Current Members

Leila Larijani

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Prior to pursuing my Ph.D. in Medical Sciences with the specialization in Molecular Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary, I had completed a master's degree in Genetics back in my home country of Iran.

Since tumorigenicity is a clinical hurdle for pluripotent stem cell therapies, I employ human iPSCs engineered with suicide genes, inducible Caspase9, to kill transplanted cells upon tumor development during in vitro and in vivo chondrogenesis.

Nicoletta Ninkovic

PhD Student

I hold BSc degree in Molecular Biology and MSc in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Currently, I am pursuing PhD in Krawetz lab focusing on interaction between lubricin/PRG4 and stem cells in the process of mammalian wound healing. My hypothesis is that the absence of PRG4 is associated with poorer wound healing outcomes, as well as an increased inflammatory response. My goal is to unravel the mode of action of PRG4 in wound healing and exploit it for therapeutic purposes.  

Jessica Corpuz

PhD Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a Specialization in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Calgary. I chose to continue with the biomedical engineering path by pursuing a PhD degree in the Krawetz lab. My project looks at the intervertebral discs within the spine over time in PRG4 knockout mice. My goal is to determine the role of PRG4 in the discs and assess its effect on the structural, functional, and molecular properties of the discs. 

Kasara Toth DVM

PhD Student

I began my undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia before completing my doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Since 2015 I have been a practicing equine veterinarian with a special interest in soft tissue pathology and regenerative therapies.  My work with equine athletes and passion for sports medicine has led me to pursue a PhD in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.  My research goals involve understanding the healing of soft tissue injuries, particularly those occurring within a joint and the use of regenerative therapies as they apply to an equine model of arthritis.

 Supervised with: Dr. Holly Sparks 

Emilie Gysel

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering with a specialization in biomedical engineering at the University of Calgary. During my undergraduate degree I developed a passion for bioprocessing, specifically the expansion of stem cells in bioreactors. I am very excited to pursue graduate studies where I hope to develop an inherently safe bioprocess using genetically modified induced pluripotent stem cells to treat osteoporotic fractures in mice.  

Supervised with: Dr. Michael Kallos 

Oyinda Oduba

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University. During my undergraduate degree, I developed an interest in product design and development. Upon completion of my degree, my work experience in the medical device industry as a R&D engineer motivated my interest to seek an understanding of some of the diseases related to procedures which I designed devices for.

My research goal is to develop an atlas for cartilage/joint comparisons across different animal models through imaging and biomechanics testing with the aim of contributing to osteoarthritis research.

Supervised with: Dr. Sarah Manske

Aria Ahadzadeh Ardebili

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary. During my undergraduate degree, I found myself interested in the interplay between engineering and biological systems. I chose to continue my studies through biomedical engineering by pursuing a graduate degree in the Krawetz lab. My project will look at the effects of antiepileptic drugs on the biomechanics and fracture healing of bones in mice in order to better understand the effects of these medications.  

Haochen (Frank) Sun

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in human biology and immunology at the University of Toronto. I decided to continue my master's degree by studying biomedical engineering in the Krawetz lab. My project is aiming to use human dermal mesenchymal stem cells to treat cartilage damage in mice. My goal is to determine whether stem cells generated from bioreactors vs static tissue culture flasks can both aid in cartilage repair.

Juyeon Cha

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at Chung-Ang University, South Korea. During my exchange semester at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Canada. My project focuses on employing genetically modified induced pluripotent stem cells to investigate therapeutic outcomes after injecting them into non-invasive osteoarthritis mouse models.  

Dora Modrcin

MSc Student

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Manitoba, focusing on Biomedical Engineering. Now, I am working towards my Master’s Degree in the Krawetz lab, with the intention of eventually pursuing a PhD. Currently, my research revolves around the liver’s ability to regenerate. I’m aiming to better understand a novel population of PRG4 positive tissue-resident macrophages within the liver, and investigating the role of PRG4 in helping these cells maintain tissue homeostasis.

Maria (Maleny) Magdalena Del Toro Zechinelli

MSc Student

As a MITACS Globalink research intern (2021) and after my exchange semester experience in Canada, I became interested in pursuing graduate studies at the University of Calgary.  I completed a B.Sc. in Biotechnology Engineering at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico. During my undergrad studies, I was involved in the device innovation lab for regenerative medicine at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), specifically working on biomaterials scaffolding approaches for dental tissue engineering. Nowadays, my research objective focuses on equine somatic cells integration-free reprogramming, e.g. PBMCs, into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) contributing to animal biotechnology and regenerative medicine research.