Media Releases

Student research showcase brings University of Toronto’s biomedical engineering community together

May 24, 2011

TORONTO, ON – The Insti­tute of Bio­ma­te­ri­als and Bio­med­ical Engineering’s (IBBME) annu­al Sci­en­tif­ic Day took place on Thurs­day, May 19 in the Med­ical Sci­ences Build­ing of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. It was attend­ed by near­ly three hun­dred stu­dents, fac­ul­ty and staff. “It’s the most sig­nif­i­cant cal­en­dar event for the IBBME com­mu­ni­ty,” said Pro­fes­sor Paul San­terre, Direc­tor of the Insti­tute. “Our inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach may be nec­es­sary for advanc­ing the fron­tier of the bio­med­ical field, but it also means that our stu­dents and fac­ul­ty are scat­tered from the St. George cam­pus to as far afield as Sun­ny­brook Hos­pi­tal. Sci­en­tif­ic Day brings this vital com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er to enable the exchange of ideas, con­ceive new approach­es to our research ques­tions, and get some much need­ed out-of-lab face time with our peers.”
The pro­gram includ­ed 86 poster pre­sen­ta­tions, thir­teen oral pre­sen­ta­tions and two keynote address­es by world-renown researchers Dr. Sangee­ta Bha­tia (MIT) and Dr. Shaf Keshav­jee (Direc­tor, Toron­to Lung Trans­plant Pro­gram).

The Stu­dent Com­mons was packed with atten­dees, where the stu­dents pre­sent­ed their research in the poster ses­sion. “In this room, researchers are find­ing solu­tions to their inves­tiga­tive prob­lems,” said San­terre. “Nov­el ideas are being sparked for the next project. This inter­change defines the next era of health care. Lis­ten­ing to the buzz of dis­cus­sion around the posters, you can hear the evo­lu­tion of sci­ence right before us.”

For many junior stu­dents, Sci­en­tif­ic Day is the first oppor­tu­ni­ty to present their research to a large audi­ence; for senior stu­dents, it is a chance to per­fect their pre­sen­ta­tion skills for the nation­al and inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences and sem­i­nars that are a part of a researcher’s life. IBBME rec­og­nizes stu­dent efforts with Sci­en­tif­ic Day awards for poster and oral pre­sen­ta­tions. This year, the win­ners were:


Navid Sama­vati (Engi­neer­ing in a Clin­i­cal Set­ting)
Sama­vati N, McGrath DM, Lee J, van der Kwast T, Ménard C, Brock KK. Cor­rel­a­tive pathol­o­gy of human prostate using an opti­mized bio­me­chan­i­cal deformable reg­is­tra­tion.

Sascha Pin­to (Nan­otech­nol­o­gy, Mol­e­c­u­lar Imag­ing and Sys­tems Biol­o­gy)
Pin­to S, Yasotha­ran S, Bolz SS, Guen­ther A. Microflu­dic plat­form to assess mol­e­c­u­lar trans­port across small blood ves­sels.

Sarah Pow­er (Neur­al, Sen­so­ry Sys­tems and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Engi­neer­ing)
Pow­er S, Kush­ki A, Chau T. Toward a sys­tem-packed NIRS-BCI: Dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing pre­frontal activ­i­ty due to cog­ni­tive tasks from the no-con­trol state.

Sid­harth Chaudhry (Bio­ma­te­ri­als and Tis­sue Engi­neer­ing)
Chaudhry S, Majd H, Pietra­m­ag­giori G, Alman BA, Quinn TM, Hinz B. A nov­el cul­ture sys­tem pro­vides high yields of non-fibro­genic pri­ma­ry der­mal fibrob­lasts for graft­ing appli­ca­tions.

Derek Voice (Bio­ma­te­ri­als and Tis­sue Engi­neer­ing: Hon­ourable Men­tion)
Voice D, Khan OF, Sefton MV. A nov­el plug flow process for high through­put mod­u­lar tis­sue engi­neer­ing.

Lewis Reis (Bio­ma­te­ri­als and Tis­sue Engi­neer­ing: Hon­ourable Men­tion)
Reis LA, Chiu LLY, Liang Y, Hyunh K, Radis­ic M. Devel­op­ment of a pep­tide mod­i­fied chi­tosan-col­la­gen hydro­gel for the site-spe­cif­ic deliv­ery of car­diomy­ocytes to the heart.


Alexan­dre Albanese (Light­ning Round Pre­sen­ta­tion)
Albanese A, Chan WCW. The effect of gold nanopar­ti­cle aggre­ga­tion on cell uptake and tox­i­c­i­ty.

