Dr. Behzad Ahvazi

Dr. Behzad (Benji) Ahvazi completed his Bachelor of Science in Honours program at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and graduated with distinction at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. His Ph.D. program was completed in 1998 at McGill Pulp and Paper Research Centre in the area of macromolecules with solid background in Lignocellulosic, organic wood chemistry as well as pulping and paper technology. After completing his post-doctoral fellowship, he joined FPInnovations formally known as PAPRICAN as a research scientist (R&D) focusing on a number of confidential chemical pulping and bleaching projects. In 2006, he worked at Tembec as a senior research scientist and as a Leader in Alcohol and Lignin (R&D). In April 2009, he held a position as a Research Officer in both National Bioproducts (NBP1 & NBP2) and Industrial Biomaterials Flagship programs at National Research Council Canada (NRC). During his tenure, he had directed and performed innovative R&D activities within both programs on extraction, modification, and characterization of biomass as well as polymer synthesis and formulation for industrial applications. Currently, he is working at Tech Futures as Program Lead for Biomass Conversion and Processing Technologies.

Program Lead, Forestry, Biomass Conversion & Processing, Alberta Innovates−Technology Futures (ATTF)

Dr. J. Stewart Aitchison

Associate Scientific Director; Theme Lead: Public Health; Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto

J. S. Aitchison received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from The Physics Department, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K., in 1984 and 1987, respectively. From 1988 to 1990, he was a post-doctoral Member of Technical Staff with Bellcore, NJ. He joined The Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at The University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, U.K., in 1990 as a Lecturer and was promoted to Professor of Photonics in 1999. In 1996, he was the holder of a Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Fellowship to carry out research on spatial solitons at CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida. Since 2001 he has held the Nortel Chair in Emerging Technology in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Currently he is serving as a professor of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the University of Toronto, Associate Scientific Director for the Network Center of Excellence, IC-IMPACTS, which funds collaborative research between India and Canada. His research interest includes nonlinear optics, integrated optics and optical biosensors. His research has resulted in more than 250 journal publications. He also holds eight patents, which have led to the formation of four new companies.
Dr. Aitchison is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Ms. Rosy Amlani

CFO/Vice President of Business Development for ACAMP, Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro Nano Technology Products

Rosy Amlani is a CMA with more than 20 years experience in both government commercialization activities and private accounting practice. Rosy has held a management role in government and driven her team to analyze business cases for funding, reviewed targeted support for Western Economic Diversification , actively participated in the development of new commercialization organizations and initiatives, directly supported Alberta investments of over $200M towards economic diversification. In 2005 was directly involved in the creation of the Alberta Centre for Advanced MNT Products (ACAMP). Rosy has dedicated her career to building and developing strong relationships in the innovation community. Through direct and indirect support, she has helped Alberta companies grow their revenue beyond what they could have achieved by themselves.

Prof. Nicholas J. Ashbolt

Alberta Innovates Translational Health Chair in Water, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Dr. Ashbolt received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Tasmania in 1985 and specializes in applying microbial risk assessment to support guidelines and water safety plan management of urban water services. Since September 2013 he has been the Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Translational Health Chair in Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Previously he was the Senior Research Microbiologist in the Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati OH (2007-2013), Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2005-2007), University of New South Wales, Sydney, where he was a Professor (1994-2007) and Deputy Director of the Centre for Water & Waste Technology (1996-2005); and Principal Scientist (Wastewater) (1990-1994) at Sydney Water Corporation, Australia.

Dr. Nemy Banthia

CEO & Scientific Director, IC-IMPACTS and Theme Lead: Safe Infrastructure; Professor and Sr. Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Rehabilitation, Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia

