Research supervisors

There are five institutions participating in the PoND project across Canada.


Matt Moffitt, UVic (Chemistry), is a Professor and director of the PoND program. His research interests focus on directed self-assembly routes to polymer nanomaterials for photonic and medical applications, including drug delivery. His team has recently developed a new microfluidic platform for manufacturing polymer nanoparticles (PNPs) with flow-directed structure and function. PoND research in the Moffitt group is highly interdisciplinary and combines the preparation, characterization and testing of PNP formulations for a wide range of drug delivery applications in collaboration with various academic and industrial partners. Projects will focus on the multiscale nature of the drug delivery problem, from the molecular to the macroscopic, and explore how polymer self-assembly and microfluidic shear forces can work in tandem to enable specific medical function via control of structure on a combination of length scales.

Cornelia Bohne UVic (Chemistry), is a Professor and the financial director of the PoND program. Her research centers on the study of the dynamics of supramolecular systems with a focus on the mobility of small molecules within these constraint systems. The focus of her involvement in PoND will be to study the mobility of drugs within drug delivery systems with the objective to establish the parameters that can be used to control the overall rates for drug release from the drug delivery systems. These studies are based fluorescence and absorption time-resolved methods and will provide training that is currently missing in the drug delivery sector, and will provide students with a skill that is distinct from traditional drug delivery training based on synthesis/fabrication followed by in vitro and in vivo testing.

Jeremy Wulff, UVic (Chemistry), is an Associate Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Bioactive Small Molecule Synthesis. He is also the Director of the CAMTEC Biosample Preparation Facility, where he helps both academics and local companies carry out biological experiments (including tissue culture) in CAMTEC's class II biolabs. His expertise in running antiproliferative assays for putative anticancer molecules leaves him well placed to train HQP in the in vitro testing of therapeutic compounds and drug-loaded nanoparticles. Dr. Wulff's research team also has expertise in the synthesis and testing of functionalized organic polymers. As part of the CREATE program, Dr. Wulff will develop a training module on cell-based assays for the characterization of novel chemical entities.

Magdalena Bazalova-Carter, UVic (Physics), is an Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Medical Physics with expertise in x-ray imaging and radiation therapy of cancer. Her research focuses on novel small animal imaging and radiotherapy techniques as well as on the development of a cost-effective radiotherapy system for treatment of cancer patients. She will train HQP in novel x-ray imaging modalities for cancer diagnosis by means of gold nanoparticle detection. In addition, she will develop a collaborative training module with Marc-Andre Fortin (Laval) on small-animal imaging.


John Oh, Concordia (Chemistry), is an Associate Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Nanobioscience. My research program brings together scientific exploration in the areas of polymer chemistry and nanoscience at the interface of biology and biomedicine. My research group primarily focuses on the design and development of macromolecular nanoscale devices as multifunctional drug delivery nanocarriers, cellular imaging platforms, and tissue scaffolds for biological and biomedical applications. I am particularly interested in the integration of nanostructured materials with biology and biomedicine to develop advanced nanomaterials with multifunctionalities. These materials can interface with biological processes and an understanding of their biological functions offer enormous potential for cancer research and treatment. In addition to HQP training in material synthesis and nanocarrier development, I will teach a module on polymer chemistry covering polymer synthesis and characterization, block copolymer technology, and micelle-based drug delivery.


Marc-André Fortin, Laval (Engineering), is Full Professor with expertise in nanomaterials and biomedical imaging. From 2007 to 2016, he held a Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRQS) career award (Junior 1-2). At U.Laval, he trains students with backgrounds in materials science, chemistry, and engineering physics, on the topics of materials analysis, nanotechnology, and biomedical imaging. He recently developed two graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses entitled “Small Animal Imaging for Biomedical Scientists and Engineers”, and “Materials Characterization” which he will develop as modules and make available on-line for trainees (in English, with Q&A sessions offered in both languages (Eng.-Fr.). Collaborative teaching modules on small-animal imaging are also planned with Magdalena Bazalova-Carter (UVic) and Raymond Reilly (U.Toronto). He will also train HQP in nanomaterials characterization and biomedical imaging.


Raymond Reilly, Toronto (Pharmacy), is a Professor and the Director of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology at the University of Toronto who has published >140 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of molecular imaging (e.g. PET and SPECT) and radiotherapy of cancer. Dr. Reilly has been awarded a CFI/ORF infrastructure grant to establish a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) laboratory for the preparation and quality control of radiolabeled antibodies for Phase I clinical trial. He will provide opportunities for trainees to learn about GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing as well as to employ radionuclide imaging and radiotherapeutic strategies for treatment of cancer in their research.


Afsaneh Lavasanifar, UAlberta (Pharmacy), is a professor in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and SCO and vice president of Meros Polymers Inc. Her research is focused on the design and development of polymer based delivery systems that can increase solubility, modify the pharmacokinetic pattern, reduce toxity and increase the efficacy of different therapeutic agents. Under her supervision HQP will work on the development of novel polymeric nano-carriers and stimulus responsive gels for application in cancer chemo and immunotherapy or delivery of anti-inflammatory agents. Dr. Lavasanifar will also be offering an online capstone course on Advanced Drug Delivery Systems to all interested PoND trainees.