Jonathan Lov­ell (Full-length Pre­sen­ta­tion)
Lovell J, Jin C, Huynh E, Jin H, Mac­Don­ald TD, Kim C, Rubin­stein JL, Chan WCW, Cao W, Wang L, Zheng G. Por­physome nanovesi­cles formed from por­phyrin-phos­pho­lipid con­ju­gates as ther­a­nos­tic can­cer agents.

A high­light of the day was the Llewellyn-Thomas Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor talk by Dr. Sangee­ta Bha­tia (MIT). Bhathia’s talk, “Tiny Tech­nolo­gies and Med­i­cine,” show­cased her world-lead­ing research in tis­sue engi­neer­ing and nanomed­i­cine, par­tic­u­lar­ly in cre­at­ing human micro­liv­er env­iornoments. IBBME stu­dents not­ed Bhatia’s con­tri­bu­tions to the field and the influ­ence of her work on their own research. PhD can­di­date and Sci­en­tif­ic Day co-chair Kather­ine Chi­ang not­ed that “Bha­tia co-authored the first text­book I ever read on tis­sue engi­neer­ing. It’s a big hon­our to have her here.” Kyle Bat­ti­son, PhD can­di­date, recalled an under­grad­u­ate design project in which stu­dents chose a fan­ta­sy team of sci­en­tists to engi­neer a liv­er; Bha­tia was at the top of his list.

Irwin Adam Eydel­nant, a PhD can­di­date in Aaron Wheeler’s lab, says that Bhatia’s work in engi­neer­ing devices and sys­tems to inter­ro­gate cell-cell com­mu­ni­ca­tion inspired his own work in dig­i­tal microflu­idics as tools for cre­at­ing and con­trol­ling microen­vi­ron­ments, which he pre­sent­ed dur­ing the stu­dent ses­sion. “As Bha­tia demon­strat­ed in her talk, if we can manip­u­late the microen­vi­ron­ment, we have a lev­el of con­trol that makes it pos­si­ble to ask ques­tions we couldn’t ask before,” said Eydel­nant. “My research is help­ing to advance those ques­tions, and their answers.”

Bha­tia stressed the role of col­lab­o­ra­tion in her work. “I def­i­nite­ly make use of the team sci­ence mod­el,” she not­ed. “I can’t be at every fore­front – so I seek out oth­ers push­ing the bound­aries of their fields.” One of those inno­va­tors was War­ren Chan, who trained in Bhatia’s lab as a PhD stu­dent. Chan, now core IBBME fac­ul­ty, con­ducts research on nan­otech­nol­o­gy and mol­e­c­u­lar engi­neer­ing.

“IBBME is a gem,” Bha­tia said. “It’s on the cut­ting edge. There’s a ton of young ener­gy here, and the fac­ul­ty is unique­ly nice. And in a col­lab­o­ra­tive field, where your part­ner­ships become long-term, almost like mar­riages, great peo­ple are invalu­able.”

Eydel­nant agreed. “I def­i­nite­ly came to the right place,” he said of IBBME. “If I want to speak to a spe­cial­ist in any field, I can access them right here at the Uni­ver­si­ty. I have every resource avail­able to me. Work­ing in the Don­nel­ly Cen­tre (for Cel­lu­lar and Bio­mol­e­c­u­lar Research) [where sev­er­al IBBME fac­ul­ty mem­bers have their lab­o­ra­to­ries] is par­tic­u­lar­ly invalu­able for col­lab­o­ra­tion. Because the lab spaces are shared, I’ve got stem cell biol­o­gy on one side of me and bio­physics on the oth­er. And I’ve been doing work in both areas ever since.”

Dr. Shaf Keshav­jee was the Inno­va­tion in Emerg­ing Fields of Research Keynote Speak­er. Dr. Keshav­jee has been instru­men­tal in mak­ing Toron­to a world leader in lung trans­plant research. His talk, “Ex Vivo Repair and Regen­er­a­tion of Organs for Trans­plan­ta­tion,” detailed his work with the XVIVO lung per­fu­sion tech­nique, which has made pos­si­ble advanced diag­nos­tics, regen­er­a­tive and gene ther­a­pies for lungs in prepa­ra­tion for trans­plant. Like Bha­tia, Dr. Keshav­jee stat­ed that at the fron­tier of sci­ence, a inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach is nec­es­sary. “We need more engi­neers in our oper­at­ing rooms,” he con­firmed.

IBBME’s first Sci­en­tif­ic Day was in April 1984. A stu­dent-led effort, this year’s event was enabled by over fifty stu­dents, fac­ul­ty and staff sup­port and co-chaired by PhD can­di­dates Leo Chou (War­ren Chen’s lab) and Kather­ine Chi­ang (Mil­i­ca Radis­ic and Bill Stan­ford labs).




Sachiko Muraka­mi, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Offi­cer
Insti­tute of Bio­ma­te­ri­als and Bio­med­ical Engi­neer­ing (IBBME)
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to