Current Team

  • Lan-Xi Dong, Research Assistant
  • Lee Balki, Research Assistant
  • Jad Rabbaa, Research Assistant
  • Hugh Ritchie, Research Assistant
  • Afrooz Samaei, Research Assistant
  • Sana Shepko, Research Assistant
  • Manik Perera, Research Assistant
  • Orlando Bascunan, Research Assistant
  • Mudit Ganguly, Research Assistant
  • Greice Mariano, Visiting Doctoral Student (Brazil)
  • Ahmad Karawash, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Ajaz Hussain, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Jeremy Bowes, Faculty Researcher
  • Isabelle Mireilles, Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Martha Ladly, Principal Investigator
  • Patricio Davila, Principal Investigator
  • Peter Coppin, Principal Investigator
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, Director
  • Marcus A. Gordon, Manager
Photo of Isabel Meirelles
Isabel Meirelles Principal Investigator

Isabel Meirelles is a designer and educator whose intellectual curiosity lies in the relationships between visual thinking and visual representation. Isabel is a Professor in the Faculty of Design and a Researcher in the Visual Analytics Lab (VAL) at OCAD University, Toronto, Canada. At VAL, Meirelles is currently a researcher in two ORF-RE Projects: iCity: Urban Informatics for Sustainable Metropolitan Growth, and the Big Data Research, Analytics, and Information Network (BRAIN) Alliance. Prior to her current academic appointment that began in January 2015, Meirelles taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the Art + Design department at Northeastern University, Boston (2003–14), and was a core faculty member at Northeastern’s Center for Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences (2012–14). Isabel’s research focuses on the theoretical and experimental examination of the fundamentals underlying how information is structured, represented, and communicated in different media. Meirelles is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences dealing with information design, motion graphics, and design education. Besides numerous refereed articles and book chapters, Meirelles is the author of “Design for Information: An introduction to the histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations” (Rockport Publishers, 2013). Meirelles frequently collaborates with colleagues in the sciences and the humanities in interdisciplinary projects involving visualization of information. In addition, she has continued a creative design practice focused on print publications and interactive applications devised in collaboration with artists and art curators.

Martha Ladly
Dr. Martha Ladly Principal Investigator

Dr. Martha Ladly is a Professor of Design and Graduate Studies at OCAD University. She specializes in experience design, and interactive media, art and technology research; she is a founding researcher with the Mobile Experience Lab and was a principal network investigator with the GRAND Canadian National Centre of Excellence. She is currently undertaking research in the Centre for Innovation in Data Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD) with Dr. Gerald Penn, investigating gesture and keyword driven browsing, search and display, within a large 24-year CBC news data corpus. Martha is the author of numerous articles on digital technology and entertainment and has shown her work internationally, most recently at ISEA 2014 in Dubai, UAE. In the 1990s Martha was the Head of Design with Peter Gabriel’s Real World Group in the U.K. She had a prominent international career as a performer, writer, and recording artist in the 1980s. Martha completed her PhD on Eros, Women, and Technology in 2013, in the Communication and Culture Program at York University, and continued her research as a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2014

Photo of Peter Coppin
Peter Coppin Principal Investigator

Dr. Peter Coppin is an Associate Professor of Design at OCAD University. He is a core Program Faculty member in the Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design program where he runs the first and second-year Inclusive Design Laboratory courses and serves as Principal Advisor for a number of graduate student Major Research Projects (these are the culminating focus of the program's final year). During his PhD, Coppin developed a perceptual-cognitive model for understanding how graphics afford actions, a theme that cuts across inclusive design, human-computer interface design, visual art-design, and learning technology research. Previously Coppin developed –remote experiences"by creating systems that delivered data from remote rovers operating in extreme environments to science teams and the general public. He developed this work as Principal Investigator and Director of the NASA funded EventScope Project at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). At CMU Coppin also directed the BigSignal Project, one of the first telescience interfaces for educational audiences. Prior to BigSignal, Coppin was a nationally and internationally exhibiting electronic media artist and designer, operating under the group alias –Centre for Metahuman Exploration,"that he was a founding member of in the late 90s. In this capacity, Coppin developed telerobotic works and interactive television shows that were exhibited in venues such as the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria; MIR: Art in Space in Bolzono, Italy; and the SIGGRAPH Touchware Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. Coppin also directed research and development projects for EventScope's commercial spin-off, resulting in patented remote experience technologies to solve problems for various NASA and university customers. Occasionally Coppin taught human centered art and technology project classes such as –Telepresence Art and Applications,"listed within departments and institutes at Carnegie Mellon such as the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, the School of Art, the Entertainment Technology Center and the Robotics Institute.

Patricio Dávila
Patricio Dávila Principal Investigator

Patricio Dávila is a designer, artist and educator. He is currently Associate Professor in Design and Associate Dean at OCAD University. He is also member of the OCADU Mobile Media Lab and Visual Analytics Lab. Patricio is director of Public Visualization Lab. His doctoral research focused on developing a theoretical framework for examining data visualization as assemblages of subjectivation and power. In his creative practice he has created mobile applications, locative media projects, essay videos, new media installations, and participatory community projects including: Powers of Kin, Chthuluscene, Tent City Projections, The Line, and In The Air Tonight. His research and practice focuses on the politics and aesthetics of participation in the visualization of spatial issues with a specific focus on urban experiences, mobile technologies and large-scale interactive public installations.

Ahmad Karawash Dr. Ahmad Karawash Postdoctoral Fellow, Team Lead
Photo of Ajaz Hussain Dr. Ajaz Hussain Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Office of the President

Dr. Ajaz Hussain holds the position of ‘Post-Doctoral Research Fellow’ at OCAD University, supporting the President’s Office. He is playing a leadership role in the Visual Analytics Lab (VAL) by having research affiliation with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) CREATE Program in Data Analytics and Visualization (CREATE DAV) program in Canada. Dr. Ajaz is a multifaceted technology evangelist and renowned scientist in blended research domains who aims to chisel the information, and scientific visualizations through advanced Data Science & Visual Analytics approaches. He has earned his PhD (IT) with distinction from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2015, where his research focus was identification of Social Influencers, Empirical Analysis of Social Influence, Social Networks Analysis (SNA), Sentiment Analysis, Scale-Free Networks, and Force-Directed Graphs Drawing Layouts. During his PhD, he made a significant contribution in scientific research by devising the scalable network visualization techniques, and visual influence analysis on Twitter network, which resulted into salient research publications in high impact factor ISI indexed journals and conferences. His current research work emphasis on Big Data Analysis, Visual Analytics, Data Science, Visual Design, Social Network Analysis & Visualization, Predictive and Prescriptive Data Analytics, UX and Natural User Interactions. He is playing a vital role in VAL by leading various research projects sponsored by Canadian government alliances and industrial research partners, contributing as well in a mentorship role by managing and supervising the graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and working in liaison with Research Office of OCAD U to target potential research grant opportunities. His current research enthusiasm is to extract data-driven insights from scalable, complex and multi-dimensional Big Data by leveraging Data Science Analytics & Visual Design Metaphors to reveal the affinity correlation within highly dimensional data dynamism and customers' behavioral insights via seamless UX and Natural User Interactions.

Besides having an extensive scientific research portfolio, he brings along a diversified academic and professional experience of +12 years, where he performed strategic leadership, IT advisory, and business consultancy services in various aspects of Technology Incubation and Innovation, R&D, Digital Transformation, PMO and Process Automation in major EU and non-EU Telecom, Banks, Manufacturers, and Automotive sectors.

Photograph of Kartikay Chadha Kartikay Chadha Project Manager and Researcher

Kartikay Chadha is a Researcher in the Visual Analytics Laboratory (VAL) and manages a major multi-institutional collaborative data visualization research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), entitled Creating a Visual Language of Marks ( He holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Technology from the VIT University in India. His research aims to develop computational algorithms, tools including websites and databases, to store, visualise, and analyse large volume datasets for meaningful information retrieval.

Kartikay joined VAL in 2014 as a Mitacs Globalink Intern during an undergraduate placement with Dr Martha Ladly. He now leads Ladly’s technical team with his expertise in computer programming, and big data quantitative and qualitative analyses. He is currently researching on various modes of interaction for historians with historical data, to leverage the applications of human-computer and human-information interaction to facilitate information retrieval using data visualization technologies. Kartikay has contributed to other on-going VAL projects including the Postcard Memories, the CBC Holodeck and the Elders, Memory and Visualization research projects. Kartikay holds a Researcher affiliation with The Big Data Research, Analytics, and Information Network (BRAIN) Alliance at York University, an Ontario network of Universities, public and private institutions, working together to conduct state-of-the-art translational research on large-scale data sets (

During his education and work career, Kartikay has developed multiple websites, databases and web-application for research projects based at institutions including OCAD University, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto and York University in Canada, the University of Colorado Boulder in the United States, and the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. Kartikay is the lead developer of the Decoding Origins Web Portal (, an online open-source content management tool that is currently used by academic researchers at institutions in North America, Europe and West Africa to collaborate, curate and research historical manuscripts. Very early in his career, Kartikay has presented his research work at multiple national and international academic conferences and has published in peer-reviewed journals. He is also working as a Technical Team Lead for Dr Paul Lovejoy’s research group, at the Harriet Tubman Research Institute in York University, Toronto. He is currently leading the technical development and production of over 13 African Digital Humanities research projects.

