Canada Research Chair

Contact InformationJohn McPhee

Phone: 519-888-4567 x35341
Location: E3 4114


Biography Summary

John McPhee received his degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Acadia University, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, and the University of Waterloo, Canada. He worked at the Université de Liège, Belgium, and Queen’s University, Canada, before taking a faculty position in 1992 at Waterloo, where he is now a Professor in Systems Design Engineering and the Canada Research Chair in Biomechatronic System Dynamics.

Dr. John McPhee is Canada’s leading expert in system dynamics. He has pioneered the mathematical development of graph-theoretic modelling and its application to the unified dynamics of multidisciplinary physical systems. His intellectual achievements, published in 168 journal papers and 292 conference papers and abstracts, have been recognized by the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation (presented by the Governor-General of Canada), 10 Best Paper awards, the Engineering Excellence Medal from Professional Engineers Ontario, and an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Grant. His ground-breaking graph-theoretic methods have been commercialized by Maplesoft and licensed to thousands of users worldwide. Applications of his work range from stroke rehabilitation robots to the reduction of harmful emissions from the next generation of hybrid electric vehicles. Dr. McPhee is internationally recognized for his original contributions; he is the Vice-Chair and former Chair of the International Association for Multibody System Dynamics, a co-founder of 2 journals and 3 international technical committees, a frequent keynote speaker, and an Associate Editor for 6 leading journals in his field. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Engineering Institute of Canada. Dr. McPhee has supervised 114 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom are academic leaders at other universities in Canada and abroad.

Research Interests

  • Biomechatronics
  • Multibody dynamic models and simulation
  • Exoskeletons and rehabilitation robots
  • Biomechanics
  • Sports engineering
  • Systems theory
  • Model-based control
  • Autonomous cars and vehicle dynamics
  • Machine learning
  • Computer vision
  • Hybrid electric vehicles


  • 1990, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • 1986, Master's, Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • 1984, Bachelor's, Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Nova Scotia
  • 1982, Certificate of Applied Science, Certificate of Applied Science, Acadia University


  • BME 450 - Sports Engineering
    • Taught in 2018, 2019
  • BME 550 - Sports Engineering
    • Taught in 2020
  • SYDE 652 - Dynamics of Multibody Systems
    • Taught in 2017, 2019, 2020
  • SYDE 750 - Topics in Systems Modelling
    • Taught in 2018, 2021
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Banerjee, Joydeep and McPhee, John, Graph-theoretic sensitivity analysis of multi-domain dynamic systems: theory and symbolic computer implementation, Nonlinear Dynamics, 2016, 1 - 25
  • McNally, William and Balzerson, Daniel and Wilson, Daniel and McPhee, John, Effect of Clubhead Inertial Properties and Driver Face Geometry on Golf ball Trajectories, Procedia Engineering, 147, 2016, 407 - 412
  • Laschowski, Brock and McPhee, John, Quantifying Body Segment Parameters Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry: A Paralympic Wheelchair Curler Case Report, Procedia Engineering, 147, 2016, 163 - 167
  • Taghavipour, Amir and Vajedi, Mahyar and Azad, Nasser L and McPhee, John, A Comparative Analysis of Route-Based Energy Management Systems for Phevs, Asian Journal of Control, 18(1), 2016, 29 - 39
  • Mehrabi, Naser and McPhee, John and Azad, Nasser L, Design and evaluation of an observer-based disturbance rejection controller for electric power steering systems, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering, 230(7), 2016, 867 - 884

In the News

Graduate Studies