Current Lab Members

  • Amanda Juraski

    Amanda Juraski

    Graduate Visiting Research Student

    Amanda is in the fourth and final year of her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of São Paulo, Brazi. Joining the Willerth Lab in September 2022 as a Graduate Visiting Researcher Student, Amanda’s research includes 3D bioprinting of scaffolds for scaffold-mediated gene delivery and fabrication of linearly aligned carboxymethyl-chitosan/alginate scaffolds. Outside the lab, Amanda enjoys watching F1 races, Star Wars, reading romance novels and baking.

  • Farnoosh Kalantarnia

    Farnoosh Kalantarnia

    Ph.D. Student

    Farnoosh is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Victoria. She joined Willerth’s lab in May 2022 in cooperation with MiNa Lab. Farnoosh's research includes 3D bioprinting of tissues and fabrication of microfluidic chips to create co-culture models for Alzheimer’s disease. Her non-academic hobbies include cooking, planting, and biking.

  • Victor Allison Da Silva

    Victor Allison Da Silva

    Master Student, Former Mitacs Globalink Research Intern

    Victor is a Master's student in his first year of MAsc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, joining the Willerth Lab in January 2022. He got his BEng in Biomedical Engineering and BSc in Science and Technology, both at Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC) - Brazil. Victor is currently studying alternatives to generate an electroconductive bioink to print heart models.

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    Claire Benwood

    Masters Student

    Claire recently defended her MASc in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria. She joined the Willerth lab in September 2020. Her research includes 3D bioprinting tissue models of Alzheimer’s disease and working with drug releasing microspheres. Outside of the lab, Claire likes running, biking, and playing with dogs.

  • Becka Kirish

    Becka Kirish

    Masters student

    Becka is a MASc student in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria. She first joined the Willerth lab in the summer of 2020 as a Co-op student. Her research includes 3D printing neural tissue, microfluidics, and drug-releasing microspheres. Outside of the lab Rebecca enjoys climbing, gardening, dodgeball and rating chai lattes.

  • Lennard Shopperly

    Lennard Shopperly

    Graduate Visiting Research Student

    Lennard is a graduate visiting research student from Berlin, Germany and has joined the Willerth Lab in May 2022. He has a BSc in Biotechnology and is currently completing his MSc in the same discipline. Lennard is passionate about translational research towards the development of regenerative therapies utilizing Tissue Engineering and 3D bioprinting. His previous research includes work on therapies aimed at Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, and spinal cord injury as well as the development of osteochondral explant models and 3D bioprinted articular cartilage models. At the Willerth Lab, he works on a 3D bioprinted model of glioblastoma multiforme and the application of novel dicoblock nanofibers for its treatment in cooperation with the Manners Lab. When not in the lab, Lennard enjoys playing basketball and pool, reading, cooking, and being outdoors.

  • Ruchi Sharma

    Ruchi Sharma

    Post-doctoral, former Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Student

    Ruchi completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering in April 2022 under the direction of Dr. Willerth. Ruchi's studies concentrated on 3D bioprinting tissue models of Parkinson's disease. She was awarded an MITACS Accelerate Postdoc Fellow Award for 8 months to create cardiac bioink alongside Dr. Elvira from the Department of Chemistry and Dr. Willerth from Axolotl Biosciences. Ruchi likes cooking and traveling with her family outside of the lab.

  • Thiago Andrade

    Thiago Andrade

    Post-doctoral fellow

    Thiago has an Undergraduate degree in Biology and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences. From Brazil, Thiago joined the Willerth Lab in September 2021 as a Postdoc. Thiago’s research includes 3D bioprinting skin tissue models. Outside of the lab, Thiago enjoys driving, exploring different places, traveling long distances, taking photos, playing guitar and keyboard, and making Brazilian barbecue.

  • Nadia Masri

    Nadia Masri

    Lab Manager

    Nadia completed her undergrad in Microbiology, November 2019 at the University of Victoria. Nadia joined as a volunteer in 2018 where she worked on a project to culture MSCs and derive them into dopaminergic neurons. Once graduated, she started managing the lab and working on testing COVID-19 in wastewater. Nadia continues to manage the lab and has recently started her own charcuterie company, Kith + Kin Charcuterie, with her sisters and enjoys cooking in her spare time. In addition she like to stay active, travel, try new foods and drinks and hang out with her two dogs and two cats.

  • Kali Scheck

    Kali Scheck

    Full-time Employee, former Volunteer

    Kali is a full-time employee at Axolotl Biosciences, based out of the Willerth Lab. Kali graduated with a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria. Kali's research includes producing and conducting stability testing on bioink. Outside of the lab, Kali enjoys dancing, climbing, and running.

  • Jonathan Walters-Shumka

    Jonathan Walters-Shumka

    Full-time Empoyee, former Biology Honours Student, former Directed Studies Student

    Jonathan has a BSc with Honours in Biology with a concentration in neurobiology at the University of Victoria. Jonathan joined the Willerth lab in August 2019 and has completed a co-op term, a directed study, and an honours project in the lab and is currently a full-time employee. Jonathan’s research involves 3D bioprinting patient-derived tissue models of Alzheimer’s disease in collaboration with the Haakon Nygaard Lab at the University of British Columbia. Outside of the lab, Jonathan enjoys biking, playing guitar, hiking, and gardening.

