People profiles

Michael Barnett Cowan

Michael Barnett-Cowan

Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Michael Barnett-Cowan is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. As a cognitive and systems neuroscientist with a proven track record of investigating how multisensory information impacts spatial and temporal perception, decision-making, and human movement,  Dr. Barnett-Cowan collaborates extensively with many members of the Games Institute.

Shi, Cao

Shi Cao

Associate Professor, Systems Design Engineering

Shi Cao is pronounced like SHER TSAO. Dr. Cao’s major research area is human factors engineering. His research projects include human performance and workload modeling, human-machine system reliability, and the applications of virtual and augmented reality. He has developed cognitive models and human performance simulation systems that can be used to model and predict human performance and other human factors constructs in various work domains such as transportation and human-computer interaction.

Beth Coleman

Beth Coleman

Associate Professor, English Language and Literature

Beth Coleman is co-director of the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo, and participates in the Rhetoric & Professional Writing major as well as the Master of Arts in Experimental Digital Media.

Karen Collins

Karen Collins*

Associate Professor, Drama and Speech Communication

Karen Collins' research is diverse and interdisciplinary, but has always had a central focus: the interaction of humans and machines, specifically as related to sound.

Vic Diciccio

Vic Diciccio*

Research Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Professor DiCiccio helped found the Institute for Computer Research (ICR).

Colin Ellard

Colin Ellard

Full Professor, Department of Psychology

Colin Ellard is a psychologist researching neuroscience. ​​His interests include how the organization and appearance of natural and built spaces affects movement, wayfinding, emotion, and physiology. He directs the Urban Realities Lab at the University of Waterloo.

Mark Hancock

Mark Hancock

Associate Director, The Games Institute | Professor, Management Sciences

Mark Hancock is the Associate Director of the Games Institute. He is also a professor in the Department of Management Sciences in the Faculty of Engineering, where he directs the Touchlab.

Craig S. Kaplan

Craig S. Kaplan

Associate Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Craig Kaplan studies the application of computer graphics in art, illustration, ornamentation, and design. This research area is rooted in computer graphics, but involves forays into art (to study historical sources) classical and computational geometry (to develop mathematical and computational models of ornament), and computer-aided design and manufacturing.

Edith Picture

Edith Law

Assistant Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science | Co-Director, Human Computer Interaction Lab

Edith Law is an Associate Professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at University of Waterloo, and co-directs the Human Computer Interaction Lab. Previously, She was a CRCS postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and holds a Ph.D. in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters in Computer Science from McGill University and a B.Sc in Computer Science from University of British Columbia. She is broadly interested in social computing technology that coordinates small groups to large crowds, new models of interactions with machine intelligence, and how technology can be designed to foster and celebrate certain human values. The research conducted by Law and her students have received several best paper awards and honorable mentions at the CHI and CSCW conference. Law's work is funded by NSERC Discovery Grant, NSERC-CIHR Collaborative Health Research Project (CHRP) as well as the CFI-JELF program. A full list of publications is available in the CV and Google Scholar.

Headshot of Fue-Sang Lien in a blue polo against a black background

Fue-Sang Lien

Professor, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

Fue-Sang Lien is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Professor Lien is also the Head of Waterloo CFD Engineering Consulting Inc.

Chrysanne Di Marco

Chrysanne Di Marco

Associate Professor, Artificial Intelligence Group (David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science) Cross Appointment, English Language and Literature *Retired*

Chrysanne Di Marco has been a member of the Artificial Intelligence Group since 1990. She is also project leader of the HealthDoc project, which works to develop natural language generation systems for producing multimedia health information tailored to medical conditions and patient characteristics.

Ian Milligan

Ian Milligan

Professor, History | Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Analysis

Ian Milligan is Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Analysis at the University of Waterloo, where he is also a professor of history. Milligan’s primary research focus is on how historians can use web archives, as well as the impact of digital sources on historical practice more generally.

Dr. Neil Randall

Neil Randall

Associate Professor, English Language and Literature

Executive Director of The Games Institute

In addition to directing The Games Institute, Neil Randall has also earned large grants for The Interactive and Multi-Modal Research Syndicate (IMMERSe) and the Waterloo Game Analysis and Monitoring Environment (WatGAME). He is the Faculty Advisor to the Games Institute's First Person Scholar

Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Jennifer Roberts-Smith

Full Professor and Chair, Dramatic Arts, Brock University

Jennifer Roberts-Smith's transdisciplinary, design-based work in performance and digital media focuses on history, education, and social justice. She is currently a co-director of the qCollaborative (the critical feminist design research lab housed in Games Institute) and directs the Staging Better Futures/Mettre en scène de meilleurs avenirs project. She is also creative director and virtual reality cluster lead for the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation (DOHR) project. Her recent publications have focused on methods for design research that deepen interdisciplinary understanding and take a relational approach to design.

Stacey Scott

Stacey Scott

Adjunct Professor, Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo | Professor, Computer Science, University of Guelph

Stacey Scott's research and teaching interests are human-computer interaction and emerging technology design.

Gerald Voorhees

Gerald Voorhees

Associate Professor, Communication Arts

Gerald Voorhees is an Associate Professor in the Department Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo.

Jim Wallace

Jim Wallace

Associate Professor, School of Public Health Sciences

Jim Wallace is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health Sciences at University of Waterloo. He leads the HCI and Health lab, with research addressing how technologies like large, interactive displays, smart devices, and machine learning can prevent disease, prolong life, and promote human health.

Jennifer Whitson headshot

Jennifer Whitson

Associate Professor, Sociology and Legal Studies

Jennifer R. Whitson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Legal Studies and at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, both at the University of Waterloo.

Brian Cullen

Drama and Speech Communication

Brian graduated in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design Dublin in 2000 where his interests included video and sound installation. He received an M.Phil in Music and Media Technologies from Trinity College Dublin in 2004 focusing on audio-visual composition.

Kaitlyn Holbein

Kaitlyn Holbein

Rhetoric and Communication Design

​Kaitlyn Holbein was a part-time Rhetoric and Communication Design MA student and full-time communications and marketing professional. She received her BA in English literature, with a minor in Sociology, from Carleton University. Kaitlyn enjoys exploring a wide range of topics in the fields of new media and game studies.

Chantel Pilon

Applied Health Sciences

Chantel Pilon was a co-op student for The Games Institute from September - December 2013. During her term she created many of the visual and digital promotional materials for the Games Institute. She was a fifth-year student enrolled in Honours Recreation and Business. In addition to her academics, Chantel was a member of the varsity track and field team at the University of Waterloo specializing in the pentathlon and 4X400m relay. The pentathlon is a contest consisting of five events: 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800m.

Evan Ribey

Evan Ribey

School of Public Health

Evan Ribey was an undergraduate student in the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo. Currently entering his final year of his undergraduate education, he has research interests in web-based applications of health care data and information visualization.

Kassandra Arthur

English Language and Literature

Kasandra Arthur, HBA (Lakehead University) and MA (Lakehead University), both with a specialization in Women's Studies. Kasandra studied young adult literature, particularly the processes in which these texts are adapted to film.

Lisa Tran

Lisa Tran

Speech Communication

Lisa Tran was the Communications and Research co-op student for the Fall 2014 term. She has many titles to her role including Project Manager Assistant as well as Facilities Manager.

Betty Chang

Betty Chang

Systems Design Engineering

Betty Chang received her PhD from the department of Systems Design Engineering in the area of human-computer interaction and human factors. Her PhD work sought to improve users’ awareness of each other and of the situation when they collaborate over computer systems. She studied different technologies such as digital tabletops and multi-device environments, in various contexts including police emergency response, strategic board games, and classrooms.

Melissa Stocco

Drama and Speech Communication

Melissa Stocco  joined The Games Institute as a research assistant. She was a 4th year undergraduate student in the Arts and Business program with a major in Sociology and minor in Digital Arts Communication. Melissa became interested in studying games after taking Jennifer Whitson's course Gamers and Games, and Lennart Nacke's course Introduction to Game Design.

Nathan Chan

Nanotechnology Engineering

Nathan was an undergraduate Nanotechnology Engineering student. He helped run the Game Development Club (GDC), and is working to develop his first tabletop game, Humanity.

Wan Hong Situ

Computer Science

Wan Hong Situ is the CTO of Invuze. He is responsible for developing the platform and leading the implementation of the applications. He was  a fourth year Honours Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo. Wan Hong Situ has extensive experienced in web and mobile development utilizing multiple frameworks.

Lukas Schabler

Computer Science

Lukas Schabler (BA Graz University of Technology) was a Computer Science Master's student at the Technical University of Graz who is interested in Interactive Systems and Data Science. He joined the summer research program to expand his knowledge of game design.

Quinn Powell

Quinn Powell

English Language and Literature

Quinn Powell, BA (Wilfrid Laurier University) and MA (Wilfrid Laurier University), has research interests in gender studies, digital media theory and design, as well as post-colonial theory and literature.

Alberto Mora

Computer Science

Alberto was a Ph.D. student at the Open University Of Catalonia, Spain, under the supervision of Dr. Joan Arnedo and Dr. Carina González, and was a visiting researcher at the HCI Games Group. He holds a M.Sc in education and teacher training from the University of La Rioja and he is a computer engineer from the University of La Laguna. His main interests include gamification design in the field of learning environments, as well as healthcare and wellness. His thesis is titled "A framework for agile design of gamification services".

Guillaume Becasier


Guillaume Besacier was a post-doctoral fellow in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). During his Ph.D. at the Université Paris-Sud (France), supervised by Michel Beaudouin-Lafon and Frédéric Vernier, he worked with interactive tabletop computers and designed new interaction techniques to use a tabletop more effectively and easily, while being compatible with existing WIMP interfaces. 

Kaitlin O'Brien image

Kaitlin O'Brien

English Language and Literature

Kaitlin graduated with a Master's degree in Rhetoric and Communication Design. She has strong interests in communication strategies, marketing, public relations, and event planning. Kaitlin is the former Communications and Project Coordinator for the GI.

Diane Watson profile headshot

Diane Watson

Computer Science

Diane was a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Her focus is on gamification, in particular, how positive behaviours can be encouraged through games.

Kayla Oliveira

Kayla Marie Oliveira

Arts and Business

Kayla received her Undergraduate Degree from the University of Waterloo studying Arts and Business. From past co-op experiences, Kayla has worked in various industries at companies such as Art in Tanzania, MappedIn, Humber College and CIBC.

Michael Hancock

Michael Hancock

English Language and Literature

Michael is a Ph.D. student in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Waterloo.

Becky Anderson

Becky Anderson

English Language and Literature

Becky Anderson completed a BA (English; French Studies) and MA (Literary Studies) at Waterloo. Now a PhD recipient from the Department of English Language and Literature, she also concurrently pursued a Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science. She’s the recipient of the Provost Doctoral Entrance Award (2015-2016), a Jack Gray Fellowship (2016-2017), a W.K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018), and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018).