Nemkumar (Nemy) Banthia is a Professor of Civil Engineering, Distinguished University Scholar and a Senior Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. His research interests are in low carbon footprint construction materials, crack resistant concrete, repair and strengthening and structural health monitoring. Dr. Banthia has edited/co-edited eighteen volumes, published over 400 peer-reviewed technical papers, and holds five international patents. A professional engineer in the province of BC, he continues to serves on the technical committees of various professional societies including the American Concrete Institute where he chairs the committee on Fiber Reinforced Concrete; RILEM where he chaired the Technical Committee on FRP-Concrete Bond, and the Canadian Standards Association where he chairs the Durability Committee of the Highway Bridge Design Code. Dr. Banthia serves on the editorial boards of eight international journals and is the Editor-In-Chief of Journal of Cement and Concrete Composites—a journal with the highest impact factor in the field. His awards include: WG Hislop Award of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) BC Chapter, four Best Paper Awards, the Wason Medal of the ACI International, Solutions Through Research Award of the British Columbia Innovation Council, Wolfson Merit Award of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, Distinguished Researcher Award of the Korea Concrete Institute, Killam Research Prize from the Killam Foundation, Horst Leipholz Medal of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering and the Mufti Medal of the International Society for Health Monitoring of Infrastructure (ISHMII). He is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, Indian Concrete Institute, Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Enakshi Bhattacharya

Professor, Microelectronics and MEMS Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering and Centre for NEMS and Nanophotonics, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Enakshi Bhattacharya completed her MSc Physics from IIT Bombay in 1980, PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai in 1985 and did post- doctoral work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (then SERI), USA from 1986-88 where she worked on the light induced effect in amorphous silicon solar cells. She was a faculty member in the Department of Physics, IIT Kanpur during 1988-91. Since 1991, she has been on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Madras. She was on sabbatical from 1999 to 2000 at the Micromachined Products Division of Analog Devices, USA. She is interested in device processing with all forms of silicon: single crystal, poly, amorphous and porous and her current research areas are in MEMS/NEMS, BioMEMS and Biosensors. She has successfully handled several sponsored projects and is currently the PI for the Centre for NEMS and Nanophotonics, funded by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Government of India. Some earlier works include measurement of stiction force in surface micromachined structures, piezoresisitive and Knudsen force based pressure sensors. A miniaturised silicon based biosensor with embedded electrodes for triglyceride detection at clinical levels was developed in collaboration with the department of biotechnology. The miniaturisation technology has been transferred to a start-up. Ongoing work includes detection of pathogens in liquids using cantilevers and silicon nanoporous membranes for biomolecular separation.


Dr. Vivek Bindiganavile

Associate Professor, Structural Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, University of Alberta; IC-IMPACTS Project Lead, Safe & Sustainable Infrastructure

Dr. Bindiganavile is an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He obtained his B. Tech. in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University and completed his MASc and PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia. His research interests lie in the development and characterisation of lime, gypsum and cement based systems, for their rheology, fracture mechanics and durability. In recent years, he has focused on utilizing agro-sourced biomass towards concrete admixtures.

Under the auspices of IC-IMPACTS, he leads a project to develop innovative repair materials to rehabilitate heritage buildings.

Mr. Ken Brizel

CEO of ACAMP, Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro Nano Technology Products

Ken Brizel has 30 years’ experience in managing and developing high technology products and organizations. Ken is an executive with North American, European and Asian operational experience in both public and private corporations within Micro Nano and Optical technology based industries. Hands-on business leader and mentor with extensive operational background including strategy, business development, planning, team building, sales, marketing, engineering, operations and manufacturing. Prior to ACAMP, he most recently served as CEO of LightPath Technologies a NASDAQ listed public company before that he served as a Senior Vice President for Strategy & Business Development at Oplink Communications and at AT&T Bell Labs/Lucent Microelectronics he was Director of Strategic marketing for Infrastructure Products and Product line Director for Consumer Digital Signal Processors. Ken has worked in two start-ups, one sold and the other went public and was trained in business at GE’s corporate Crotonville global leadership institute.

Ken holds a Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and concentration in solid state physics from RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and was awarded the David Sarnoff Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement at RCA Corporation.

