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Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Amir Jafari & Neda Habibi, UNT

UNT husband and wife professors Amir Jafari and Neda Habibi

We're happy to present our first couples Spotlight and it features a power duo from UNT's Department of Biomedical Engineering. The husband and wife team of Amir Jafari and Neda Habibi joined UNT just a few months ago.This pair has been inseparable since they were undergraduates at Isfahan University of Technology in Iran. They completed their masters, Ph.D. and postdoc degrees together and have lived all over the world during their 18 years of marriage -- Italy, Switzerland, Iran, Singapore and the last six years in the U.S. His research area is rehabilitation robotics; hers is nanotechnology for cancer therapy. Does it get better than that? Get to know Drs. Jafari and Habibi.

 

Q&A

What is your favorite aspect about your job?

  • Dr. Jafari: Being able to do research on topics I like most which at the same time have potential to help patients. Robotic is a fascinating field of research, especially when it is towards developing new technologies to help mobility impaired people to gain some level of independence and being able to perform their daily life activities. 
  • Dr. Habibi: It is about its final goal: developing new technologies that can help people with cancer to have better therapeutic medicines. Nanotechnology is designed to provide a novel and improved approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Nanoscale drug carriers can interact with large biological molecules on both the surface and inside cells involved in cancer. 

What employee benefit or activity would you like to see added to UNT World?

  • Dr. Jafari: I am a new employee of UNT world, but I know it has grown tremendously. The University of North Texas is a great place to work as it is a tier one university according Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. I am excited about the new Science and Technology Building and I believe that will enhance the research productivity of the UNT, especially in the engineering field.
  • Dr. Habibi: As a tier one university, I would like to see UNT’s engineering programs to become frontiers among the universities in DFW area.   

What is your proudest work moment?

  • Dr. Jafari: When I heard that my NSF CAREER proposal is going to be funded. This was truly an amazing moment for me because I think this project has a great potential to revolutionize the soft actuation technology for robotics. I am very excited to work on this project.
  • Dr. Habibi: I recently joined UNT and enjoy every day of work at UNT. But in particular, when NSF notified us that our collaborative proposal of $7.5M is going to be funded to establish a Micro-Nano Technology Center was one of the proudest work moments for me.  

What is your proudest non-work moment?

  • Dr. Jafari: Being with my family is always the most pleasant aspect of my life. 
  • Dr. Habibi: There are many and hard to pick one. I enjoy every moment playing with my two sons.   

What is a fact about you that may surprise your work colleagues?

  • Dr. Jafari: When I was an undergrad student, my plan was to withdraw from the university and become a professional soccer player. I am now happy that I decided not to follow this plan. 
  • Dr. Habibi: I have been married for 18 years and have been all around the world during these years: six years in Iran, six years in Europe (Switzerland and Italy), two years in Singapore and six years in the United States.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE...
Book?:

  • Dr. Jafari: Soft Robotics in Rehabilitation- This is the book I spent 3 years of my life on it as its editor, so that must be my favorite book!
  • Dr. Habibi: Charlie and the Chocolate factory (Not the movie, I meant the book)-The Alchemist -Veronica Decides to Die

Movie?

  • Dr. Jafari: Godfather 
  • Dr. Habibi: Inception

TV Show?

  • Dr. Jafari: Shark Tank- I really like when somebody comes up with a new idea that can truly solves a genuine problem and commercialize it. 
  • Dr. Habibi: Dancing with the Stars  

Inspirational Hero?

  • Dr. Jafari: Steve Jobs- I think without Steve Jobs and his talent, we wouldn’t be here as we are today in terms of technology. He has changed and shaped the world many times as a pioneer, for example: computer world with Apple II- Music Industry with iPod- Animation Industry with Toy Story- Mobile phone industry with iPhone.
  • Dr. Habibi: All the first responders during the COVID pandemic  

Place to visit?

  • Dr. Jafari: Paris
  • Dr. Habibi: Paris 

Restaurant?:

  • Dr. Jafari: Pizzeria 
  • Dr. Habibi: Pizzeria

Song?

  • Dr. Jafari: Ich will Nur Dich by Alex (he is a German singer) 
  • Dr. Habibi:  Last Christmas  

Celebrity?

  • Dr. Jafari: Mark Cuban
  • Dr. Habibi: Dua Lipa 

Hobby?

  • Dr. Jafari: Rubik's Cube
  • Dr. Habibi: Painting, walking

Charitable cause?

  • Dr. Jafari: Children's education and schools 
  • Dr. Habibi: Children's education and schools