Current

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Milica Radisic
MR_HR_3

Professor
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
Curriculum Vitae

Research Associate

Carol Laschinger

Carol joined the lab in Feb 2012 as a research associate and has been involved in the culture of IPS cells.
In addition she is responsible for the day to day organization and management of the lab including ordering,maintenance of reagent stocks, inventory and biosafety certification.
Previous to this she was a research consultant to the Matrix Dynamics group in the Faculty of Dentistry where she was involved in characterization of enzymes involved in periodontal disease as well as development of clinical assays for periodontitis.
She obtained an MSc. from the department of Biochemistry, U of T.
Elena Bajenova
IMG_1752-1
Elena joined the lab in Mar 2017 as a research associate and has been involved in the culture of IPS cells.
In addition she is responsible for the day to day organization and management of the lab including ordering, maintenance of reagent stocks, inventory and biosafety certification.
She obtained an PhD in Biochemistry, at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Upon completing her PhD Elena has worked on a wide variety of projects: including the study of ion fluxes in mitochondria, the role of Ca2+- dependent actin filament assembly in PMNs and human gingival fibroblast, discovery of Amelotin, a novel enamel protein, and investigation of the role of V-ATPase in osteoclast differentiation. Most recently she was a research associate with Dr. John Davies assessing the bone bonding to micro- and nano-structured surfaces of titanium implants.

Post-docs

Dr. Simon Pascual Gil de Gomez

E-mail:(simon.pascualgildegomez@uhnresearch.ca

Simon received his PhD – extraordinary award – at the University of Navarra (Spain) in 2018, and joined the lab later the same year. In humans, the epicardium constitutes a barrier that hinders the successful engraftment of cardiac patches. Moreover, embryonic derived cardiac macrophages (eDMac) have been recently identified to be essential for proper tissue repair after myocardial infarction. Simon’s projects aim to develop a new tissue engineering approach able to overcome the epicardial barrier by inducing endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and to induce the proliferation of eDMac. For this, he will focus his research on 1) POMaC, a novel shape-memory polymer; 2) cell therapy using human induced pluripotent stem cells; and 3) protein therapy for inducing EMT and eDMac proliferation.

Dr. Qinghua Wu

E-mail: qinghua.wu@utoronto.ca

Qinghua Wu obtained her Ph.D. from Polytechnique Montreal, University of Montreal (Canada) in 2018, where she developed novel chitosan-based inks and 3D printing approach to fabricate highly flexible and microstructured hydrogel and nanocomposites. She developed 3D cell-guided scaffolds for tissue engineering and self-healing nanocomposites featuring hierarchical structures for flexible electronics. She has keen interests in designing inks and developing printing strategy to fabricate multi-functional constructs via additive manufacturing techniques for biomedical applications. Her research with Dr. Radisic focuses on 3D printing and injection molding of thermoplastic elastomers to develop organ-on-a-chip platforms for understanding human cardiac disease.
Houman SavojiDr. Houman Savoji
E-mail:  houman.savoji@utoronto.ca
Houman received his Ph.D. in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Polytechnique of Montreal, University of Montreal, Canada, with focus on “Design and Characterization of Electrospun Vascular Grafts”. He holds a B.Sc. (major in Process Engineering) and a M.Sc. (major in Biomedical Engineering) in Chemical Engineering. He worked in engineering companies as a Senior Process Engineer and R&D Researcher for 5 years before starting his Ph.D. As a Chemical and Biomedical Engineer with training, hands-on experience and strong foundation in design, fabrication and characterization of biomaterials, his main postdoctoral research goal is to design, fabricate and then in vitro and in vivo evaluate on-demand “3D Bio-printed Tissues and Organs” for clinical use. Houman is a recipient of Nature et technologies (FRQNT) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016) and CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017). He also won a grant from the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States on the roadmaps to human biology-based disease research.

PhD Candidates

Nimalan ThavandiranNimalan updated.7.3.16
E-mail: nimalan.thavandiran@utoronto.ca

Nimalan is designing stimulatory/sensory microbioreactor screening systems for investigating the mechanisms by which human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC) differentiate into mature, adult-like cardiomyocytes within three-dimensional microenvironments (via cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions), and then how they proceed into disease-states caused by Myocardial Infarction (MI). The complex process by which hPSC fate toward a mature and functional heart cell is determined, all the while mediated by biochemical, mechanical, and electrical stimuli, each of which uniquely interact temporally and spatially to induce signaling cues and morphogenesis, still remains elusive. Additionally, it has proven difficult to accurately recapitulate MI *in vitro* through induction of the same apoptosis signaling pathways as observed *in vivo*. The goal is to use this microtissue-based high-content screening platform to discover and validate the efficacy and safety of novel small molecules which may be beneficial as cardioprotectants, anti-arrhythmogenics, and promoters of regeneration after MI.