Dr. Jillian Buriak

Professor; Canada Research Chair of Nanomaterials; Editor-In-Chief, Chemistry of Materials, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta

Jillian Buriak received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1990, and a Ph.D. from the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, in 1995. After an NSERC postdoctoral appointment at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, Buriak started her independent faculty career at Purdue University in 1997, being promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 2001. In 2003 she joined the University of Alberta and the National Institute for Nanotechnology as a full professor, Canada Research Chair, and Senior Research Officer.  Buriak’s research has resulted in over 9000 citations, and her interests range from materials for energy applications (solar energy conversion, water splitting), self-assembly on technologically relevant semiconductor surfaces, and mechanistic surface chemistry and functionalization on surfaces such as silicon and other semiconductors. She was on the Board of Reviewing Editors (BoRE) at Science from 2003 to 2008, was an Associate Editor at ACS Nano from 2009 to 2013, and in 2014, became the Editor-in-Chief of the American Chemical Society journal Chemistry of Materials. Awards include the Burghausen Chemistry Award, the Arthur Doolittle Award from the Polymer Materials Science and Engineering Division (PMSE) of the American Chemical Society (2015), a Killam Annual Professorship, and Fellowship in the AAAS and the Royal Society of Canada, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).

Dr. Colin Dalton

Adjunct Professor and Facility Manager, School of Business, University of Calgary

Colin has been involved with the commercialization of research since his undergraduate degree in the early 90s, while working on an award winning electronic fertility monitor at Bangor University in North Wales.  His interest in biomedical micro-nano research continued into his MSc, PhD and Postdocs, with links to both UK and Canadian companies. He helped set up, and now manages, the Advanced Micro/Nanosystems Integration Facility at the University of Calgary. AMIF is a cleanroom that enables researchers and businesses to develop their ideas into functional prototypes. Colin has taught graduate courses on Micro-Nano Technologies for ten years and has over 70 publications, some with over 100 citations.

His research in electronic-neuron interfaces has led to a patented new design of stimulation chip that has a resolution fifteen times better than commercially available products. He also investigates 3D microelectrodes for recording activity from brain slices as well as implantable nerve regeneration devices to improve nerve injury outcomes. Other research interests include micro-needle arrays for painless transdermal fluid transfer and electrokinetics; the movement of fluids by electric fields. A recent paper in this area was one of the top 20 most cited articles in the journal Biomicrofludics.

Dr. Jennifer Decker

Senior Foresight Analyst, National Research Council Canada

Jennifer E. Decker received B.Sc. in Honours Physics from University of Waterloo and Ph.D. in Physics from Université Laval, Québec. She joined National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS) in 1992. Dr. Decker is known for her work on length measurement & calibration, evaluation of measurement uncertainty and statistical analysis of international comparison results. She is also experienced in calibration laboratory assessment and Quality System accreditation.

Dr. Decker spent 2001-2002 as Guest Researcher at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the national metrology laboratory of Germany. As NRC Eminent Researcher in 2004, she orchestrated research collaboration in length metrology with the national metrology institute of Taiwan. Dr. Decker assumed leadership roles in metrology in support of nanotechnologies developing reference artefacts and documentary standards for nanotechnology, serving on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Advisory Committee ISO/TC229: Nanotechnologies.

From 2011 to 2015 Dr. Decker took up an assignment to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, serving as Counsellor, Science and Technology at the Embassy of Canada in Berlin, Germany. Since returning to National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in May 2015, Dr. Decker is involved in foresight and research planning in the office of the Vice President, Emerging Technologies, currently serving as Director of the National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT) Transition Implementation.

Dr. Cynthia Goh

Director, Impact Centre, University of Toronto

M. Cynthia Goh is Professor of Chemistry, cross-appointed to Materials Science and Engineering, the Institute of Medical Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs. She is the Director of the Impact Centre and Academic Director of the BBCIE at the University of Toronto. She is interested in the interactions of large molecules, which has impact on nanotechnology, biomaterials and biodiagnostics. Other passions are: the translation of scientific discovery to technology/products that benefit society; the training of scientist-entrepreneurs; and the development of technology for low resource settings. She co-founded 7 tech-based companies with her students. She originated a training program for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship101, which has thousands registered annually, and Techno, an intensive training program for scientists, which has led to the creation of over 100 start-ups based on university research.