Mitchell Gordon-Habib Loewen


Mitchell Loewen was a 4th year Knowledge Integration and Psychology Joint Honours student with a Collaborative Design Specialization at the University of Waterloo. Under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke and Dr. Chris Burris, Mitchell was working on his undergraduate Psychology thesis investigating the relationship between the self and avatar creation norms in video games. Mitchell is also very passionate about game design, and is currently working with some fellow undergraduate students to publish a game they designed during Dr. Nacke’s Introduction to Game Design course.

Marim Ganaba

Digital Experience Innovation

Marim joined the Games institute as UX designer and research assistant. She recently completed her Masters in Digital Experience Innovation program at the University of Waterloo. With her skills in design and background in science, she is passionate about understanding people’s behaviour then crafting products and experiences that delight and empower them. She worked under the supervision of Dr. Nacke on various projects where she helped create intuitive solutions to complex problems. Her area of interest is in human centric design, interaction and motion design.

Kelly Hornung

Kelly Hornung

School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability

Kelly was in the process of finishing her undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, with a minor in Theatre & Performance.

Zhe Liu sitting on cliff

Zhe Liu

Computer Science

Zhe Liu is a masters graduate, who was co-supervised by Professor James Wallace from School of Public Health and Professor Daniel Vogel from School of Computer Science

Sultan Alharthi

Computer Science and Psychology

Through an activity theory approach, Sultan's focus was to understand urban search & rescue teams' activity and training to design game mechanics and interfaces in simulation games. The aim of this simulation game was to improve urban search & rescue teams' sensemaking and planning skills. Sultan was involved in multiple research areas of HCI including: mixed reality games, serious games, augmented and virtual reality games, gesture based interaction games, and idle games.

Headshot of Alex Fleck

Alex Fleck

English Language and Literature

Alex studies retrogaming hardware, software, and modding/fan communities to understand changes over time to consumer culture, material literacy, and legacy platforms. He also helps design games with other GI researchers in ongoing GI projects and partnerships. Alex is currently interested in finding and collecting license-expired retro games (games unlikely to be released again), as well as expanding his 90's era A/V set up.

Kristina Llewellyn profile headshot

Kristina Llewellyn

Professor, Social Development Studies

Kristina R. Llewellyn is Full Professor of Social Development Studies and affiliated faculty with the Department of History. Her primary research area is oral history and education, which extends to the role of games and virtual reality in teaching and learning history.

Kevin Barton

Kevin Barton


Kevin Barton received his PhD in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of Waterloo. His research interests include understanding how game dynamics and mechanics can be leveraged in professional contexts to improve the well-being of users and the use of virtual reality and serious games to understand how we navigate the world around us.

Jason Hawreliak

Jason Hawreliak *

Associate Professor, Game Studies, Brock University

Jason Hawreliak is an Associate Professor at Brock Unviersity in the Department of Digital Humanities. His research examines rhetorics of heroism and immortality in videogames. Other research interests include multimodal rhetoric and the psychological function of digital media. He is the Faculty Advisor to the Games Institute's First Person Scholar

Phil McClelland

Phil McClelland

User Experience Designer

As a User Experience Designer, Phil spends his days learning to understand people and the work that they do, and then finding ways to make that work more effective and satisfying. But as a long-time game nerd, he can't help but turn that same lens on the mechanics that underpin games--what works, what doesn't, and what that means for the experiences that games offer.

Elise Vist profile headshot

Elise Vist

English Language and Literature

Elise Vist, BA and MA (English, Carleton University), is a Ph.D. graduate who studied fans, immersion, and queerness. Her research focused on hockey fans and Real Person Fanfiction, but she has also written about immersion and queerness in games, including dys4iaDragon Age: Inquisition, Lord of the Rings: Online, and the worldwide scavenger hunt GISHWHES. She is also passionate about creative and playful game design, running workshops using University of Alberta's Cobble Cards. As a co-founder of the Games Institute Janes (GI Janes), Elise encouraged women and non-binary people to find joy in gaming. 

Jagger Nast

Jagger Nast

Applied Mathematics

Jagger Nast was an undergraduate student in Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo looking to expand his knowledge of game design.

Kent Aardse

Kent Aardse

English Language and Literature

Kent Aardse was a PhD Candidate in English Department at the University of Waterloo and a research assistant for The Games Institute. His research focuses on humans as fundamentally technological beings, paying particular attention to the intersection between digital technology and literature.

Natalee Blagden

English Language and Literature

Natalee was a Master's student in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Waterloo.

Betsy Brey

Betsy Brey

English Language and Literature

Betsy Brey (BA and MA, University of Minnesota Duluth) is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. Her research focuses on the intersections of narratological structure and gameplay.

Rita Orji profile headshot

Rita Orji

Computer Science

Dr. Rita Orji was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Games Institute, working with Dr. Lennart Nacke and Dr. Chrysanne Di Marco. Rita’s research at the Games Institute focuseed on creating persuasive games aiming to help adolescents avoid various interconnected risky health behaviours (e.g., risky sex; drugs and alcohol use).

Gerd Schmidt

Computer Science

Gerd completed his Master's in Computational Visualistics at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg (Germany). There he focused on real-time applications, visualization, AR/VR and game development. He's also an honary member of Acagamics, a students game developer club and a research assistant at STIMULATE and IBMI where he develops medical technology applications.

Caroline Wong


Caroline Wong is a MASc student in Management Sciences (BA, Psychology, University of Waterloo). Caroline became interested in human-computer interaction research through her past co-ops at the Games Institute where she was involved in projects investigating tabletop interfaces, public large digital displays, use of creativity in games, and gender inclusivity in makerspace environments. Her future research looks to examine the benefits of touch-enabled technology in information visualizations.

Andrew Jian-Lan Cen

Systems Design Engineering

Andrew Cen was a systems design engineering (SYDE) student under the SWaGUR program. Andrew graduated with a BA in Speech Communication and minor in Digital Arts Communication. He researches with Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Games Group because of his passion for game design and interest in Games User Research. He is currently researching accessibility and novel input methods in virtual reality. On his spare time, Andrew is a digital designer and his primary practice revolves around photography and videography.

Jay Chilibecki

Jay Chilibecki

Computer Science

Jay was a fifth year Computer Science undergraduate student. He is passionate about game design and creation, and worked at the Games Institute as a developer during the Winter 2014 and Summer 2015 co-op terms.

Mahir Hoque

Fine Arts, Computer Science and Digital Art Communication

Mahir Hoque was an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, majoring in Fine Arts and minoring in Computer Science and Digital Art Communication. He is interested in art, design, technology and the fusion of these disciplines. 

John Yoon profile headshot

John Yoon

English Language and Literature

John Yoon (BA Honors English, Alberta), MA (Literary Studies, Waterloo) is a PhD candidate at Waterloo. His research interests include narratology, the narrative of sports, eSports, online gaming culture, and digital media studies. His dissertation examines the storytelling mechanisms in professional football and StarCraft.

Chris L

Chris Lawrence

English Language and Literature

Chris is a PhD Candidate in the department of English Langauge and Literature. Their dissertation research focuses on identifying world-building mythopoetic structures in games and distinguishing them from traditional narrative approaches. Chris is currently Editor-and-Chief of First Person Scholar and Senior Curator for Critical Distance. 

Adam Bradley

Adam Bradley

English Language and Literature

Adam Bradley, BA (McMaster) MA (Waterloo), was a PhD student interested in the intersections between technology and traditional literary studies. His MA research project, titled "Data Visualization and the Avant-Garde Aesthetic" was a digital humanities project completed in conjunction with the English department's Digital Media Lab and the Computer Science department's Touchlab.

Andre Yam

eSports Specialist

Andre Yam is an eSports specialist who is concerned with all aspects of competitive "play" and the spectatorship that follows. He has an M.A. in English Literary Studies from the University of Waterloo with a combined honours B.A. in English and History from Wilfrid Laurier University. He currently works with the Games Institute along with the Ontario eSports Gaming Events group in promoting and theorizing the future of eSports.

Gada Jane Headshot

Gada Jane


Gada Jane is a filmmaker and writer. She began her career developing other writers’ scripts for theatre. She has made 5 short films, worked as an editor, ran a new media production company, and shot previs for the stunt team of the CW show Supergirl. She was a winner and runner-up in WIFT-V’s From Our Dark Side genre writing competition.

Emma Vossen Smiling at the Impact Awards Ceremony

Emma Vossen

English Language and Literature

Emma Vossen received her PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo in 2018. She then went on two complete two concurrent postdoctoral research fellowships at York University and the University of British Columbia. She is the co-author and co-editor of the anthology Feminism in Play (Palgrave 2018) and the upcoming Game Studies Historiographies (Punctum 2022). Her dissertation examines the accessibility of games, gamer identity, and games culture. Emma is the former commentaries editor, podcast host, and editor-in-chief of middle state games studies publication First Person Scholar (FPS).

After several years of teaching and researching at other institutions, Vossen has returned to Waterloo and is now the Research Communications Officer at the GI.

Matthew Schwager

Matthew Schwager

Experimental Digital Media

Matthew was an MA student in the Experimental Digital Media program. His research involved media design, narrative, and experimental graphics.

Kirk Goodlet


Kirk W. Goodlet received his PhD in History at the University of Waterloo and was a research associate at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. He has worked and conducted research in archives across Canada, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In addition, Kirk is also the co-founder and writer for, a website dedicated to exploring current affairs with historical perspective.

Rob Parker

English Language and Literature

Rob Parker (MA, Wilfrid Laurier & BA, MA, Waterloo) was a research associate and HASTAC scholar (2013-2014), a contributing editor for First Person Scholar, and has been actively involved with the Games Institute since 2012.

Brandon Ralph

Brandon Ralph


Brandon Ralph (BSc and MA in Psychology) was a PhD candidate in the Cognitive Neuroscience division of the Psychology Department at the University of Waterloo. His primary areas of expertise are visual processing and attention.

Jennie Heo

Digital Experience Innovation

Jennie Heo completed her Master of Digital Experience Innovation program at the University of Waterloo. With her background in BA English and M.Ed in Applied Psychology & Human Development, she is passionate about conducting user research throughout the end-to-end process of delivering human-centric products through storytelling. 

Ian Holstead

Ian Holstead

Electrical Computer Engineering

Ian was an undergraduate student in his final year of Computer Engineering. As both a gamer and a filmmaker, Ian enjoys figuring out how each discipline can draw from the other to produce better media.

A picture of Leah Zhang-Kennedy

Leah Zhang-Kennedy

Assistant Professor, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

Leah Zhang-Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in interaction design and user experience research, a member of the Games Institute and the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute. Leah's research aims to understand and improve people’s digital experiences, knowledge, and technology practices, with particular focuses on computer security, online privacy, and digital literacy. She directs the Safe Interactions Lab at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, University of Waterloo.

Mufaddal Dairkee

Computer Science

Mufaddal was a 2B Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo, who joined the GI team to work as a Research Assistant co-op student.

