Current Members

Tohid Didar

Principal Investigator

Dr. Tohid Didar is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) at McMaster University. Before joining McMaster in January 2016, Dr. Didar was a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in Professor Donald Ingber's lab. There he designed and developed a robust and clinically relevant extracorporeal dialysis-like treatment (DLT) device for sepsis, leveraging medical grade hollow fiber filters. Dr. Didar's doctoral research was focused on design and development of miniaturized devices for label-free and high-throughput sorting, detection and in vitro culture of primary and rare cells. His PhD project resulted in 2 patented microfluidic technologies for rare cell detection, separation, patterning and in vitro culture as well as several journal publications and conference presentations. He has also presented over 10 invited talks. During his PhD studies, he was a research fellow at Harvard University, a member of NSERC-Create Integrated Sensor Systems training program and a visiting researcher at the National Research Council of Canada.

Maryam Badv

PhD Candidate

Maryam did her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering in University of Tehran, Iran. Following her passion in biomedical sciences and biology she joined McMaster’s School of Biomedical Engineering for her Masters in 2011. In her Master’s thesis she looked at the effect of in utero and postpartum exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) on bone properties. Before joining Didar’s lab, she worked for 3 years on a research project where she was designing physical targeted “smart” nanoparticles for drug delivery to tumors. Throughout this project she gained extensive experience in different fields such as polymer synthesis, characterization, nanoparticle preparation and optimization and performing in vitro and in vivo experiments. Her main focus in Didar’s lab is surface modification of medical catheters and heart valves in order to make them biocompatible and to prevent blood coagulation.
Outside research she’s a part-time artist, plays basketball and tennis and is currently the president of the Engineering Graduate Society of McMaster (EGS) and the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Association (BMEGA).

Sara Rahmani

PhD Candidate

Sara is a recipient of the prestigious McMaster Dean’s Excellence Engineering Doctoral Award. She obtained her BSc in Chemical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnique), Iran. She then joined department of Chemical Engineering at University of Waterloo to pursue her Master’s degree. Her master’s research was focused on engineering environmentally-responsive coated magnetic nanogels for controlled and prolonged drug delivery systems. This experience made her excelled at polymer science, synthesis, and chemistry. After graduation, she worked at the University Health Network, Toronto, as a part of a multi-disciplinary team of surgeons, scientists, and engineers to work on a variety of clinical problems to improve patient care. There, she investigated the engineering aspects of the minimally-invasive endovascular surgery applied in abdominal aneurysm repair. To follow her passion for working at the interface between engineering and applied biology, Sara decided to pursue her PhD studies in Biomedical Engineering at the Didar lab, where she can address real problems in human health with bio-inspired technologies. Her PhD research is focused on engineering organ-on-chip platforms to facilitate drug discovery, regenerative medicine, and point-of-care diagnosis and treatment. Outside academic life, Sara enjoys travelling, mountain hiking/climbing, swimming, and flying a Cessna.

Amid Shakeri

PhD Candidate

Amid Shakeri received his bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering from University of Tehran in 2010. He also pursued his master’s education at University of Tehran and obtained his master degree in 2013. After graduation, he continued his research in Nanostructured Materials and Composites Laboratory, University of Tehran, as a research assistant and supervised a number of projects on synthesis and characterization of thin and thick films of hydroxyapatite composites as well as piezo MEMS. During his tenure at the University of Tehran, Amid published over 5 Journal papers as well as several conference papers and abstracts. Amid joined Didar Lab in 2016 as a PhD student with a particular interest in bio-inspired technologies. Amid’s hobbies include playing guitar, singing, and playing soccer.

Fereshteh Bayat

PhD Student

Fereshteh received her Bachelor's degree with honor in Materials Science and Engineering from Iran
University of Science and Technology in 2012. She finished her Master's degree
in the same university in 2015. In her Masters, she looked at the self-assembly of
surfactants and its use for synthesizing Mesoporous Tin dioxide. After graduation, she
worked as a research assistant to investigate the structural, magnetic, and photocatalytic
properties of doped Zinc and Bismuth Ferrites. The results of these projects were
published in scientific journals and presented in domestic and international
conferences. She also spent two years working on micro/nano powder processing of
metallic and ceramic materials in a local company. She is currently a research assistant in Didarlab and works on bio-inspired related technologies.

Martin Villegas

PhD Student

Martin Villegas obtained his bachelors in electrical and biomedical engineering from McMaster University in 2011. After graduation, he spent a few years working as a technician and a control systems engineer for Rowan Companies Inc. Through his position at Rowan, he was exposed to many different working conditions, obtaining hands on experience in the electrical field, all while having the opportunity to work in the UK, Holland, Norway and the USA. Not forgetting his true passion for medicine, he spent his spare time volunteering at a small clinic in Texas where he learned about medical tests and point of care instrumentation. Currently, Martin is pursuing his master’s degree in biomedical engineering at the Didar lab. His main focus include early detection instrumentation, including lab-on-chip technology, microfluidics and biosensors. His current project involves developing novel coatings on gold sheet biosensors to reduce non-specific adhesion. Outside of his academic life, Martin enjoys traveling, learning about other cultures and languages, training in the Brazilian martial art of capoeira and building electronics.

