SFU Research Masterclass Series: "Is there room for a 'control freak' in this 'material world'?

Friday, March 28, 2014
11:30 - 12:30

Dr Neil Branda
Department of Chemistry and 4DLabs


The main idea of the IRMACS Centre's series "SFU Research Masterclass" is to have a group of prominent SFU researchers that will, instead of an academic lecture on their research topic, tell the story of their research path and the "best practices" and tips they learned along the way - how they came to be interested in the topic, how their research directions have changed over the years, any major shifts in direction, who their collaborators are and how they developed those collaborations, etc. The format of each event will be a sit down session with an interviewer, rather than a standard presentation format. This is followed by a Q&A with the audience. We invite SFU graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as SFU researchers across disciplines, SFU research personnel, and researcher grant facilitators to attend the "SFU Research Masterclass" sessions.

About the Speaker

About Interviewee: Neil Branda is currently a Professor of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University and a Canada Research Chair in Materials Science. He is also the Executive Director of 4D LABS, Simon Fraser University’s $60 million research facility for new materials and nanoscale devices and Chief Technology Officer of SWITCH Materials, Inc., a company he founded to commercialize his technology.

His research program lies at the interface of organic chemistry and materials science with a focus on designing and synthesizing molecular ‘switches’ – molecules that change their structure and function when triggered with light, electricity or chemical stimuli. Neil works closely with materials scientists and the medical research community to deliver unprecedented designer photoswitches to solve practical challenges in molecular photonics, electronics, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Dr. Branda received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at l'Université Louis Pasteur, then joined the faculty at the University of Alberta before moving to Simon Fraser University in 2001.

About Interviewer: Bonnie L Gray received her B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic (1992), her M.S. from UC Berkeley (1995), and her Ph.D. from UC Davis (2001), all in Electrical Engineering. From 2001-2003, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Electronic Instrumentation/DIMES at the Delft Technical University developing high-speed biochemical screening systems using photodiodes integrated with microfluidics. Dr. Gray has been a faculty member in Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, and Director of the SFU Microinstrumentation Laboratory since 2003. She is now an Associate Professor of and has over 90 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications (including 2 keynote and many invited), as well as 4 invited book chapters, one issued patent, and two other full patent applications under consideration. Her current research interests include the application of novel nanomaterials and fabrication techniques to the development of microfluidic and electronic devices, as well as microfluidics, packaging, microassembly, microsystems for biological cell research and qPCR, surface plasmon optical sensing, composite polymer materials and devices, and flexible polymer platforms for biomedical devices. Dr. Gray has been the Chapter Chair for the Vancouver IEEE Electron Devices Society (EDS) since April 2007 and has organized many technical sessions with Distinguished Lecturers and other speakers from all over the world, including a Mini Colloquia in 2012. She is a former co-Counselor of the SFU IEEE Student Chapter. She is Chair of the 2014 SPIE Conference on Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems held as part of Photonics West in San Francisco every year, and founding co-Counselor of the SPIE Student Chapter at SFU.