The University of Calgary nanoGroup is a student-led organization founded in 2013 with one central focus: to cultivate and support the nanotechnology community at the University of Calgary Campus. We strive to engage students in a variety of nano-related activities – design projects, outreach programs, academic research, entrepreneurial pursuits and networking with local industry. 

We exist to inform the public of the opportunities and benefits that nanotechnology holds for Alberta and alerting students to avenues for technology commercialization are additional objectives. We are a Graduate Research Network (GRN) under the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) at the University of Calgary. We are an initiative from nanoAlberta, the nanotechnology branch of Alberta Innovate Technology Futures (AITF).

Executive Team


Zahra Abooali Zadeh


Zahra is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the mechanical and manufacturing engineering department. Her research focuses on nanoscale mechanical characterization of two-dimensional materials through atomic force microscopy. She has served on several committees throughout her Ph.D. at the University of Calgary, from 2018 to 2020 on the GSA’s labour committee; as well as holding executive positions in student-run clubs on campus, 2016 to 2018 as the VP Library for the IGSA Students’ Association; and 2017 to 2019 as the VP Academic for the UofC nanoGroup. Apart from her academic and volunteering commitments, she likes hiking and road biking, oil painting, squash, and cooking. While nanoscience is a growing field of research she is collaborating with UofC nanoGroup to create a positive and strong community between researchers in this field and making the general public more aware and interested in this exciting branch of science.


Faranak Afsar


Faranak is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on designing responsive nanogels for applications in the field of oil and gas, with the primary goal of solving challenges for the oil industry while reducing its environmental footprint. Besides being passionate about making new materials in the lab, she enjoys hiking, reading novels, and baking. She was elected as co-president of the U of C Nano group 2020-21. She sees joining the Nano group as an opportunity to pursue her passion for nanoscience. She plans to promote group activities by seeking more collaboration opportunities from the industry and organizing Nano-related events, including Nanosymposium, Nano nexus, and Nano talks.


Prasoon Shandilya

VP Operations

Prasoon, an aspiring PhD candidate in quantum physics, focuses his research on the development of room-temperature quantum transducers. He works with nano-engineered diamond devices to couple telecom light to the electron spin. Prasoon believes his work will enable the realization of large-scale quantum networks. Over the last two years, he's been an active member of Quanta Alberta and helps organize tutorials and workshops on the emerging quantum technologies with an emphasis on innovation, management, and entrepreneurship skills. He is also a part of GSA’s academic support committee and conducts outreach activities as a part of the Let's Talk Science initiative. Besides research, Prasoon enjoys playing basketball, photography and being outdoors. He also has an interest in robotics, mobile app development and creates comics in his free time.

He was elected as an executive member of UofC nanoGroup and aims to spearhead initiatives to organize and promote many events within the Faculty of Science, as well as in the broader University community.

Azin Baharian.heic

Azin Baharian

VP Finance

Azin Baharian joined the U of C nanoGroup as a VP finance. Currently, she is a 2nd year MSc student in the department of biological sciences at U of C. As an undergraduate student, Azin has worked on the application of nanotechnology in novel drug delivery systems and got her pharmD degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Her MSc research focuses on different protein’s structure and their potential clinical application. Listening to music or podcast and watching a drama are her favourite pastimes. Azin is also serving as a VP events in BGSA (Biology Graduate Student’s Association), where she actively involves in organizing different events even during the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes to bring students and researchers in the nano area closer and create a chance of sharing knowledge by organizing events in nanoGroup.


Kimia Mohitian

VP Academic

Kimia is a 2nd year MSc student in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department. She received her B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.  Currently, her research focuses on the effect of different nanoparticles on slip length and friction reduction between rock and fluid. She has coordinated and collaborated in several indoor, outdoor, and online events held by the Persian Gulf Charity. Apart from research, Kimia enjoys skiing, cooking, and handcrafts. She was elected as a member of UofC nanogroup 2020-21 and is looking forward to organizing many interesting events.


Samin Habibi

VP Outreach

Samin is a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Calgary. In M.Sc., She was working on surface modification of polymeric membrane in nanoscale for water treatment, and now in Ph.D. thesis, she is working on magnetic Janus nanoparticles. She used to be a member of Iran Nanotechnology Innovation Council (INIC) and now as a member of the UofC society, she is pursuing her activities in Nanogroup as VP Outreach. As a member of this community, she wants to play her role in developing researches and studies which are building blocks of nanotechnology future.


Maryam Aghajamali

Postdoctoral Representative

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Calgary, and I have a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. I served on the executive committee of several student groups, including: Co-President of UofA nanoGroup (2017-18), VP Finance of UofA nanoGroup (2016-17), President of Iranian Students’ Association (2015-16), VP Marketing of Chemistry Graduate Students’ Society (CGSS) (2015-16), and VP Operations of Iranian Students’ Association (2014-15). I joined the 2019-20 UofC nanoGroup team and organized the first Let’s Talk Nanoscience event at the University of Calgary in collaboration with the UofC Let’s Talk Science group. I am excited to join the 2020-21 UofC nanoGroup team and continue as Postdoctoral Representative to organize new and engaging scientific and networking events.  


