Ocean Safety Research Unit (OSRU)

Heather Carnahan Professor

Heather Carnahan

Dr. Heather Carnahan is leading the Ocean Safety Research Unit. She studies how people learn to become expert at performing motor skills. This involves applying current motor control and learning theory to studying the acquisition and retention of technical skills in various real life domains such as the safety and survival skills associated with marine transport, zero gravity environments, and health care. The effective design and use of simulation based training is also a focus of her research. Dr. Carnahan's research has been funded by NSERC since 1991 and currently involves studying human motor control and learning in extreme environment.

List of publications:


Rob Brown

Rob Brown
Research Scientist

Dr. Rob Brown is a research scientist with a Ph.D. in from the University of Greenwich (UK) in human performance and evacuation modelling for large passenger ships. Rob has led research at the OSSC since 2003 and during this time his role has included coordination, conduct and management of projects ranging from model scale laboratory-based testing to ethics approved human performance research at full scale. Rob’s research also involves studying thermal protection of individuals in survival situations and the performance of emergency locator beacons in rough sea conditions. A Professional Engineer (naval architecture), Rob is an associate member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects and was recently awarded the James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation, with the assistance of the Government of Canada/avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada to develop a Canadian/Irish research network in passenger ship safety.

List of publications:


Kerri-Ann Evely

Kerri-Ann Evely
Marine Safety Researcher

Kerri-Ann Ennis is a human factors researcher with the unit and holds a Master of Science (Kinesiology - Effects of Floor Insulation and Clothing Wetness on Thermal Response of Life Raft Occupants Exposed to Cold) from Memorial University. Prior to joining the team at OSSC in 2010, Ennis was the human factors research coordinator with the Small Craft Simulation Project at Memorial University. Kerri-Ann has practical small craft experience as a past employee of the Canadian Coast Guard - Inshore Rescue Boat Program and has research experience in the areas of maritime safety and survival, human thermal physiology, small craft simulation training and helicopter underwater escape.

Elizabeth Sanli

Elizabeth Sanli

Dr. Liz Sanli is an Instructor (Research) in Ocean Safety. Her current research focus is on the understanding of how attention, motivation, and learner involvement during training influence complex skill performance and retention. She aims to understand realistic, situation-based training and its impact on performance and retention of movement skills in a safety and survival context.

Dr. Sanli holds a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from McMaster University (2013) as well as a M.Sc. In Applied Health Science, Kinesiology (2009) and a B.Kin. (2007) from Brock University. Her postdoctoral work (2015-2017) was completed at the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre, examining skill performance, learning, and relearning.

List of publications:


Jennifer Smith

Dr. Jennifer Smith is an Instructor (Research) with the School of Maritime Studies.

Her research evaluates the effectiveness of simulation technologies for maritime training applications. This involves pedagogical experiments using simulators to study human factors issues in the maritime workplace and to understand the current and future needs of maritime education and training. She looks at how to adapt training technologies to meet the complex needs of seafarers and how these technologies can help seafarers manage the ongoing transformation of the maritime workplace in response to automation, digitalization, and artificial intelligence.

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Adjunct Faculty
Cross Appointed Professors
Present Trainees under supervision of H. Carnahan

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Dr. Michael King

Graduate Students:

  • Cole Long, MSC (Kin)
Present Trainees under Supervision of R. Brown

Graduate Students:

  • Josh Ryan (M.Eng)
  • Jeff Howard (Interdisciplinary PhD)
  • Alexandria Major (M.Eng)
  • Evan Lane (M.Eng)
  • Mohammad Zarrin Mehr (M.Sc)
  • Kerri-Ann Ennis (Ph.D)
  • Krista Parsons-Butler (Ph.D)
  • Jonathan Butler (Ph.D)

Past Lab Members under Supervision of H. Carnahan

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • 2016-2018 Dr. Elizabeth Sanli
  • 2016-2018 Dr. Matthew Ray
  • 2017-2018 Dr. Desmond Mulligan

Graduate Students:

  • 2019 Brenna McWilliams Msc (Kin)
  • 2019 Stefanie Martina Msc (Kin)

Undergraduate Thesis Students:

  • 2018 Cecelia Power
  • 2018 Amber Jones
  • 2019 Tammy Luscombe
  • 2019 Heather Barry
  • 2019 Kaitlin Mugford
  • 2020 Chantel Armstrong
  • 2020 Jill Holden
  • 2020 Emily Walsh
  • 2020 Brianna Walsh

Research Assistants:

  • 2018 MacKenzie Collins
  • 2019 Elizabeth Elliott
  • 2019 Kaitlin Mugford
  • 2020 Carla Chaytor

Past Lab Members Supervised by L. Sanli

Research Assistants:

  • 2018 Chester Eickmeier
  • 2019 Oriana Pittman Caines

Past Lab Members Supervised by R. Brown

Past Graduate Students:

  • Tina Putt (M.ASc)
  • Nicole Meyers (M.ASc)

Past Co-op students:

  • Ahmed Aljaroudi (Engineering)
  • Josh Ryan (Engineering)
  • Erick Lopez (Engineering)
  • Jill Oldford (Engineering)
  • Saul Maynard (HKR)
  • Danika Benoit (HKR)
  • Mike Neville (Engineering)
  • Rupert Gushue (Engineering)
  • Brandon Snook (Engineering)
  • Keith Wakeham (Engineering)
  • Shawn O’Neill (Engineering)
  • Germecya Bitoumi (Engineering)
  • Hitesh Sharma (Engineering)
  • Steven Penny (Engineering)
  • Aya Ibrahim (Engineering)
  • Karim Hassan (Engineering)

Past MUCEP Students:

  • Muhammed Monan
  • Jill Conway