Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Personal tools

Ranil Sonnadara

Ranil Sonnadara

Special Advisor to the Vice President Research

Director, Education Science & Associate Professor, Department of Surgery

Director, Research and High Performance Computing

Faculty Affiliate, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence

ABB 131B

Office Phone: (905) 525-9140 x24156


  1. PhD Experimental Psychology (Behavioural Neuroscience), McMaster University
  2. MSc Psychology & Physiology, University of Leeds


As Special Advisor to the Vice-President (Research), I provide guidance and leadership on strategic priorities and institutional policies related to research and advanced computing / digital research infrastructure. In this capacity, I also serve as McMaster's primary advanced computing contact with external agencies such as SHARCNET, Compute Ontario and Compute Canada, and as the unit lead for the Research and High Performance Computing Support group. I also work with researchers to help them use technology to support their work, support applications for funding, and provide leadership for research computing support across the University.

In addition to my administrative appointments, I hold academic appointments in the Department of Surgery, the Department of Linguistics and Languages, the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, the School of Computational Science and Engineering, the Program for Educational Research and Development, the Health Research Methodology and Health Science Education programs McMaster University. I also hold scientific appointments in the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind and the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery, and appointments in the Department of Surgery and the Wilson Centre at the University of Toronto.

My lab studies how we learn new skills. Much of our recent work focuses on surgical trainees, but we also use athletes and musicians to try to untangle neural mechanisms which underpin learning new skills. I am particularly interested in how learning and practice help to shape our sensory and motor systems. I also have a strong interest in how we evaluate performance, particularly in complex, high-stakes environments. For a list of current and upcoming research projects, please visit my lab site. To find out more about me, please visit my personal site.