Mid-Career Award

The NanoDivision's Mid-Career Award recognizes individuals with less than 20 years past the date of their latest degree (e.g. bachelors, masters, or doctorate) for their outstanding accomplishments or contributions that have helped advance the industry’s technology in renewable nanomaterials.  The NanoDivision’s awards committee assess each nominee with respect to novelty & impact of research contributions, positive impact on people’s careers, contributions to the NanoDivision, and the number & quality of publications.

2023 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Feng Jiang
University of British Colombia

Prof. Feng Jiang, is an assistant professor in the Department of Wood Science at The University of British Columbia, and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Functional Biomaterials. He received his PhD degree in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2011, and postdoc training from University of California Davis, and University of Maryland College Park. He serves as Editor of Carbohydrate Polymers. He is the 2021 recipient of ACS CELL KINGFA Young Investigator Award and 2023 recipient of UBC Faculty of Forestry Outstanding Research Award, and he has been selected as the Paper360° 2022 TOP 50 POWER LIST. Feng has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles in high-impact journals (h-index 44, h-10 index 82), and has been invited to given over 50 invited presentations. His current research interests focus on developing advanced materials from lignocellulosic biomass, and his research interest includes isolation and functionalization of bio-based nanomaterials, assembly of bio-based nanomaterials into fibres, films, aerogel, foam, and hydrogels, additive manufacturing, wood adhesives, as well as applications in textile, thermal management, energy storage, and environmental remediation. His research has generated 2 patents, and several provisional patents, and has been reported by over 300 different media, including CBC, CTV, BNN Bloomberg, etc.


Feng has organized several symposia in American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meetings, Materials Research Society (MRS) national meeting, and has co-organized the 2nd Sustainable Materials Research Summit (SMART 2022) in Vancouver BC. He has also served as Webinar chair in TAPPI Nanotechnology Division from 2021-2023, and has organized and chaired 15 webinars from round the world, attracting over 1000 attendees.

2022 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Dr. Nathalie Lavoine
North Carolina State University

Since 2018, Dr. Nathalie Lavoine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at NC State University (Raleigh, North Carolina). She received her PhD degree in 2013 from the Laboratory of Pulp & Paper Sciences, and Graphic Arts under the supervision of Dr. Julien Bras in Grenoble, France. She then conducted two postdoctoral research experiences under the supervision of Prof. Akira Isogai at the University of Tokyo, Japan (2014-2016) and Prof. Lennart Bergstrom at Stockholm University, Sweden (2016-2018).

Her research activities center on the development and engineering of advanced sustainable materials from biomass and renewable nanomaterials. She has built a strong research & education integrated program to advance the commercialization of sustainable packaging and renewable nanomaterials and tackle these important research challenges with the help of students, industrial partners, and researchers.

This program fosters entrepreneurial thinking to boost outcomes in sustainable advanced materials meanwhile offering career opportunities and professional development support to undergraduate and graduate students.

Over the years, Dr. Lavoine has worked side-by-side with experts in the field, and thanks to the strong support from the Renewable Nanotechnology community, she has been involved in the leadership of the TAPPI Nano Division. Since 2016, she is a very active member and strong support of this division. She is currently the vice-chair of the TAPPI Paper & Packaging subcommittee and is involved in the TAPPI Award Committee. From 2016-2021, she was a co-Chair of the Research Committee with Dr. Orlando Rojas (UBC, CA), then Dr. Soledad Peresin (Auburn University, AL). She was chair of the 2019 TAPPI Nano Conference, which was held in Chiba, Japan.

2021 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Dr. Gary Chinga Carrasco

Dr. Gary Chinga Carrasco was born in La Serena, Chile and moved to Norway in 1987. He graduated from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) with background in Cell Biology (Cand. scient. 1997) and Chemical Engineering (Dr. ing. 2002). He is currently lead scientist at RISE PFI (Norway) in the area of biocomposites. Reviewer of several journals, including Carbohydrate polymers, Acta Biomaterialia and ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, member of the editorial board of Journal of Bioresources and Bioproducts and Associate Editor of Bioengineering. He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed papers (including 7 critical reviews), 8 book chapters and 2 books. Dr. Chinga Carrasco was one of two recipients of the Treforedlingsprisen 2018 - award for nanocellulose research in Norway. He has years of experience as coordinator of national and international projects, working closely with national and international R&D partners and industry. Currently his research focuses on tailor-made nanocelluloses, characterization, biomedical devices and novel biocomposite materials, with a main focus on 3D printing.

