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Leadership Team

Nigel Smith

Director & CEO

Dr. Nigel Smith assumed the role of TRIUMF Director and CEO in May 2021. Previously, Smith served as Executive Director of SNOLAB (Sudbury, ON); he also holds adjunct Professor status at Queen's University, and a visiting Professorial chair at Imperial College, London. 

In his role as TRIUMF Director, Smith draws on an extensive portfolio of strategic and leadership experience in the development of science research facilities in the U.K. and Canada. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) in the Earth4D programmeco-Chair of the IUPAP Neutrino Panel, and a valued contributor to a wide variety of international advisory committees for the advancement of science across the globe.  

As a scientist, Smith has pursued a wide breadth of world-leading research in extreme environmentsincluding astrophysics and astronomy, deep underground science, and experimental and detector physics. He has worked in underground labs in the UK and Canada, and served as Group Leader, Dark Matter Research at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for over a decade 

Smith continues to serve science and academic communities across the globe in several capacities. He received his Bachelor of Science in physics from Leeds University in the U.K. in 1985 and his Ph. D. in astrophysics from Leeds in 1991 for work in VHE gamma ray astronomy from the South Pole. 

Reiner Kruecken

Deputy Director, Research

Dr. Reiner Kruecken was appointed Deputy Director, Research of TRIUMF in June 2018 after serving as Head of the Science Division when he joined TRIUMF in February 2011 and as Deputy Director since August 2015. Dr. Kruecken also holds an appointment as Professor of Physics at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Kruecken has been a member of numerous national and international review panels, advisory committees, and editorial boards. He was the Program Director of the UBC-TRIUMF NSERC CREATE program Isotopes for Science and Medicine (IsoSiM) (2014-2020).

Kruecken is an expert in gamma-ray and particle spectroscopy of exotic nuclei using radioactive decays and nuclear reactions. He has carried out internationally highly recognized research at world leading rare isotope beam facilities such as TRIUMF, GSI Darmstadt, ISOLDE/CERN, and RIBF/RIKEN. He also has conducted research in heavy-ion collisions and applications of nuclear physics methods to radiation biology and medicine. His current research interests are in the area of neutrinoless double beta decay (nEXO) as well as the structure of exotic nuclei and neutron matter with an emphasis on the shell evolution of exotic nuclei, neutron skins, and the synthesis of the heavy element in the astrophysical r-process. 

Before joining TRIUMF and UBC he held the chair for Experimental Physics of Hadrons and Nuclei at the Technical University Munich, Germany. Kruecken received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Cologne in 1995. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory he moved to Yale University in 1997 where he was an Assistant Professor at the Physics Department and the A.W. Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory until he moved to Munich in 2002.

Anne Louise Aboud

Chief Operating Officer (COO)/Deputy Director, Operations (DDO)

Ms. Anne Louise Aboud joined the TRIUMF as Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Director, Operations on June 1, 2018. Aboud brings to TRIUMF a decades-long career as a senior-operations executive in the industrial, financial services and health care sectors working for such major organizations as General Electric, TD Bank, and LifeLabs. Anne holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and a Master of Business Administration, both from McGill University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto.

As TRIUMF’s inaugural COO/DDO, Anne draws upon on her extensive operations experience to continue driving modernization efforts and addressing current challenges to further enable the strategic growth of TRIUMF’s internationally renowned science programs, as well as facilitate new collaborations and ultimately discoveries within its global network of peer laboratories.

Oliver Kester

Associate Lab Director, Accelerator Division

Dr. Oliver Kester joined TRIUMF as the Associate Lab Director for the Accelerator Division in September 2016. Prior to joining TRIUMF, Kester served as a Director for the GSI accelerator facility in Darmstadt, Germany. He has also previously served as the director of the FAIR subproject ACC, where he was responsible for the construction of all FAIR accelerators.  An accomplished accelerator physicist, Kester has been a professor at the Institute of Applied Physics at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and has held various faculty and administrative positions at CERN, Universität München, and Michigan State University. Kester’s research interests include the production and transport of intense charged particle beams, accelerator cavity developments, beam instrumentation, and electron target development for heavy ion storage rings. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and is the member of several national and international professional panels and committees. As the Associate Lab Director of the Accelerator Division, Kester is responsible for the safe, effective, and reliable operation of all of TRIUMF’s accelerator facilities, the construction of the ARIEL project, and the advancement of accelerator research.    


