Research Group

Group Members

Dr. Todd Hoare

Associate Professor and University Scholar, Department of Chemical Engineering
Canada Research Chair in Engineered Smart Materials (Tier 2)

Todd Hoare received a B.Sc. (Eng.) in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from McMaster in 2006. He returned to McMaster in 2008 to join the faculty after a two-year NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)-sponsored post-doctoral fellowship in Robert Langer’s laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Dr. Hoare’s work has been profiled by Popular Science, Maclean’s, and BBC for its potential in solving clinical challenges through innovative smart materials design. He has won an NSERC Innovation Challenge award recognizing the novelty of his research. He also received the 2016 Early Career Investigator Award from the Canadian Biomaterials Society, an Early Researcher Award and the 2009 John Charles Polanyi Prize in Chemistry from the Government of Ontario recognizing his accomplishments in his early career as a researcher and was a finalist for the 2012 President's Award for Graduate Supervision.  Dr. Hoare is currently the Associate Editor of Chemical Engineering Journal and is a member of the Editoral Advisory Boards of Biomacromolecules and Colloid and Polymer Science. He also teaches one undergraduate course and two graduate courses in the Department of Chemical Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering at McMaster.
office: JHE-A409  |  e-mail: hoaretr@mcmaster.ca   |  phone: (905) 525-9140 ext.24701

Vitaliy Kapishon

I graduated with a B.Sc. Hnrs. in Chemistry (Biological/Pharmaceutical Stream) in 2009 and Masters in Chemistry, specializing in mass spectrometry and ion mobility of biomarkers in 2011, both from York University. In 2015 I received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University where I have worked in biomaterial and polymer engineering, specializing in living radical polymerizations, modification of natural materials and polymeric drug delivery systems. I have been working as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Hoare since December 2015 in a joint project with Suncor / Petro-Canada. 

Lukas Sadowski

I completed my undergraduate studies at York University, earning a double major in chemistry and biology. My undergrad thesis was in the field of supramolecular chemistry and focused on the “Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Expanded Calix(n)arenes and Oxacalix(n)arenes”. I pursued my graduate studies at McMaster University in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, working on the synthesis and radiolabeling of “Bis-MPA Dendrimers as a Platform for Molecular Imaging Applications”. After completing my PhD, I seized the opportunity to join the Hoare Lab and have been fortunate to work on a number of exciting projects with a very talented group of people! My main project encompasses nanoparticle drug delivery systems based on synthetic block polymers. 

Somiraa Said

I received my B.Sc. (2005) and M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2010) from Alexandria University, Egypt. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (Biomaterials) in 2016, from Western University. My Ph.D. work involved studying the controlled delivery of growth factors from electrospun fibers for therapeutic angiogenesis. I joined the Hoare Lab as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in April 2017 and my project involves studying externally activated hydrogel electrospun fibrous scaffolds for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. 

Lisha Zhao

I received my BEng at Jiangnan University in 2008 in China and my MSc degree at Dalhousie University in 2011, both in Food Science and Technology. My undergraduate and master research were mainly focused on fabrication of lipid based nanoparticles to delivery enzymes and nutraceuticals. After that, I completed my PhD studies at University of Alberta, working on fabrication and characterization of liposomes to deliver hydrophobic and hydrophilic bioactives and in vitro analysis. I joined the Hoare Lab in September 2017 with a collaborative research project with Suncor/Petro-Canada.

Rabia Mateen

I graduated from McMaster University in 2009 with a BSc in Biochemistry, specializing in Molecular Biology. In 2011, I completed my Master's degree in Dr. Hoare's lab creating polymeric systems designed for hydrophobic drug delivery. For my PhD work, I am developing a paper-based biosensor for the detection of pathogenic bacteria.

Fei Xu (co-supervised with Dr. Heather Sheardown, Chemical Engineering)

I graduated with a BSc in Materials Science and Engineering from Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT) in 2009 and completed myMaster's degree at BUCT in 2012, focusing on photopolymerization and functional biomaterials. I started my Ph.D. program in Chemical Engineering at McMater University in 2013, focused on developing new methods of cell encapsulation via electrospinning and high-throughput hydrogel synthesis. 

