Principal Investigator

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Postdoc, Wyss Institute at Harvard (2015-2017)

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, MIT (2015)

B.A.Sc. Chemical Engineering, University of Ottawa (2010)

B.Sc. Biochemistry, University of Ottawa (2010)

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Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, ing., Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Biologically-Derived Materials
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, McGill University

After earning a double degree in Biotechnology (Chemical Engineering & Biochemistry) from the University of Ottawa, Prof. Dorval Courchesne spent a few years in Boston to pursue graduate studies.  She completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the groups of Paula Hammond and Angela Belcher.  She then worked as an FRQNT postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.  She joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University in August 2017.

Prof. Dorval Courchesne authored several publications and hold patents in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and materials science.  She believes that biologically-derived materials have a tremendous potential to improve the functionalities of various devices for environmental and biomedical applications. She aims at developing novel methods for engineering and assembling functional protein-based materials and devices. She is also broadly interested in composite materials, sustainable material alternatives and bio-inspired technologies.​

Prof. Dorval Courchesne is a member of the Québec Center for Advanced Materials (QCAM/CQMF), the Research Center for High Performance Polymer and Composite Systems (CREPEC), the McGill Institute for Advanced Materials (MIAM), the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI), and the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED).  In 2020, she was recognized as the recipient of the Christophe Pierre Award for Research Excellence (Early Career) in the Faculty of Engineering at McGill, and as an Emerging Leader in Chemical Engineering by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering.  In 2021, she became Canada Research Chair in Biologically-Derived Materials.

Lab Group

Lab dinner
Lab dinner

May 2022

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Lab holiday dinner
Lab holiday dinner

December 2021

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Prof. Dorval in her new lab
Prof. Dorval in her new lab

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Lab dinner
Lab dinner

May 2022

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1/22

Research Assistants & Postdocs

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Slah Hidouri

Slah obtained his PhD in Biological Sciences with a specialty in the engineering of nanobiomaterials. He has worked on the development of electrochemical biosensors using layered nanomaterials for the immobilization of algal cells, enzymes, and antibodies for biomedical and environmental monitoring and for food safety. As a postdoc, he previously studied the development of biosensors based on bacteria modified with nanoparticles at the Laboratory of Bio-inspired Materials Sciences, Institute of Advanced Study in Chemistry (Pune University, India), and investigated the effects of nanoparticles on bacterial metabolism in the Department of Life Sciences (Carthage University, Tunisia). In 2017, he joined the Department of Fundamental Sciences  at the University of Québec in Chicoutimi as a postdoc and worked on the development of silica nanocarriers for cancer therapy.  Slah also recently finished a project on the development of antibacterial superhydrophobic surfaces. In the Dorval Lab, he works on the fabrication of bio-derived composite materials for several applications. His areas of expertise include biosensor technologies, bio-inspired materials engineering, nanomaterials & surface coatings.

E-mail: slah.hidouri(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6290

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PhD Students

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Zahra Abdali

Zahra is pursuing her PhD in Chemical Engineering.  She is the recipient of a MEDA award and an FRQNT Doctoral Research Scholarship. She was born in Iran and completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in chemistry and biomedical engineering, in Iran. During her Master’s, she focused on antibacterial thermoresponsive polymers for wound dressing applications. She has also worked on electrospining of bacteria-responsive polymers. She joined the Dorval lab in the Winter 2018.  She is investigating the characterization and modification of protein-based materials produced by bacteria.  Her personal interests are reading, painting, and cooking!

E-mail: zahra.abdali(at)mail.mcgill.ca 

Office: Wong 6080

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Masoud Aminzare

Masoud has joined the Dorval Lab to pursue his PhD in Chemical Engineering, and to work on a joint project co-advised by Prof. Sara Mahshid (Bioengineering).  He is the recipient of a MEDA award and an FRQNT Doctoral Research Scholarship.  He received his first MSc degree in material science and engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST). He has recently finished his second MSc degree in chemistry at McMaster University, Canada. He also worked as a research assistant in National Taiwan University (NTU) and Academia Sinica, Taiwan (2015-2016). Therefore, he has several experiences on the synthesis, characterization and applications of advanced materials. As a PhD student at McGill University, he is focusing on biologically-derived nanostructures for optoelectronic applications. Outside the lab, Masoud is interested in sports and social activities.

