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NHN Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of NMIN’s Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Network (NHN) is comprised of NMIN HQP, and plays a leadership role in the planning and realization of NMIN’s HQP programs, activities and other opportunities.

The mandate of the NHN Executive Committee is to enhance research and professional networking opportunities for NMIN research trainees and new professionals by:

  • Fostering relationships through regular communications among and between NMIN trainees and new professionals.
  • Facilitating professional information exchange among trainees and new professionals and other Network participants and partner organizations.
  • Promoting excellence in research and professional skill development through capacity building events.

The NHN Executive Committee is comprised of up to 10 elected members, plus a past President. Members are nominated and elected by the NHN membership.

The NHN President is an observer on the NMIN Board of Directors. The NHN Vice-President is an observer on the Research Management Committee (RMC). The NHN Executive Committee meets four to five times per year by teleconference.

2022-2023 NHN Executive Committee

Term of Office: 1 July 2022 ─ 30 June 2023

Members of the NMIN HQP Network (NHN) are invited to nominate candidates for the following NHN Executive Committee positions:

Each position in the list above is linked to the corresponding Nomination Form; please refer to the forms for the responsibilities of each position.

Nomination deadline: 13 April 2022

If more than one candidate is nominated for any given position, elections will be held 2-13 May 2022.

Read the full Call for Nominations for details.

Call for Nominations

2022-2023 NHN Executive Committee

Nomination deadline: 13 April 2022

2022-2023 NHN Executive Committee Members

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.

Career aspiration: to become an expert in the field of immunology and microbiology, who can help advance our knowledge and to inspire next generation scientists.

Statement: NMIN provides a national platform that brings together experts among academic, industry and not-for-profit organizations across the nation, to provide great opportunities for networking, knowledge exchange and professional development. NMIN’s goal to advance research, innovation and provide training aligns with my career goals, which motivated me to serve on the Exec Committee.

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.

Career aspiration: to become a pioneer formulation scientist in either research industry or academia.

Statement: NMIN is such a unique platform, consisting of top-notch academic and industry experts on nanomedicine from across Canada, which has motivated me to join the Executive team. It is indeed a great opportunity for capacity-building, networking, knowledge exchange, and professional skill development.

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.

Career aspiration: to continue to work in nanomedicines and apply the knowledge I gain as part of an R&D team in industry.

Statement: I am excited to be part of this network. It represents a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone, and to improve my networking and professional skills. As an NHN Executive Committee member I hope to do my part to make this network even better and to increase opportunities for others.

Sarthak Garg


University of British Columbia

Sarthak is an MSc candidate supervised by Dr. Marcel Bally from UBC. His research focuses on creating high concentration liposomal formulations of otherwise poorly soluble anticancer drugs.

Career aspiration: to utilize my skill set into developing solutions for hard to treat cancers as a leading scientist in the industry.

Statement: NMIN is an excellent networking solution for young researchers in the field. It also provides senior researchers a chance to connect and find solutions beyond their expertise. As an executive, I hope to organize opportunities for members to fully utilize this network.

Waqas Nawaz


University of Montreal

Waqas is a postdoctoral fellow supervised by NMIN researchers Dr. Isabelle Brunette and Dr. Michel Meunier. His research interest is to developed lipid nanoparticles and Adeno-associated virus-based gene therapy for the treatment of blindness caused by corneal endothelial dystrophies.

Career aspiration: to translate his expertise in the development of gene therapy approaches to the treatment of genetic diseases and cancer.

Statement: NMIN is a wonderful platform that provides networking and information exchange between researchers working on nanomedicines for treating various disorders. It’s a privilege for me to be part of this network. I hope to do my part to make NMIN even better and to increase opportunities for trainees, students and other researchers.

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.

Career aspiration: to enhance my professional skills in order to advance in multidisciplinary initiative and transfer chemistry relations expertise to a position in nanomedicine.

Statement: I am eager to apply my skills to the planning and realization of NMIN’s HQP programs, activities and networking opportunities.

Shahla Shojaei

Regional Director – West-Central

University of Manitoba

Shahla is currently in Dr. Ghavami’s lab at the Rady Faculty of Heath Sciences, University of Manitoba, and her research focuses on the development of nanoparticles for targeted delivery of combination therapy to the chemoresistant glioablastoma.

Career aspiration: to become an academic member with a research focus in a multidisciplinary area of developing microfluidic models to study the biological behavior of nanoparticles.

Statement: NMIN is a great platform that provides networking and information exchange between researchers in the field of nanomedicines. I am eager to actively assist NMIN accomplish its mission.

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.

Career aspiration: to do nanomedicine research and development in industry, hopefully leading to better therapeutics for not only cancer, but infectious and genetic diseases as well.

Statement: Graduate school gives students fantastic “hard skills” but can leave a gap in terms of networking, public speaking, and professional presentations. NMIN is one of the only organizations I’ve seen filling that gap, and I want to be a part of that. Having spent some time in the workforce, I’d like to introduce NMIN to more students, and get them thinking about what comes after graduate school.

Michael Valic

Communications Director

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.

Career aspiration: to contribute to the growth and success of Canadian-based nanomedicine innovations and innovators.

Statement: 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.

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.

Career aspiration: to translate his expertise in the development of theragnostic agents towards a position in industrial R&D.

Statement: By serving on the Exec Committee, I hope to aid other trainees in forming a network of scientists dedicated to advancing the field of nanomedicine.

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.

Career aspiration: to contribute to the development of non-invasive instruments for ocular nanosurgery to treat age-degenerative diseases.

Statement: I strongly believe that NMIN is the best platform for researchers involved in nanomedicine to share needs, interests, knowledge, and experiences. I am convinced that being part of the NHN is an unparalleled opportunity for networking in academia and industry, as well as for personal development: having the chance to work with experts in different areas that contribute importantly to the scientific and healthcare sectors in Canada.

For more information, contact Leah Graystone, HQP and Events Coordinator, at