Dr. Reuven Gordon

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nanoplasmonics, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Victoria

Reuven Gordon received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Cambridge. In 2002, he joined the University of Victoria, where he currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Nanoplasmonics and a Professor position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 2009, Dr. Gordon was a visiting Professor at the Institute for Photonic Sciences (ICFO, Barcelona, Spain). He has received a Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance Award (2001), an Accelerate BC Industry Impact Award (2007), an AGAUR Visiting Professor Fellowship (2009), the Craigdarroch Silver Medal for Research Excellence (2011) and a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair (2016-7). He was elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2016. Dr. Gordon has authored and co-authored over 130 journal papers (including 7 invited contributions), two magazine contributions and he has co-authored 4 book chapters. He is co-inventor for three patents and four patent applications. Dr. Gordon is a Professional Engineer of BC. The American Physical Society has recognized Dr. Gordon as an “Outstanding Referee”. Dr. Gordon serves as an Associate Editor for Optics Express, was previously on the Editorial Board for Scientific Reports, and he has been on the organizing, steering and program committees for several OSA and SPIE international conferences.

Dr. Chris Holt

CEO, Phase Sensors

Chris Holt has experience working with a number of down hole tool companies in Alberta including DataCan, Spartek Systems and Petroniks. He received his PhD in materials engineering from the University of Alberta working on microfabricated sensors for oil well logging. He has published 22 journal manuscripts and four patent applications. Two of his patent applications have been licensed for industrial applications. Chris founded Phase Sensors to help improve the data quality and testing throughput of fouling measurements conducted in refinery laboratories. This work helps to make delayed coking furnaces more efficient and reliable reducing environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions from the oil refining process.

Dr. Emanuel Istrate

Academic Program Coordinator, Impact Centre, University of Toronto

As the Academic Program Coordinator of the Impact Centre (IMC) at the University of Toronto, Emanuel oversees the educational activities of the IMC in the areas of the applications of science for the benefit of society.

Emanuel received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2005. After a brief post-doctoral fellowship working on the nonlinear optical properties of quantum dots he joined the Institute for Optical Sciences as the Academic Programs Coordinator where he set up a number of courses and training programs for students studying optics at all levels of the University, including a popular holography course.

More recently, he has contributed to the IOS’ and Impact Centre’s entrepreneurship and industry collaboration programs, as well as the VicOne program at Victoria College. He has delivered a number of projects for industrial collaborators, using his expertise in optical and electronic systems.

Emanuel is an active senior member of the IEEE, where he currently serves as the past chair of the IEEE Toronto Section.

Dr. Maria S. Konsta-Gdoutos

Professor and Director of the Section and Laboratory of Mechanics of the Department of Civil Engineering of Democritus University of Thrace (Greece); Director of the Center for Multifunctional Nanocomposite Construction Materials

Dr. Konsta-Gdoutos is Director of the Section and Laboratory of Mechanics of the Department of Civil Engineering of Democritus University of Thrace (Greece) and Director of the Center for Multifunctional Nanocomposite Construction Materialsalso. She also holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of Northwestern University from 2012 till now. Her current research work focuses on the development and processing of novel high performance, smart self-sensing, multifunctional cementitious composites, reinforced with carbon nanotubes and nanofibers. During the course of her research she has developed innovative processing techniques for the dispersion of CNTs and CNFs and the development of structure/property relationships in nanoreinorced cementitious materials, for which she holds 2 US patents. Professor Konsta-Gdoutos has published over 80 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She is a member of the ACI committee 241 Nanotechnology of Concrete; the Society for Experimental Mechanics; the American Ceramics Society; and the International Academy of Engineering. Since 2013 she serves as the Executive Editor in Chief of the Springer Journal “Frontiers in Structural and Civil Engineering”. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of Cement and Concrete Composites published by Elsevier.

Dr. Richard McAloney

Director, Technology and Entrepreneurship, Impact Centre, University of Toronto

Richard has extensive experience working at the intersection of academia, government, and industry. As the Director of Entrepreneurship at U of T’s Impact Centre, he manages training and support programs that provide student entrepreneurs with the early-stage guidance to help move technology from the lab to the world. He is co-creator of Techno – an elite training program for scientists and engineers building technology-based companies. Techno has nucleated over 100 start-ups since 2010.

Richard received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from U of T followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the NRC Steacie Institute. As a research scientist for a US technology development compan, he was responsible for translating new technologies into commercial products. He was also the Principal Investigator on several Small Business Innovation Research grants through the US DoD, NIH, NASA, and the EPA.

