Dr. Michael HendrY

Dr. Michael Hendry is the Director of CaRRL and has over 17 years of experience researching railway infrastructure, operations, and railway-related technology development and testing. His team of experts from the University of Alberta conducts leading-edge research primarily focused on improving the safety of the Canadian railway network and the mitigation of geological hazards and works directly with geotechnical engineers from CN, CP, National Research Council Canada and Transport Canada, encouraging the transfer and implementation of technology into industrial practice. He is also a principal investigator for the Railway Ground Hazard Research Program ( (2014-2025) and holds the Industrial Research Chair in Railway Engineering from the National Sciences and Research Council of Canada (2018-2024).

Dr. Hendry was an expert witness to the Canadian Senate’s standing committee on Transport & Communications on April 6, 2022, for the study of the impacts of climate change on critical infrastructure.

Dr. Renato macciotta

Dr. Renato Macciotta is the Associate Director of CaRRL and assists with coordinating CaRRL research activities. He has 14 years of research experience and 18 years of practical experience working in civil, mining and risk engineering projects. His experience includes 1) qualitative and quantitative risk assessments for transportation corridors, including railway routes, 2) open pit slope stability and risk evaluations, 3) geotechnical and geomechanical investigations for mining, civil and transportation projects; and 4) the application of remote sensing techniques for surface mapping and monitoring.

Dr. Macciotta’s experience in railway risk and reliability includes quantitative and qualitative risk assessments for ground hazards affecting railway corridors in Canada; the development of risk-informed train operation options to maintain adequate safety levels associated with rock fall phenomena; the development of risk assessment tools for key trains and key routes (transportation of dangerous goods); and the evaluation of the rail transportation regulatory regime in Canada with regards to safety and quantitative assessments of the benefits of implementing Enhanced Train Control in Canada (ETC), as well as providing support to industry in the development of ETC.

Dr. derek martin

Dr. Derek Martin is an internationally renowned expert in geotechnical engineering. He served as the inaugural CaRRL Program Director and concurrently held the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Railway Geomechanics and the Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures Tier One Industry Chair in Railway Geomechanics. His current research includes investigating ground hazards, risk and GIS technologies; repository geomechanics; and geoscience (stress and fracture flow).

Dr. mustafa gül

Dr. Mustafa Gül is a Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta. Dr. Gül’s current research focuses mainly on developing novel technologies for smart, sustainable, and resilient cities and societies by developing technologies for Crowdsensing-based Monitoring of Built and Natural Environments (CoMBiNE). Dr. Gül has led more than 25+ large-scale research projects in the infrastructure and energy areas funded by various federal and provincial organizations and industry partners, and he has published 85+ journal papers and 90+ conference papers in the areas of infrastructure and energy.

As a participating research with the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta (CaRRL), Dr. Gül investigates the use of data for rail maintenance planning.

Dr. ben jar

Dr. Ben Jar's research is in the area of materials evaluation, focusing on their mechanical performance that is difficult or impossible to quantify using current standard tests. Dr. Jar’s contribution to the proposed program will be in the development of new, non-destructive test methods to determine the mechanical properties for railway infracture without disrupting railway operations. In the last 10 years, he has been one of the leading investigators in the Canadian Rail Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta (CaRRL). Dr. Jar’s research has successfully characterized a wide range of rail steels that are either being used or considered for continuously welded rails (CWR) with heavy axle load and high speed operations. The ultimate goal of the research work is two-fold: one is to develop testing techologies that provide non-destructive means for continuous health monitoring of railway infrastructures, and the other is to quantify load-carrying capacity in selected locations of rails that are known to be likely to initate rail failure. The latter, due to the localized nature, is impossible to measure at present.


Dr. Lianne Lefsrud has two decades of industry experience with senior roles in industry, consulting, and regulation. This includes five years with Canadian National Railway where she worked in Engineering and Environmental Services (cleaned up contaminated and derailment sites, risk management for rockfalls and avalanches), Transportation Supervisor (supervised running trades, trained as locomotive engineer and conductor), Manager Network Operations (managed train operations), Market Manager (coal, sulphur & fertilizers), Senior Manager Support Services (chief of staff for Sr. VP Operations), and Director Guaranteed Car Order Program (implemented system-wide railcar distribution system). Since 2015, Dr. Lefsrud has been on faculty with the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and Lynch School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta. She is recently appointed as the Risk, Innovation, and Sustainability Chair (RISC). She also provides board and public policy advice to governments, regulatory agencies, and industry partners.

Paul miller, msce

Paul Miller is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta and CaRRL's Railroader in Residence. His principal focus is to help CaRRL students and staff understand the business of railroading and to provide them with an industrial context for their technical studies and research. Prior to joining CaRRL, Mr. Miller was employed by CN for 34 years, from which he retired as Vice President, Safety, Sustainability, and Network Transportation in 2011. He holds a BScE (Civil) and an MScE in Transportation Planning and Engineering, both from the University of New Brunswick.