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

Postdoctoral Fellow

Maryam is currently a postdoctoral fellow in DidarLab. 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 as a PhD student, 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. During her PhD in DidarLab, Maryam focused on creating unique surface coatings on medical implants to improve their hemocompatibility and targeted binding. During her postdoc, she will continue to work on biosurface coatings for different applications.
Outside the lab Maryam enjoys playing the piano, making art pieces and climbing stairs!

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.

Sara Imani

PhD Candidate

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.

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.

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.

Esra Kasapgil

PhD Student

Esra is currently a visiting PhD student from Turkey working in Didar Lab. She obtained her bachelor degrees in Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey in 2012 and her Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the same university in 2014. After graduation, she started her PhD studies in Gebze Technical University in Turkey where she also works as a
research assistant. During her PhD studies she focused on polymeric thin films, bio-inspired superhydrophobic surfaces and slippery liquid infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) for self-cleaning applications. During her time in Didar Lab, she is focused on developing and testing SLIPS for
biological applications. Outside academic life, Esra enjoys skiing, playing tennis, dancing flamenco and travelling around the world.

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.

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.

Liane Ladouceur

MSc Student

Liane Ladouceur is currently completing her final year of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. As part of this program, she has gained industry experience through co-op positions with Mackenzie Innovation Institute and Siemens Healthineers. She also holds a BSc in Neuroscience from Carleton University, which allowed her a first taste of research experience in 2012. Throughout her studies Liane has sustained her passion for the medical field by volunteering in hospitals and related part time jobs. In her spare time she enjoys running, having most recently completed the Toronto Waterfront half-marathon. She is excited to join the Didar Lab and will be pursuing a Master’s degree beginning in Spring 2019.

Veronica Bot

MSc Student

Veronica joins Didar lab in September 2019 as a Master’s student in Biomedical Engineering. She completed her undergraduate studies in Physics at McMaster and was awarded prestigious Summa Cum Laude academic status upon graduating. She now looks forward to applying her knowledge to advance the interdisciplinary biomedical field through her efforts in the lab. In addition to her academic studies, Veronica is an internationally recognized equestrian athlete who was crowned the national champion, and won both individual bronze and team silver medals at the North American Youth Championships in 2017. We look forward to welcoming Veronica’s diverse skill sets into or work here at the Didar Lab.

Karen Man Yee Zhao

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Karen is a third year undergraduate student in the Health Sciences program and is pursuing a project course in the Didar Lab. Her current project investigates the use of bacteriophages in removing biofilms from membranes under the supervision of Fereshteh Bayat and Dr. Didar. Outside of the lab, Karen enjoys building puzzles and spending time with her cat!

Amber Hann

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amber is a 4th year undergraduate student in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences program and is interested in pursuing her post-graduate studies in immunological research. She is currently working in the Didar Lab on organ-on-chip platforms and their applications under the supervision of Sara Rahmani, Dr. Verdu, and Dr. Didar. When she is outside the lab, she enjoys hiking and traveling.

Christopher Juman

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Christopher is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (BDC) program. Prior to entering this program, Chris completed an HBSc. degree in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Toronto. He now looks forward to applying his multifaceted knowledge and interests to complete his senior thesis project in the Didar Lab. Outside the lab, Chris is a nationally-ranked powerlifting athlete and coach who has represented Ontario twice at the Canadian National Championship.

Shadman Khan

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Shadman is a fourth-year Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization student at McMaster University who will be doing his senior thesis in the Didar Lab. His current projects involve the development of surface modification methods and the creation of biosensors for clinical use. Outside of his academics, he exhibits a strong interest in the clinical sciences and is the president of his program’s student body. Upon graduation, Shadman hopes to pursue a career in medicine.

Gabriel Situ

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Gabriel is a third year undergraduate student in the Biochemistry program and is undertaking a thesis project in his fourth-year in the Didar Lab. His current project focuses on the detection of target DNA using bio-engineered microarray glass surfaces. During his spare time, Gabriel enjoys playing basketball and making fun recipes.

Parisa Agahi Najafabadi

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Parisa is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (BDC) program at McMaster University. Due to the diversity that her program offers, Parisa is knowledgeable in various scientific topics as well as commercialization process of new discoveries. Cardiology research has been an interesting area of research throughout her undergraduate studies, and she is passionate to continue with this topic by utilizing the organ-on-chip platform. Parisa plans to pursue further education to become a physician-scientist, with a focus on transnational science.

Abbas Canteenwala

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Abbas is a second-year undergraduate student in the Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences program in the Health Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship specialization. His current project focuses on the detection of target DNA using Bio-engineered microarray glass surfaces. Outside the lab, he loves everything about cars, driving them and is a huge food lover. He hopes to someday pursue a career in dentistry.

Mina Yeganeh

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Mina is a third year student in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences program. Her current project focuses on microfluidic cell cultures under the supervision of Amid Shakeri and Dr. Didar. In her spare time, she enjoys going on hikes as well as learning different languages.

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.

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.