E-mail: masoud.aminzare(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6290

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Daniel Modafferi

Daniel joined the group as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering.  He is the recipient of an FRQNT Doctoral Research Scholarship and a Vadasz Scholar MEDA Award.  He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry as a member of the Co-op program, and an M.Sc. in Physics at Concordia University, in Montreal.  He continues to dismiss barriers between classical scientific disciplines and fields, as he applies his interdisciplinary knowledge to develop new bioelectronic materials from proteins, for the application of wearable or implantable electronic devices.  His interests include, but are not restricted to, piano playing, the outdoors, and baking (eating).

E-mail: daniel.modafferi(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6130

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Mario Alfonso Arenas Garcia

Mario is the recipient of a CONACYT-SENER Energy Sustainability Scholarship, awarded to pursue his PhD in Chemical Engineering at McGill University. His project consists of generating a bio-hybrid solar cell device based on engineered photoactive proteins. He did his Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology in Mexico and his Master's degree in Biochemical Engineering in England. As of recent, he was in a research stay at Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Estado de México, which involved the evaluation of three-phase systems in different bioreactors for the production of bioplastics. When not involved in research, he enjoys spending his time trying out new foods, reading about history and attending concerts!

E-mail: mario.arenasgarcia(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6080

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Dalia Saldanha

Dalia Saldanha recently completed a research internship in the Dorval Lab, as part of the Biotechnology Graduate Program at McGill University.  She has now joined the group as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering. She is the recipient of a MEDA award and an FRQNT Doctoral Research Scholarship.  With a triple major Undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, Chemistry and Zoology from Christ University (India) she is now channeling her diverse research interests into developing genetically engineered and chemically conjugated biosensors with bacterial proteins. She is interested in modifying the properties of these sensors to meet a wide range of potential biomedical, environmental and food safety needs. Having lived in Kuwait, Dubai, India and now Montreal, she considers herself to be almost as cosmopolitan as the E. coli she works with and hopes that one day her future career as a research scientist (and part-time science journalist ) will help her see more of the world than she already has. When she is not holding a pipette or typing furiously into a laptop, she enjoys writing poetry, creating scientific comics and reading contemporary YA novels.

E-mail: dalia.saldanha(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6080

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David Uriel Zamora Cisneros

Born and raised in Mexico City, where he completed his bachelor’s degree and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and UAM (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana), respectively, David was awarded a CONACYT scholarship to pursue his doctoral studies abroad. Now he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Modeling Research Group and in the Dorval Lab in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and in the Harrington Lab in the Department of Chemistry at McGill University. His project involves the in-silico study of liquid crystals, their presence in biological systems just as the one seen in the mussel byssus, and the founding principles that lead them to their transformation into materials with remarkable properties. When not involved in research or at McGill, you can find him at some cafe/food places trying out new food or enjoying a cup of coffee while he lurks through the immeasurable music realm looking for new songs/bands or the next concert in town. His interests besides music are drawing, reading, and long walks.

E-mail: david.zamoracisneros(at)mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Wong 6190

    Master Students

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    Angie Cai

    Angie is a MEng student in Chemical Engineering and a recipient of a MEUSMA award. She was born and raised in Tianjin, China and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering – Internship Program at McGill University. During her undergraduate studies, her research experience included microencapsulation of islets and microenvironmental control of placental cell fusion. She has also investigated the enzymatic degradation of biomass at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, as a recipient of the MITACS Globalink Research Award. In the Dorval Lab, she will be studying protein-based materials with novel properties.  Outside the lab, she loves travelling, playing the piano/ukulele, trying new restaurants/recipes, and spending time with her cat.

