have been published in top international journals.

Mohamed was awarded several scholarships and grants in recognition of his academic and research excellence such as Chevening Scholarship from the UK government, ASI Scholarship and RAS grant from the University of Adelaide. He worked as a lead research associate in Cardiff University and Plymouth University in the UK, on a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In addition, Mohamed worked as a teaching assistant at Cardiff University, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. He also worked as Assistant Lecturer at Tanta University in Egypt. Mohamed is currently conducting his post-doctoral research at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University as part of an ARC project on free-form architecture.


Dr Anooshe Rezaee Javan

Dr Anooshe Rezaee Javan is a research assistant at the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM). Her research focuses on developing new methods for designing and fabricating free-form architectural structures. She obtained her PhD degree from RMIT University in 2018. Her PhD thesis investigated the static and dynamic behaviour of a new high-performance interlocking brick assembly. Anooshe completed her master’s degree in seismic engineering at Sharif University of Technology in 2008. Moreover, Anooshe is a professional structural engineer with over eight years of design experience of a wide range of structures, with a strong understanding of structural behaviour. She has highly developed skills in numerical analysis and experimental studies.

Anooshe’s fields of expertise include free-form architectural structures, novel architectural geometries, designing complex structures and utilising innovative digital techniques.


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.

You may visit Jeff’s personal website for more information:

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.

Dr Jonathan Tran

Dr Jonathan Tran is a senior lecturer in the Department of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, and 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 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 three completions. He has published three book chapters and over 80 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.

Dr Zi-Long Zhao

Dr Zi-Long Zhao obtained his PhD degree from Tsinghua University in 2016 and then joined the Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials (CISM) at RMIT University as a Research Fellow. His research focuses on investigating the mechanical behavior of chiral structures and natural biological structures, with the aim of deciphering the physical mechanisms underlying their exceptional properties and functions, gaining inspirations to design innovative and highly efficient products.

Theoretical models established by Dr Zhao are now widely used to analyze chiral structures with complex geometries and non-linear constitutive relations. Experimental findings from his research have contributed significantly to understanding the structure–property–function interrelations of different living systems. Most of his research outcomes are published in top international journals of respective topic areas, e.g., Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solid and Biophysical Journal.

Dr Zhao taught Statics for the undergraduates at RMIT University and now he is the senior or associate supervisor of six PhD students. He has a strong background in solid mechanics, biomechanics and computational mechanics. He is a winner of the prestigious Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA). Besides this he has won several other highly competitive prizes, honors and awards in recent years for his research excellence and impact.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer