Department of Engineering Leadership

The Department of Engineering is led by an executive team who understand the importance of an industry-led student experience and research that provides real world solutions.

Professor Hossam Aboel Naga

Professor Hossam Aboel Naga is Head of the Department of Engineering. Prior to joining La Trobe, he was Senior Lecturer and Leader of Geo-Engineering at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom; Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand; and Research Fellow at Monash University. He has over 25 years’ experience in geotechnical engineering, specialising in soil behaviour under multi-physical coupled processes. Research applications include nuclear waste disposal technology, methane hydrate mining techniques, energy foundations, ground improvement and landfill lining systems. Professor Aboel Naga has authored over 100 publications in international refereed journals and conference proceedings. He has served as panellist for the National Science Foundation (United States of America) and assessor for the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Australian Research Council. He also works with several international engineering journals as a guest editor and as a member of the editorial team.

Associate Professor Ing Kong

Associate Professor Ing Kong is the Deputy Head of the Department of Engineering and Leader of the Advanced Polymer and Composite Materials Research Group. Prior to joining La Trobe, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National University of Malaysia and RMIT, and as an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. She has 15 years’ experience in engineering research and development. She provides complementary expertise in the development of advanced materials, particularly functional polymer composites, magnetic nanoparticles, carbon nanomaterials and superconductors. She has authored over 100 publications, including ten invited book chapters and 100 refereed journal articles.

Professor James Maxwell

Professor James Maxwell is Director of Engineering Research and Theme Leader of the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Mining Group in the Centre for Technology Infusion. Prior to joining La Trobe, he worked as a Senior Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, United States of America. He has 29 years’ experience in research and 20 years’ experience in classified defence research and development programs. His research interests include the development of novel high-performance textiles and composite materials, including the synthesis and behaviour of materials under extreme conditions (for example, ultra-short time-scales and extreme pressures). Professor Maxwell also teaches graduate-level advanced material and nano/micro engineering subjects. He has over 60 publications, seven awarded patents and four R&D 100 Awards.

Associate Professor Robert Ross

Associate Professor Robert Ross is Leader of the Robotics and Embedded Sensor Systems Research Group, and Founder and Director of the Robotics, Automation, Mechatronics, Prototyping and Sensing Research Laboratory. His research areas include robotics, sensors (including Internet of Things) and educational technologies, with a focus on functional prototypes. Associate Professor Ross works closely with industry, with recent projects on agricultural robotics and robotic condition assessment of sewers. He is a pioneer in the field of educational escape rooms and built the world’s first open source reconfigurable escape room decoder. He has authored 40 publications in international refereed journals and conference proceedings.

Associate Professor Thuc Vo

Associate Professor Thuc Vo is Leader of the Civil Engineering Group in the Department of Engineering. Prior to joining La Trobe, he was a Senior Lecturer and Program Leader in Civil Engineering at Northumbria University, United Kingdom; Lecturer at Wrexham Glyndwr University, United Kingdom; and Research Associate at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. Dr Vo specialises in the development of shear deformation theories to investigate structural responses of composite structures (laminate, functionally graded material and micro/nano structures) and machine learning for structural engineering applications. He has published over 120 research papers, receiving more than 4000 citations and an h-index of 35.

Associate Professor Dennis Deng

Associate Professor Dennis Deng is Reader and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. He has over 28 years’ experience in research and teaching in digital signal processing including lossless data compression, generalised linear systems and statistical signal processing. He has also been awarded funding from industries and defence to develop cutting-edge technologies in audio and image processing. Dr Deng has been a member of international conference committees, a journal reviewer, and an Area Editor of Applied Mathematical Modelling. He serves as an external examiner for PhD theses and research grant applications from Australian and international universities, and government funding agencies. Dr Deng has published in top international refereed journals and conference proceedings.

Find out more about the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, and read our Statement of Strategic Intent.