Shadi Davarian

Digital Experience Innovation

Born in Tehran-Iran, as a painter and digital artist, Shadi started painting professionally in 2004. Earlier on, she used to take photos, manipulate them using computer and paint them on the canvas. Later in her career, she stopped painting on canvas and stopped using human figures in her paintings and instead, started to work with objects. She likes to show women in her digital and analog artworks to highlight the problems they are confronted with in society.

Julia Brich profile headshot

Julia Brich

Computer Science

Julia Brich was a Ph.D. student from Ulm University, Germany. In her work, she focuses on the effects that various game mechanics like highscore systems, achievements, or non-player character design have on player motivation.

Ruby Huang

Ruby Huang


Ruby was working at the GI as the Project Coordinator for her Fall 2015 co-op term. Now entering into her third year of Honours Arts and Business at the University of Waterloo, she is pursuing a major in Psychology with minors in Human Resources Management and Digital Arts Communication.

Seamas Weech


Seamas received his MSc in 2013 from Queen's University, Kingston, in the area of Psychology (Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science). He is currently finishing his PhD in the same area. Seamas' postdoctoral research will focus on understanding the factors that relate to cyber sickness in virtual reality (VR). His previous work involved the use of sensory stimulation to reduce conflicts between senses in VR. 

Melody Zheng

Melody Zheng

Past Project Coordinator

Melody was the co-op student for The Games Institute for Winter 2016. She's an Arts and Business student, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Resources Management. She has worked closely with the Project Manager to organize special events at The Games Institute to showcase both the gaming culture within the university. She also worked on improving the GI website, and digitizing or redesigning some of the outdated systems.

Gina Angelea


While currently working as freelance web, digital, and marketing designer, Gina continues to look for new opportunities to put her passion for presentation and design to good use.  

Alex Orlando

Alexandra Orlando

English Language and Literature

Alexandra Orlando (BA and MA, English and Film, Wilfrid Laurier University), was Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo in the English Languages and Literature department. She is specializing in narratology and game studies. Her research interests include the intersection between film theory and game cinematics, e-sports and East Asian game studies.

George Ross

George Ross

English Language and Literature

George Ross, BA (Hons.) (Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Carleton University) and MA (Applied Language Studies, Carleton University) specializes in simulations, organizational rhetoric, and narrative modeling.

Jesse Hoey

Jesse Hoey

Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Jesse Hoey is a professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, where he leads the Computational Health Informatics Laboratory (CHIL). He is a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute, and an affiliate scientist at KITE/TRI, both in Toronto. Dr. Hoey holds a Ph.D degree (2004) in computer science from the University of British Columbia. He has published over one hundred peer reviewed scientific papers.  He is Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and an Area Chair for the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2023).

Kirsten Wright

Kirsten Wright

Systems Design Engineering

Kirsten Robinson was a systems design engineer and designer. She worked on Governor General Award winning architect Phillip Beesley’s Hylozoic Soil team to create responsive architectures that were shown across Canada and at the Venice Biennial.

Ryan Clement

Ryan Clement

English Language and Literature

Ryan Clement (MA York University, BA Brandon University) was an English PhD candidate who studies the relationship between emergent narrative and game mechanics and the possible use of this interaction for new forms of education and intercultural communication.

Emily West profile headshot

Emily West

Past Operations Coordinator

Emily West started her work with the GI as a Research and Communications Assistant co-op student for the Winter 2015 term. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology she has returned to The Games Institute full time as Operations Coordinator.

Diana on a pier

Diana Moreno Ojeda

English Language and Literature

Diana has loved science fiction and board games ever since she can remember, moving from Stratego—at the adventurous age of 6— to Netrunner and Ascension—more recently.

Headshot of Lindsay Meaning

Lindsay Meaning

English Language and Literature

Lindsay (BA English, Wilfrid Laurier University; MA Experimental Digital Media, University of Waterloo) is a fourth year PhD candidate in the English department at UWaterloo.

Mahzar Eisapour

Systems Design Engineering

Mahzar was a master's student in the Systems Design Engineering department. She previously earned her bachelor's degree in Software Engineering.

Her research focuses on the design and development of virtual reality exergames to promote physical activity for people living with dementia.

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Katja Rogers

Computer Science

Katja is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Lennart Nacke's research group. She completed her PhD in Computer Science at the Institute of Media Informatics at Ulm University, Germany.

Saifuddin Hitawala

Computer Science

Saifuddin Hitawala was a Masters student at the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. His research interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, database systems, network security and data structures and algorithms. 

Christian Metaxas

Christian Metaxas

English Language and Literature

Christian is an award winning writer from Toronto. He is interested in eSports and the narrative negotiations that take place between player and game. Christian was studying in the Experimental Digital Media stream.

Aqua from Kingdom Hearts

Jenn Rickert

English Language and Literature

Jenn is an interdisciplinary-trained academic (BA Hons Classical History & Anthropology; MA Public Issues Anthropology) specializing in the interconnectivity of people, technology, and culture. She is in the dissertation research stage of her English PhD, focusing on gender, power structures, and social dynamics surrounding competitive gaming communities, particularly within World of Warcraft. In addition to her primary research goals, she also is particularly interested in accessible and applicable research, bridging research and industry, and other socially constructed aspects of video games (e.g. cheating & modding, emotion, etc.).

Rina Wehbe

Rina Wehbe*

Computer Science

Rina R. Wehbe (she/her) is an academic researcher at the University of Waterloo. She has successfully defended her Ph.D. Mathematics, Computer Science at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo. Her research interests includes collaboration, equity, affective computing, user difficulty, and specialized design for expert users. She applies her work to the domains of games, interface design, and productivity applications. He unique interdisciplinary background B.Sc. Psychology and M.Sc. Computer Science informs her work. Wehbe has researched understanding difficulty and learning in games and productivity applications. Specific topics include comprehension and points of confusion detrimental to the User eXperience (UX), balancing help functionality to ensure the user is not needlessly interrupted. Despite her cognitive focus, she continues to have a soft spot for affective computing, which includes her work on emotional attachment to digital objects and characters (NPC-Ts). Furthermore, her research into Games for Change seeks to inspire, motivate, and spur small changes that can add up to bigger differences.

Marta Jacyla

Science and Business

Marta is in her third year of studying Science and Business with a specialization in Biotechnology. She aspires to combine her knowledge of both fields in the future.  Marta has been with the Games Institute since the Fall 2017 term, and greatly enjoyed her co-op role as the Operations Assistant in Spring 2018.  

Marta loves cross stitching and sings in an a cappella group at the University. Marta’s favourite types of video games are story-based role-playing games and life simulation games. During her employment, she reveled in playing new games and testing out new technology.

Mike Schaekermann

Computer Science

Mike was a Masters student in the Computer Science program at the University of Waterloo. Before coming to Canada, he studied game development and augmented reality in Austria and Medicine in Germany. He is also a co-founder of a Berlin-based start-up company which is active in the 3D printing sphere.

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson

Professor, Optometry and Vision Science

Ben Thompson's background is in visual neuroscience and his research interests relate to the development and plasticity of human visual brain areas.

Alexandra Paz-Barreiras

Legal Studies and Business

Alexandra Paz-Barreiras was The Game Institute's Spring 2014 Marketing, Communications, and Research co-op student. As her long title suggests, Alex was responsible for many tasks, one of which being the management of the GI and IMMERSe web sites. She is in the process of completing her undergraduate degree through the Arts and Business program in the Faculty of Arts.

Felan Parker

Felan Parker

Games Institute

Felan Parker is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow with the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre at Concordia University. His current research examines indie gaming cultures, and he is collaborating with the Games Institute on the Indie Interfaces project.

John Harris

John Harris

Computer Science

John Harris was a PhD student in Computer Science (BAsc. Mechatronics Engineering, UWaterloo; MSc Computer Science, UCalgary). His research focuses on the design and development of Strong Asymmetry in games as a means of promoting inclusiveness and getting more kinds of people playing together.

Alex Hodge

Alexander Hodge

Research Assistant

Alexander Hodge is an audio engineer, creative technologist, and freelance software developer. He is interested in music technology in general, and especially in the way sound can influence Human-Computer Interaction.

Lauren Burr

English Language and Literature

Lauren Burr is a PhD graduate from the English Department at the University of Waterloo studying locative media, augmented/alternate/hybrid realities, and pervasive games. Lauren’s recent collaborative projects include Bonfire of the Humanities, an alternate reality game designed for Congress 2012; Cytopath, an augmented reality necromedia game set in downtown Kitchener; and House of Lexia, a locative hypertext remediation of Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves.

Deltcho Valtchanov

Deltcho Valtchanov


​Deltcho Valtchanov is a postdoctoral research fellow with a background in virtual reality, human visual perception, and cognitive and behavioural neuroscience. His past research has focused on how low level visual information influences emotional responses to, and aesthetics of, visual scenes.

Brian Schram


Brian is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology & Legal Studies. His  research looks at the intersection between surveillance and new media. Specifically, he is interested in how software has come to structure identity politics, labour practices, and activism both online and off.  

Amber O'Brien

English Language and Literature

Amber O’Brien is pursuing a Masters in Literary Studies. Her main area of interest is examining how narratives in science fiction and fantasy texts work to challenge and alter gender ideologies in Western societies.

Kai Bornemann

Computer Science

Kai was doing his Master's in Computer Science at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg (Germany). There he focuses on realtime applications, visualization, AR/VR and game development. He's also a member of Acagamics, a students game developer club and a research assistant at STIMULATE where he develops medical technology applications.

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Gustavo Tondello

Computer Science

Gustavo Tondello's research interests include gamification and games for health, wellbeing, and learning, user experience in gamification, and gameful design methods. His work focuses on the design and personalization of gameful applications.

Joe holding a camera up to his face

Joseph Tu

Systems Design Engineering

Joseph is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke and Dr. Oliver Schneider.

Saba Oji

Saba Oji

School of Public Health

Saba is in her third year of Health Studies, with a minor in Gerontology.

She has worked as a research assistant on various projects started in The Games Institute. Her interests revolve around projects that relate to patient satisfaction, especially the elderly.

Lillian Black

Lillian Black

English Language and Literature

Lillian (Lia) Black, HBA & MA (English, University of Waterloo), is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo. Her current research interests revolve around the way Queer identity and experience—particularly trans and non-binary identity—manifest themselves through player-driven storytelling practices distinct from the more formally constructed narratives within games. The current intention for this OGS (2020) funded project is to focus on Persona 4 (2008), NieR: Automata (2017), The Missing (2018), and Cyberpunk 2077 (2020), though this is almost certainly going to change.

Her undergraduate and master’s research moved through: (1) cognitive semiotics and its intersection with rhetoric and rhetorical figures, (2) communication pedagogy with an emphasis on STEAM education, and (3) science communication with a rhetoric of science influence and an emphasis on citizen science; all of which impact the way she goes about her research. As part of these endeavours, she presented at IACS (2018), ACM SIGDOC (2018) and DPI (2019), with publications in the American Journal of Semiotics, Technical Communication Quarterly, First Person Scholar, East Asian Science, Technology and Society and SciStarter.

