Royal Society University Research Fellow
I was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. I completed my MSc degree in Physical Chemistry there (top 0.5% in the national university entrance exam) before moving to Geneva, Switzerland, for doctoral work with Dr Damien Jeannerat in 2009. In 2013 I came to the UK and started working at the University of Manchester with Professors Gareth Morris and Mathias Nilsson, first as PDRA and later as Researcher Co-investigator. Then I felt that it was time for me to pursue my independent research career and decided to do so.
I have chosen the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford because of its strong research tradition in magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy, its strong ethos for trans-disciplinary research, its commitment to the support of early-career researchers, and the broad range of potential collaborations it could offer. My application was successful and in 2018 I was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards in the UK that an early-career researcher can have.
My scientific journey was a fruitful process of growth and learning, and I was fortunate to work with some of the best people. In particular, Professor Gareth Morris (University of Manchester) has been a source of inspiration and made a significant impact on me. He was my supervisor and mentor during my relatively extended stay in Manchester. He is a perfect example of someone who is both a genuinely good human and an exceptionally good scientist, a combination, I believe, we need more and more in academia.
My research is at the interface of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. It revolves around designing novel methodologies for the detection and analysis of magnetic resonance spectroscopic data, with applications in chemical, biological, material, and medical research. My current research interests include designing highly controlled and robust pulses (radiofrequency and microwave) for NMR and ESR spectroscopies, optimal control of quantum spin systems, signal processing, spectral estimation and modelling, and designing novel magnetic resonance detection schemes.
In particular, one of my main current research interests is the design and development of novel NMR spectroscopic tools that allow us to detect signals and images from a very small volume of sample (nanolitres), a single cell, and eventually a single molecule, using crystal defects in diamond known as nitrogen vacancies. These defects in diamond hold great promise to shape our future and transform our technologies, especially in the spectroscopy and imaging of biological systems, since they can be used as biologically inert, ultrasensitive, and extremely accurate magnetometers for quantum bio-sensing.
I believe the future of measurement sciences in general, and spectroscopic techniques in particular, lies in the re-examination of the fundamentals and a combination of mathematical theories, computation power, and the discovery and exploitation of materials that can serve as sensors in novel detection schemes.
I am a bookworm and a classical music enthusiast. In my spare time, I enjoy calligraphy, drawing, playing acoustic guitar, cooking, and baking. I believe art and literature (and good food!) are not only essential for sanity and balance in life, but they can also be sources of great inspirations in science.