Principal Investigator

Professor Hamed Shahsavan

Hamed Shahsavan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering


  • PhD, University of Waterloo, 2017

  • MASc, University of Waterloo, 2012

  • BSc, Sharif University of Technology, 2009


  • Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo , Canada (2020-present)

  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany (2017-2020)

  • Visiting Scholar, Tampere University, Finland (2018)

  • Visiting Scholar, Kent State University, USA (2015-2017)

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Dr. Hamed Shahsavan is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He obtained his PhD in chemical engineering and nanotechnology from the University of Waterloo in 2017. In his graduate studies, Dr. Shahsavan's research was focused on the fabrication and characterization of bioinspired micro/nanostructured surfaces and their implications in fundamental studies of contact mechanics, and interfacial phenomena, such as adhesion, friction, and wetting. Fascinated by the rapidly growing fields of soft robotics and smart materials, he moved to Stuttgart in Germany, to embark on his postdoctoral research as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. In this period, he mainly focused on the synthesis of different types of liquid crystalline elastomers, networks and gels to deploy them as shape-change programmable materials in soft robots and devices at millimeter to micrometer scale. During his PhD studies, Dr. Shahsavan was a visiting scholar in the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University, OH, USA. He was also a visiting scientist in the Smart Photonic Materials (SPM) research group at the University of Tampere in Finland. His current research interests revolve around the development of a variety of soft, stimuli-responsive, and programmable materials, and different fabrication methods for the manufacturing of small-scale mobile robots and devices.

Research Associates

Rasool Photo.jpg

Rasool Nasseri, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Dr. Rasool Nasseri is a Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2018. His Ph.D. research was focused on biodegradable and bio fragmentable polymer composites. After his Ph.D., he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Michael Tam’s research group at the University of Waterloo and focused on developing a new approach for the metal coating of cellulose nanocrystals. He then started his research in the field of sustainable smart materials and since then his focus has been developing new stimuli-responsive hydrogels. He is currently working as a research associate in SMART-Lab where he aims to employ stimuli-responsive hydrogels in soft robotic applications.

Graduate Students


Yasaman Maddah

PhD Student

Yasaman has received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Polymer Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in 2019. Her master’s project was based on synthesizing a new hyper-branched structure of polyolefins and its subsequent rheological characterization. She currently works on synthesis and characterization of novel liquid crystal elastomers as her Ph.D. project


Negin Bouzari

MASc Student

Negin received her B.Sc. in Polymer Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran, Iran) in 2020. She has previously worked on modeling and analyzing different types of spiral dies used in blown film extrusion. Currently, she is a MASc student working on water-based nematogels.


Natalie Pinchin

MASc Student

Natalie earned her B.A.Sc. in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2020. She has experience with nanomaterial synthesis and characterization. Her current research is focused on liquid crystalline gels for soft robotics.


Sarah Jankhani

MEng Student

Sarah obtained her BSc. at the University of Tehran in 2020. Currently, she a is MEng student and works on Lyotropic Liquid Crystals as a volunteer research assistant.

Student Volunteers


Sahad Vasanji


Sahad is currently a 3B nanotechnology engineering student. He has previously worked as a  co-op researcher at the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science on bionic noses, and at Harvard University on designing  stimuli-responsive materials.


Priya Rajput


Priya is currently a 1B nanotechnology engineering student. She is studying liquid crystals as a volunteer research assistant.

Former Members

Marcel Lui

Undergraduate Student

Reese Martens

Undergraduate Student