Robin Bishop

Member at Large

Robin Bishop is a recent graduate from the University of Calgary’s Neuroscience and Nanoscience programs. A wide variety of research projects have made up Robin’s undergraduate experience: from her nanoscience final project synthesizing fluorescent and magnetic bi-continuous jammed emulsions; to her neuroscience honours thesis exploring three-dimensional auditory cortex neuron receptive fields, using a novel tool known as the intensity-stacked spectrotemporal receptive field. Not only does Robin volunteer with the nanoGroup as a Member at Large, but her other current volunteer activities include working with Science FUNdamentals, as well as with the Canadian Psychedelic Association as a Research Associate. Apart from volunteer commitments, Robin spends her time hooping, creating artwork, experiencing meditation, and researching the field of psychedelic medicines.

Advisory Faculty Member: Dr. Colin Dalton, Adjunct Professor, Schulich School of Engineering


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  • The President is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Group and for promoting the Group among both undergraduate, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty. The primary role of the President is to provide guidance and cohesion for the Group as well as to further its vision and mission through his activities and leadership.  The President is further responsible for the scheduling of the year’s events and priorities, as well as working with the VP Finance to secure the Group’s annual funding.  The President also has signing authority over the Group’s bank account.  The president sets executive meetings as required, and is ultimately responsible for ensuring equitable division of labour between members of the Senior Executive.

VP Operations

  •  The VP Operations (VPO) is responsible for the routine functions of the Group, oversees VP Academic, and contributes to the organization of events. The VPO must ensure that these VPs have the resources and direction they require to carry out their duties, and is ultimately responsible for ensuring smooth operation of their designated events.

  • Additionally, they are responsible for coordinating and promoting the larger, irregular nanoGroup events throughout the year.  These include, but are not limited to, speaker events and workshops aimed at educating membership. Also, the VPO spearheads initiatives to organize symposia, competitions, and/or conferences. 

  • The VPO works closely with and oversees the VP Academic in the planning and organization of events. 

VP Finance

  •  In their capacity as financial officer, the VPF is responsible for all monies received and disbursed by the University of Calgary Nanotechnology Group, and shall account for them according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, monitoring and recording each transaction from the Group’s bank account. They are also responsible for ensuring that a regular audits and financial reports are completed to the satisfaction of funding sources, that all accounts receivable are collected, and that all bylaws pertaining to finances are upheld. It is also the job of the VPF, alongside the President, to secure funding for the financial commitments of the Group, seeking out appropriate funding bodies and preparing proposals as required.  At the conclusion of each event, the VPF is further responsible for compiling a report on the event’s financials with a detailed budget, as well as any follow-up documentation requested by the funding bodies.  Portions of this responsibility may be shared with other executives, and details should be collected from the associate VP directly responsible for the event.   The VPF is also given signing authority over the Group’s bank account.

VP Communication

  • The VP Communication (VPC) is broadly responsible for both intra-group communication and for promotion of events outside the Group. The VPC is responsible for managing the member lists, drafting and/or editing internal nanoGroup communications such as emails to members and advisors, and ensuring impartiality, factuality and objectivity in all communications.  Additional responsibilities include design and maintenance of the nanoGroup’s website, as well as email-based promotion of the Group’s events – emails and announcements sent out will be based on material provided by the VP responsible for the event.

  • As part of their responsibilities, the VP Communication is further responsible for the Group’s outreach efforts, overseeing the VP Outreach in his organization of events aimed at groups off campus.  Similarly, the VPC is responsible for carrying out the Groups mandate of moving toward a province-wide student nanotechnology presence. 

VP Academic

  • The VP Academic (VPA) is responsible for planning nanoTalk events and is responsible for engaging the academic side of the Alberta nanotechnology community. nanoTalks are regular lectures on recent nano academic accomplishments in the Alberta nanotechnology community. The VPA is responsible for: inviting speakers, establishing a budget for each event with the VPF, room booking, promotion and advertising the event with the VPC, purchasing refreshments for the event, making event posters and facilitate poster distribution, and other planning details. The VPA reports to the VPO.


VP Outreach

  • The VP Outreach (VPOR) is responsible for coordinating the Group’s outreach efforts to the community, with focus on planning and organizing events for grade school, middle school, high school students and undergraduates. This includes organizing general nanotechnology presentations, demonstrations, and tours, as well as collaborating with other groups interested in nanotechnology education and outreach such as Let’s Talk Science.


Members at Large

  • Members at Large (MAL) provide support to the executive. Roles that MAL may provide include support on various projects or committees, and they may substitute for other executives where appropriate.