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Aamer Mahmood: A new journey as Shared Research Facilities director

Aamer Mahmood

In summer 2021, Aamer Mahmood joined the Mountaineer family as the new director of the Shared Research Facilities at West Virginia University.

I have a background that complements really well with the SRF staff who are doing a great job at West Virginia University.

Mahmood, an electrical engineer who worked at Microsoft Station Q Purdue, succeeds Interim Director Trina Wafle, who resumed her full-time responsibilities at the WVU Energy Institute.

“I have a background that complements really well with the SRF staff who are doing a great job at West Virginia University,” Mahmood said. “With a great team in place, there is a desire to move to the next step and I believe that makes this a very good position to be in.”

Mahmood’s experience has been centered around research labs and he believes his background will bring something new to his position with WVU. With the University’s standing as an R1 institution, he understands the challenges but is enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.

Originally from Pakistan, Mahmood traveled a lot during his youth because his father was a civil engineer. He spent most of his early life living in camps and attended primary school in Nigeria, West Africa.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering after returning to Pakistan. From there, he came to the United States and got his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, where his graduate research was in the field of MEMS sensors. His work was part of a National Science Foundation project and he successfully developed device-level vacuum-packaged flexible infrared sensors. After graduation, he did two years of postdoctoral research at the school of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University.

Mahmood also held research positions at the Birck Nanotechnology Center – an interdisciplinary research center at Purdue. As the Senior Process Scientist, he was responsible for nanofabrication and associated metrology at Purdue. Additionally, he also managed the Electrical Characterization lab at the BNC (now called the Characterization Core). In addition, he taught aspects of nanofabrication in a graduate course called Integrated Circuit Engineering in ECE, Purdue. while at the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University. He joined the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute in Doha, Qatar where he was the technical lead for commissioning institute laboratories and also led the Thin Films lab.

More recently, Mahmood worked at Microsoft as a Nanofabrication engineer at Station Q (Quantum) Purdue. His responsibilities there included the use of his nanofabrication expertise to develop nanoscale devices for future Quantum computing.

With his heavy background in research and development, he believes he can play a leading role in the future growth of the SRF. Cutting edge research in applied sciences is quite expensive. He plans to expand the user base of the SRF to lower the cost of research. Moving forward, he aims to work with all stakeholders to establish technical expertise in niche areas for the shared labs. These aspirations align well with the goals of the university: to enable research help people and society.

Beyond work, Mahmood is married and has two children. His son is in the process of getting an engineering degree from Texas A&M, while his daughter starts her high school senior year in Morgantown.

“Lastly, I want to acknowledge the former interim director, Trina Wafle, for the amazing job she did while holding the position,” Mahmood said. “It can be complicated but she has established a very smooth-running machine so I want to thank her for that. I also want to thank the university for the opportunity and say that I am very excited to be a part of the Mountaineer family.”