Pierson Browne

Sociology and Legal Studies

Pierson's research focuses on the propagation of concepts and information through the social networks formed around and within communities of play. Pierson is a methodologically-focused mixed-methods researcher: he has contributed to the field of Social Network Analysis with his work on Exponential Random Graph Models for Directed Acyclic Graphs, he has generated insights into Swarm Ethnography and Rapid Ethnographic Assessment as part of his work with game development intermediaries, and he has produced research stemming from his work as an Embedded Ethnographer with Montreal indie game development studios.

Victor Cheung

Victor Cheung

Systems Design Engineering

Victor Cheung was a PhD candidate from the Systems Design Engineering department at the University of Waterloo. He received his MPhil in Computer Science, B(Eng) in Computer Science Information Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Amber West

English Language and Literature

Amberly H. West, (BA and MA University of Waterloo) researches games for health. Her secondary research areas include adaptations, rhetoric, and new media studies. Under the supervision of Dr. Neil Randall and Dr. Mark Hancock, she and Rebecca Langer (Computer Science) have been working on a multi-disciplinary research project for which the team researched, designed, and developed a prototype of a game that teaches children to identify and manage food allergies.

Alice Bao

Alice Bao

School of Environment, Enterprise and Development

Alice completed her Masters in Sustainability Management. Her thesis consdered whether gamification can engage employees to advance corporate social responsibility.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez

Computer Science

Jonathan Rodriguez is a Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science.

David Hussey

David Hussey


David Hussey is a gaming, cultural and digital historian. He began his time at the University of Waterloo in 2009 as a Computer Science major before transferring into History in 2011.

Leila Homaeian

Leila Homaeian

Systems Design Engineering

Leila is a PhD student in Systems Design Engineering. She studies large interactive surfaces, such as wall displays and digital tabletops, and how to support co-located collaboration around them. Leila received her MSc. degree in Software Engineering from the University of Alberta. 

Steve Wilcox

Steve Wilcox

English Language and Literature

Steve Wilcox was a PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Waterloo where he studies empathy, videogames, comics, and rhetoric. He focused on the use of media for translating knowledge between bodies, communities, and cultures. He was also one of the 25 grad students across Canada to win a $3000 SSHRC award in the "Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers" competition.

Wilcox is currently researching the relationship between language, media, and normativity. More specifically, he is interested in how media defines and replicates a normative definition of reality and how this impacts what we think of as abnormal and disabled.

Pascaline Lorentz

Pascaline Lorentz


​Pascaline Lorentz has her PhD in Sociology and is a Postdoctoral Researcher working on online gaming at the Institute for Research on Children, Youth and Family at Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic.
Granted with an ENDEAVOUR Research Fellowship in 2011 she undertook a study documenting the social environment of an intense practice of virtual world attachments in Australia. 

Jason Lajoie

English Language and Literature

Jason Lajoie (@LudicScribbler) is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. His work explores how gay identities are constructed and negotiated through media and technology in online gaming and social media. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Honours BA in English Literature and Theatre, and an MA in English Literature from the University of Ottawa. He has been the recipient of a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship, and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Philip Miletic

English Language and Literature

Philip Miletic is an English PhD Candidate, whose areas of interest include digital life writing and 20th-century American literature. He is the Book Reviews Editor for First Person Scholar and the Vice President of the Student Association of Graduates in English (SAGE).

Nicholas Hobin

Nicholas Hobin

English Language and Literature

Nicholas, BA (King’s University College), MA (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in the English Language Literature program at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in posthumanism in game studies, and the ways in which digital environments work to confront what it means to be human.

Karina Arrambide

Systems Design Engineering

Karina is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke. She holds an MSc in Information Technology with Business and Management from the University of Sussex in the UK, and a BSc in Information Technology from the University of Monterrey in Mexico. Her main interests include understanding player's behaviors and emotions by applying diverse games user research methodologies, specifically biometrics such as electromyography and galvanic skin response.

Alvaro Uribe

Alvaro Uribe


Brief Bio

​Alvaro Uribe holds has a degree in Mechatronics Engineering from Mil. Nueva Granada University, Bogotá, Colombia and a Master's and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Universidade Estudal de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

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Sebastian Malton

Computer Science

Sebastian Malton is an undergraduate student in the Department of Mathematics studying Computer Science and a minor in Classical Studies and a research assistant for the Games Institute and the Rhetorical Figures working group.

Shawn Dorey

Shawn Dorey

English Language and Literature

Shawn Dorey was a student in the Masters of Arts - Experimental Digital Media program inside of U Waterloo's English department. Coming from the University of New Brunswick, they graduated with a First Class designation for their Honours Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Cultures.

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Kenny Fung

Computer Science

Kenny Fung was currently doing his Masters in Computer Science. He is an MBA graduate at Wilfrid Laurier University and has a B.A. Honours Psychology from the University of Waterloo. His interests include dynamic difficulty in games and he was an active contributor to various projects at the HCI Games Group.

Anda Gabriela Chitescu

Global Business and Digital Arts

Anda is a graduate from the Global Business and Digital Arts program at the University of Waterloo and is currently studying animation at Seneca College. With more than four years experience as a digital freelance artist, Anda is proficient in all applications within the Adobe Suite. Anda seeks to find ways to intersect their background in games, animation, and user experience design.


Cayley MacArthur

Systems Design Engineering

Cayley MacArthur, BKI (Knowledge Integration, Waterloo), MA (English & Systems Design Engineering, Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in Systems Design Engineering. Her research focuses on human-computer interaction and she is a member of the Touchlab and WaterlooHCI groups.

Conchita Rodrigues

Conchita Rodrigues


Conchita is a student at the University of Waterloo entering the final year of her undergraduate degree. She is in Honours Arts and Business, Honours Peace and Conflict Studies, and her minor is International Studies. 

Judy Ehrentraut

English Language and Literature

Judy Ehrentraut is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo researching human/technology entanglements from a posthuman perspective. Judy’s work explores the nuances of posthuman and transhuman representations of technological embodiment in film, video games, art and modern techno-culture. Her dissertation investigates presence and absence outside traditional scopes of digital dualism that re-think our interactions with technology as synchronous events of chance

Susan Elliott

Susan Elliott

Professor, Geography and Environmental Management

Susan Elliott is a medical geographer with specific interests in global environmental health. She is an Adjunct Professor with the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, a partner in much of the global water and sanitation research that she does. She is also a research lead for the AllerGen national centres of excellence on gene-environment interactions and allergic disease. More information can be found on her lab website

Megha Bhatt

English Language and Literature

Megha Bhatt was the Winter 2014 co-op student and worked as a research programmer and communications assistant for The Games Institute. During her term she helped with various projects using different software for web designing and gaming needs.

Toby Malone

Toby Malone

Drama and Speech Communication

Toby Malone holds a B.A (Hons.) from the University of Western Australia and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. 

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Kateryna Morayko

Systems Design Engineering

Kateryna is pursuing a Masters in Systems Design Engineering through the SWaGUR program under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. She is interested in human computer interaction, and her main project involves the study of daydreaming during video game play.

Will Fast

Will Fast

English Language and Literature

Will is a PhD candidate who studies modern videogame-based iterations of Victorian England.  He is interested in better understanding historical games' abilities to productively revise and recreate elements of the past.  His current research investigates the representation of women in neo-Victorian games and their basis in the fiction of the nineteenth ce

Mike Brown

Michael Brown

Game Designer and Developer

Mike is a local game developer that has worked in the games industry since 2010. Mike helped us develop Quantum Cats and Alice and Schrodinger's Excellent Adventures. You can find some of his game jam work at

Lennart Nacke

Lennart Nacke

Associate Professor, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, Communication Arts

Lennart Nacke is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. He is the director of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Games Group at the Games Institute of the University of Waterloo.

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Séamas Weech


Séamas received his PhD from Queen's University, Kingston, in the area of Psychology (Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science). His postdoctoral research focuses on understanding the factors that relate to cyber sickness in virtual reality (VR).

Justin Carpenter

English Language and Literature

Justin Carpenter was a PhD Candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. His current research traces the use of the term 'generative' from literary to computational contexts, arguing that an understanding of this term opens up a variety of arguments around concepts such as authorship, agency, emergence. He argues that such a genealogy can help situate game studies scholarship in dialogue with modernist and postmodernist literary studies, as well as cinema and other media. His other research interests include poetry, philosophy of technology, and aesthetics.

Won the SSHRC Doctoral Award; Digital Pedagogy Institute Conference 19 (Waterloo, ON); SLSA 18 (Toronto, ON)

Brianna Wiens

Brianna Wiens

Assistant Professor, English Language & Literature

Brianna I. Wiens (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media & Rhetoric in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. Her interdisciplinary work draws on her mixed-race queer activist-scholar experience to explore the digitally and culturally mediated phenomena of networked social movements and the politics of their design. Dr. Wiens co-runs the digital archive Feminists Do Media (IG: @aesthetic.resistance) out of Feminist Think Tank, a research-creation lab. Wiens's collaborative work has recently appeared in NECSUS, Feminist Media Studies, and Digital Studies/Le Champ Numériqe. She is a co-editor of Networked Feminisms: Activist Assemblies and Digital Practices (Lexington Books 2021) and is lead editor in the collection Stories of Feminist Protest and Resistance: Digital Performative Assemblies (Lexington Books 2023).

Headshot of an anime girl with short hair

Emily Shiu


Emily (BA in Psychology and MASc in Developmental and Communication Sciences) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. Currently, she is studying voice assistant interactions in bilingual populations.

A picture of Anita Layton

Anita Layton

Professor, Applied Mathematics

Anita Layton is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematical Biology and Medicine, and Professor of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Pharmacy and Biology. She is Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics (2022), winner of the Krieger-Nelson Prize (2021), winner of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award (2021), and the Associate Dean, Research and International, for the Faculty of Mathematics.

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Punit Kunjam

Computer Science, and Mathematics

Punit graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from the International Institute of Information Technology, Naya Raipur, India, in 2021.

Ken Hirschkop

Ken Hirschkop

Professor, English Language and Literature

Ken Hirschkop is currently a part of the Games and Narrative Reading Group at the Games Institute. With Dr. Hirschkop's guidance, graduate students who join the reading group explore how the fields of Narrative Theory and Game Studies intersect and inform one another. The Games and Narrative Reading Group became the organizing core for the First International Conference on Games and Narrative in 2021 and the Second International Conference on Games and Narrative in 2023.

Fiona Yang


Fiona is a BA student in Psychology who is passionate about the intersection of haptics, accessibility, and social justice. She is currently assisting in the research of AR/VR and accessible storytelling.

Lydia Choong

Computer Science

Lili is a Master’s student in Computer Science interested in UX and HCI and working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. She is interested in creating more intuitive and accessible gameplay experiences to create games that can be played by anyone. People should talk to Lili if they want to chat about Figma, League and TFT.   

