Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program: Electric, Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research

Mariam Khan

Ph.D. Student

Short Biography

Mariam-Khan_1_250x200Mariam Khan received her Bachelor’s Degree in mechatronics engineering from National University of Sciences & Technology, Pakistan, in 2005 and Master’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Windsor in 2009. She served as Senior Research Associate for projects on distributed generation in remote locations and automotive fuel efficiency standards at the Office of Meteorological & Climate Affairs, Pakistan from 2011 to 2012. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO). Her research interests include hybrid powertrain design and power converters for vehicle applications.

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Mariam-Khan_3_250x450By the time she started high school, Mariam already knew she wanted to become an engineer. She completed her bachelor’s program in mechatronics engineering at the National University of Sciences & Technology, the most prestigious engineering institute in Pakistan. During this program, Mariam was introduced to concepts of both mechanical and electrical engineering, and was given hands-on training in building robotic designs from the ground up. During the course of her studies, she developed some very interesting projects, one of which was the design and fabrication of an autonomous firefighting robot. Sleepless days and nights spent building the mechanical base of the robot, etching PCB layouts for motor drives, calibrating sensors, and installing the extinguishing mechanism, were some of the most frustrating yet enjoyable times she has ever spent as a student.

Mariam was first introduced to automotive technologies, particularly hybrid electric vehicles, as she continued her studies pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Windsor in Canada. Her research focused on electric machine modeling and motor control for automotive applications. She also became heavily involved in the setup of a new Centre for Hybrid Automotive & Green Energy (CHARGE). While developing a comprehensive research proposal and setting up test equipment for the labs, Mariam began a detailed study on the existing and emerging trends as well as bottlenecks in hybrid electric vehicle design, particularly drivetrain architectures, battery technology, and electric traction motors. This not only gave her an appreciation for the breadth and scope of this subject, but also a passion for automotive design, which she hopes to pursue in her future professional endeavors.

After her master’s degree, while working in Pakistan in the public sector on renewable energy projects and automotive efficiency standards, Mariam came across the opportunity to apply for a position in the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain Program. This program has provided her with the most ideal environment for research on hybrid automotive design, in a state-of-the-art research facility. She’s also had the opportunity to work with some of the best engineering minds from around the world – not to mention, the friendliest. She’s certain that this experience will play a huge role in reaching her professional goals. Mariam’s current research is focused on the optimization of components to reduce conducted electromagnetic interference (EMI) in a DC/DC boost converter. Improving the EMI behaviour of components can eliminate the need for filters, thereby reducing the system cost and improving power density.

In her free time, Mariam likes to play squash, go jogging, or relax with a good TV show. However, her favourite activity is travelling. She has visited more than a dozen countries and has a lot more destinations lined up, mostly historical sites. Mariam’s professional interest is in applied research, and her plan after completing her Ph.D. is to find a position as a research engineer in the automotive industry.