Madeline Simpson

I graduated from the University of Ottawa’s Biotechnology Co-op program in 2014 and received a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and an Honours B.Sc. with a Specialisation in Biochemistry. I completed three work terms as well as my Honours thesis with Dr. Tito Scaiano and Dr. Emilio Alarcon, focused on the development of biomaterials using antimicrobial collagen-stabilized silver nanoparticles. I joined Dr. Hoare’s lab as a Master’s student in the fall of 2014, working on developing nanogel formulations facilitating the delivery of drugs across the blood-brain barrier, and transferred to the Ph.D. program in January 2016. 

Kevin De France (co-supervised with Dr. Emily Cranston)

I completed my bachelor's degree in 2014, studying Chemical and Bioengineering at McMaster University. I have previously worked for Xerox studying synthesis pathways for solid ink technologies, and for EcoSynthetix in a quality control capacity. I am now a Ph.D. student interested in utilizing both hydrogels and cellulose nanocrystals for tailored tissue engineering applications.

Michael Majcher

I graduated from the University of Akron in 2015 with a BSc in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in biomaterials and tissue engineering.  I started as PhD student in Chemical Engineering in the fall of 2015, working with Dr. Niels Smeets at EcoSynthetix and Dr. Todd Hoare at McMaster University.  My current research focuses on the design and fabrication of “smart” hydrogels using biopolymer nanoparticle building blocks in order to address a variety of biomedical and industrial challenges.

Milana Pikula

B.Sc. in Biotech & Biochemical Eng. and M.Sc. in Chemical Process Eng., both, received from Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy in Belgrade (Serbia). In April, 2017 completed specialization studies in Industrial Pharmacy at Faculty of Pharmacy (Belgrade, Serbia). Research experience in extraction and purification of HMW LM pectin from tropical fruit for medical purposes and industrial experience in food production. Current research is related to the development of a reusable polymeric paper-based device able to conduct rolling circle amplification and produce visible massive DNA amplicons, with a potential use in biosensing technology. 

Eva Mueller

I graduated from the unique 5-year Chemical and Bioengineering undergraduate program (B.Eng.Biosci) at McMaster University in 2017. Since the winter semester of my second year, I started working in Dr. Hoare’s lab, either as a summer USRA student or an in-term volunteer. I was fortunate to work with Daryl Sivakumaran on the development of the temperature-driven covalent self-assembly of well-defined precursor polymers to form nanoscale hydrogel materials that are degradable (addressing a key challenge in this area). My current research goals include understanding and controlling the internal structure and functionality of such particles, and ultimately using these as drug delivery vehicles in a wide array of biomedical applications. Outside the lab, I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, playing tennis, going golfing, performing on the piano or playing clarinet in the McMaster Chamber Orchestra. 

Kelli Johnson

I graduated from Queen's University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Chemistry.  While at Queen's, I completed an undergraduate thesis focused on the functionalization of allylic polymers to prevent scorch during injection molding.  I am currently working towards an M.A.Sc. with Dr. Todd Hoare and Ceapro, a biotech company based out of Edmonton.  My research involves the use of Ceapro's novel PGX technology to produce highly porous polymer morphologies.  It is my goal to stabilize these porous PGX templates through UV photocrosslinking or surface modifications for use in biomedical and environmental applications.

Nicola Muzzin

I completed my BASc in Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I have previously worked on a polymeric nanoparticle drug delivery system at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and developed sensor chip modifications for a benchtop SPR device with Nicoya Lifesciences. My research is currently focused on stabilizing a porous polymeric networks to be used for cell scaffolding and controlled drug release. 

Jonathan Dorogin

I received my BASc from the University of Waterloo in Nanotechnology Engineering in 2016, where I focused my studies on material science and biotechnology. My co-ops ranged from academic and industrial research to industry optimization and management. I am currently working towards my M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering under Dr. Hoare. My research revolves around the design and synthesis of nanocapsules for ultrasound triggered drug delivery. Ultimately the works aims to improve upon the efficiency of chemotherapy and other location-specific treatments.

Ali Babar

I completed my HBSc at McMaster University in the department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. During my undergraduate career, my research involved studying cognitive abilities such as learning & retention under emotional states, as well as completion of my senior thesis project which examined the underlying mechanisms of kinetic skills with regards to neural circuitry. My current research is focused on the synthesis of starch-based nanoparticles & nanoparticle clusters for improving drug delivery —specifically anti-psychotic medication— to the brain.

