Research

Dr. Stephanie Willerth in a UVic lab
Dr. Stephanie Willerth’s lab is an interdisciplinary research group that develops novel tools for addressing significant biological problems in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

AKBARI, Mohsen

Ph.D (SFU), Assistant Professor

Research at Dr. Akbari's laboratory lies at the interface of cellular biology, biomaterials, and mechanical engineering. He is particularly interested in combining the fundamentals of fluid, mass, and thermal transport in microscales with cellular biology and biomaterials to address current grand challenges in global health. Three key research areas at Dr. Akbari's lab are (a) biofabrication of engineered tissue substitutes for regenerative medicine using fiber-based technologies and bioprinting, (b) development of biomimetic tissue models (aka. organs-on-chip) using microengineering techniques for disease modeling and drug discovery applications, and (c) development of cell-based microarray platforms for high-throughput drug screening. Dr. Akbari has several peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals such as Biotechnology Advances, Advanced Materials, Advanced Healthcare Materials, and, Microfluidics &Nanofluidics. He is also the recipient of several institutional, national, and international awards such as the British Columbia Innovation award, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postdoctoral fellowship, and Kaisar Foundation award. Recently, he has been recognized as a Canadian rising star in global health for his idea in the development of a low cost thermal cycler for detection of tuberculosis in low-income countries. For more info about Dr. Akbari's research visit his LiME lab website.


BHILADVALA, Rustom

Ph.D (Yale), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Dr. Bhiladvala’s research program includes the interdisciplinary development of nanomechanical resonators as ultrasensitive tools to respond to added mass as low as 10-21g, designed to enable specific detection of a few marker molecules of a disease state. In this area, molecular diagnosis, he has published results on prostate cancer biomarker molecule (PCA3) detection, as well as on the development of methods for extension of research laboratory nanofabrication to nanomanufacturing. His research group is developing this work to enable cost-effective screening tools for early detection of diseases such as cancers. He has developed the senior UG / graduate course “Mechanics and Energy Conversion in Living Cells” (MECH483/510). He served as a grant proposal reviewer for the US NIH/NCI(National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institutes) and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Victoria.


BRANZAN-ALBU, Alexandra

Ph.D (Bucharest), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Dr. Branzan Albu's research involves medical image analysis for computer-aided diagnostic and therapy planning. Dr. Branzan Albu has a number of ongoing collaborations on biomedical research projects. She is a Qualified Health Researcher affiliated with the Center on Aging at the University of Victoria. She has recently developed research partnerships with the British Columbia Cancer Agency, and with the Institut de Recherche en Geriatrie at Université de Montreal. Her medical imaging research is published in reputable venues, such as the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), and the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC). Dr. Branzan Albu has developed a new course in Medical Image Processing (ELEC 435). She has taught this course for the first time in Summer 2011. This course plays an important role in the Biomedical Option offered in the Electrical Engineering program.


CONSTANTINESCU, Daniela

Ph.D (UBC), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Dr. Constantinescu's research expertise is in the area of haptics. Haptics refers to robotic technologies that enable users to touch and feel computer-generated objects. Her current work focuses on enabling multiple users, BME Affliated Faculty Existing information as of Nov 3rd, 2014. connected across a computer network, to touch, feel and manipulate a shared virtual environment together. The goal of this work is to extend the sense of touch across distance similarly to how existing video conferencing technologies extend vision across distance. Applications of this work include home-based and tele-rehabilitation, and virtual reality-based surgical training. In prior research, she investigated the development of virtual constraints for robot-assisted surgical procedures.


DECHEV, Nikolai

Ph.D (Toronto), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Dr. Dechev’s research program involves biomedical system design with application areas centered around the design of advanced hand prosthesis.  These areas include: (a) 3D printing of hand prosthesis, (b) Sensor design for acquisition of bio-signals from the lower arm, (c) Wireless power transfer technology for implantable sensors for the measurement of intra-muscular signals (electromyographic), (d) Ultrasound imaging and ultrasound-based sensory systems for the measurement of internal tendon motion within the arm and wrist. These projects aim at developing better methods for the acquisition of bio-signals for the control of advanced hand prosthesis. Dr. Dechev also has a research program in developing mechatronic systems and robotic automation systems for cell-based research including: instrumentation for the automatic visual analysis and manipulation of cells in-vitro, and magnetic-based chips for the capture and sorting of magnetically tagged cells in-vitro.


DIMOPOULOS, Nikitas

Ph.D (Maryland), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Dimopoulos' research involves the use of neural networks in the modelling of the biological activity of chemical compounds. Specifically, Dr. Dimopoulos and his team have developed methods that accurately model the Aldose Reductase (AR) Inhibitory Activity of classes of compounds including nitrophenyl derivatives, phenolic derivatives, and pyridazine derivatives. The inhibition of the AR enzyme is considered to be an approach to control diabetic complications, ischemia, abnormal vascular smooth cell proliferation, cancers, and mood disorders.


DONG, Xiaodai

Ph.D (Queen's), P.Eng., Professor

Dr. Xiaodai Dong's research is related to mobile health and applications of communications and computer technologies to healthcare.  Her team currently develops wearable electrocardiogram for long term heart monitoring, and learning based electronic record systems.


DONG, Zuomin

Ph.D (New York State), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Dong’s research program includes portable diagnosis device and software for performing on-site assay, assay based analysis and diagnosis.


GEBALI, Fayez

Ph.D (UBC), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Gebali's research involves the algorithms, design and programming of embedded devices, including those used in medical and healthcare applications. This includes a program on assistive technology using cell phones for the visually impaired to access public transit systems and provide warning to nearby vehicles of the presence of a visually-impaired person.