Paul Schaffer

Associate Lab Director, Life Sciences Division

Dr. Paul Schaffer came to TRIUMF in 2009. Before joining TRIUMF, Schaffer worked in the private sector as a Lead Scientist at General Electric Global Research in upstate NY where he was responsible for developing novel radiotracers for GE Healthcare. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1998 with a B.Sc. in both chemistry and biochemistry. He earned his Ph.D. at McMaster University in 2003, with his doctoral work focused on the design and synthesis of technetium and rhenium chelates as potential new radio-imaging or radiotherapy agents. Schaffer then became a Research Scientist at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor until joining the private sector. In response to the 2007-2009 Tc-99m supply crises, Schaffer and his collaborators spearheaded one of four successful efforts to establish proof of concept commercial-scale production of Tc-99m. This effort saw four institutions come together with funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to demonstrate direct production of this isotope using Canada’s existing medical cyclotron infrastructure. For his leadership on the NRCan effort, Schaffer was recently recognized by Business in Vancouver as one of British Columbia’s Top Forty under 40 individuals. The NRCan-ITAP team was also recently awarded the 2015 NSERC Brockhouse Prize for Interdisciplinary Research. Schaffer continues to re-define the TRIUMF Life’s Sciences program by focusing on its core competencies to deliver specific outcomes, and continues to connect the TRIUMF program with industrial and commercial interests.

Jens Dilling

Associate Lab Director, Physical Sciences Division

Dr. Jens Dilling was appointed Associate Laboratory Director for the Physical Sciences Division effective September 1, 2016. Dilling has been at TRIUMF since 2001, and has previously served as the deputy and department head for nuclear physics and the deputy division head of the Science Division. He holds a position as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. Dilling, a nuclear physicist, received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Heidelberg in Germany in 2001. He is an expert in trapping radioactive isotopes, with his research focusing on understanding what holds atoms together at the most fundamental level as well as precision measurements in nuclear physics. Dilling developed the TITAN (TRIUMF’s Ion Trap for Atomic and Nuclear Science) facility at ISAC, and played a key role in the design, building, and operation. TITAN is the fastest and one of the most precise ion trap mass spectrometers in the world. Dilling has also contributed to experiments at ISOLDE, CERN, and GSI, and serves on multiple national and international committees and boards. In 2013, he received the Canadian Association of Physicists' Vogt Medal for outstanding contributions to subatomic physics research.

Joanna Carson

Chief Financial Officer

Joanna Carson is TRIUMF’s Chief Financial Officer. She is responsible for all of TRIUMF’s financial functions, including strategic business planning, operational, project and capital budgeting, external and management reporting, treasury, regulatory filings and compliance, stakeholder relations, risk management, logistics including shipping, receiving and fleet maintenance, procurement and strategic sourcing,

Carson is a respected financial leader whose career spans more than 20 years of varied experience at Canada’s leading research universities. She has put her work in corporate strategy, fiscal management and community relations to good use helping these schools achieve their missions and maximize their impact. Most recently, she served as Portfolio Finance Director for Development and Alumni Engagement, Governance and External Relations at the University of British Columbia. She has also served in progressive financial leadership roles at Trinity College London, UK and the University of Toronto.

Carson is active in the community, serving as a director on the University of British Columbia’s Staff Pension Plan Board, and as a member of the Finance Committee for the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute.

Carson earned a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Political Science) from the University of Toronto. She is a certified Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

James D. Hanlon

Chief Administrative Officer

Mr. James “Jim” Hanlon has worked in the field of Research Administration for 26 years, five years in the for-profit sector and 21 years in the non-profit sector. Serving as TRIUMF's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Hanlon oversees the laboratory's business and administrative functions. He is also Secretary to the TRIUMF Board of Management and President and CEO of Advanced Applied Physics Solutions (AAPS), Inc., TRIUMF's commercialization company. Prior to working in research administration, Hanlon worked in a number of financial and administrative positions in the manufacturing and distribution business. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Ottawa and a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

Sean Lee

Head, External Relations; Head, Strategic Communications (Interim)

Mr. Sean Lee came to TRIUMF in May 2014, bringing significant experience in government relations and international affairs. Serving as Head, External Relations, Lee oversees TRIUMF’s relationships with government and international stakeholders, and also actively supports the laboratory’s engagement with its university members. Prior to joining TRIUMF, Lee developed his skills in various positions in Washington, DC and Ottawa, ON. Before TRIUMF, Lee served as a Senior Innovation Officer with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada where he worked on the development of Canada’s international science and innovation policies. Lee holds a BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, as well as an M.Sc. in Comparative Politics (Conflict Studies) from the London School of Economics.