    E-mail: anqi.cai(at)mail.mcgill.ca

    Office: Wong 6130

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    Kingsley Wong

    Kingsley is a M.Sc. candidate in Chemical Engineering. He is the recipient of the NSERC CGS-Master’s award and is part of the NSERC CREATE program in sustainable electronics and eco-design. He received his bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo, during which he worked in academia, start-ups, design teams, and industry. As a graduate student, he will be developing new measurement devices and tools to support the group’s various projects in protein bioelectronics. Beyond the lab, he is an avid musician, a food enthusiast, and a passionate hockey fan.

    E-mail: kingsley.wong(at)mail.mcgill.ca

    Office: Wong 6130

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    Omar Jimenez

    Omar is a M.Sc. student in Chemical Engineering, working on a joint project between the Dorval and Harrington Labs at McGill, investigating the expression and properties of recombinant mussel byssal thread proteins. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from McMaster University in December 2020. In his undergraduate studies, he investigated the optimization of white-rot fungi culture conditions for wastewater treatment applications. Outside the lab, Omar enjoys going for long walks, cooking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

    E-mail: omar.jimenezcastaneda(at)mail.mcgill.ca

    Office: Wong 6080

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    Simon Rowat

    Simon is a M.Sc. student in Chemical Engineering, focusing on the production and functionalization of bacterial proteins. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in April 2021. He is also participating in research into responsive materials, a MITACS accelerate project in collaboration with the Dorval Lab and an industry partner. In his undergrad, he investigated the use of plant proteins in combination with non-toxic plasticizers for the 3D printing of food and edible food packaging. Outside of the lab, Simon enjoys playing sports, golfing, and spending time with friends and family.

    E-mail: simon.rowat(at)mail.mcgill.ca

    Office: Wong 6290

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    Ariel Zheng

    Ariel is a Master of Science student in Chemical Engineering, focusing on the production of protein and bioplastic composites with improved mechanical properties. She was raised in Vancouver, BC and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at The University of British Columbia. During her undergraduate studies, she helped design and create specialized catalysts that could turn biocrude into usable fuel at ambient temperatures and pressures. When not busy with lab work, she enjoys reading, hiking and travelling to new places with friends and family. 

    E-mail: jia.y.zheng(at)mail.mcgill.ca

    Office: Wong 6290

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    Undergraduate Students

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    Juliana Ferraro

    Juliana is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University currently working on a project about conductive protein materials. She is the recipient of a SURE award for the summer 2021.  Her interest in the Dorval Lab comes from her motivation to tackle healthcare-related challenges with novel bio-inspired technology. She believes that protein-based materials and nanotechnology can go hand-in-hand in finding new solutions to existing problems. Outside of school, Juliana enjoys photography, art, cooking, and outdoor activities with her dog!

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      Jennifer Jiang

      Jennifer is an undergraduate bioengineering student who’s working on engineering proteins to adhere to textiles for “smart” clothing development. She is also writing a review on the effects of biomolecules on quantum dots. Jennifer is intrigued by the development of novel, functional, protein and cell-based technology. She is the recipient of the SURE/NSERC USRA scholarship in 2021. Apart from academics, Jennifer loves to try new sports activities and new foods.

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        Alina Yuan

        Alina is an undergraduate Chemical Engineering student at McGill University currently shadowing the project of incorporating engineered photoactive protein with inorganic materials. Her interest in the Dorval lab comes from her interest in biotechnology and material science since her 9th grade. Outside of studying, she enjoys baking, drawing, reading, and travelling.

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          Hajar Diouri

          Hajar is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University joining the group this winter 2022 for a research project. She is currently working on enhancing the mechanical properties of protein composites through the application of crosslinkers. She has always been interested in doing research and by joining the Dorval lab she is pursuing her motivation: using engineered solutions to improve the healthcare challenges. Outside of serious things, Hajar enjoys writing poetry in Arabic, reading, and going out with her friends.