Giles, Josh

Ph.D, (Western University), P.Eng, Assistant Professor

Dr. Giles’ research focuses on two complementary areas: 1) biomechanical experimentation and simulation seeking to improve our understanding of basic human musculoskeletal biomechanics and to address important clinical questions, 2) development of systems to improve orthopaedic clinician training, patient assessment, and treatment/surgical planning. Critical applications of this research are the development of biomechanically driven devices for clinician training and quantitative patient assessment, as well as systems that can improve surgical planning through the use of personalized patient functional data and biomechanical modelling. Dr. Giles is a member of the Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society, the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty, and is a reviewer for the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Research Annual Meeting. Within UVic’s BME program, Dr. Giles teaches the third year BME Design course (BME 350) and offers a fourth year elective in Musculoskeletal Biomechanics (MECH 450D).  


GORDON, Reuven

Ph.D (Cambridge), P.Eng, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Nanoplasmonics

In collaboration with industrial partners, Dr. Gordon develops biosensors for the early detection of cancers and for drug discovery.


HERRING, Rodney

Ph.D (Birmingham), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Dr. Herring’s biomedical research program includes an acoustic medical imager that can diagnose and treat diseased tissue and monitor the treatment process based on acoustic confocal holography. A new project based on nanotechnology is targeted to treat tumors using powerful antioxidants created by visible light.


LU, Tao

Ph.D (Waterloo), Associate Professor

Dr. Tao Lu's general research area is biophotonics and nanophotonics. He currently works on molecule and nanoparticle sensing using optical microcavities which have interesting optical and mechanical behaviors to exploit. He also has research projects on spectroscopy by deep learning.


OSHKAI, Peter

Ph.D (LeHigh), P.Eng, Associate Professor

Research in Dr. Oshkai’s Fluid Mechanics laboratory includes biomedical devices: fluid dynamics and design aspects of replacement heart valves. They are developing a realistic simulation of a human hear capable of reproducing the hydrodynamic characteristics of the blood flow through diseased ventricles and valves


SO, Poman

Ph.D (Victoria), P.Eng, Associate Professor, Senior Member IEEE, Member ACES and CMBES, (ACES: Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society), (CMBES: Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society)

Dr. So’s research and industrial experience is in applied computational electromagnetics and object-oriented software engineering. He is a co-founder of the Faustus Scientific Corporation (Victoria, BC) and is the creator of the company’s MEFiSTo line of electromagnetic/bioelectromagnetic modeling software. Dr. So’s research includes microwave engineering, computer aided design and modeling of electromagnetic structures, computer simulation of bioelectromagnetic behaviors, and heterogeneous computing algorithms and software for electromagnetics/bioelectromagnetics applications. Since early 2009, Dr. So has been collaborating with the biomedical engineering department at VIHA in developing electronic stethoscopes for e-health and telemedicine.


SULEMAN, Afzal

Ph.D (UBC), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Suleman’s research program includes fluid - structure interaction of heart valves and disease.


VALEO, Caterina

Ph.D (McMaster), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Valeo's research expertise is in the area of environmental informatics. Environmental informatics is the field relating to the creation, collection, processing, modelling, interpretation, and dissemination of information within the field of environmental sciences. Some of her current work focuses on the use of biomaterials (such as oyster shells and certain fungal strains) to reduce the incidence of heavy metals or pathogens in the environment, thereby reducing risks to human health. She also uses spatial statistics and fuzzy mathematics to help decision makers determine the best sampling strategy when assessing or remediating hazardous pollutants in the environment. Dr. Valeo is also developing sensors to detect biofilm in the environment in order to quantify phytoremediation (cleansing) capacity of plants in water treatment.


WEBER, Jens

Ph.D (Padeborn), P.Eng, Professor

Dr. Weber conducts research on engineering of biomedical software systems, in particular clinical information systems. His main interest is in formal and systematic methods for improving the safety, security and interoperability of biomedical software. He is and affiliate professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine (Department of Family Practice) and an adjunct professor in the UVic School of Health Information Science. He co-directs a joint research group (Simbioses Lab) with Dr. Morgan Price (Island Medical Program, UBC) He has published extensively in premier venues in the area of health informatics, including JAMIA, AMIA and ACM SIGBIO.


WILD, Peter

Ph.D (UVic), P.Eng, Professor, Chair of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Wild's research is focused on the development of fibre optic sensors to measure hydrostatic pressures in intervertebral discs, the esophagus and coronary arteries as well as sensors to measure contact stress in articular joints. His research has been supported primarily through NSERC Idea to Innovation grants and has been undertaken in collaboration with researchers and physicians in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Cardiology at the University of British Columbia.


WILLERTH, Stephanie

Ph.D (Washington), P.Eng, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering

Since starting as faculty in 2010, Dr. Willerth has successfully run an interdisciplinary research program investigating neural tissue engineering treatments for disorders of the central nervous system and training highly qualified personnel. Her research combines stem cells, tissue engineering, drug delivery, cellular reprogramming and 3D bioprinting. She has been recognized as a leader in the fields of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering as evidenced by her Tier II Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, being named a Woman of Innovation in 2017, a Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering in 2015, and served as the President of the Canadian Biomaterials Society in 2017-8. She also currently serves as the Acting Director of the Centre for Biomedical Research located at the University of Victoria. Her work in training HQP at the undergraduate level led her to be named the winner of the 2018 REACH award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research-inspired Teaching – a prestigious University-wide award.