Derrick Wang

Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ph. D. in Systems Design Engineering

Derrick is a first-year PhD student in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. He holds a MASc in Systems Design Engineering from UW and a BFA in Creative Technologies from Virginia Tech, USA. His research interests involve video games (especially MMORPGs), Virtual Reality, Exergames, and mental health.

Marina Wada

Public Health and Health Systems

Marina was a Msc. student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, under the supervision of Dr. James Wallace. She holds a B.A. (hons) in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University. Her user research study is exploring how rheumatoid arthritis patients and their physicians can be better supported in shared decision making and how digital decision aid tools can help mediate the interaction.

Pelisha Emily Samithamby

Management Sciences

"I have recently graduated from Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I will be studying for a MASc in Management Sciences. My research interests include human-computer interaction, and I will be working with Professor Oliver Schneider to learn about haptic technology and ways to incorporate UX/UI design in his various projects."

- Pelisha

Nicholas Tibert

Kinesiology and Health Sciences
Nicholas is a clinical exercise physiologist and high performance trainer that is interested in muscle and bone physiology, resistance training and training adaptations, cognition and video games, and the link between esports and physical performance. 

Adeshola Ogunsanya

Honours Arts & Business

Adeshola is an undergraduate student in the Honours Arts & Business program majoring in history and minoring in sociology. She is part of the Rhetoricon Database Project this term. She enjoys reading, listening to music and watching sports.

Kristina Kölln

PhD student

Kristina Kölln is a PhD student at the university of Seville under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Maria José Escalona and Prof. Dr. Maria Rauschenberger. She works as a research associate at the university of applied sciences Emden/Leer. Her research is about finding the best gamification strategy for a specific use case.

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Oliver Schneider

Assistant Professor, Department of Management Sciences

Oliver Schneider (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Management Sciences. His research interests include human-computer interaction, haptics, and creativity-support systems, with his larger goal to establish haptic experience design and make it available to everyone. Oliver is funded by NSERC (Discovery Grant, Post-doctoral Fellowship, Graduate Scholarships), CFI and ORF, Mitacs, and an NFRF Exploration Grant. He typically attends/publishes at CHI, UIST, and haptics conferences such as Haptics Symposium, World Haptics and EuroHaptics.

Maximilian Altmeyer

Mathematics and Computer Science

Maximilian Altmeyer is a researcher and PhD student at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Ubiquitous Media Technology Lab (UMTL) at Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. He holds a M.Sc in Media Informatics from Saarland University. His research focuses on using gamification elements in behavior change support systems, on factors influencing their perception and on ways to tailor them to users.

Headshot of Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Public Health and Health Systems

Veen is a PhD student in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo and is supervised by Dr. James Wallace.

Adebusola (Busola) Adekoya

School of Public Health Sciences

Busola is a registered nurse and PhD candidate in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lili Liu. Her current research focuses on older adults living with dementia at risk of getting lost and going missing and the use of innovative strategies to promote safe walking. Busola says you should come to her if you want to learn more about promoting health and wellness and technologies to support aging in place. Her expertise also extends to dementia, missing persons, and technology.    


Vladyslav Shein


Vladyslav is a Master of Mathematics in Data Science candidate at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. He holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Science in Computer Science with Honours from Drahomanov Ukrainian State University.

Craig Hardiman

Associate Professor, Classical Studies

"My work primarily focuses on the domestic art of the Hellenistic period (323-31 BCE) – the kinds of sculptures, paintings and mosaics people would have had in their homes. I am also interested in how these people understood their art and so have an interest in ancient aesthetic theory. More broadly I work on the art, especially the sculpture, and the culture of the Hellenistic period. I am also very interested in the intersections of ancient art, video games and pedagogy."

- Craig

Eliana Hill-Zeesman

Legal Studies

Eliana is a BA student in Legal Studies, currently helping Dr. Shana MacDonald and Dr. Brianna Wiens in researching vaccine hesitancy.

Tianzheng Shi


Tianzheng is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at Peking University. He is joining UW for the MITACS globalink internship program and is currently working with Oliver Schneider. Tianzheng is interested in the connection between experience, perception, and the physical attributes of different stimuli. Since Tianzheng is currently residing in China, he says you can come to him if you would like to know more about China and his perspective on human rights advocacy within the nation.

Pradipti Mondal

Department of Engineering, management sciences; Pr MITACS GRI

Pradipti is excited and overly thrilled to be a part of the GI. She wants to see the depth, breadth and length to which she can learn from the GI. She thinks the name of the institution sounds very cool, which makes her all the more curious to see what happens in there! She will be working on the haptiverse. 

Upper body of Marvin Pafla in a checkered shirt with a backpack on standing in front of a forest

Marvin Pafla

Systems Design Engineering

Marvin is a PhD student at the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in both Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Konstanz (Germany), and a Master's degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Marvin's interest lie Games Research, Human-Computer Interaction, and Artificial Intelligence. Marvin is supervised by Prof. Dr. Kate Larson and Prof. Dr. Mark Hancock.

Elizabeth Caravella*

Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, Writing Department (York University)

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Caravella specializes in digital & visual rhetoric, multimodal composition, and game studies. Her work focuses on habituation through visual cueing in video games and how gameful design can be used to improve gamification practices, especially when gamifying the classroom. In addition to her scholarly work, she also performs humanities-based industry research for various game companies, including Blizzard Entertainment and Bethesda Games.

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Suzanne Kearns

Geography and Aviation
Suzanne Kearns is an aviation academic with a focus on education and optimizing pilot performance. Her research explores how to optimize the next generation of aviation professionals (NGAP) by analyzing processes to attract people to the field of aviation, optimizing and innovating the traditional education pathway, and improving the retention of professionals within the field. She is a former airplane and helicopter pilot and is internationally recognized within the aviation industry.

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Will Zhao

Assistant Professor, Organization and Human Behaviour

Will Zhao, PhD is an assistant professor of Organization and Human Behaviour at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. He received his Ph.D. from the French Grande Ecole Emlyon Business School and pursued his postdoctoral research at Stanford University as a SCANCOR scholar. An interdisciplinary researcher, Will is keenly interested in multimodal analysis, utilizing qualitative, quantitative, and machine learning-based approaches.  At the Games Institute, he primarily conducts and leads research projects in two streams.

Nic Hobson

Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Doctor of Philosophy, Kinesiology - Neuroscience

Over the course of our lives, brain function begins to deteriorate. With age, this deterioration begins to advance and cognitive ability is affected in one form or another. Nic's research interests lie in better understanding the effects with which physical activity and other positive health modifiers have on brain function, cognitive ability and neuroplasticity across the lifespan. More specifically, his interest lie in the prevention and reversal of neurodegeneration.

Omar Gutierrez


"I am researching the ways in which games use nostalgia to take advantage of gamers. More specifically, I am interested in how endless sequels and re-makes contribute very little - if anything - to the series or to the genre, but then cover it up by exploiting the gamer's feels. In other words, through clever manipulation of psychological vulnerabilities and deep associations within the memories of players, a large part of the videogame industry is now in cruise control, demeaning the art and giving love [of videogames] a bad name... making millions of dollars in the process."

Omar Gutierrez

EKat with red glasses and a black sweater

Ekaterina Durmanova

Systems Design Engineering

Ekaterina is a Master's research student who is researching exercise games, juicy game design and embellishments. She has a background in user experience research and design through her Bachelor's degree in Global Business and Digital Arts.

Alexander Glover

Alexander Glover

Systems Design Engineering

Alexander is a Systems Design Engineering MASc candidate. His focus is on Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI), particularly how AI can be used to teach decision making processes to approach complex situations through explanation.

Eugene Kukshinov


Eugene is a Post-doctoral Fellow working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. He focuses on media psychology research, including areas of presence and immersion studies, media psychology issues (such as media identity, and representation), and analysis of Russian hegemonic discourses. You should talk to Eugene if you want help with the conceptualization/categorization or design parts of your research projects or of you like ping pong, tabletop/video games, sports, and movies. Learn more about Eugene -

Mohamed Fouda

Systems Design Engineering

Mohamed is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Oliver Schneider (Haptics Experience Lab), to design and build a platform to house and share haptic creations, called Haptiverse. The Haptiverse is for designers, musicians, game developers and anyone tinkering in haptic experiences and research as the main users. When he is not working, he enjoys coaching cycling, photography (in film) and sometimes acting, which helps him to recharge and satisfy his insatiable sweet tooth.


Linkedin: foudamo

Instagram: @foudamo

Jen Boger

Jennifer Boger

Adjunct Professor, Systems Design Engineering

Jennifer Boger is passionate about creating innovative person-centred technology through values-based development practices, such as spearheading the concept of ‘ethical by design’. She employs an interdisciplinary, user-centric approach to create internationally renowned technologies that provide multifaceted support of aging, including aspects such as citizenship, leisure, and personhood.

A picture of Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens

Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Kaylena Ehgoetz Martens is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on using virtual reality to dissect how cognition and emotion contribute to movement in health and disease.

Thuvaraka Mahenthiran


Thuvaraka is BSc student is Psychology, currently assisting Dr. Shana MacDonald on the Feminist Digital Media project.

Wenqi Zhu

Human-computer Interaction

Wenqi is an undergraduate student from the University of Manchester, majoring in Human-computer interaction. She will be joining the haptic lab and building the Haptiverse! Wenqi is interested in Brain-computer interfaces and Human-Computer interaction. If you are interested in photography or haptic and user experience, talk to Wenqi!   

Federica Gini

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, visiting PhD student

Federica is a visiting Ph.D. student from the University of Trento in Cognitive Science with a scholarship funded by the Motivational Digital Systems research group (MoDiS) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK). She has a background in psychology and currently working in the Human-Computer Interaction field. Her research focuses on gamification, and she is particularly interested in the benefits and limitations of cooperative gamification.

Giovanni Ribeiro

Giovanni Ribeiro

Systems Design Engineering

Giovanni Ribeiro is a games user research student pursuing a M.A.Sc in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke at UW.

Igor Grossmann

Igor Grossmann

Associate Professor, Psychology

Igor Grossmann is associate professor of psychology and director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo.

Abhishesh Homagain

Kinesiology (Neuroscience)
Abhishesh is a MSc student looking at studying the link between emotion and gait in humans. His research aims to use virtual reality and induce different emotions in humans, analyze the emotional gait behaviours behind emotional states, and try to answer the question 'can we detect different emotions using human gait, and could we in the future use gait as a method to predict/recognize emotions in humans?'
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Mina Momeni

Assistant Professor, Communication Arts

Mina Momeni is an Assistant Professor in Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. Momeni holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from the joint program at Toronto Metropolitan University and York University, and she received her MFA in Documentary Media from Toronto Metropolitan University. Her studies focus on comprehending individuals’ connection with digital media technologies and exploring people’s interaction with different digital platforms and smart applications.

