Group Members

Members of the Matta Research Group

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement: Anyone who is interested in this Group’s research is welcome to apply. We particularly encourage: women, visible and religious minorities of any and all national origin(s), aboriginal persons, members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ identities, persons of any age, and persons with disabilities to apply to join our group. In our Group, scholarship and only scholarship is what counts.

Our Group has been enriched from its present and past members hailing from Algeria, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA, and Zambia.


  • PeymanGROUP_Peyman_Fahimi Fahimi, PhD Candidate (Jan. 2019 – in progress), Dept. of Chemistry, Laval University. (Co-supervised with Prof. T. Tung Nguyen-Dang). Project: Theoretical mitochondrial biophysics and thermodynamics.


  • GROUP_lazaroLázaro Andrés Monteserín Castanedo, PhD Candidate (May 2020 – in progress, (he joined the group in 2016 as a Research Assistant and has been with the group since this time)), Dept. of Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University. Lázaro is the winner of the 2020 Abe Leventhal Student Research Award (Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia). Has also received a “Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS)”, a Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) “Scotia Scholar Award”, a Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) “Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) Scholarship”, and and International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB)’s “Wood-Whelan Fellowship”). Lázaro has also won several best poster presentation at international conferences. Project: Quantum biochemical investigations of the origins of life.
  • Emily Smith (Honors B.Sc. Senior Undergraduate Student, in progress (2021-2022), co-supervised with Prof. Tina Harriott and Prof. Daniel Majaess). Jeanne Sauvé Award Scholar (Summer 2021). Project:  Reddening of Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) and the Thickness of Interstellar Dust Clouds.
  • TiffanyFields-cropTiffany Fields, B.Sc. M.Sc., Research Associate (2021-2022). Project: Identifying Possible Chemical Sources of Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs).


  • Dr. Lou Massa, PhD, L.H.D (Honoris Causa), visiting from Hunter College, City University of New York (2015 – ongoing).


  • Dr. Zahir Hussain, PhD – Professor, Dept. of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Umm Al-Qura University (UQU), Saudi Arabia (2020).


  • GROUP_AnnaDr. Anna V. Gubskaya, PhD (BVILTPE), PhD (Dalhsousie), Dipl, MSc (VKKNU), MSc (Dalhousie), visiting from Rutgers University (2010-2011).

RECENT ALUMNI (since 2017)

  • Fraser_SmithFraser Smith (Honors B.Sc. (2020-2021 – graduated), Research Assistant (2021), co-supervised with Prof. Tina Harriott and Prof. Daniel Majaess). Project: New Correlations between Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) suggesting New Families of Chemical sources. Present position: Graduate Student ofPhysics and Astronomy at Saint Mary’s University.
  • GROUP_LahceneAzouzDr. Lahcene Azzouz, (Visiting/Adjunct Graduate Research Assistant (2019- 2020)) at Mount Saint Vincent University from Université de Laghouat (Algeria). [Project: Design of novel tunable semiconducting materials]. Present position: Science Education Specialist at the Ministry of Education (Algeria).


  • YoujiChengYouji Cheng, MSc Thesis (2017-2020, completed), Dept. of Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University. (Chosen as Valedictorian for the graduating class in the May 2020 convocation). [Thesis: A Computational Investigation of the Intrinsic Field of ATP Synthase]. Present position: Program Manager at Lab2Market Oceans.


  • GROUP_HebatallahHebatallah Emam, Honors Thesis (2018-2019, completed), Helmy Institute, Zewail City of Science and Technology. [Thesis:  Effects of the Electric Field across the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane on some Molecules and Reactions of the Electron Transport Chain (ETC)]. Present position: Graduate Student at McMaster University.


  • GROUP_MennatallahMennatallah Emam, Honors Thesis (2018-2019, completed), Helmy Institute, Zewail City of Science and Technology. [Thesis: Molecular Fingerprinting in Quantitative Structure-to-Activity Relationships (QSARs) as Tool in Drug Design]. Present position: Graduate Student at McMaster University.


