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.


Kobra (Sahar) Mehdi Nejadiani

Post-Doctoral Fellow

I completed my PhD in Clinical Immunology at Shahid Beheshti University of medical sciences in Iran. My project during my PhD was to focus on vaccination and the detection of key molecules in the biological process, especially, cloning mechanisms and bioinformatic tools, and animal works. I am eager to work as a postdoctoral to further my understanding of signaling molecules in order to detect potential targets which can be crucial for therapeutic strategies.


Anand Masson

PhD Student

I am originally from Sao Paulo in Brazil, where I graduated from the Federal University of ABC, receiving my double Bachelor of Science and Technology and Biomedical Engineering in 2014. I then continued to earn my MSc from the same university focusing on tissue engineering and in vitro assays for the biological assessment of biomaterials with potential applications in orthopedics. Since 2017, I have been pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Calgary exploring the mechanisms involved in endogenous repair of articular cartilage, more specifically the role cell cycle activation within mesenchymal stem cells play in the regenerative potential of cartilage in vivo.


Nabangshu Das

PhD Student

I completed my bachelor and masters in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh. My PhD research involves exploring the inflammatory signaling of Lubricin/PRG4 fragments. Altered expression and function of PRG4 is associated with changes in inflammatory signaling resulting in the joint diseases (e.g. osteoarthritis). However, the mechanism through which this occurs is unknown and deserves further rigorous study. I’ll characterize PRG4 (e.g. fragmentation pattern) in human synovial fluid samples from arthritis patients and healthy controls. Using a mass spectrometry approach, I’ll determine which proteases are cleaving PRG4 (and where) and examine the effects of these cleavages in vitro and in vivo.

Supervised with: Dr. Tannin Schmidt and Tony Dufour


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.