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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.

2023-2024 NHN Executive Committee

Term of Office: 1 July 2023 ─ 30 June 2024

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.

Extended nomination deadline: 24 April 2023

If more than one candidate is nominated for any given position, elections will be held 24 April – 5 May 2023.

Read the full Call for Nominations for details.

Call for Nominations

2023-2024 NHN Executive Committee

Extended nomination deadline: 24 April 2023

2023-2024 NHN Executive Committee Members

Jennyfer Zapata-Farfan

Chair, President

Polytechnique Montréal

Jennyfer is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering 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.

Michael Valic


University of Toronto

Mike is a 3rd year graduate student studying biomedical engineering with Prof. Gang Zheng at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. His research centres on the creation of multifunctional nanomedicines for cancer imaging and therapy.

Career aspiration: to see the commercialisation of my research through the formation of a new Canadian start-up; to share the experiences and lessons I learn from the company creation process with other entrepreneurially-minded scientists in Canada’s nanomedicines field.

Statement: I am honoured and excited to continue to serve on the NHN executive committee. I will continue to strive for ensuring that the resources and benefits of HQP network are available and accessible to all members.

Dr. Noorjahan Aibani

Events Director

Precision NanoSystems Inc.

Noorjahan (Noor) is a NHN New Professional employed as Scientist at Precision Nanosystems Inc. in Vancouver, BC. She was the recipient of the Inaugural NMIN Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Targeted Drug Delivery in 2020 for her project Lipidic nanoparticle formulation of a triple adjuvant for intranasal vaccines for pertussis, which she pursued for 2 years under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Wasan at the University of Saskatchewan.

Career aspiration: to become a renowned expert in LNP formulation technology and advance the development of future vaccines.

Statement: NMIN has been instrumental in shaping my career as a LNP formulation Scientist. Being part of the NHN Executive Committee is a wonderful opportunity for me to stay connected, to contribute to the network, and to help new HQP to realize their career potential.

Dr. Alexander Baker


Dalhousie University

Alexander is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Dalhousie University. The focus of his research group is to expand the chemical diversity available for protein engineering of therapeutics, materials, and enzymes though the synthesis of novel non-canonical amino acids and developing incorporation strategies using cell-free protein synthesis.

Career aspiration: to continue in research involving translatable collaborations or commercialization opportunities.

Statement: I look forward to playing a role in bringing together the people of diverse research backgrounds engaged in NMIN. The importance of developing a global network has never been greater to share perspectives, identify/develop skill sets for career opportunities, and enhance research strengths.

Amélie Baron

Regional Director – Quebec/Atlantic

Polytechnique Montreal

Amélie is a PhD student in biomedical engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, under the supervision of NMIN researcher Dr Michel Meunier. Her research focuses on drug delivery for cancer treatment using light-triggered delivery mechanisms.

Career aspiration: to contribute to the development of new treatments for curing and diagnosing diseases.

Statement: I am grateful to be a member of the NHN Executive to help establish relationships between the various researchers and trainees and create a community for them. I believe that nanomedicine research is growing and that the help of a network such as NMIN is very useful in bringing these new discoveries to life for patients.

Ariadne Tuckmantel Bido


University of British Columbia

Ariadne is a postdoctoral researcher in Sabrina Leslie’s lab at Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC. Her research focuses on the characterization and improvement of factors that affect particle size, cargo loading, delivery vehicle fusion, and cargo release dynamics for nanomedicine carriers such as RNA-based vaccines.

Career aspiration: to translate my expertise to research and development within industry, improving and implementing solutions in the nanomedicines field.

Statement: The NMIN community has not only allowed me to connect with my peers and stay up to date with the latest advancements in the field, but has also equipped me with valuable skills such as resume and CV writing, effectively translating complex research for diverse audiences, and public speaking. Now, I am eager to give back to the community by helping plan events and activities to support NMIN’s mission.

Talita de Francesco Calheiros


University of Victoria

Talita is a PhD candidate in Chemistry 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.

in Chemistry

Norman Chow

Communications Director

BC Cancer

Norman is a research technician at BC Cancer under the supervision of NMIN researcher Dr. Marcel Bally. His research expertise supports in-vitro high-content imaging, in-vitro and in vivo work, and GLP and GMP projects.

Career aspiration: to enhance my professional skills to move promising nanomedicines from bench to clinic.

Statement: NMIN is a fantastic platform to connect with researchers across the country and showcase the potential of nanomedicines. I look forward in assisting NMIN and its programs to advance nanomedicine technology in a collaborative and exciting environment.

Tavonga Mandava

Regional Director – West-Central

University of Saskatchewan

Tavonga is an MSc candidate in Pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of NMIN investigator Dr. Ellen Wasan. His current research focus is on the development and characterization of novel lipid-based adjuvanted vaccine formulations for infectious respiratory illnesses.

Career aspiration: to contribute to the continual development and commercialization of novel, impactful therapies within industrial R&D.

Statement: NMIN provides an unparalleled opportunity for trainees to
develop their soft skills; gain nanomedicine knowledge; learn about science entrepreneurship & commercialization; and network with nanomedicine industry experts across Canada. By being a part of the NHN Executive committee, I look forward to playing my part in NMIN’s quest to foster networking, knowledge exchange and professional skill development among trainees and young professionals.

Liza Silverman

Regional Director – Pacific

University of Victoria

Liza is a PhD candidate in Chemistry 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 for 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.

Nashmia Zia

Regional Director – Ontario

University of Toronto

Nashmia is a postdoctoral fellow in Chemistry supervised by NMIN researcher and Scientific Director Dr. Gilbert Walker. Her research focuses on nanomedicine and nanoformulation. Her current focus is on the identification of the role of immune regulation in miRNA-LNP-mediated therapy of infectious/inflammatory diseases.

Career aspiration: to secure a position/role where I can work on the development of a high-throughput screening platform for the identification of therapeutic targets for gene therapy.

Statement: Joining NMIN provides unmatched networking and professional growth opportunities in nanomedicines. As an NMIN trainee, I’ve witnessed the value of the network’s resources and programming. I am dedicated to fostering research excellence and promoting the commercialization of research within the network.

For more information, contact Divya Rao, Manager, HQP Programs & Network Events, at