2023 Nano Conference Chairs

June 12 - 16, 2023 | Westin Bayshore, Vancouver BC

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2023 Nano Conference Chairs

Conference Chair:
Professor Johan Foster, University of British Columbia, Canada



Currently, Johan is the NSERC Canfor Industrial Research Chair in Advanced Bioproducts at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He was previously an Associate Professor and the Digges Faculty Fellow in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Virginia Tech.

Johan was previously leading a group at the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) in Switzerland, focusing on cellulosic nanocrystals, smart materials, nanocomposites, synthesis, functionalization, and biomedical implants. He came to the institute after doing a post-doctoral fellowship with Bert Meijer at Technical University Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, and a Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in Canada.

Johan has participated in TAPPI NANO conferences since 2011, including organizing sessions, Co-Chairing the 2016 TAPPI NANO in Grenoble with Julien Bras and Alain Dufresne, and also acting as the Keynote Webinar Chair. He also organizes symposia at the American Chemical Society National Meetings (the largest gathering of Chemists in the world), specifically in ACS CELL and ACS POLY, on Smart Materials (including smart polymers, stimuli responsive materials and structured scaffolds).

As the 2023 Conference Chair, Johan plans to work closely with Meisha and Lars, moving TAPPI NANO forward, engaging new members, current members, and spreading the ‘gospel’ of cellulose nanomaterials, bioproducts and renewable materials.


Conference Co-Chair:
Meisha Shofner, Georgia Tech


Dr. Meisha L. Shofner is an Associate Professor and MSE Faculty Fellow in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She joined the Georgia Tech faculty, following post-doctoral training at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Rice University. Prior to graduate school, she was employed as a design engineer at FMC in the Subsea Engineering Division. Dr. Shofner’s research interests include processing strategies for polymers and nanocomposites, auxetic and tensegrity structures, bio-based polymers, polymer crystallization, and additive manufacturing. 


Conference Co-Chair:
Lars Axrup, Stora Enso

Lar's is the Director of rFiber Circularity and Application Portfolio at Stora Enso.

Lars Axrup has worked in the pulp and paper industry for the past 27 years and for Stora Enso since 2001. He holds a licentiate degree in chemistry as well as business education from IMD Lausanne and Aalto executive in Helsinki. One of his signature achievements is the first industrial scale production plant for micro fibrillar cellulose and the creation of enhanced paperboard and barrier materials containing micro fibrillar cellulose. Recently he has built a new business on biocomposites for packaging applications as well as headed the emerging Stora Enso fiber bottle business. Today he is heading the Stora Enso recycled fiber application portfolio placing fiber-based packaging in the center of the sustainable and circular economy


Technical Program Chair:
Amir Sheikhi

Dr. Amir Sheikhi is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering (by courtesy) at Penn State. In August 2019, he founded the Bio-Soft Materials Laboratory (B-SMaL) to tackle some of the quintessential challenges of the 21st century in biomedicine and the environment by designing novel bio-based soft materials via micro- and nanoengineering techniques. As of July 2022, Amir’s lab consists of 10 graduate students, 1 postdoc, and more than 15 undergraduate researchers, funded by NIH (R01), ACS PRF DNI, Meghan Rose Bradley Foundation, Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF), Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE), Benkovic Research Initiative, etc. Amir’s research has been featured in more than 60 publications, 40 seminars, and 12 reports of invention/patent applications with recognition by over 40 news media outlets. He is the recipient of several major awards, including the AIChE’s 35 Under 35, ACS Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid & Surfactant Science, The John C. Chen Young Professional Leadership Scholarship, and The UNIFOR Global Research Fellowship. Recently, Amir was named as one of the 9 emerging leaders in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering worldwide, featured on the cover of the Inaugural “Futures” Issue of Bioengineering & Translational Medicine journal.

Amir earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at McGill University and continued to complete two years of post-doctoral research on colloids and macromolecules at McGill Chemistry under Theo van de Ven and Ashok Kakkar. Before joining Penn State, Amir was a post-doctoral fellow in Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School and UCLA, working with Ali Khademhosseini. Amir pays special attention to promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion via his research, teaching, and outreach activities, and has served several professional communities, such as ACS, AIChE, MRS, BMES, APS, TAPPI, etc. He is currently an Associate Editor of Bioengineering & Translational Medicine and an Editorial Board Member of Biomaterials and Bioactive Materials journals