Our Team

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The CRN team performs world-class research activities that are dedicated to the advancement of composite technologies and the industry as a whole.

Directors and management coordinate research activities and industry collaboration, overseeing a dedicated team of doctoral and Masters students at the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

Anoush Poursartip 


Poursartip has worked in digital manufacturing for over thirty years. He has focussed on the manufacturing of advanced composites structures, primarily for the aerospace sector. Initially, his digital focus was the development of computer simulations of the manufacturing process to reduce risk, cost, and time for product development. This work led to the founding of Convergent Manufacturing Technologies in 1998, and the 2012 founding of the Composites Research Network at UBC. As Industry 4.0 technologies have become more available, Poursartip’s interests have broadened into the bigger concept of the digital twin – identifying the manufacturing conditions in a factory which should be measured, how to measure them, and how to relate them to the quality of the product and the efficiency and robustness of the factory. Poursartip is a recipient of the Medal of Excellence in Composites from the University of Delaware and the ASTM Wayne Stinchcomb Award. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, ICCM, and SAMPE. 

Abbas S. Milani

Technical Director 

Milani is Professor at the School of Engineering-UBC Okanagan Campus, the founding Director of the UBC Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI), and the Technical Director of the Composites Research Network (CRN). His expertise falls into modeling, simulation, and multicriteria optimization of textile composite materials, structures, and their forming processes. His research to date has resulted in over 250 publications, including books and editorials. He is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including the 2010 CADLM International Intelligent Optimal Design Prize, as well as the 2015 Researcher of the Year Award at UBC Okanagan. He received the 2016 UBC Killam Faculty Research Award (I. W. Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies) for his study leave research at MIT for developing an artificial intelligence (AI) to account for uncertainties in manufacturing of advanced composites. Milani is a 2019 institutional nominee for membership in the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists at the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). He reviews widely for renowned journals in the area such as Nature-Scientific Reports, Progress in Materials Science, Composites Science and Technology, Composites Part A & B, Composite Structures, among others.  

Reza Vaziri

Scientific Director 

Vaziri is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Scientific Director of the Composites Research Network at the University of British Columbia. He served as the Head of Department of Civil Engineering from 2008 to 2014. Vaziri obtained his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University College London, England (1982), and his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from UBC (1985 and 1989), specializing in structures and applied mechanics and mechanics of fibre reinforced composite materials. Vaziri’s contribution to engineering research has been the development of computational modelling techniques to solve a variety of problems in materials and structures and the transferring of the technology to the user community (e.g. industries, government research agencies, and private companies). His research has been focused on the development of analytical and numerical modelling techniques to simulate the manufacturing process of composite structures as well as their fracture and damage behaviour under service loads including high intensity impact and crash loadings. 

Suzana Topic 

Managing Director 

Topic has been the Managing Director of the Composites Research Network (CRN) since inception and is currently the Managing Director of the Composites Knowledge Network (CKN). Topic is responsible for business strategy, financial management, and human resources. She has coordinated all efforts toward development of the CRN and CKN, supervises the operations team, and is responsible for the planning and organization of Network events and Advisory Board meetings. Prior to joining CRN, Topic was a Research Manager in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. She has an MSc (McMaster) and MBA (Queens), and five years’ experience in the biotechnology sector in business development and intellectual property (Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.). 

Research Engineers 

  • Scott Nesbitt 
  • Gavin Tao
  • Truls Ytre-Eide

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Kamyar Gordnian
  • Farzad Sharifpour

PhD Students 

  • Sahar Abouali 
  • Nasser Arbabi  
  • Nima Bakhshi 
  • Hubert Courteau-Godmaire
  • Marco Didone
  • Shayan Fahimi 
  • Sherry Kiafar

MASc Students 

  • Steven Atkinson
  • Martin Battilana
  • Arghyanil Bhattacharjee
  • Erfan Forghani 
  • Philipp Kroncke
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