Richard has been directly involved in the creation and growth of start-ups. He co-founded Axela, a Toronto-based diagnostic company with tools for rapid, real-time immunoassays and biomolecule analysis. Richard currently serves as President or Director on the Board for several for-profit and not-for-profit companies. He has a strong passion for the development of technologies and the commercialization of scientific research.

Dr. Richard McCreery

Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta; Senior Research Officer, National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT)

Active Areas of Research –

  • Molecular electronics, including transport of electrons through metal/molecule/metal and metal/molecule/metal oxide/metal molecular junctions
  • In-situ Raman, FTIR, and UV-Vis spectroscopy of molecular electronic devices with conventional CMOS microelectronics
  • Surface spectroscopy, particularly of adsorbates on carbon and metal electrodes
  • Relationships between electrode surface structure and electron transfer reactivity


Dr. Carlo Montemagno

Director of Alberta Ingenuity Lab; AITF Strategic Chair of Nanobiotechnology and Biomimetic Systems; Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Nanosystems; Program Lead of Biomaterials at National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT)

Carlo Montemagno, PhD, is the former and founding Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati. Immediately prior, he was the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Associate Director of the California NanoSystems Institute as well as the Roy & Carol Doumani Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UCLA. Previous to Montemagno’s tenure with UCLA, he served as Associate Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.

Montemagno earned his B.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell (1980) and M.S. in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State University (1990). After completing his undergraduate studies in 1980, he joined the United States Navy and served for ten years in several senior management positions as a Civil Engineering Corps Officer. He then joined Argonne National Laboratory where he led laboratory and field investigations developing bioremediation technology for the treatment of hazardous waste. In 1995 Montemagno earned his PhD in Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences from Notre Dame University. Upon obtaining his PhD in Civil Engineering, he began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering where he was one of the pioneers in the field of Nanobiotechnology.

Montemagno has amassed a distinguished scholarly record resulting in a number of patents as well as appointments to numerous editorial boards and governmental committees. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nanomedicine, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a Fellow of the NASA Institute of Advance Concepts. He is a recipient of the Feynman Prize for Experimental Work in Nanotechnology.

Montemagno’s current research and near term investigations focus on the development of experimental techniques to integrate metabolic functionality into materials through the engineering of biomolecular systems. Recent efforts addressed the creation of advanced systems for water purification and treatment, and the development of materials for the synthesis of high-value chemicals through the harvesting of solar energy.

Dr. Phalguni Mukhopadhyaya, P.Eng.

Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Victoria

Phalguni Mukhopadhyaya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. His research interests are in energy and moisture performance of building materials and envelope systems. At present he is working on next generation thermal insulation materials (VIP, Aerogel, Bio-foam etc.) and systems, and their integration in the construction industry.  Phalguni has authored/co-authored about 150 technical publications and reports, co-edited two ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) STPs (Special Technical Publications) 1495 & 1519 and edited one conference proceedings. At present he is the Technical Co-Chair of the upcoming, October 2016, ASTM International Symposium on Advances in Hygrothermal Performance of Building Envelopes: Materials, Systems and Stimulations (https://www.astm.org/SYMPOSIA/filtrexx40.cgi?+-P+EVENT_ID+2884+callforpapers.frm) and elected member of the ASTM C16 Executive committee C16 on Thermal Insulation.

Dr. Ram Murugesan

Director, Allied Health Sciences, Chettinad Academy of Research & Education and Emertius Professor, Networking Resource Centre in Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Chennai

Prof. R. Murugesan received his Ph.D degree in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai in the year 1981. Following several years of research experience in The Netherland, USA and Australia, he joined Madurai Kamaraj University, India as Associate Professor where he went on to become Dean of academic affairs. He was involved in many interdisciplinary research and teaching programs. His research group was engaged in the development of biodegradable multifunctional nanoparticles for efficacy enhancement of PDT agents.

Dr. Murugesan has held visiting positions at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA and Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University, Japan. He has 140 publications and five patents to his credit. He has guided 28 doctoral students for Ph.D. He moved in the year 2012 to Chettinad Academy of Research and Education, a health science University where he is now heading translational research division as Director Research. His research interest includes medical imaging, magnetic nanoparticles for cancer cell sorting and drug sensitivity assessment and nanoparticles-based low cost systems for point of care diagnosis.