2020 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Johan Foster
University of British Columbia

Prof. Foster focuses on advanced functional and supramolecular bio(nano)materials. 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 90+ peer reviewed papers, an H Index = 35. i10-Index = 66. He has given 80+ Invited talks, been a session chair at a wide range of international symposia. He is a member of four peer reviewed journal editorial boards. He is an expert for the European Research Commission (ERC) Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN), an expert for International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO/TC 229 WG 2 and is the official departmental evaluator, University of Ghana, Department of Biomedical Engineering (2017-2019). 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). Johan plans to work closely with Heli and Lars, moving TAPPI NANO forward, engaging new members, current members, and spreading the ‘gospel’ of cellulose nanomaterials, bioproducts and renewable materials.

2019 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Dr. Julien Bras
Associate Professor, Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP Pagora)

Dr. Julien Bras (H index: 42; 141 scientific papers, 12 patents) is Associate professor at Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP Pagora). He is member of Institut Universitaire de France (IUF, 2016-2021, top grant for 2% of French professor). He received the French “Academy of Science” Major Prize of Innovation (IMT Espoir) in 2017. He is deputy director of LGP2 (Laboratory f Pulp & Paper Science) and head of the “Multiscale Biobased Material” group (ab. 40 pers.). He has directly supervised 28 PhD, 21 Post-doc and more than 50 master students focusing on research on Nanocellulose, biomaterials & Specialty papers.

After engineer diploma in Chemistry and a PhD on Renewable Materials in 2004, he worked in industry few years as Innovation Manager within Ahlstrom Specialty paper and then left industry to become associate professor since 2006.

Through his different experiences, he develops several competences. His expertise deals particularly with Nanocellulose, biobased and smart materials. More precisely, he proposed new way of production, characterization and functionalization of nanocellulose for several applications since more than 10 years. He has already coordinated or supervised several industrial and European projects in FP6, FP7 and Marie-Curie calls. He is involved in a Labex, Idex & Carnot institute organizations (institutes with more than 200 researchers) as Work Package leader or steering committee member. He is Associate Editor for an Elsevier Journal (Industrial Crops and products) since 2013.

2019 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Liangbing Hu
Associate Professor UCLA

Liangbing Hu did his Ph.D. in at UCLA, focusing on carbon nanotube based nanoelectronics (2002-2007). In 2006, he joined Unidym Inc (www.unidym.com) as a co-founding scientist. He worked at Stanford University (with Yi Cui) from 2009-2011, where he work on various energy devices based on nanomaterials and nanostructures. Currently, he is an associate professor at University of Maryland College Park. His research interests include nanomaterials and nanostructures, roll-to-roll nanomanufacturing, and energy storage focusing on solid-state batteries. He has published over 300 research papers (including Science and Nature in 2018) and given more than 100 invited talks.

His recent developments on wood nanocellulose include nanomanufacturing and light management in transparent nanopaper for optoelectronics (as a replacement of plastics); mechanical properties of densely packed nanocellulose for lightweight structural materials (replacement of steel, Nature 2018); artificial tree for high-performance water desalination and solar steam generations; mesoporous, three-dimensional carbon derived from wood for advanced batteries (replacement of metal current collectors for beyond Li-ion batteries); nano-ionic thermoelectrics (Nature Materials, 2019) and radiation cooling (Science, 2019). He is a co-founder of Inventwood LLC to commercialize the wood-based nanotechnologies (www.inventwood.com).

2018 NanoDivision Mid-Career Award

Mehdi Tajvidi
University of Maine

Mehdi started his scientific career at the Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI in 2001 where he worked as a visiting scientist working on his dissertation on dynamic mechanical analysis of wood plastic composites. After completing his Ph.D. program in Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Tehran in 2003, Mehdi worked as an Assistant and later an Associate Professor at the Department of Wood and Paper Science and Technology, the University of Tehran for 8 years. In 2007 Mehdi received the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) award to do research at the Department of Biomaterials Sciences, the University of Tokyo, Japan where he worked as a Visiting Professor for two years. Upon moving to Canada in 2011, Mehdi worked as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada before Joining the School of Forest Resources in September 2013 as the Assistant Professor of Renewable Nanomaterials. Mehdi’s areas of research interest are production, characterization and performance evaluation of renewable nanomaterials and their composites. At UMaine, Mehdi established the Laboratory of Renewable Nanomaterials with a focus of wet applications of cellulose nanomaterials in large-volume product development. To date, Mehdi has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, presented over 40 presentations at international conferences and advised/co-advised over 45 graduate students. Over the past four years, the Laboratory of Renewable Nanomaterials has secured over $1.5 M of grant funding for nanocellulose related research.