Natalie Nova

MASc in Management Science, Engineering, Specialization in Information Systems

Natalie did her Bachelors of Computing at Queen's University where she specialized in Cognitive Science. She is now completing her MASc in Management Science working under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. Her research interests are generally within HCI realm but more specifically how technology influences human emotion and behaviour.

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Sid Heeg

Sustainability Management

Sid is a PhD student within the Faulty of Environment for Sustainability Management. Their research focuses on the spread and effect of misinformation about farmers and agricultural practices. This extends to issues of food literacy, misinformation on digital media, and diet culture.

Mary Alyssa Natividad Suarez

Applied Health Sciences

Ally is working as an undergraduate research assistant in the HCI Games Group for her co-op term. She is a second-year Health Studies student at the University of Waterloo who developed an interest in human-computer interaction after taking a Human-Computer Systems seminar course and volunteering at the HCI+Health Lab. She is interested in the implementation of technologies in healthcare, particularly in research topics involving mental health and gerontology. During her work term, she hopes to expand her knowledge about gamification and research methodologies.

Hannah Delamere

English Language and Literature

Hannah is currently Dr. Shana MacDonald's research assistant, and is assisting in researching the connections between second-wave feminism to fourth-wave feminism, as well as planning to make her own collection to archive of feminism in social media

Florian Marcher

Computer Science

Florian is a computer science Master’s student at Graz University of Technology working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. Florian majors in games Engineering and is interested in Procedural Generation. 

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Anchit Mishra

Computer Science

Measuring incompatibility and clustering quantum observables with a quantum switch (accepted to Physical Review Letters in March 2023) - Ning Gao, Dantong Li, Anchit Mishra, Junchen Yan, Kyrylo Simonov, Giulio Chiribella

Ethan Fischer


Ethan Fischer is an undergraduate student in the psychology Department at the University of Waterloo. He is currently studying how gamers' verbal reports of their emotions during game play relates to various aspects of their subjective emotional experiences.

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Lai-Tze Fan

Assistant Professor, Sociology & Legal Studies

Lai-Tze Fan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo, cross-listed in the Department of English Language and Literature. She researches digital storytelling, systemic inequalities in technological design and labour, media theory and infrastructure, and approaches to research-creation . She makes digital and material art about e-waste, crafts, and fashion. Fan is an Editor and the Director of Communications of electronic book review and an Editor of the digital review. She is Co-Editor of the collection Post-Digital: Dialogues and Debates from electronic book review (Bloomsbury 2020), and is the Editor of special journal issues on “Canadian Digital Poetics” and “Critical Making, Critical Design" (both 2021).

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Ville Mäkelä

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts

Ville Mäkelä is an Assistant Professor at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. He works broadly in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, in areas such as virtual reality, ubiquitous and mobile computing, and games.

Alizeh Charania


Alizeh is a 3A Psychology undergraduate student in the Research Intensive Specialization Co-op program. Currently she is working as a Social Virtual Reality Co-op Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business and the Games Institute. As part of the position, she will participate in research projects relating to virtual realities technology and assist with all aspects of research work including literature reviews, data collection and documentation.

Nirali Modi

HCI, Mitacs GRI

Nirali is current undergraduate student, working towards her Btech in Material Engineering with a minor in Computer Science in Indian Institute of Technology, Jammu. She is currently working on Image classification regarding epoxy polymers and carbon nano tubes. Her areas of research include Machine learning , Computer vision and analysing various material under the SEM and TEM microscopes.

Amy Liang

Amy Liang


Amy Liang finished her Bachelor of Arts degree with Psychology major and Human Resource Management minor. 

"I am a passionate researcher interested in Second Language Acquisition. I am currently helping a couple researches testing on topics related to accented language. On August 2018, I finished a presentation on how we could use the new VR technology to help students learn English easier."

- Amy Liang 

Triskal DeHaven

Systems Design Engineering

Triskal is pursuing a PhD in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke. He holds an MSc in Human Centered Interactive Technologies from the University of York in the UK, and a BSc in Pre-graduate Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in TN, USA. He is also a User Experience Research for the AbleGamers Charity. His main interests include making games more accessible for player with disabilities, virtual reality, and Games User Research.

Ken Jen Lee

Computer Science

Ken is a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, advised by Dr. Edith Law. He is researching methods of using extended reality technologies to nurture and facilitate rational compassion, transformational learning and altruistic attitudes and behaviours.

Navneet Kaur

Legal Studies

Navneet is an undergraduate student in Legal Studies who is supporting Dr. Shana MacDonald and Dr. Brianna Wiens in their research regarding feminist digital media. She manages public-facing digital media accounts for the Feminist Think Tank and her tasks include data management, task management, and content creation.

Junhyeok Kim

Computer Science

Junhyeok is a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He completed Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Manitoba. He practices and designs interactive systems using latest technology to improve immersion of computing.


Arden Song

Management Engineering

Arden Song is an undergraduate student in the Management Engineering program. They were first introduced to the Games Institute through a research assistantship under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. Since then, they have helped in research about the lifestyle of vanlifers (culminating in a paper published in CHI 2021), daydreaming in video games, and the space requirements of board games. Arden is currently investigating hybrid physical-digital games and how games may be played remotely.

Sumeet Sandhu


Hello, I am Sumeet Sandhu, a coop student, working as Full Stack Developer with Professor Randy Harris. I am working on the development of Rhetoricon website and GoFigure game.

Hector Perez Lopez Portillo

Faculty of Health

Hector is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Health working with Dr. Lili Liu. His research focuses on dementia and technology, focusing on usability and adoption. Hector likes social simulation games like Animal Crossing. People should talk to Hector if they have a problem or need to talk. He considers himself a good listener who enjoys solving problems and helping people.   

Montana White

Operations Coordinator

Montana is a 4th year student at the University of Waterloo. She will be the Operations Coordinator at the Games Institute this spring term. 

Jonathan Baltrusaitis


"I am a storytelling machine from a film and television background. The XDM Masters program is rapidly expanding my narrative toolkit and I am interested in the narrative possibilities of games. I am examining and merging the traditional forms of civic monument and documentary through augmented reality."

Jonathan Baltrusaitis

He is also the recipient of the Grade Average Award - Graduate for Fall 2017.

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Umair Shah

Lecturer in the Department of Management Sciences, Faculty of Engineering

Muhammad Umair Shah is a faculty member in the Department of Management Sciences, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He pursues research in human-computer interaction, application of stakeholder theory in technology realm, and ethics of UX design.

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Amerald Xian Liang Fang


Amerald is a BSc student in Geomatics currently researching the use of game engines for scientific visualization, analysis, and knowledge mobilization.

Mustapha Unubi Momoh

Systems Design Engineering

Mustapha is a MASc student of Systems Design Engineering. His research interests include 3D computer vision for virtual reality, human factors, and machine learning. He enjoys working with AI and founded Karaam Analytics Limited to provide Data Analytics services to firms and individuals.

Twitter: @MomohUnubi

Blair Knyspel

Computer Science and Mathematics

Blair is a computing and maths student from Scotland and they will be joining the University of Waterloo to research bringing real-life objects into virtual reality. They're interested in virtual reality, autonomous cars and combining computer science with astrophysics. Outside of research, they enjoy drawing and reading fiction books.

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Taheera Mamujee

Arya Tektar

Taheera completed a BA Honours Arts, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication Major, Music Minor at the University of Waterloo with Dean’s List acknowledgement. More recently, she completed her MA in Literary Studies, also at the University of Waterloo.

Licheng Zhang

Computer Science

Licheng Zhang is a Master of Mathematics student supervised by Mark Hancock in Computer Science. His interest in human-computer interaction began as an undergraduate research assistant working on a virtual reality (VR) project, together with professor Mark Hancock and his past PhD student Ayman Alzayat. He loves game development and Unity game engine. He's interested in any research related to games and VR.

Licheng's main focus now is on coursework. He's learning computer graphics and data visualization.

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Luke Potwarka

Associate Professor | Director, Spectator Experience and Technology Laboratory

Luke Potwarka's research focuses on consumer behaviour related to sport events. It addresses the overarching question: under what conditions do sport events have positive impacts for individuals and organizations in host communities? Their research draws from diverse disciplinary perspectives (e.g., social psychology, geography) and methodological approaches. The knowledge generated from my work is aimed to improve event management practices in ways that maximize participation and economic-related impacts that can result from hosting elite-sport events.

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Steven Bednarski

Professor, History | Co-Director of Medieval Studies

Steven Bednarski is Professor in History and Co-Director of Medieval Studies. He is currently the director of the SSHRC Partnership project, Environments of Change, a multiyear international project that uses digital tools to examine the relationship between historical societies and their environments.

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Sabrina Alicia Sgandurra

Experimental Digital Media

Sabrina Alicia Sgandurra (HBA Toronto Metropolitan University, MA University of Waterloo) is a PhD student specializing in games studies.

Yiqing (Myracle) Wang

Mathematical Finance & Statistics

"Interested in Machine Learning, I have developed predictive regression models in the financial industry and am ready to expand my career/academic path into the games industry! Believed in data driven facts and looking forward to learning deeper knowledge and broader applications of ML/NLP in the Games Institute."

- Myracle

Melanie Lim

Recreation and Leisure Studies

Melanie Lim is an MA student in Recreation and Leisure Studies. She is currently exploring questions of Korean and gendered existences in the context of lived experiences within a Eurocentric society.

Hichem Lahiouel


Hichem is a fourth-year undergrad in Physics and is joining the Games Institute as an Undergraduate Research Assistant working with Alessandra Luz. Hichem's is interested in the applications of Machine Learning including how Machine Learning and Gamification can be used to help diagnose eye diseases in children. People should come to Hichem if they like sports, especially soccer, hockey, and basketball! 

Tor-Salve Dalsgaard

Management Sciences, Human Computer Interaction, HXlab

Tor-Salve conducts research on haptic interactions and experiences. He is interested in stimulating all sorts of human senses.

Marcela Bomfim

Marcela Bomfim

Applied Health Sciences

Marcela is a PhD Student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (AHS), working under the supervision of Dr James Wallace. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and in Systems Analysis and an MSc in Computer Science with specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. 

"My research focuses on exploring Gameful Design to improve Food Literacy among people. My research leverages Self Determination Theory to build peoples' competence, autonomy, and relatedness around food, with the aim of making people more knowledgeable and skilled when planning and selecting foods, as well as promoting a celebratory food culture bringing people to eat together."

Marcela Bomfim

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Diana Khater

RA, Haptics Lab

Diana Khater is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a BSc in Biology at the University of Waterloo. She's a co-op research assistant at the Haptic Lab, working under the supervision of Dr. Schneider. Her research focuses on hand receptors involved in the haptic experience.

Susan Roy

Susan Roy

Associate Professor, History

Susan Roy is an Associate Professor in History. She examines the histories of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relationships in Canada with attention to cultural performance and land rights activism. Susan also incorporates digital technology and other forms of multi-media presentation to bring historical research to wider publics. 