Dr. Sara Diamond Dr. Sara Diamond President Emerita

Dr. Sara Diamond is currently President Emerita of OCAD University Canada’s “university of the imagination.” She was President and Vice-Chancellor for 15 years, stepping down on June 30, 2020. She holds a PhD in Computer Science and degrees in new media theory and practice, social history and communications. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in June 2019 and is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists. While retaining OCAD University's traditional strengths in art and design, Dr. Diamond led OCAD University to retain and expand its traditional strengths in art and design while transforming it to become a leader in graduate education, research and digital media. She led collaborative efforts to strengthen equity and diversity at OCAD U, and to support Indigenous cultures, research, and decolonization. She also played a leading role in OCAD University's establishment of the unique Aboriginal Visual Culture Program. These initiatives have built strong partnerships for OCAD University with science, business and communities, in Ontario and abroad. Currently, she serves on the Ontario Ministry of Culture’s Advisory Council on Arts & Culture, ORION (Ontario’s high-speed network), SHARCNET, IO (Interactive Ontario), Canadian Women in Communications; i-Canada; is Chair of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto Advisory Committee. Diamond serves the larger university community through her membership on the Standing Advisory Committee on University Research (SACUR) of the Association of Universities and Colleges and as Chair of the Standing Committee on Relationships with Other Postsecondary Institutions for the Council of Ontario Universities. Diamond is a member of the Council of the Canadian Academies’ expert panel on the State of Science & Technology in Canada.

She is a data visualization, wearable technology and mobile media researcher, artist and designer. She developed, a social media software and performance and responsive fashion environment. Diamond is founding Chair of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre and current co-chair (with RBC). She is co-principal investigator on the Centre for Information Visualization/Data Driven Design, an OCAD U/York University major initiative and sits on the board of the National Centre of Excellence GRAND. Diamond continues to write and lecture on the subjects of digital media history, digital media, strategic foresight; mobility and design strategy for peer-reviewed journals and acts as a reviewer and evaluator for IEEE and ACM conferences and journals; SSHRC, CFI and the Canada Research Chair programs. Her artwork is held by prestigious collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, NYC and the National Gallery of Canada.

Diamond was the Artistic Director of Media and Visual Art and Director of Research at the Banff Centre, where she created the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in 1995 and led it until 2005. In this role she assisted with the development, incubation and support of many of Canada's leading new media companies. Diamond created and was the Editor-in-Chief of, an online showcase for new media art and design in collaboration with Heritage Canada and The Banff Centre. At the Banff Centre she created international think tanks and collaborations in ICT, digital media and science research with artists, designers and scientists from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Central and Western Europe and the U.S.A., as well as Canada. Her book (with Sarah Cook) Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Dialogues, a history of the boom, bust and reset years of the first wave of digital media is currently available; published by Banff Centre Press and Riverdale Architectural Press, University of Waterloo.

Photo of Lan-Xi Dong Lan-Xi Dong Research Assistant

Lanxi Dong is an undergraduate student in the Industrial Design program at OCAD University. She is interested in experience design, inclusive design, user-centred design, and urban design, as well as exploring research methods in design practice.

Jad Rabbaa Jad Rabbaa Research Assistant

Jad Rabbaa is a multidisciplinary digital designer, multimedia strategist, and editor. His interdisciplinary background is the combination of his passion for communication aesthetics and his interest in digital technology. 
Jad’s exposure to different fields keeps expanding, spanning over three different continents, two majors, and five languages. Over the past decade, he has worked for a wide array of clients around the world, ranging from TV channels to SMEs and even the public sector. Lately, he has been involved with the United Nations working as a UX designer and strategist at the peacekeeping mission UNIFIL. His experience covers interactive design through web and mobile, incorporating illustrations, animations, and video to serve a seamless user experience and communication.
Jad’s research at the Masters of Digital Futures at OCAD focuses on the use of the state-of-the-art Augmented Reality HMDs as a futuristic wayfinding tool within complex spaces and how the User Interface and User Experience will develop within the realm of MR and AR.

Photo of Jeremy Bowes Jeremy Bowes Faculty Researcher

Jeremy Bowes is a tenured Professor in Design at OCAD University, and teaches in the Environmental Design program, and the Strategic Foresight and innovation graduate program. He has 35 years of experience as an interior, and architectural designer. He has operated his own design office since 1987, and has pursued a variety of design work from film and television studios, interior and architectural design, to exhibit and furniture design. His current practice encompasses residential design; small urban infill, cottage and rural residential projects, with a focus on new sustainable methods, constructional systems and materials. Jeremy has served in numerous administrative capacities, most recently as an assistant dean in the faculty of design, and as a chair of the Environmental Design program. He is also a course leader in the Strategic Foresight and innovation Masters of design graduate program, and an advisor to Slab. His research centres around sustainable living design approaches for habitat dwellings, building on past architectural housing experience, and systems design background. Key areas of research are minimal residential habitat design, sustainable prefabrication, material constructional system methods, and integrated living systems within architectural, urban and rural ecologies.