  • GROUP_MohamedNasrMohamed Ahmed Nasr El-Deen, Visiting Undergraduate Student (2019 – completed) at Mount Saint Vincent University, and co-supervised Honors Thesis 2018-2019) at Zewail City of Science and Technology. [Project: Possible non-classical role of heat shock proteins in (hot) mitochondria]. Present position: Graduate Student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


  • GROUP_CyrusDr. Cyrus Ahmadi Toussi, (Visiting PhD Candidate, (Jan – Dec. 2019)), Mount Saint Vincent University – visiting from Biomedical Engineering (Bioelectrics), Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran (Group of Prof. J. Haddadnia). [Project: Elastic network modeling in conjunction with machine learning for predicting biological activity]. Present position: Senior PhD Candidate.


  • GROUP_MaryamKamalMaryam Kamal, PhD Candidate (of Prof. Muhammad Shadman), student collaborator and co-author (2019-2020), Dept. of Chemistry, University of Zanjan (Iran). [Project: Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation study of electric field-facilitated ionic diffusion through synthetic membranes]. Present position: Senior PhD Candidate.


  • Jack MacGillivary (Winter 2019 – completed), Directed Research Trainee, Mount Saint Vincent University [Subject: Mitochondrial Bioenergetics]. Present position: Medical student.


FORMER ALUMNI (before 2017)


  • GROUP_Luiz_Alberto_TerrabuioDr. Luiz Alberto Terrabuio (PhD (2018) from São Paulo University, Visiting PhD Candidate at Mount Saint Vincent University – Jan.-Dec. 2016). (Co-supervised by Prof. R. L. Haiduke, Sao Paolo University, Brazil). [Project: Excited states electron densities and non-nuclear attractors]. Present position: Research Associate.


  • GROUP_AlyaProfessor Alya A. Arabi (PhD from Dalhousie University (2008-2012) [Thesis: Density Functional Theory: Dispersion Interactions & Biological Applications. (Co-supervised with Professor Axel D. Becke)]. Honors Thesis (2007-2008) Joint Dalhousie University – Mount Saint Vincent University [Thesis:  Atomic Partitioning of the Energy of Reaction: The Hydrolysis of a Fuel Biological Molecule, Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate]. Present position: Associate Professor, Zayed University (UAE).


  • GROUP_HugoProfessor Hugo J. Bohórquez (PhD from Dalhousie University (2007-2011) [Thesis: Local Quantum Chemistry]. (Co-supervised with Professor Russell J. Boyd). Present position: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biophysics, Fundación instituto de Inmunología de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia).


  • GROUP_IsmatIsmat Sumar, MSc Thesis, Saint Mary’s University (2013-2016). [Thesis: Localization-Delocalization Matrices: Theory and Applications]. (Co-supervised with Professor Paul W. Ayers).


  • GROUP_ShahinDr. Shahin Sowlati-Hashjin, MSc Thesis, Saint Mary’s University (2011-2013) – Nominated for the Governor General Gold Medal by the examining committee. [Thesis: Computational Investigations of Some Molecular Properties, their Perturbation by External Electric Fields, and their use in Quantitative Structure-to-Activity Relationships]. Present position: Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto.


  • GROUP_MattDr. Mathew Timm, Honors Thesis (Joint Dalhousie University – Mount Saint Vincent University) (2013-2014). [Thesis: What Happens to the Chemical Bond if a Bonded Atom Undergoes a Nuclear Transformation? A Computational Study]. Directed Study Trainee (2012), Mount Saint Vincent University.


  • GROUP_AndreaAndrea Perrault (summers of 2016 and 2017), Research Assistant (co-supervised with Prof. Tina Harriott).


  • GROUP_LeanneLeanne Ingram (summer 2014), Research Assistant, Mount Saint Vincent University.


  • GROUP_Martin_SichingaDr. Martin Sichinga (PhD from McGill University, 2020). Research Assistant (2010-2011), Directed Research Trainee (2009-2010) – Mount Saint Vincent University .


  • Seth Robert King (Fall, 2011), Directed Study Student, Mount Saint Vincent University.


  • GROUP_LeighLeigh Herman David (summer 2009), Research Assistant, Mount Saint Vincent University.


  • GROUP_Dan_MacKeiganDaniel MacKeigan (summer 2009), Research Assistant, Mount Saint Vincent University.







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