Chris Wang

Management Engineering

Chris is an undergraduate student in the Management Engineering program. He is currently working on developing hardware and software prototyping for interactive haptic, VR, and tangible experiences with Professor Oliver Schneider.

Vanessa Duong

School of Public Health Sciences, Health, Honours Health Sciences

Vanessa Duong is an undergraduate health sciences student working with Dr. Jim Wallace as an USRA. Their research looks into aging parents and the process of aging with your children. Using computational analysis, Reddit posts will be able to be analyzed for further research purposes.

Yeti Li


Yeti Li is a post-doctural student from the Systems Designs Engineering program. 

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Ana Lucia Diaz de Leon Derby

Systems Design Engineering

Ana Lucia is a MSc student in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Professor Oliver Schneider. She received her Bachelor degree in Innovation and Development Engineering from the University Tec de Monterrey (ITESM).

Lulu Liu

Systems Design Engineering

Lulu is a digital multimedia artist, photographer and filmmaker whose work disseminates technology’s coalescence with art, and how one stays grounded through this metamorphosis. Some of her previous works have been featured by the Toronto International Film Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

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Adan Jerreat-Poole

Intersection of Disability Justice and Digital Media

Adan Jerreat-Poole (they/them) is a mad/crip/queer scholar and white settler living on treaty territory belonging to Six Nations of the Grand River and the traditional home of the Neutral, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. Adan works at the intersection of disability justice and digital media, including social media, video games, critical design, accessible virtual pedagogies, automedia, popular culture, and digital storytelling.

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Aynur Kadir

Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo | Assistant Professor for Indigenous Lifeways in Asia, University of British Columbia

Aynur Kadir is an Indigenous Uyghur scholar, filmmaker and curator with a research focus on the documentation, conservation and revitalization of Indigenous cultures and languages. Her work bridges the gap between Indigenous studies in Canada and in Asia.

May Nemat Allah

Arts and Business

May Nemat Allah is a 4th-year student at the University of Waterloo studying Arts and Business with a specialization in Theatre and Performance. After studying theatre for the past eight years, May fell in love with stage, production, and festival management. She is interested in theatre's inimitable ability to entertain and provoke thought and action within various communities. May aspires to support the production of pieces that utilize theatre’s dual ability in an impactful way to promote positive change within ourselves and our communities.

Luka Ugaya Mazza

Public Health and Health Science

Luka graduated with a BA in Graphic Design from the Federal University of Paran, Brazi. There, they conducted research on serious games as tools to teach medical practitioners. Currently, Luka is a MSc student in Public Health and Health Systems. Their interests include data visualisation, information design, information design systems, serious games, and games for mental health.

Hilda Hadan

Systems Design Engineering

Hilda is a Ph.D. student in Systems Design Engineering, collaborating with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke and Dr. Leah Zhang-Kennedy. Her research is centered around deceptive design, which was previously known as dark patterns, in games and game-related technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). Beyond her work on deceptive design, Hilda has a keen interest in human-centered research, specifically in the areas of video games, privacy, and cybersecurity.

Kristine Yuan

Faculty of Math, Computer Science program

3B Computer Science Undergraduate Student at University of Waterloo. Full Stack Developer for the Rhetoricon project for Spring 2023.

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Toben Racicot

English PhD

Toben, BA Creative Writing (BYUI), MA Rhetoric and Communication Design (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Waterloo. Toben’s research focuses on role-playing games, collaborative worldbuilding, loot mechanics, and the magic circle in digital forms.

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Janelle Resch

Alumni - Applied Mathematics

Janelle recently completed her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. She worked on a multidisciplinary project involving physics (wave motion and signal analysis), applied mathematics (gasdynamics) and computer science (numerical methods).

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Jason Grove

Associate Chair, Chemical Engineering

Jason Grove is a faculty member in Chemical Engineering. As Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies and leader of the assessment of graduate attributes for accredation, he has interest and expertise in pedagogical practice and research; particularly related to the assessment of learning outcomes and curriculum improvement. His technical expertise is in greenhouse gas emission quantification and sustainability. 

Jay Smith

English Literature

Jay is a master’s Thesis student in the English Literature Program. They received their Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Calgary in 2022. They are academically interested in Queer Theory and Representation in modern media and developing fields of research like comics studies and interactive media.

Trisha Pawar

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, Faculty of Arts

Trisha is a design student who loves research. Her project topic is Marginalia in the Digital Age where she will be exploring new technologies and methods to streamline the process of marginalia. At the same time, she will focus on understanding how the learnability and usability of digital tools can be improved.

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Pamela Maria Schmidt

Research Projects Facilitator

Mel Edens

Systems Design Engineering

Leslie Xin

Systems Design Engineering
Leslie is a fourth-year undergraduate Systems Design Engineering Student and researcher. She is currently working with Dr. Lai-Tze Fan and Lulu Liu to explore how AR/VR and interactive digital storytelling can be leveraged to represent transformative quantum technologies. Her other areas of interest include creative coding, climate tech, and web3. 
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Catherine Burns

Professor, Systems Design Engineering | Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Human Factors in Healthcare Systems | Associate Vice President, Health Initiatives

Catherine M. Burns is Professor in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada and Associate Vice President, Health Initiatives at the Office of Research at the University of Waterloo.  In her past administrative roles she has been engaged with institutional and tri agency funding programs, research partnerships, Waterloo’s equity in research action plan, and research computing.  Catherine was the founder of the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology at Waterloo and led the centre from a faculty to an institutional centre over 8 years.

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John Muñoz

Adjunct Professor, System Design Engineering

Yirou (Chris) Li


"I’m currently a MASc student in Systems Design Engineering Department at University of Waterloo working under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Boger. My research and thesis work on developing VR exergames as well as effectiveness measures to evaluate the efficacy of the games in promoting physical activities in people living with dementia. My research interests lie in healthcare, human factors, UI/UX designs to bring technologies into people's life easily."

- Chris

Karthik Theivendran

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Karthik is an MSc student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University. Karthik's interests lie in Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Haptic Computing and Wearables. He has industrial experience in developing and commercializing wearable technology products.

Isabella Rose Chawrun

Faculty of Health

Isabella is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health for Public Health Sciences/Aging, Health, and Wellbeing. Working with Dr. Lili Liu, Isabella advocates for autistic people of all ages but her research focuses on older autistic people by using social determinants of the health model. Her research specifically highlights wearables as a method of social connectivity and physical health support. She is connected to the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health and advocates for neurodiverse expressions and conceptions of mental health and service delivery.

Nimun Bajwa

Computer Science Department, Math Faculty, Computer Science

Nimun is a 4A Computer Science student at UW working with Professor Harris this summer on Rhetoricon. She loves running, swimming, and playing soccer (badly).

Marisa Benjamin

Research Communications Officer

Marisa Benjamin completed a MA in Rhetoric and Communication Design, and a BA Honours Arts and Business Co-op, Psychology Major, English Minor at the University of Waterloo. She is the Research Communications Officer at the Games Institute, overseeing the research communications portfolio and spearheading the Institute's knowledge mobilization efforts, including the fabulous Games Institute Podcast. 

Marisa is a painter, writer, and digital artist. She's been doing artsy things her whole life but only recently gained the confidence to show it to people outside immediate family (woohoo!). Through her work, Marisa expresses complex ideas that take up critical issues in society surrounding identity and feminisms. At the top of her bucket list, Marisa plans to high five all the people who inspire her (Lindy West, Roxane Gay, Julie Lalonde, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez...)

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Eric Ocelewski

Affiliated Researcher

Aleksander Franiczek


Aleks is currently working towards an English PhD. His doctoral research synthesizes perspectives from game studies, phenomenology, and critial design to consider how a player's sense of immersion in a videogame can provide a means towards self-reflection through creative engagement both during and outside gamplay. He is also an associate editor at the Games Institute's online journal, First Person Scholar. 

Sakeenah Ashique

Honors Arts and Business DAC

Sakeenah is an undergraduate student in the Honors Art and Business program. She is working as a research assistant for Professor Shana MacDonald to provide data management assistance for her feminist media archive.

Irtika Khan

Computer Engineering

Irtika, is a full-time undergraduate computer engineering student at Dr. D.Y. Patil University, Mumbai, India. She was selected as a Mitacs Globalink Intern '23. Her research interests include machine learning and artificial intelligence. As for her hobbies, she enjoys reading and occasionally writing.

Sonia Laposi


Sonia Laposi, BA (English and Drama; UW), is currently completing her masters in Digital Media.

Bibhushan Raj Joshi

Management Sciences

Bibhushan is a PhD student in Management science department of UW. His research background is in computer engineering and management. He is interested in creative research projects related with HCI, Haptics, Software Engineering and Product development.

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Marcel O'Gorman

Professor, University Research Chair in Critical Digital Studies | Director, Critical Media Lab

Marcel O’Gorman is a University Research Chair and Founding Director of the Critical Media Lab (CML). The CML supports the design and development of research and creative projects that explore the impacts of technology on society and the more than human world. O’Gorman has published widely about tech issues in both academic and public contexts, including articles and op-eds in The Atlantic, Slate, The Globe and Mail, and The Conversation. He is also a practicing artist with an international portfolio of exhibitions and performances. 

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Clark Dickerson

Professor, Kinesiology and Health Sciences | Canada Research Chair of Shoulder Mechanics, University of Waterloo

Clark Dickerson (PhD) is a Professor of Kinesiology and Health Sciences (Faculty of Health) and Canada Research Chair of Shoulder Mechanics at the University of Waterloo, where he has been since 2005. His research focuses on human musculoskeletal biomechanics, particularly of the shoulder. He earned his BSME at Alfred University, his MS in bioengineering from Clemson University, and his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Samira Mehrabi

Aging, Health and Well-being

Samira is a PhD candidate and research/teaching assistant at the University of Waterloo. She is a personable and responsible Physiotherapist/Exercise Therapist with extensive knowledge and professional experience of rehabilitation methods, exercise prescription, and health promotion strategies.

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Randy Harris

Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, and the David Cheriton School of Computer Science

Randy Allen Harris is a rhetorician whose interests include Computational Rhetoric, Cognitive Science, Linguistics, and Stylistics. His books include The Linguistic Wars, Rhetoric and Incommensurability, Voice Interaction Design, and the Routledge Handbook of Language and Persuasion. He is the director of The Rhetoricon Database project, which includes GoFigure, a citizen-science game for harvesting rhetorical figures from any and all genres, registers, and discourses.

Rachel Woo

Public Health and Health Systems

Rachel is a master’s student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, with an expected graduation date of 2022. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto where she became interested in information visualization. At the University of Waterloo her research will centre on immersion and experience in AR games and their implications for public health. Rachel is under the Supervision of Dr. James Wallace and a member of the Human-Computer Interaction and Health Lab.

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Kate Bradley


Kate is a History student, doing research at the GI with Feminist Think Tank. She is assisting on projects in media communication, feminist archives, and feminist digital activism. She is working to become an interdisciplinary scholar who prioritizes care-full research and feminist collectivity.

