Keynote Speaker

Dr. Robert Wolkow, University of Alberta


Bio: Robert Wolkow is a Professor in the Department of Physics, iCORE Chair of Nanoscale Information and Communications Technology at the University of Alberta and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also the Principal Research Officer and Nanoelectronics Program Coordinator at the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), AITF Industrial Chair in Atom Scale Fabrication and CTO of Quantum Silicon Inc. He received his BSc from the University of Waterloo, his PhD from the University of Toronto and did postdoctoral work at the IBM TJ Watson Research Centre before becoming a staff scientist at Bell Laboratories. He has received awards for outstanding achievement from almost every institution where he has worked; most recently the ASTech Outstanding Leadership in Alberta technology 2015, Innovation Makes Sense Patent Award 2015, Innovation Makes Sense Spin Off Award 2015 and the Innovation Makes Sense Patent Award 2016.

Dr. Neil Branda, Simon Fraser University


Bio: Neil is currently a Professor of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University and a Canada Research Chair in Materials Science. He is also the Scientific Director of 4D LABS, Simon Fraser University’s $65 million research facility for new materials and nanoscale devices and Chief Technology Officer of SWITCH Materials, Inc., a company he founded to commercialize his technology.

His research program lies at the interface of organic chemistry and materials science with a focus on designing and synthesizing molecular ‘switches’ – molecules that change their structure and function when triggered with light, electricity or chemical stimuli. Neil works closely with materials scientists and the medical research community to deliver unprecedented designer molecular and nanoscopic systems to solve practical challenges in molecular photonics, electronics, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Dr. Branda received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at l'Université Louis Pasteur, then joined the faculty at the University of Alberta before moving to Simon Fraser University in 2001.

Invited Speakers

Dr. Mike Fleischauer, National Research Council - National Institute for Nanotechnology

Mike Fleischauer

Bio: Mike Fleischauer is a physicist and engineer. He earned his MSc (Physics, 2003) and PhD (2005) at Dalhousie University before his NSERC / Ingenuity / Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alberta. Mike joined the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT, Edmonton) in 2007. He is now an Associate Research Officer and the Energy program coordinator at NINT, an adjunct professor of Physics at the University of Alberta, and on the City of Edmonton’s Energy Transition Advisory Committee. Mike’s research and development efforts span a wide range of energy conversion and storage technologies including nanostructured thin films for organic photovoltaics, fuel cell catalysts, and rechargeable and primary batteries, with a focus on automated and high throughput methods. His current work is focused on improving the safety and performance of energy storage in harsh (e.g. high temperature) environment.

Dr. Belinda Heyne, University of Calgary


Bio: Dr. Belinda Heyne is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department at the University of Calgary. Her research interest lies in the photochemistry of confined environments. In particular, Dr. Heyne’s work focuses in understanding the key structural factors regulating optical and photochemical changes when molecules are in close proximity to one another or in the vicinity of metallic nanoparticles. This research goal led her group to develop new synthetic techniques to generate both organic and metallic nanoparticles. For instance, her group designed novel core-shell nanoparticles capitalizing on metal enhancement effects and allowing for the amplification of singlet oxygen production. These new nanoparticles can find application in photodynamic therapy treatment of microbial infection.

Dr. Afsaneh Lavasanifar, University of Alberta


Bio: Dr Lavasanifar is a Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and has a joint appointment at the Department of Chemical and Material Engineering, University of Alberta. She is the Scientific Chief Officer and Vice President of Meros Polymers, a spinoff company established based on the technology developed her lab. Her research is focused on the development of delivery systems that can increase solubility, modify the pharmacokinetics, reduce toxicity and increase the activity of different therapeutics with a focus on the development of nano-medicine for cancer chemo and immunotherapy. The ongoing research projects in her laboratory include development of polymeric nano-carriers as systemic delivery systems for cancer therapy as well as stimulus responsive nano-gels for regional drug delivery. Her research has been funded by Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI); Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) and Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF). Dr Lavasanifar has > 120 peer reviewed papers, 4 book chapters, several abstracts and conference presentations. She is an inventor in 5 patent/patent applications. She has been the recipient of the 2016 and 2013 TEC Edmonton, Innovation Makes Sense award; 2007 GlaxoSmithKline/CSPS Early Career Award; the 2009 Sanofi-Aventis/AFPC award in recognition of outstanding research in Pharmacy and the 2013 TEC Edmonton Innovation makes sense prize. Dr Lavasanifar is the associate Editor of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Editorial Board in Materials Sciences and Applications. She has an active teaching program in both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Pedro Pereira Almao, University of Calgary