Ali Affar

I completed an Honours Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at McMaster, graduating in 2016. As an undergraduate researcher, I worked on a tattoo-implantable colourimetric assay, for glucose sensing. I then completed a senior thesis project working on the biosynthesis, isolation & assay of an enzyme inhibitor. My current research intends to use chemically modified starch nanoparticles & polymer formulations to develop different hydrogel morphologies. These may be used for a wide range of applications, from drug delivery, to tissue engineering.

Ivan Urosev

I received my BSc in Biology and Physiology from The University of Western Ontario in 2013 and my MASc in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Hoare in May, 2016. My current work focuses on developing predictive strategies for correlating raw material properties with soft gel capsule manufacturing, in collaboration with Accucaps Inc.

Angus Lam

Research Topic: Anti-Fungal and Bioadhesive Injectable Hydrogels for Wound Healing and Skin Applications

Maria Budi Hartono

I will be entering my second year of Biochemistry at McMaster University in the fall. I am excited to work in The Hoare Lab this summer under the mentorship of Dr. Hoare and Fei Xu on high-throughput hydrogel analysis. Outside the lab, I enjoy drawing, playing piano, and hiking when the weather is nice. Currently I am trying to be able to run 10k.

Ashlyn Leung

I am entering my third year at McMaster University. I am currently majoring in Chemical Biology after two years in the Integrated Science program. I am excited to be working with Michael Majcher and Ali Babar on designing "smart" hydrogels using starch nanoparticles (SNP) for biomedical applications. We are in the process of developing nanoparticle-of-nanoparticle clusters of SNPs for intranasal drug delivery. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing the piano, hiking and travelling.

Haniah Shaikh

I am entering my second year of Health Sciences at McMaster University. I am currently working with Jonathan Dorogin over the summer to develop nano-capsules designed for ultrasound-mediated localized drug delivery. Other than working on this research project, you can find me volunteering with education advocacy groups like The Citizen’s Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sister’s Canada, drawing digital illustrations and watercolour painting, or going for hikes with my friends and family.

John Vairo

I am entering my second year of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster. I am very excited to be working in The Hoare Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Hoare and Lukas Sadowski. I will be producing block co-polymers and assessing different polymer drug formulations through drug loading and release kinetics. Through bio-distribution studies on these formulations we will be able to assess our ability in treating various diseases. Outside of the lab I enjoy playing baseball, golf and snowboarding.

Annika Yardy

I am entering my second year of Chemical and Bioengineering. With guidance from Vitaliy Kapishon and Dr. Hoare, I am working on the development of surfactant-based, bilayer nanocapsules for the controlled and targeted delivery of agrochemicals. For fun, I enjoy running through Cootes Paradise, baking, and playing volleyball. I also love giving back to the McMaster community by providing tours to prospective engineering students.

Nazrin Azeez

I am entering my second year of the Health Sciences program at McMaster, and am thrilled to be working in the Hoare Lab under the mentorship of Lukas Sadowski. I will be designing various functionalized nanoparticle formulations for ophthalmic drug delivery applications. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing basketball, piano, travelling and performing for McMaster's Music in Medicine.  

Jennifer Boughton

I am currently moving into my fourth year of the Chemical Biology Co-op Program at McMaster. For my thesis project, I will be working under the guidance of Michael Majcher and Dr. Hoare on the design of ultra-low protein adsorbing starch nanoparticle thin films. The completion of this project will likely offer a greater insight into the optimization of implantable biomaterials, as well as into the forces guiding protein-hydrogel interactions. When not in the lab, you'll typically find me cycling to some far off place, catching up on a Netflix series everyone has already watched, or helping in weekly cleanups around the Cootes Paradise Watershed. 

Ugonwa Echendu

I am in my final year of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at McMaster University. I am delighted to be working in the Hoare Lab with Madeline Simpson on the development of polymers which would eventually be used for drug delivery to the brain. I will be working on optimizing the cross linker used in these polymers to maximize drug affinity and increase the efficiency of drug delivery. Outside the lab I enjoy weightlifting, playing squash and listening to music. 

Dr. Niels M.B. Smeets

Post-Doctoral Fellow (2011-2013)

Research topic:  Injectable hydrogels based on poly(oligoethylene glycol methacrylate) (POEGMA) with well-defined internal properties

Henry Yu

Undergraduate Student (2016)

Research Topic:  Encapsulation of Plant Immune Aids for Agricultural Delivery

Daniel Luo

Undergraduate Student (2016-2017)

I am entering my final year of Chemical Biology with Co-op at McMaster University and am currently doing a collaborative project between the Hoare lab and McGill university in developing light-responsive hydrogels. In my spare time, I like to go waterfall hunting, climb the escarpment, and walk around Locke street. I love serving as a mentor for incoming students, so I have been involved as an IRC Welcome Week leader for the past two years. 