Siddharth Vagavolu

Faculty of Mathematics, Mathematical Studies

3rd Year Mathematics Students at University of Waterloo, leading Rhetoricon project development for Spring 2023.

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Tina Chan

Applied Health Sciences

Long Ting (Tina) Chan was a Master of Science candidate in Applied Health Sciences, with an interest in using technological innovations to improve mental health and wellbeing. She currently explores how gamification with narratives and avatars can influence engagement in online peer to peer support platforms for mental health usingunguided, crowdsourced cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

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Alessandra Luz de Medeiros Ferreira

Computer Science

Alessandra is a P.h.D. student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science under the supervision of Dr Lennart Nacke and Dr Daniel Vogel. She holds a MSc in HCI-E from University College of London, where her supervisors were Dr.

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Daniel Vogel

Associate Professor, Cheriton School of Computer Science

Daniel Vogel is an Associate Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. He has published more than 90 papers in Human Computer Interaction focusing on fundamental characteristics of human input and novel forms of interaction for current and future computing form factors. Topics include touch, tangibles, mid-air gestures, and whole-body input, for everything from on-body wearable devices and mobile phones, to large displays and virtual reality.

Michael Xu

Software Engineering

Michael is an undergraduate student in software engineering. His main focus is applying generative machine learning models to streamline the development of haptic experiences and exploring novel interfaces for augmented reality.

Kartik Chinda

Computer Sciences and Engineering; Bhabhani Prasad Mishra (Dean, CSE) (as there are multiple faculties for multiple subjects); Bachelor in Technology (BTech)

 Kartik is a GRI'23 intern.He is currently pursuing a bachelor's in Computer sciences and engineering from KIIT, Odisha. His areas of technical expertise are web development as well as machine learning. Due to this, his main areas of research lie along the lines of research in machine/deep learning, as well as UI/UX development for front-end web development. he has  also written a research paper based on Quantum Computing, as well as Internet of Behaviors (an emerging field in IoT).

Mira Patel


Mira is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Social Development Studies. Her focus in research has been towards investigating and developing screening and early prevention and/or intervention methods that indicate the relationship between specific personality traits and depression or anxiety in youth. She is passionate about helping others and hoping to pursue a career in Counselling.

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Ahmed Anwar

Management Science

Ahmed is a Masters student in the Management Science department supervised by Oliver Schneider. Previously, he completed his undergrad from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan with an interdisciplinary coursework in Management Science and Computer Science.

Katja Rojers

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

Katja is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Lennart Nacke's research group. She completed her PhD in Computer Science at the Institute of Media Informatics at Ulm University, Germany. Her research focuses on realism in interactive media, for example in the effects of audio on player experience in games and physical interaction realism in virtual reality.

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Daria Dahpon Ho

Professor, History

Daria Dahpon Ho is an Asian-American and a transgender person, plus something of a "geek," strategy & video game enthusiast, and amateur stargazer, martial artist, and Gō player.  She delights in exploring people and ideas on the move, as in the maritime history of the Pacific Ocean world.  Specifically, she researches the history of Chinese seaborne trade with Japan, Southeast Asia, and Western countries, and coastal piracy & violence in early-modern and modern times. 

Detective Pickachu

Apoorva Sanagavarapu

English - Experimental Digital Media

Apoorva Sanagavarapu is a current Masters’ student in the the Experimental Digital Media (XDM) CO-OP stream of English, at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests have led her to develop a deeper understanding of topics, including, but not limited to: fan studies, digital/social media cultures, feminist and gender theory, critical media infrastructures, critical race theory, the Anthropocene and environmental sustainability, as well as LGBTQ+ representation in the media, canon, and/or “fanon.” She previously earned an Honours BA in English Literature and Rhetoric, along with specializations in Digital Media Studies and Technical Writing, as well as a minor in Italian Studies, also from the University of Waterloo. She continues to pursue endeavors related to her primary interest in fandom/fanfiction studies, as seen through her research creation projects for XDM.

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Morgan McGuire

Adjunct Professor

Morgan McGuire creates algorithms and systems for scalable, civil, social 3D and VR interaction. Morgan is the Chief Scientist at Roblox and an adjunct professor in the University of Waterloo Cheriton School of Computer Science, and previously worked at Williams College, NVIDIA, and Activision.

Shana MacDonald

Shana MacDonald

Associate Professor, Communication Arts

Shana MacDonald is an Associate Professor in Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo. Her interdisciplinary research examines feminist, queer, and anti-racist media activisms within social and digital media, memes,  popular culture, cinema, and contemporary art. Dr. MacDonald co-runs the online archive Feminists Do Media (Instagram: @aesthetic.resistance).

Karthik Parsad

Management Engineering

Karthik is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Management Engineering. He has studied software and game development and is interested in working with Haptics, Artificial Intelligence and VR. He is interested in video games, specifically multiplayer games, and action RGPs. He is working on a project with Professor Oliver Schneider regarding Virtual Reality (VR) Speech Therapy.

Nima Zargham

Interaction Design and Business

Nima is a Ph.D. student in the Digital Media Lab at the University of Bremen. His research focuses on human-agent speech interaction.

Robert P. Gauthier

Robert P. Gauthier

Public Health and Health Systems

Robert is a PhD Student from the School of Public Health being supervised by Professor Jim Wallace.

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Arielle Grinberg

Management Sciences

Arielle is a PhD Candidate working with Mark Hancock and Rob Duimering. Her interest in Human-Computer Interaction began when she worked as a research assistant at the GI. Her research interests span across a wide range of disciplines.

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Derek Robinson

Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Management

Derek Robinson models human-environment interactions by coupling agent-based models of human decision-making with models of natural systems (e.g., erosion, vegetation growth). However, many natural systems models are not designed (or validated) at the scale of human decision-making (e.g., property parcels or farm fields). Therefore, recent research by Derek has involved using remotely piloted aircraft (i.e., drones) to collect very high-resolution data to quantify and visualize natural processes in ways that have not been done before. This is where the games institute comes in! Derek and his research team have been creating workflows for visualizing drone data game engines and creating immersive environments for modelling and stakeholder engagement using game engines. While it’s a relatively new area for Derek, he has been building an undergraduate and graduate team in this area and always looking for new team members.

Ritika Puri

English Literature and Rhetoric

Ritika is an undergraduate student currently working as a part-time worker on the Rhetoricon project. Rhetoricon explores extra grammatical patterns (rhetorical figures). One of the many goals of the project is to explore many instances of texts with these patterns in order to leverage this for advanced text mining, specifically argument mining.

Sebastian Cmentowski

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, Faculty of Art

After completing his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, in 2022, he will join the HCI Games Group at the Games Institute in July 2023. His research, funded through the Provost's Program for Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholars, will center on using VR exergames to trigger behavioral change and fight sedentary lifestyles.

Marco standing in front of the CN tower

Marco Aurelio Moran Ledesma

Systems Design Engineering

Headshot of Stuart Hallifax

Stuart Hallifax

Postdoctoral Fellow, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics

Stuart was born in the UK, moved to France when he was 10 years old, and lived there for 19 years before coming to Canada. During his PhD Stuart had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lennart Nacke at a conference in 2018 during his course on Gamification.

Lindsay Meaning

English, Arts, PhD in English

Lindsay (BA English, Wilfrid Laurier University; MA Experimental Digital Media, University of Waterloo) is a fourth year PhD candidate in the English department at UWaterloo. Her research in game studies has previously focused on colonial and imperial ideologies in RPGs; currently, her work explores representations of the sex trade and the commodification of women in games.

Mackenzie Leclaire

Mackenzie is a master's student whose research is broadly concerned with the treatment and management of people who have sexually offended. Her master's thesis research, specifically, explores the impact of a restorative justice-focused peer support group on the post-offending lives of men who have caused sexual harm.
Cartoon drawing of Guiseppe

Giuseppe William Femia

English - Rhetoric and Communication Design

Giuseppe completed a BA (English, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication & Honours Arts and Business) and an MA (Rhetoric and Communication Design) at the University of Waterloo.

Suji Nivedita Sathiyamurthy

Management Sciences, Engineering

"I'm a Masters student with software design & development background. Enthusiastic about Design, Technology and Nature. I'm currently working on measuring Haptics design experience under the guidance of Dr. Oliver Schneider."

- Suji

sahand headshot

Sahand Ajami

Applied Science

Sahand is Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering MASc student. His focus is on virtual reality-based upper-limb rehabilitation for post-stroke patients.


A picture of Lili Liu

Lili Liu

Dean of Faculty of Health

Lili Liu is a Professor in the School of Public Health Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Waterloo. Her research examines ways evidence and technologies can help older adults and family caregivers. Dr. Liu's research program involves partners such as Alzheimer Societies, police services, search and rescue services, and dementia advocacy and caregiver associations, nationally and internationally. 

Ellie Sanoubari

Systems Design, Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Ellie works on REMind, which is a transformational game that uses social robots to help children learn how to intervene in bullying situations. Inspired by applied drama techniques, the game engages children in an interactive story that allows them to observe a bullying scenario between two robots, and then intervene by controlling a third bystander robot. REMind is designed to promote internal reflection and situated learning.

Ali Haider Rizvi

Management Science

Ali (MS, Columbia University; B.Tech, NIT Jalandhar) is a PhD student studying Human-Computer Interaction. He is interested in studying the interaction between technology management, human factors and data analytics as it applies to non-traditional interfaces Prior to his PhD, Ali was a Senior Product Manager on Amazon's Alexa platform. When Ali is not at work, he is either climbing mountains or flying a tiny Cessna.

David Bell

Systems Design Engineering

David Bell holds a BEng in Electronic Systems Engineering from Conestoga College and is pursuing a part-time MASc degree in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. He has an interest in mixed reality, vision systems, and gesture-based interfaces.

A picture of Daniel Harley

Daniel Harley

Assistant Professor, Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

Daniel Harley is an Assistant Professor at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. His research focuses on digital culture, interactive narratives, tangible and embodied interaction, and virtual reality. He is director of the Narrative Realities Lab on the Stratford Campus.

Sarah Casey

Rhetoric and Communication Design

Sarah is interested in the many (many!) ways humans manage to confuse and irritate one another via communication. In particular, her research involves risk society, public policy and trust, mis- and dis-information, and the rhetoric of risk, with a specific interest in competing/argumentative constructions of risk. These rhetorics often involve a bit (ok, a lot) of verbal gymnastics, and she finds investigating the forms and usages of persuasive language in her work with the Rhetoricon database project is a fun and fruitful addition to her research and studies.

Sina Torabi

Faculty of Information & Media Studies Program: Media Studies

Sina is a PhD candidate in the Department of Media Studies at Western University. He is interested to learn more about the peculiar interaction between narrative structures, issues of human identity, and agency in video games.

Ben Feng

Ben Feng

Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

Ben Feng’s research interests include mathematical modelling of complex real-life systems, computer experiment design and analysis, and Monte Carlo simulations.

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