Bio: Since 2003, Dr. Pereira Almao has been a tenured professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary where he leads the Catalysis and Adsorption for Fuels and Energy research group. During that time, he also established, managed and led the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for In Situ Energy, and held an Industrial Research Chair in Catalysis for Bitumen Upgrading. Previous to this, he was a Research and Development Leader at the Venezuelan Petroleum Corporation (PDVSA) for 14 years, where he co-invented and coordinated the development of two major competitive upgrading technologies: 1) Aquaconversion and 2) HDHplus. He was a chemical engineering professor at the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida-Venezuela from 1981-1987, prior to joining PDVSA. Dr. Pereira Almao has a PhD in Chemistry from L'Universite de Poitiers, France (1979). His current focus is in significant improvement of Athabasca bitumen and heavy oil upgrading by combining research in applied catalysis with research on field/remote upgrading processes that are integrated with oil production activities. He is the co-inventor of the new technologies on In Situ Upgrading known as ISUT, which uses nano-catalysts to produce upgrading within heavy oil reservoirs and Aquaprocessing, a zero waste and very cost effective field upgrading catalytic process. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and presentations, and holds 17 catalysts and heavy oils upgrading patents.

Dr. Juli Gibbs, University of Alberta


Bio: Juli Gibbs is originally from northern Arizona. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in 2000 and performed research there with Ian Gould in the Department of Chemistry. She then joined the group of SonBinh Nguyen at Northwestern University to pursue graduate research on the development of polymer-DNA hybrid materials with novel recognition properties. After completing her dissertation, Juli worked with Franz Geiger and Karl Scheidt as a Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Chemistry. In 2008, she began her independent career at the University of Alberta where she is now an associate professor. Juli has been recognized with multiple awards such as the Petro-Canada Young Investigator Award, the Rising Star Award from Grand Challenges Canada and a Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. Her research spans the development of new biodiagnostic and therapeutic agents based on DNA nanotechnology to fundamental research aimed at understanding processes at surfaces relevant to biodiagnostics as well as environmental and biological systems.

Dr. Paul Barclay, University of Calgary


Bio: Paul Barclay completed his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2007. At Caltech he worked for Prof. Oskar Painter to create nanophotonic devices for experiments in nonlinear optics. He also collaborated with Prof. Hideo Mabuchi's quantum control and atomic physics group to study light-matter interaction using chip-based photonic devices and atom traps. He was one of Prof. Painter's first two students. In 2008 he joined Hewlett-Packard Labs, in Palo Alto, California, where he worked with Ray Beausoleil and Charles Santori, in Stan Williams' Information and Quantum Systems Lab. At HP Labs, Paul studied the emerging field of diamond based nanophotonics and quantum optics. Paul's undergraduate degree is in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia, where he completed co-op and NSERC undergraduate research terms with Prof. Jeff Young, Prof. Garry Clarke, Nortel Networks, and Ballard Power Systems. Dr. Barclay has made several significant contributions to the field of nanophotonics, by designing, fabricating, and measuring new types of nanoscale optical devices from a wide range of materials. His work is motivated by creating devices which shed light on new areas of physics, in particular the area of quantum information science. Important contributions include the first measurement of nonlinear effects in silicon nanocavities, development of widely adopted fiber probing methods for sub-wavelength photonic devices, and demonstration of some of the first diamond based nanophotonic devices for quantum optics experiments.

Oba Harding, Mitacs


Bio: Oba Harding is a business development director specializing in technology transfer, market research, and creating mutually beneficial partnerships between universities, private industry and government. He has experience with and particular interest in early-stage startups, emerging technologies and new ventures. Oba was a clinical and research scientist in life sciences and health care for over 10 years, specializing in reproductive biology; fertility assessment and treatments. He is interested in new technologies, research collaborations and supporting the successful growth of Canadian companies.


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