Team

Current Members

Tohid Didar

Principal Investigator

didar@mcmaster.ca

Dr. Tohid Didar holds Canada Research Chair (CRC) in NanoBiomaterials and 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.

Amid Shakeri

Postdoctoral Fellow

shakeria@mcmaster.ca

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.


Liane Ladouceur

Research Assistant

ladoucl@mcmaster.ca

Liane Ladouceur recently completed her MASc in Biomedical Engineering in the Didar Lab. She joined this group while 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.


Sara Rahmani

PhD Candidate

rahmanis@mcmaster.ca

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.


Sara Imani

PhD Candidate

moetakes@mcmaster.ca

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 Candidate

villegm@mcmaster.ca

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.


Saeid Nikshoar

PhD Student

nikshoam@mcmaster.ca

Saeid obtained his BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tehran in Iran. During his undergraduate studies and after, he was involved in industrial projects involving analog and digital circuit designs, micro-controllers, and PC software development. He also completed his MSc at the University of Tehran. As a part of his thesis, he developed a system and a biochip for detecting metastatic cancer cells in biopsy fluid (Metas-Chip). He has published several papers and patents in prestigious journals such as Nature Communications and the US Patent office related to cancer detection. Afterward, he worked as an Electronics Engineer developing cancer detection devices. In 2021 he joined the DidarLab as a Ph.D. student and is looking forward to researching and developing microfluidics, cancer diagnosis, and state-of-the-art biomedical devices.


Shadman Khan

PhD Student

khans114@mcmaster.ca

Shadman joined the lab in June 2019 as an undergraduate thesis student. His project involved the development of surface structuring methods to induce biological repellency. He began his direct-entry PhD in September 2020. He is currently working on the development of printable DNAzyme-based bacterial sensors to be implemented onto food packaging, repellent surfaces for biosensing applications and assays that provide improved detection sensitivity for key clinical markers. Outside of his academics, he enjoys watching documentaries, writing poetry and cooking.


Fereshteh Bayat

PhD Student

bayatf@mcmaster.ca

Fereshteh has a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, with a focus on ceramic materials. 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. Now, she is a PhD student in the School of Biomedical Engineering, co-supervised with Dr. Didar and Dr. Hosseinidoust. In her PhD, she is focused on developing a high throughput phage-based bioassay for diagnostics and screening purposes.


Noor Abu Jarad

PhD Student

abujaran@mcmaster.ca

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 is currently pursuing her PhD in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Didar. She is a very motivated young biomedical engineer and is excited to be part of the Didar lab.


Veronica Bot

MSc Student

botva@mcmaster.ca

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.


Jonathan Monteiro

Undergraduate Research Assistant

montej2@mcmaster.ca

Jonathan is a third-year student in the Biochemistry - Biomedical Research Specialization. He joined the lab in May 2021, as an NSERC USRA student working with Shadman on the DNAzyme-based biosensing food project. In the future, he wants to explore how he can use biomedical engineering to manipulate the interface between transplant and host in organ transplantation and regenerative medicine. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys cooking, reading horror stories, and swimming.


Akansha Prasad

Undergraduate Research Assistant

prasaa4@mcmaster.ca

Akansha started as an undergraduate research assistant at the Didar Lab in 2018 and developed a lubricant infused DNAzyme biosensor which detects E. coli in complex fluids like milk. She is now in her fifth and final year of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering through the iBioMed program. She is currently helping to develop food packaging with printable DNAzymes for real-time bacterial detection. Akansha is interested in exploring the intersection between biomedicine and surface modifications in her future studies. In her free time, she enjoys baking, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.


Hannah Mann

Undergraduate Research Assistant

mannh9@mcmaster.ca

Hannah is a fourth-year undergraduate student at McMaster, in the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering program. She is an undergraduate student research assistant working on the DNAzyme bacterial sensors for food packaging project. In her free time, Hannah’s hobbies include board games, sewing, and cross-country skiing.


Elise Schwarz

Undergraduate Research Assistant

schwae1@mcmaster.ca

Elise is a second-year undergraduate student in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. She is currently working as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab, under the supervision of Martin Villegas on his project modifying surfaces to enhance osseointegration and biocompatibility of medical implants. Outside of the lab, she loves playing piano, hiking, and paddle boarding.


Simrun Tariq

Undergraduate Research Assistant

tariqs10@mcmaster.ca

Simrun is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences program. She is doing her thesis in the Didar Lab. She is working on the development of printable DNAzyme based sensors to be implemented onto food wraps. Simrun plans on pursuing a career in medicine upon graduation. In her spare time Simrun loves to paint and hike.


Taylor Kramer

Undergraduate Research Assistant

kramet1@mcmaster.ca

Taylor is in her second year of studies in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University, in the Undergraduate iBioMed program. She is currently working under the supervision of Martin Villegas on his project for surface modification of materials to enhance osseointegration and biocompatibility of medical implants. Outside the lab, she is a second-degree black belt in Kan Ryu Jiu Jitsu, and enjoys spending time with friends.


Gabriel Situ

Undergraduate Research Assistant

situg@mcmaster.ca

Gabriel is currently completing his 4th year undergraduate thesis in the Didar Lab. His current research is based on the patterning of chemical groups onto biological interfaces. He joined the lab in 2019 and completed a project on DNA detection using bio-engineered microarray glass surfaces. Gabriel has aspirations for dental school and his research on biological interfaces has extension into dental chemistry. During his spare time, Gabriel enjoys playing basketball and woodworking.