Yimu Zhao
website
E-mail: yimu.zhao@utoronto.ca

An average of $1.5 billion is spent, trying to bring a new drug to the market, while a large portion of these drugs withdrawn at the later stage of the development. 19% of withdrawn drug in US are due to cardiac toxicity and cause QT proarrhythmic conditions. To resolve this issue, tissue-specific toxicity screening with human model is necessary to weed out the unqualified drug candidates before them entering the preclinical stage of drug development process. With significant progress in induced pluropotent stem cell (iPSC) research, engineered cardiac tissue (ECT) with human iPS derived cardiomyocytes can be a suitable surrogate to anticipate the performance of human native cardiac tissue in vitro. My project aims to design a cardiotoxicity specific drug screening platform in 96 well-plate format that is target on using terminal differentiated ECT and elimination PDMS usage in the platform. The device will realize the miniaturization of ECT and be compatible for 3 stages, miniaturized cardiac tissue formation, electrical stimulations to enhance the tissue maturation, and automated high throughput drug screening.

Locke Davenport HuyerLocke photo Neil Ta
photo by Neil Ta
E-mail: l.davenporthuyer@mail.utoronto.ca
Locke graduated in June 2014 with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University. The characteristics of biomaterials used in tissue engineering scaffolds are designed to mimic the properties of the host tissue and degrade to allow for integration of engineered tissues. Locke is investigating the design of a biodegradable polymer that will satisfy these requirements and elicit a minimized immune response when integrated into functional tissue engineering applications.
Anastasia Korolj
Anastasia

Anastasia’s interests lie with the functional properties of cells that are engineered in vitro. She is currently investigating filtration in cultured kidney podocyte cells, with aims to discover how various stimuli affect these cells, what encourages proper behaviour, and why.

Her work thus far has resulted in a patent application, and has merited several awards including an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, the Irving O Shoichet Graduate Scholarship, Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS) travel award, and other awards from CREATE in M3 and the University of Toronto.

She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 2015, with an honour’s degree in Chemical Engineering, minoring in bioengineering and with a business certificate. Some highlights include her internships abroad: summer research in Sweden (Lund University and NSVA water services company) and Hong Kong (HKUST), and an industrial internship in Belgium (Agfa Graphics). Her favourite dessert is baklava.

Ben Lai20160711_111329-2

After completing his MSc in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in University of British Columbia under the guidance of Dr. Kizhakkedathu, Benjamin joined the group in September 2015 to pursue his doctoral studies. His research will focus on investigating the potential of AngioChip scaffold as a disease model and aim to use it as a high throughput drug screening platform.

Rob for website

Erika WangERIKA WANG

Erika received her MSc in Physiology from the University of Manitoba, where she investigated molecular pathways involved in heart failure under Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum’s supervision. After working on a stem cell project at the Thoracic Surgery Research Division of University Health Network, she joined the Radisic lab in 2016 to pursue her PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Her research will focus on the regeneration of functional cardiac tissues from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) and human embryonic stem cells (hESC), and the development of engineered tissue for pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications.

Karl Wagner

E-mail: karl.wagner@mail.utoronto.ca

Karl joined the lab in the fall of 2018 as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering with a Collaborative Specialization in Biomedical Engineering. Originally from Calgary, he graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc in 2017 and MEng in 2018, both in Materials Engineering. His research project is a collaborative effort between the Radisic Lab and Prof. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic’s lab at Columbia University in New York. He is working on simulating heart attacks in cardiac tissue-on-a-chip models to study cellular responses to heart tissue damage, as well as to test the effects of applying stem cell-secreted exosomes to damaged tissues as a personalized regenerative therapy. Outside of the lab, Karl is a track and field athlete with the U of T track club. He competed as a varsity athlete for the University of Alberta from 2013-2018, during which time he won the 2015 Western Canada Games bronze medal in the 400m hurdles and raced at the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials.
Rick Lu

E-mail: xrick.lu@mail.utoronto.ca

Rick graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology Engineering. He has worked at the National Institute for Materials Science, NTT, and Mount Sinai hospital all of which focus on the synthesis of nano/micro-materials for biomedical applications. His plan is to use micro-fabricated platform, AngioChip, to study cell-cell crosstalk and molecular interaction between organ compartments engineered from human cells, with a specific focus on heart, skeletal muscles, liver and tumor cells. He will further integrate sensors into the existing AngioChip plates to monitor physiological environment (pH, cell permeability, oxygen level) in real-time.

 

Dawn Bannerman
E-mail: d.bannerman@mail.utoronto.ca

Dawn received her MESc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario where she worked on developing a multifunctional microbead system for cancer treatment. She joined the Radisic lab in 2016 to start her PhD in the Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Collaborative Program. Her work will focus on biomaterial-based approaches to developing cardiac tissue patches for repair following myocardial infarction.
Mohammad Hossein Mohammadimohammad
E-mail: maosein@gmail.com
Mohammad received his B.S in Chemical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology. He joined the Radisic lab on September 2016 to pursue his PhD in a collaborative program between Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. His is currently researching the separation of carbon nanotubes from cardiomyocytes after enhancing their differentiation and maturation using a microfluidic device.

Masters Candidates

Serena Mandla

Serena

Serena graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Biomedical Systems Engineering from Engineering Science. She is continuing her fourth year undergrad thesis work in our lab for her Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. Her research will focus on the development of a micropatterned polymer scaffold for functional cardiac modelling.

Visiting Student

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 Student Volunteer

Work-Study Students

Nanami Sumimoto