              Graham
              Graham Townsend

              Graham is an undergraduate chemical engineering student currently working on developing a system for data analysis automation. He is the recipient of an EUL scholarship for the summer 2021.  His interest in the lab comes from innate interests in new technological ideas and developing them. Outside of his studies he spends a lot of time playing guitar, and practicing his First Responder skills both with McGill’s Emergency Response Team, and back home in New Brunswick.

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                Xinxin Hao

                Xinxin is an undergraduate chemical engineering student currently working on 3D bioprinting. He took CHEE 494 research project course in summer 2021 and has continued the project into 2022. He believes that biologically derived materials have a wide range of potential applications and are taking a cutting-edge role in the field of advanced materials. He feels honoured being able to be a member of the lab and has learnt a lot from other students in the lab and Prof. Dorval Courchesne herself. In his free time, he enjoys watching and listening to traditional Chinese opera.

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                  Dukun Zhao

                  Dukun is an undergraduate student in chemical engineering, focusing on the characterization of bacteriophages for bioelectronic applications. His interest in the lab comes from the belief that biomaterials have tremendously huge potential in medical-related areas. Outside of the lab, Dukun enjoys skiing and skateboarding.

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                    Riley Sun

                    Riley is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. She is currently working on the purification of recombinant collagen with novel properties. Outside of the lab, Riley enjoys snowboarding, travelling, and playing badminton.

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                      Amy Chow, MEng (project), 2020-2022.  in 

                      Catrina Huyer, MEng (thesis), 2020-2021.  in

                      Raed Gharbi, MEng (thesis), 2019-2020.  in

                      Jiawei Yan, MEng (project), 2018-2020.  in

                      Saadia Wasim, MEng (thesis), 2018-2019.  in

                      Bita Janfeshan, Postdoc, Fall 2018.  in

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                      Sophia Roy, SURE/EUL & UG research projects, McGill University, Winter 2019 - Winter 2022.  in

                      Pew Dey, UG research project (BIEN 471), McGill University, Summer 2021.  in

                      Coralie Jabra Khabbaz, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter 2021.

                      Gregory Brock, NSERC USRA/SURE project, McGill University, Summer 2020.  

                      Ziqi Zheng, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Summer 2019 - Fall 2020.  in

                      Armita Amini, NSERC USRA/SURE & CHEE 494 projects, McGill University, Summer 2018 - Fall 2020.  in

                      Robert Chen, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter - Fall 2020.

                      Lei Wang, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter - Summer 2020. 

                      James Li, NSERC USRA/SURE project,  McGill University, Summer 2020.

                      Oliver Xie, NSERC USRA/SURE & CHEE 494 projects, McGill University, Fall 2017 - Summer 2020.  in

                      Yangshixing Li, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter 2019 - Spring 2020. 

                      Cathy Zhou, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter-Fall 2019.

                      Xiaodan Zhu, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Fall 2018-Fall 2019.

                      Liam Curtis, UG research project (CHEE 494),McGill University, Fall 2019.

                      Aastha Goyal, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Fall 2019.

                      Johan Alberti, Visiting student, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse, Summer 2019.

                      Alexander Bevacqua, NSERC USRA/SURE project, McGill University, Summer 2019.

                      Elia Benchekroun-Jolicoeur, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Summer 2019.

                      Shurui Feng, Visiting student, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Summer 2019.

                      Scott Jiang, UG research project (CHEE 494),McGill University, Fall 2018-Winter 2019

                      Alexandra Jacobson, UG research project (CHEE 496), McGill University, Winter 2019.

                      Jonathan Ong, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Fall 2018-Winter 2019.

                      Jessica Tian, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Winter 2018-Winter 2019.

                      Nolwenn Cousineau, NSERC USRA/SURE project,McGill University, Summer 2018.

                      Alexander Lambert, SURE project,McGill University, Summer 2018.

                      Nidhi Kamath, Visiting student, Manipal Institute of Technology, January-June 2018.

                      Honghan Zhu, UG research project, McGill University, Fall 2017-Winter 2018

                      Esther Xu, UG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Fall 2017-Winter 2018