Marcus A. Gordon Marcus A. Gordon Lab Manager

Marcus A. Gordon is a visual artist, researcher, and adjunct professor, that works at the intersections of holography, photography, and visualization.  He brings information technology experience from various organizations in the computing, finance, and telecommunications sectors. At OCAD University, he is an advocate for open source and digital literacy, and promotes this via the Visual Analytics Labs' industry and academic relationships he builds there as lab manager. His MFA graduate research in combined his interests in holography, photography and architecture, exploring the nature of spatial imaging and public art. In the summer of 2017, he completed his Digital Futures studies and research assistance with an internship at IBM Design. Marcus also continues his art research practice in holography through OCAD University's PHASE Lab, alongside his passion for fine art photography. Since 2018, Marcus is the newest member of the Toronto Public Library's Innovation Council, and continues to advocate digital thinking in art/design research and education.


Hugh Ritchie Hugh Ritchie Research Assistant
Afrooz Samaei Afrooz Samaei Research Assistant
Sana Shepko Sana Shepko Research Assistant
Manik Perera Manik Perera Research Assistant
Orlando Bascunan Orlando Bascunan Research Assistant
Mudit Ganguly Mudit Ganguly Research Assistant
Greice Mariano Dr. Greice C. Mariano Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Visual Analytics Lab

Dr. Greice C. Mariano is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Data Visualization at the Visual Analytics Lab (VAL). She earned her PhD and Masters of Science degrees in Computer Science in 2018 and 2013, respectively, under the supervision of Professor Ricardo Torres at Institute of Computing (IC) from University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Campinas, São Paulo State, Brazil. She also conclude a specialization in health informatics at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil in 2010 and graduated in Information Technology also at University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in 2009.

During her PhD she worked  on the specification and implementation of information visualization techniques to identify cyclical patterns in multidimensional and multivariate temporal data.  As motivation and case study, Greice used environmental data, more specifically, plant phenological data produced in the context of the e-phenology Project . As a complement of her doctorate, during six months (from November 2017 to April 2018), she received a scholarship from Canada as a Emerging Leader in the Americas Program (ELAP), and had the opportunity to meet and work at VAL Lab as an international visiting research, where she worked on two projects developing visualization design approaches under the supervision of Dr. Sara Diamond.

In her Master’s research, Greice worked on the specification and implementation of the data model of the database created for the e-phenology Project. The devised data model integrates heterogeneous temporal data, associated with vegetation images, plant phenology observations, and climate information. Greice also has experience in software development, as well as information system with emphasis in corporate web applications. 

Since November 2018, she is back with VAL as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and has been working on the iCity project. At VAL, she has a main research interest to investigate the use of visualization techniques to explore multidimensional and multivariate temporal data. Besides that, she also has interest in research related to data science, visual analytics tools, scientific visualization, software engineering and database development.  

Past Members

Jessica Peter Lab Alumni
Laura Wright Lab Alumni



Dr. Fanny Chevalier Lab Alumn
Dr. Bhuvaneswari Arunachalan Lab Alumni
Harjot Bal Lab Alumni
Pavika Chinatraruck (Pui) Lab Alumni
Martin Dimkovski Lab Alumni
Anna Golinski Lab Alumni
Symon Oliver Lab Alumni
Tatijana Petkovic Lab Alumni
Borzu Talaie Lab Alumni
Peggy Zhou (Pei) Lab Alumni
Cornelia Baptista Lab Alumni
Allie Chiu Lab Alumni
Guia Gali Lab Alumni
John Harvey Lab Alumni
Ambrose Li Lab Alumni
Tea Pajkic Lab Alumni
Gabe Sawhney Lab Alumni
Ruzette Tanyag Lab Alumni
Cathy (Pin-Chun) Chen Lab Alumni
Elnaz Delpisheh Lab Alumni
Alex Gebhardt Lab Alumni
Chris Ivanovs Lab Alumni
John Matyskiel Lab Alumni
Joana Patrasc Lab Alumni
Anne Stevens Lab Alumni
Rober Tu Lab Alumni
Chantal Chen Lab Alumni
Chi Deng Lab Alumni
Maziar Ghaderi Lab Alumni
Siavash Kazemian Lab Alumni
Razieh Niazi Lab Alumni
Hudson Pridham Lab Alumni
Weiwei Sun Lab Alumni
Ma Qianyi Research Assistant

Ma Qianyi is the receipient of 2018 Mitacs Globalink award.