Current Members

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Jonathan Brassard

PhD candidate, co-supervised by Prof. Steven Paraskevas

Jonathan completed his undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at Laval University, Quebec City. He worked as a summer student on various projects including blood vessel fabrication (Prof. Diego Mantovani), induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) differentiation (Prof. Alain Garnier) and vascular aging (Prof. Corinne Hoesli). He then completed a Master in Bioengineering under the supervision of Prof. Matthias Lütolf at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

​​Project description

Jonathan is working on the conception of a bioartificial pancreas for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. 

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Kurtis Champion

M. Eng. (thesis) candidate, co-supervised by Prof. Richard Leask

Kurtis completed a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering in 2020 at McGill University. During the years of 2017 to 2020 he worked at Caprion Biosciences where he helped in performing clinical research. In the summer of 2019, he worked in the Hoesli lab on a project focused on regenerative biomaterials for vascular implants under the supervision of Mohamed Elkhodiry and Prof. Corinne Hoesli. Discovering his passion for biomaterials and stem cell therapies, Kurtis decided to pursue graduate studies in the Hoesli Lab.

​​Project description

Kurtis’s project involves studying and modelling the oxygen consumption of the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas found in cell clusters called islets. The main goal of his project is to improve oxygen delivery to these beta cells in the hopes of improving islet transplantation therapies for type 1 diabetes.

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Robert Chen

Undergraduate intern, supervised by Florent Lemaire and Dongjin Shin

Robert is completing his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at McGill University and is expected to graduate in Fall 2022. His previous experiences involve evaluating the expression of extracellular fusion proteins. In his free time, he enjoys eating at restaurants and taking long walks.

​​Project description

Robert’s project focuses on reducing the size of alginate cell capsules using microchannel emulsification.

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Lisa Danielczak

Laboratory technician

Lisa Danielczak completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo.  She has worked as a technician in labs in Ontario, England and Quebec City before coming to McGill, where she has worked since 2008.

​​Project description

Lisa works on a variety of projects, including the engineering of a vascularized bioartificial pancreas.

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Maya De Cruz

Undergraduate intern, supervised by Julia Manalil

Maya is a U4 student in Bioengineering and is expected to graduate in Spring 2023. During the summer of 2021, she worked at the IRCM in the Stem Cells and Cell Reprogramming Research Unit. This sparked in her interest in using stem cells for therapeutic applications.

​​Project description

Maya’s project involves optimizing the protocol to differentiate stem cells into endothelial cells. The goals of the project are to increase the proportion of endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) and develop techniques to characterize the various populations in culture.

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Laurier Gauvin

Undergraduate intern, supervised by Kurtis Champion

Laurier is a U2 student in Bioengineering and is expected to graduate in May 2025. His research interests focus on metabolic diseases, particularly type 1 diabetes. During his free time, he enjoys all outdoor activities, such as running or hiking.

​​Project description

Laurier’s project focuses on studying the use of ruthenium-based dyes as a technique in the study of cell oxygenation profiles.

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Shirin Lak

Postdoctoral fellow

Shirin did her Master's in Medical immunology in Iran and came to Canada to do her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. was in Biochemistry, but she is an immunologist inside and out! Shirin has experience in adoptive cell therapies, checkpoint blockade, and gene editing in primary human T cells.

​​Project description

Currently, she is working on a joint project with Saint-Gobain Life Sciences. Her passion is to impact and contribute to scientific research by improving immunotherapy products through scientific knowledge. 
Shirin likes exercising, watching TV, and hanging out with friends.

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Florent Lemaire

Postdoctoral fellow

Florent completed his undergraduate studies in molecular and cellular biology in France. He obtained his PhD at the Centre Européen d’Etude du Diabète in Strasbourg in 2019. During his PhD, he worked on the improvement of pancreas and islet oxygenation during cold ischemia. Indeed, this period without oxygen and nutrients supply, observed between pancreas removal from a donor and transplantation in patient, is critical for cell function.

​​Project description

In our lab, Florent is working on the functional aspect of a 3D bio-printed pancreas that will host insulin-secreting cells for type 1 diabetes patient. The main purpose of this project is to define optimal properties of the device in order to guarantee functionality and viability of pancreatic islets in a long-term goal.

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Hugo Level

PhD candidate, co-supervised by Prof. Diego Mantovani, Université Laval

After completing an Engineering degree focused on biotechnologies in France (ESPCI Paris), Hugo joined the lab as a Master's student before fast-tracking to the PhD in 2021. His Master's thesis was about modelling cell-surface interactions in the context of vascular healing after percutaneous coronary interventions

​​Project description

His PhD project, co-supervised by Prof. Diego Mantovani (Laval University, Québec City), aims at developping the next generation of vascular implants by applying a bi-functionnal, pro-healing surface modification strategy on biodegradable metals substrates.

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Julia Manalil

PhD candidate, co-supervised by Prof. Bruno Gaillet, Université Laval

Julia completed a Bachelor of Science, Honours Biochemistry degree in 2014 at the University of Waterloo. During her undergraduate degree, she held co-op positions at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and was involved in the Waterloo iGEM team. In 2018, she completed a Master of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Her thesis was titled Investigation of excipients for the stabilization of HSV-2 vaccine candidate ACAM529.

​​Project description

Julia's research focuses on studying endothelial progenitor cell differentiation, through the development of novel genetic tools, for applications in vascular disease treatments.

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Brenden Moeun

PhD candidate

Brenden completed his undergraduate degree in Winter 2017, majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Biotechnology.  In Summer 2015, he worked as an undergraduate researcher under the supervision of Prof. Milan Maric, synthesizing and developing a reactively-blended polymer to be used as a barrier material for an industrial oil storage application.  In 2016, Brenden worked in the Stem Cell Bioprocessing Lab under the supervision of Prof. C. Hoesli and Stephanie Fernandez.  His project involved the characterization and optimization of a carbohydrate glass ink used in 3D printing dissolvable structures as a means of achieving artificial vascularization in cellular transplants.

​​Project description

Brenden's project involves developing methods for bioprinting cell-laden hydrogels, such as alginate, for applications in diabetes cell therapy.

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Dongjin Shin

M. Eng. (thesis) candidate

Dongjin completed his Bachelor of Chemical & Biological Engineering at Korea University, in Seoul, South Korea, where he worked as an undergraduate intern under the supervision of faculty members. His project involved synthesis of Gold nanoparticles for biosensor applications and hydrogel synthesis using microchannel cross-linking process.

​​Project description

Dongjin’s project focuses on enhancing cell encapsulation efficiency using microchannel emulsification.

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Jessica (Jiyu) Tian

M. Eng. (thesis) candidate, co-supervised by Prof. Girard-Lauriault

Jessica is from Kunming, China. She completed her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at McGill University in WINTER 2020. At her leisure, she enjoys playing musical instruments and cooking.

​​Project description

Jessica’s project focuses on studying the cell-surface interactions during cultivation of monocytes for production of cell-based cancer immunotherapies.