Dr. Nils O. Petersen

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Alberta
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario
Honorary Professor of Nanoscale Biological Sciences, University of Twente
National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) Fellow

Nils Petersen was the Director General of the National Institute for Nanotechnology until July 2011, having joined the National Research Council and the University of Alberta in 2004 after three years as Vice-President (Research) at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Petersen received his B.Sc. Honours in Chemistry from The University of Western Ontario in 1972. He went on to receive his PhD in Chemistry with a minor in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1978. After post-doctoral positions at Cornell University and Washington University Medical School, he returned to The University of Western Ontario’s Department of Chemistry as a faculty member in 1981. He was Chair of the department from 1995 to 1999. From 1993 to 1995, he was Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies; from 1999 to 2000 he served as Associate Vice-President (Research) and Acting Vice-President (Research).

At the University of Alberta, Dr. Petersen was Professor of Chemistry from 2004-2014 and served as Acting Associate Dean of Science (Research) from 2011-2012.

Dr. Petersen is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.  Dr. Petersen currently serves as a member of three boards of not-for-profit organizations including Compute Canada, TECTERRA, and the Canadian Light Source (CLS) for which he is Chair of the Board.  He recently finished terms as a member of the boards of ArboraNano, a Business-led NCE, the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), and the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and as Chair of the Board of NSERC’s Strategic Network program BiopSys at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Petersen’s current research in membrane biophysical chemistry focuses on intermolecular interactions in biological membranes, particularly the study of the dynamics and distribution of molecules within the membrane; on the function of lung surfactants in healthy and diseased lungs, and on characterization of nanoparticles and their interaction with cell surfaces.

Mr. Darrell Petras

Associate Director of the Technology Management Team; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, TEC Edmonton

At TEC Edmonton, Darrell offers expertise in all areas of the technology commercialization process, from intellectual property assessment and protection strategies to the execution of license agreements, the launch of new companies and financing. He has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Economics (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta and over 14 years of technology management experience in the agricultural, engineering and science sectors, as well as several years of technology start-up experience. His portfolio includes hundreds of active patents and intellectual property agreements, and he has successfully negotiated commercialization agreements with numerous licensees in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.  Darrell is a member of the Licensing Executives Society and the Association of University Technology Managers, and he is a registered Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists. Darrell is also a business owner, and was a joint owner of a large, award-winning dairy, grain and feedlot operation.

Mr. Charles Plant

Senior Fellow, Impact Centre, University of Toronto

Charles Plant is a Senior Fellow with the Impact Centre, working to develop research and education programs in innovation and entrepreneurship.

He is a serial entrepreneur who has been an officer, director or investor in a dozen technology companies. Charles has also provided financing, consulting and coaching services to several dozen other technology companies. He was co-founder and CEO for 15 years of Synamics, a telecommunications software firm that provided mass calling platforms to telcos.

He spent four years at MaRS ending as CFO but spent most of his time as Managing Director, heading up a group of former entrepreneurs and specialists who developed thought leadership, provided education, mentorship, market intelligence and capital to over 2,000 technology startups in Ontario.

Active for much of his career in the world of finance, Charles has been a corporate banker, an investment banker and served on the Management Committee and as CFO of the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) at MaRS and CFO of MaRS Innovation.

As an educator, Charles spent seven years on the faculty of York’s Schulich School of Business teaching in the MBA program and now teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto (UofT) and management and leadership skills at UofT’s School of Continuing Studies. He has an MBA in marketing and is a CPA and Chartered Accountant. His blogs and other resources for entrepreneurs can be found at www.materialminds.com

Dr. Rudra Pratap

Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Nano Science and Nanoengineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

Dr Rudra Pratap is a Professor and the Founder Chairperson of the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), and an associate faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Dr Pratap specializes in the design and realization of extremely small sensors and actuators that use advanced micro and nanotechnology concepts. He leads India’s largest laboratory in the area of nano science and engineering that focuses on not just fundamental science but also on creating technologies and engineering new systems in order to complete the chain of science to systems.