Ian Gough

Summer Student (2015)

Research Topic:  Direct Electrospinning of Degradable Hydrogel Nanofibres 

Katelyn Chan

Undergraduate Student (2015)

I will be entering my 5th year of Chemical and Bioengineering. I am excited to research cellulose nanocrystal - hydrogel nanocomposites for tissue engineering applications under the mentorship of Dr. Hoare, Dr. Cranston, and Kevin DeFrance. In addition to pursuing educational interests, I fence sabre on the McMaster Varsity Fencing Team, enjoy outdoor activities, and have a growing comic book collection. 

Donovan Ramkishun

Undergraduate Student (2015-2016)

Research Topic:  Designing Hydrazone-Based Injectable Hydrogel Scaffolds With Extended Degradation Times

Spencer Imbrogno

Summer Student (2015)

Research Topic:  Design of injectable hydrogels with in situ-forming hydrophobic domains for hydrophobic drug delivery

Samuel Suntharalingham

Undergraduate Student (2014-2015)

Research topic:  "High-throughput development of cell-based assays"

Rebecca Chu

Undergraduate Student (2012-2014)

Research topic: "Self-assembled smart microgels based on well-defined oligomeric precursors"

Ana Arezina

Undergraduate Student (2016-2017)

Research Topic: Self-Assembled Degradable Microgels with Smart Functionality

Carter McInnis

Undergraduate Student (2016-2017)

I am entering my final year of Chemical Biology at McMaster University and am excited to be working with Michael Majcher on the development of "smart" hydrogels using biopolymer nanoparticles for biomedical and industrial applications. Currently, I am working on the development of starch nanoparticle network hydrogels for enhanced drug delivery. Outside the lab I enjoy playing basketball and supporting first year students as a Welcome Week Residence Representative.

Michel Syriani

Summer Student  (2017)

Research Topic: Injectable Starch-Based Hydrogels

Seamus Ingram

Summer Student (2017)

Research Topic: Bioactive Self-Assembled Nanomaterials for Targeting Lung Fibrosis

Troy Stoner

Summer Student (2017)

Research Topic: Antibacterial Testing of Light-Reative Biomolecules for Plants

Kaylie Lau

Summer Student (2017)

Research Topic: Starch Nanoparticle Hydrogels for Anti-Fungal Delivery to Plants

Kaleela Kadir

Undergraduate Student (2016-2017)

Research Topic: Polyelectrolyte Complex and Hydrogel Delivery of Plant Immune Aids

Caleb Seo

Undergraduate Student (2016)

I'm entering my final year of Honours Biochemistry. Over the summer of 2016, I have worked with Dr. Murray Junop and Dr. David Haniford to study the interaction of a unique sRNA that interacts with all three surfaces of Hfq, a hexameric protein acclaimed as a global post translational regulator. Outside academia, I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, fighting games and hiking Cootes Paradise on a Saturday morning.  

Courtney van Ballegooie

Undergraduate Student, 2014 and 2016

Research Topic:  Microfluidic-Based Approaches for Few or Single-Cell Encapsulation

Meghan Rothenbroker

Undergraduate Student (2016)

I am entering my final year of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program. I am very excited to be working alongside Lukas Sadowski on designing physically-targeted nanoparticles for cancer therapy. Outside of research I enjoy running, watching documentaries (especially on space), and indulging in chocolate.

Max Yavitt

Undergraduate Student (2013-2017)

I am in my final year of Chemical and Biological Engineering. During the summer of 2013, I worked with Emilia Bakaic on the development of novel synthetic matrices for cell encapsulation.  The following summer, I returned to the Hoare Lab to work with Niels Smeets on covalent drug incorporation within injectable hydrogels, and continued to volunteer on the synthesis of lignin-containing hydrogels.  I am now pursuing my senior thesis project in the lab.  Outside of the lab, I play goalie for the McMaster Men's Lacrosse team.

