Invited Speakers


Craig Simmons
Cellular Mechanobiology Lab, University of Toronto

Craig Simmons is the University of Toronto Distinguished Professor of Mechanobiology in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. He also serves as the Scientific Director of the University of Toronto Translational Biology and Engineering Program in the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.

Craig leads a talented group of researchers and students to discover new treatments for heart valve, heart muscle, and blood vessel diseases, including strategies to regenerate cardiovascular tissues using stem cells and biomaterials. His group also creates novel microfluidic platforms to model vascularized tissues and organs for improved drug testing.

Craig was the Canada Research Chair in Mechanobiology from 2006-2016 and is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the Ontario Early Researcher Award, the McCharles Prize and McLean Award from the University of Toronto, and the 2015 CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He has also been recognized for exceptional teaching by the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering with the 2009 Early Career Teaching Award, the 2015 Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Teaching Award, and the 2016 Faculty Teaching Award, and most recently with the 2017 Northrop Frye Award awarded by the University of Toronto Alumni Association for excellence in linking teaching and research.


Alison McGuigan
McGuigan Lab, University of Toronto

Dr. McGuigan is the Erwin Edward Hart Professor of Chemical Engineering and an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at University of Toronto. She obtained her undergraduate degree from University of Oxford, her PhD from University of Toronto and completed post-docs at Harvard University and Stanford School of Medicine. Alison’s research is focused on engineering in vitro tissue platforms that can generate physiologically relevant and high value data. In recognition of her work Alison has received numerous awards: She received a Canadian Rhodes Scholarship from 2000-2002, a Canadian Institute of Health Training Program in Regenerative Medicine Fellowship in 2004, and a Stanford School of Medicine Dean’s Post-Doctoral fellowship in 2007.  In 2008 Alison received the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine Young Investigator Award and in 2013 she received the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS-AM) Young Investigator award in recognition of her contributions to the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.


Jalal Ahamed
MicroNano Mechatronic Lab, University of Windsor

Dr. Ahamed is an Assistant Professor at Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering Department at University of Windsor. He is leading the UWindsor Micro/Nano Mechatronics research group. His research interests include mechatronics, micro/nano-electromechanical systems, micro/nano-fluidics, lab-on-a-chip, and 3D micro/nano-fabrication. He completed PhD from University of Toronto. Previously, he was with McGill University and University of California Irvine, where he performed advanced research in nanotechnology, biomaterials, sensors and 3D fabrication. His research is mainly funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). He authored and co-authored over a dozen top tier journals in MEMS and Microfluidics area. He has several US patents pending.

His research made news in various media outlets including Windsor Star, Windsor University News, Blackburn’s Radio, Journal editorial and MediaPlex. He was the recipient of Connaught Fellowship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship and Commonwealth Scholarship. He is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and American Physical Society (APS).


Tom Ewart

Biotech Consultants, Toronto

Dr. Ewart completed his BASc degree at Waterloo University and went on to complete his MASc and PhD at the University of Toronto, where he developed an apparatus for human kidney perfusion and preservation, and the first closed loop computer controlled “artificial pancreas” successfully used in human clinical trials. Since then he has gained over 30 years of experience in senior academic and industry R&D roles. He was a scientific founder and director of four Toronto biotechnology start-ups:

The Hospital for Sick Children Research Development Corporation/Cyberfluor: First fully automated robotic immunoassay system (spun off as Labotics), patented time-resolved Europium chelate labeling chemistry (“Eurofluo-S”), and ultrasensitive time-resolved immunoassays and instruments.

Paradigm: Lipid-based biocompatible surface coatings, biosensors for urea and creatinine used in hemodialysis.

TherImmune: Human monoclonal antibodies, affinity chromatography for high yield Hemophilia A Factor VII purification from blood, design/prototyping of phototherapy instruments.

NoAb BioDiscoveries: Rapid immunoassay development system, nanoparticle phosphor assay labels, highly multiplexed assays based on fluorescence lifetime labels, human genome and proteome microarrays, research correlating autoimmune and infectious diseases.

He has held R&D appointments at McMaster University and four Toronto academic teaching hospitals covering information systems, bioengineering and genomics (including The Hospital for Sick Children, Princess Margaret Research Institute, Toronto General and Sunnybrook Research Institute). He created the first proteomic microarray products of SQI Diagnostics, Axela Biosensor, and Aurora Life Sciences. Additionally he has lead product developments at Abbott Point-of-Care, Allelix, QLT and Hewlett Packard.


Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh
BioSA Laboratory, York Univerisity

Dr. Ghafar-Zadeh (PhD, PDF, P.Eng) received his BSc ( KNT University, Tehran Iran), MSc (University of Tehran, Iran) and PhD ( Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Canada) degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1992, 1994 and 2008 respectively. In recognition of his innovative research in the topic of hybrid microfluidic/microelectronic systems, Dr. Ghafar-Zadeh received several postdoctoral fellowship awards including NSERC PDF and FRQNT PDF and he perused two postdoctoral fellows in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McGill University; and the Dept. of Bio-engineering, University of Berkeley. Dr. Ghafar-Zadeh has published more than 90 journal and conference papers and a book titled CMOS Capacitive Sensors for Lab-on-Chip applications. Since 2013, he has been an assistant Professor, in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University, Toronto, Canada. During this short period, three PhD and 5 master students have graduated from his Laboratory. Dr. Ghafar-Zadeh is the director of Biologically Inspired Sensors and Actuators (BioSA) Laboratory.