Dr. Rudra Pratap holds a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University, USA, a Masters degree from the University of Arizona, USA, and a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. Prior to joining IISc in 1996, he taught at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University. He was also an ‘Invited Professor’ at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland during 2004-2005. He has served on the editorial board of various journals and is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE Journal of MEMS, USA, and the Journal of ISSS, India. Dr. Pratap has published over 175 papers in journals and conference proceedings and has three books to his credit. Dr. Pratap is a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Michael J. Serpe

Associate Scientific Director, Integrated Water Management, IC-IMPACTS; Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta

Michael J. Serpe received his B.S. at the University of Central Florida in 2000. He received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004, working in the group of Professor Andrew Lyon. There he developed novel polymeric materials for applications in drug delivery, microoptic arrays, and photonics. After conducting research in industry, he joined the group of Professor Stephen Craig at Duke University in 2006. There he used single-molecule force spectroscopy to investigate reversible polymer bridging between surfaces. He joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor in 2009 and was awarded early tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. The Serpe Group is studying various aspects of colloid, polymer and surface science, with special interests in developing novel photonic materials from responsive polymers, water remediation, controlled drug delivery and polymer mediated surface-surface interactions. Prof. Serpe has been named a Grand Challenges Canada Rising Star in Global Health, received the 2013 Petro Canada Young Innovator Award, and has been named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine for 2013-2014.

Dr. Konstantin Sobolev

Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

After receiving his B.S./M.S. degree from the Moscow State Civil Engineering University (Russia), Dr. Sobolev earned a Ph.D. in 1993 from the Research Institute of Concrete and Reinforced Concrete (Russia).  Since then he has been developing innovative and effective technologies for advanced materials including high-performance cement and concrete. Dr. Sobolev has published about 100 articles in research journals and proceedings of scientific conferences, in Russian, Turkish, Spanish and English.  He has presented scientific papers in the Americas, Middle East, Europe and Asia. Dr. Sobolev is a member of Mexican Academy of Sciences and a member of National Scientific Network (SNI). Dr. Sobolev’s current research interests are in application of nano-admixtures and nanotechnology in cement and concrete; modeling of dense packings of particulate materials; application of evolutionary algorithms, design, modeling and application of high-strength and high-performance materials; materials with photocatalytic properties; super-hydrophobic materials; smart stress-sensing materials.

He is an active member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), a member of Task Force on Nanotechnology-Based Concrete Materials of TRB – Transportation Research Board of National Academies (USA) and a founding chair of ACI 236D “Nanotechnology of Cement and Concrete.” He organized two related sessions at ACI conventions in 2006 and 2009.

Mr. Kurian M. Tharakan

Executive in Residence – TEC Edmonton

Kurian Mathew Tharakan is the founder of sales and marketing strategy firm StrategyPeak Sales & Marketing Advisors, and a 27 year veteran of the sales and marketing industry. He has consulted for companies in numerous sectors, including Manufacturing, Distribution, High Technology, Software, Non-Profit, and the Life Sciences. In addition to his consulting practice, he is also an Executive in Residence at the business accelerator TEC Edmonton where he assists clients with their go to market strategies. Prior to StrategyPeak, Mr. Tharakan was a vice-president sales & marketing for an Alberta based software firm where his team achieved notable wins with several members of the US Fortune 500.  Previous to his software experience, Mr. Tharakan directed the sales and marketing programs for the Alberta practice of an international professional services firm.

Dr. Venkat Venkataramanan

Director, Scientific Operations, Impact Centre, University of Toronto

Venkat is the Director, Scientific Operations of the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto and the Director of the Smart Sustainable Lighting Network (SSLNet). He heads the photometry and solid state lighting labs, and is one of the lead organizers of the Impact Centre’s entrepreneurship education program. Following his doctoral degree in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, he worked as a Scientific Officer at Atomic Energy, India. He then held various research and teaching positions in the UK, India, Portugal and Japan. He was a Leverhulme Commonwealth/USA Visiting Fellow and a Japanese Government Science & Technology Research Fellow.

In addition to his work at the Impact Centre, Venkat is also the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Lumentra Inc., a company that develops nanophosphors for LED applications and provides NVLAP/ISO 17025 accredited services to the LED industry. He is the president of the Canadian National Advisory Committee section of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), and a Technical Committee member of various IES, CIE and UL standards related to lighting.

He is also strongly interested in science outreach and has co-hosted science talk shows on radio and television for about 4 years.