  • Milena Restan

    Milena Restan

    Full-time Employee, former JCURA Scholar, former Biomedical Engineering Honours Student, former Co-op Student, former Volunteer

    Milena graduated with a BEng in biomedical engineering from the University of Victoria. She joined the Willerth lab in January of 2019 as a volunteer and helped Ph.D. students with 3D bioprinting. Her first project was reprogramming mesenchymal stem cells to dopaminergic neurons and 3D bioprinting a Parkinson's disease model. She was also a JCURA scholar and studied the effects of COVID-19 on neural and glial cells. Her current project is in engineering a cardiac-specific bioink to 3D bioprint physiologically relevant cardiac tissue. Outside of the lab, Milena enjoys pottery, going on hikes, running, and playing piano or guitar.

  • Niya Kelpin

    Niya Kelpin

    Part-time Employee, former Co-op Student

    Niya is in the fifth year of her BSc in Biology at the University of Victoria. Joining the Willerth Lab in May 2021, Niya has completed three co-op terms in the lab and is currently a part-time employee. Niya’s research includes 3D bioprinting tissue models of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and extracting lipids from hiPSC-derived brain microvascular endothelial cells. Outside of the lab, Niya enjoys getting outdoors, long-distance running, biking, and cooking.

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    Maria Hangad

    Honours Student, former Co-op Student

    Maria is a fifth year undergrad in a BSc Combined Honors in Biochemistry and Chemistry program at UVIC. She has completed 2 co-op terms under the Willerth Lab starting January 2022 working on collaborative projects with the Elvira Lab in the Department of Chemistry. Her research mainly consists of investigating and characterizing drug-releasing microparticles/microspheres as a component of the Willerth Lab's fibrin based bioinks for applications in 3D bioprinting tissue models. In her free time, Maria can be found at a karaoke night singing her heart out, longboarding near Dallas Road, or bouldering at local gyms in Victoria.

  • Tania Garay

    Tania Garay

    Mitacs Globalink Intern

    Tania is in the fourth and final year of her BSc in Biomedical Engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Gdl in México. Joining the Willerth Lab in July 2022, Tania is a Research Intern with the Mitacs Globalink Internship. Tania's research includes 3D bioprinting models with co cultures of fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Outside of the lab, Tania enjoys exploring Victoria, going for hikes and visiting lakes and beaches.

  • Sarah Keshvani

    Sarah Keshvani

    Directed Study and Work Study, former Co-op Student

    Sarah is a fourth year Microbiology major at the University of Victoria. She joined the Willerth Lab in 2021 as a co-op student to work on a collaborative project involving a 3D model of Parkinson's disease to study iron uptake. She is currently completing her second directed studies and holds a work study position. Her project involves transfecting glioblastoma cell line with novel nanofibers (collaboration with the Manners Lab) encapsulating pDNA and drugs in order to later create a 3D bioprinted model. Outside of the lab, she loves to paint, read Sci-Fi novels, and explore the town.


  • Victoria Hartman



  • Nima Khadem Mohtaram

    Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.
  • Laura de la Vega

    Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Student, Former Mitacs Globalink Research Intern


  • Andrew Agbay

    Neuroscience Masters Student, Former NSERC USRA summer co-op and Honors thesis student
  • Amy Montgomery

    Masters Student
  • Henry Zheng

    Mechanical Engineering, M.Eng.
  • Megan Hall

    Mathematics, Masters student Co-supervised with Dr. Edwards (Mathematics)
  • Chris Lee

    Neuroscience, Masters student at UBC co-supervised with Dr. Nygaard. Former JCURA scholar, honors thesis student, co-op student, and directed study student


  • Laila Abelseth

  • Tara Styan

  • Emily Abelseth

  • Meghan Robinson

  • Sukhi Singh

  • Ollie McKee-Reid

  • Ian Fraser

  • Gillian Nixon

  • Sarah Douglas

  • Diego Gomez

  • Evan Stefamek

  • Karina Karmirian

  • Marie Schultz

  • Brendon Restall

  • Parv Chapani

  • Emma Bibault

  • Hien Thu (Sarah) Luong

  • Nathan Muller

  • Ben Hoffman-Kipp

  • Briana Dallinger

  • Austyn Roelofs

  • Jordan Watson

  • Sarah Wong

  • Craig King

  • Michael Carlson

  • Darcy Ippolito

  • Stephanie Morrison

  • Daniel Pedde

  • Krista Wilson

  • Tia Sojonky

  • Azra Rajwani

  • Otto Neumann

  • Haydn MacLean

  • Ali Shapka

  • John Edgar

  • Michaela Thomas

  • Jose Gomez

  • Amy Montgomery

  • Antonio Ranaudo

  • Misha Hasan

  • Krya Teetzan

  • Hannah Richards

  • Josie Chrenek

  • Kelsey Kalk

  • Willem Schokking

  • Josh Latimer

  • Trevor Slack

  • Zeina Maan

  • Dixita Basumatary

  • Logan O'Reilly

  • Jess Thomson

Visiting Students

  • Imke Smits

    Visiting Masters Student
  • Cynthia Olivia Balderlamar Juarez

    Mitacs Globalink Research Intern
  • Berta Diez Odriozola

    Visiting Ph.D. student
  • Giselle Gonzalez

    Mitacs Globalink Research Intern
  • Ita Guadalupe Olivo

    Mitacs Globalink Research Intern