Jenny Chen

Summer Student (2014-2015)

Research Topic:  Magnetically-activated hydrogels and microgels for on-demand drug delivery

Helen Dorrington

Undergraduate Student (2013-2015); Master's Student (2015-2016)

Research Topic: Synthesis and Characterization of In situ Gelling Hydrogels from Hyperbranched Poly(Oligoethylene Glycol Methacrylate)

Sahar Mokhtari

Master's Student (2012-2014)

Research Topic: Shear-Associative Polymers for Ophthalmic Applications

Emilia Bakaic

Ph.D. Student (2013-2017)

I graduated with  a BSc in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Biology in 2010 from the University of Waterloo. I am currently in the Ph.D. program in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. My current research focus is designing novel synthetic polymeric matrices for development of superior cell microencapsulative biomaterials to promote long-term cell viability for cellular therapeutics and tissue scaffold engineering applications.

Danielle Maitland

Undergraduate Student (2009-2012); M.A.Sc. Student (2012-2014)

Research Topic:  Injectable, Magnetic "Plum Pudding" Hydrogel Composites for Controlled Pulsatile Drug Release

Paniz Sheikholeslami

M.A.Sc. Student (2010-2012); Research Technician (2013)

Research Topic:  Highly Shear-Thinning Mucoadhesive Hydrogels for Ophthalmic Applications

Mathew Patenaude

Ph.D. Student (2009-2014)

Research Topic:  Designing Injectable Hydrogel Biomaterials with Highly-Tunable Properties

Scott Campbell

Ph.D. Student (2010-2016)

I graduated with a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Queen's University in 2010, receiving the B.E.C. Joyce Memorial award as the most outstanding graduate in my program. During my undergrad my research was focused on the synthesis of latexes. I'm currently in the PhD program in Chemical Engineering at McMaster with Dr. Todd Hoare. In moving to McMaster, my research shifted towards "smart" biomaterials, where I focus on synthesizing various thermosensitive polymers and combining them with inorganic materials that give the resulting materials structural advantages and/or allow for triggered changes in the properties of the biomaterial.

Trevor Gilbert

Ph.D. Student (2010-2017)

I received my BASc at the University of Toronto 2007 and my MASc at the University of Toronto in 2010.  My current research project is focused on developing injectable interpenetrating polymer networks. General research interests include manipulating biological adhesion using biomaterials.

Mayra Tzoc

Master's Student (2010-2012); Research Technician (2012-2013)

Research Topic:  Designing Dual Thermoresponsive and Photoresponsive Materials for Biomedical Applications

Sahil Azeez

Undergraduate Student (2013-2015)

Research topic: "Production of degradable microgel particles by microfluidics"

Jacqueline Chau

Undergraduate Student (2014)

Research topic:  "Shear-Associative Mucoadhesive Hydrogels for Ophthalmic Drug Delivery"

Ashutosh Kulkarni

M.A.Sc Student (2014-2016)

I did my undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at Nirma University, India in 2012. After graduation, I worked as Graduate Engineering Trainee in Hydrogen Manufacturing Division at Reliance Industries Ltd. and as a Junior Research Fellow at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. My current work is to gain further insight on cell-biomaterial (hydrogel) interactions by combining high-throughput hydrogel synthesis with multivariate statistical analysis. 

Juhina Elmajdoub

M.A.Sc. Student (2014-2015)

Research Topic:  In situ gelling hydrogels for topical and mucosal applications

Maryam Badv

Ph.D. Student (2013-2016)

Research Topic:  Physically-Targeting Nanoparticles for Enhanced Cancer Therapy

Daryl Sivakumaran

M.A.Sc. Student (2008-2010); Ph.D. Student (2010-2015)

Research Topic:  Synthesis and Applications of Degradable Thermoresponsive Microgels

Xudong Deng (co-supervised with Dr. Carlos Filipe, Chemical Engineering)

Ph.D. Student (2012-2016) - Co-supervised with Dr. Carlos Filipe

Research Topic:  Engineering Functional Interfaces for Biosensing, Minimization of Protein Adsorption, and Structural Self-Healing

Justin Piazza (co-supervised with Dr. Ram Mishra, Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience)

Master's Student (2011-2013)

Research Topic:  Novel Antipsychotic Drug Carriers:  The Development of Nanoparticle and Microgel Drug Carriers for Antipsychotic Delivery in the Treatment of Schitzophrenia

Dennis Kinio

Undergraduate Student (2012, 2014-2015)

Research topic:  "Developing novel chemistries for controlling the properties of in situ-gelling 'smart' hydrogels"

Nahieli Preciado

Summer Student (2017)

Research Topic: Magnetically-Activated Drug Release via Glass Transition Switching