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Announcing the 2021-22 NMIN HQP Network Leadership Team

The NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN) is pleased to introduce the 2021-22 Executive Committee of its Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Network – the NMIN HQP Network (NHN).

The NHN Executive Committee is comprised entirely of NMIN HQP, and plays a leadership role in the planning and realization of NMIN’s HQP programs, activities and other opportunities.

Its elected 2021-22 members are:

Ka-Yee Grace Choi

Chair, President

University of British Columbia

Grace is a postdoctoral fellow supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Robert Hancock. Her research focuses on the development of alternative/ adjunctive treatments to protect against antibiotic resistant organisms.

Sams Sadat


University of Alberta

Sams is a PhD candidate supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Afsaneh Lavasanifar. His research interests include pharmaceutics, drug delivery, and vaccine formulation using biomaterial-based nanoparticles.

Talita de Francesco Calheiros


University of Victoria

Talita is a PhD candidate at University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Moffitt. Her research focuses on developing polymeric nanoparticles for the delivery of both anticancer drugs and functionalized gold nanoparticles for combination therapy and theranostics.

Quinn Matthews

Events Director

University of Toronto

Quinn is an MSc candidate supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Keith Pardee. His current research focuses on using lipid nanoparticles to improve CAR T cell therapy, a recently adopted and extremely effective cancer therapy.

Fariba Saadati

Events Director

University of British Columbia

Fariba is a Research Associate supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Marco A. Ciufolini. Her research focuses on the development of structurally novel lipids can be used to encapsulate and deliver therapeutic nucleic acids in lipid nanoparticle form. Selective delivery of nucleic acids to target tissues is an important consideration guiding lipid design.

Shahla Shojaei

Regional Director – West-Central

University of Manitoba

Shahla is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Labouta’s lab at the College of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba, and her research focuses on the development of a recirculating placenta-on-a-chip model to study the effect of shear stress on nanoparticle biodistribution and function.

Liza Silverman

Regional Director – Pacific

University of Victoria

Liza is a PhD candidate supervised by University of Victoria Professor Matt Moffitt. Her research focuses on co-encapsulating SN-38 and curcumin in polymer nanoparticles for cancer treatment.nanoparticle biodistribution and function.

Michael Valic


University of Toronto

Mike is a PhD candidate supervised by NMIN research Dr. Gang Zheng. His research focuses on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modelling of theranostic nanomaterials.

Wesley Walker

Regional Director – Ontario

University of Toronto

Wesley is an MSc candidate supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Gang Zheng. His research is focused on developing nanoemulsion platforms to expand the use-case of otherwise potent photosensitizers which are limited by their poor water solubility.

Jennyfer Zapata-Farfan

Regional Director – Quebec-Atlantic

Polytechnique Montréal

Jennyfer is a PhD candidate at Polytechnique Montreal, where she is supervised by NMIN researcher Dr. Michel Meunier, and at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Her research expertise includes electronic instrumentation, biophotonics, optics, and nanoplasmonics applied in ocular gene therapy.

The mandate of the NMIN HQP Network (NHN) Executive Committee is to enhance research and professional networking opportunities for NMIN research trainees and new professionals.

New appointee (as member-at-large) Michael Valic says: “As an NMIN trainee, my work has benefited tremendously from the network’s high-quality programming and resources. It is my desire to continue growing the professional resources available to trainees and promoting research excellence within our network.”

The NMIN 2021-22 NHN Executive Committee will serve for a one-year term. See the full profiles of its members here.