Sara Imani

PhD Student

Sara Imani obtained her BSc in Chemical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran in July 2016 and her MSc from Didar Lab at McMAster. As an engineering student, she was inspired by biology and wanted to focus on research at the junction of engineering and biological sciences. Currently, Sara is a PhD student at the School of Biomedical Engineering at Mcmaster University at the Didar Lab supervised with Dr. Didar and Dr. Soleymani. Other than her academic life, Sara enjoys calligraphy, basketball, and playing guitar.

Sepideh Khodaparast

PhD Student

Sepideh is currently a PhD Visiting Student in Didarlab from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran. She obtained her bachelors in Medical Laboratory at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran. She is interested in medical sciences and has been working in hospital settings for 16 years during her studies. She is experienced in microbiology, immunology; serology, hematology, fluids biochemistry analysis, protein and hemoglobin electrophoresis and lab quality control. Sepideh joined Hamedan University of Medical Sciences and Pasteur Institute of Iran for her Master studies. She skilled in the fields of Medical Bacteriology, Conventional PCR, Nucleotide extraction, Real-Time PCR, Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis(PFGE). After finishing her Masters she started her PhD in Medical Bacteriology in Tarbiat Modares University, Iran. As her PhD thesis, she designed a Real-time PCR detection kit of Clostridium difficile bacteria which is currently being used in Molecular department of Shariati Hospital, Iran. Sepideh is currently focusing on surface modification methods to design sensitive and specific diagnostic kits with the goal of rapid detection of Microbial pathogens in Didarlab. Outside of her academic life, Sepideh enjoys tailoring, baking, biking and gardening.

Noor Abu Jarad

MSc Student

Noor Abu Jarad obtained her BSc in Biomedical Engineering from the German Jordanian University in Amman, Jordan in 2017. During her undergrad, she spent 18 months in Germany, whereby she did an exchange semester at Ulm University of Applied Sciences, then an internship at Stryker Company in Freiburg, and finally completed her graduation project at ATMOS Medizintechnik in Lenzkirch. During her bachelor thesis, she constructed an optical fluorescence-based device to facilitate the diagnosis of cervical cancer. Furthermore, she was a student council for one year and the face of the university for four years. She then worked as a research assistant at the German Jordanian University where she researched glucose sensors. Noor will do her graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Didar at McMaster University. She is a very motivated young biomedical engineer and excited to join Didar lab.

Yuxi Zhang

MSc Student

I obtained bachelor ‘s degree in Materials from Qingdao University of Science&Tech, China. In 2018 January, I joined Dr.Didar ‘s lab at Mechanical Engineering department of McMaster University. I have knowledge reserve in both Metallic Materials and biomaterials, involving Metals’ property ,processing method, biomedical materials as well as some characterization and definition method. During undergraduate period, I accumulated experimental experience through researching in application of bio ceramics coating on alloy prothesis, drug delivery system and GBR (Guide Bone Regeneration Membrane). Gradually attracted by biomedical materials. I hope to further explore in this area and make unique innovations based on original products. I like sports ,like roller skating,tennis ,ping pang, badminton and pool.

Jack Su

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jack is a third-year undergraduate student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster University. As a transfer student from the Life Sciences program, Jack is knowledgeable in the diverse range of scientific disciplines that constitutes research at the Didar Lab. His current research project investigates the different methods for immobilizing DNAzymes onto functionalized surfaces. Upon receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Jack plans to pursue further education in hopes of becoming a health care practitioner.

Ashlyn Leung

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ashlyn is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Chemical Biology Co-op program at McMaster University. Before joining the Didar Lab, she completed an 8-month work term at EcoSynthetix assisting in various research projects on the synthesis, characterization, and application of sustainable bio-polymers. Her current research investigates the use of lubricant-coated surfaces for biomedical applications. At the end of her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a Master's degree in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.

Cherrie Hung

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Cherrie is a 3rd-year iBioMed student going into the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering specialization at McMaster University. Under the supervision of Dr. Didar and Dr. Filipe, her current research project allows her to work with various application of biosensors and as well as developing methods to apply biosensors to a surface using stamps and sprays. Upon graduation, Cherrie plans to pursue a master's degree before working as a consultant. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, writing and spending time with friends and family.

Akansha Prasad

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Akansha started as an undergraduate research assistant in Didarlab when she was a second-year undergraduate student in the iBioMed program at McMaster University, Akansha works with biosensors and DNAzymes under the supervision of Dr. Didar and Dr. Filipe. Her research project involvs creating biosensors which can detect the presence of bacteria in milk and developing them for commercial use.