Principal Investigator

Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, Ph.D, ing. jr

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering 

McGill University

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)

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. 

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).

Group members

PhD students

Zahra Abdali

Zahra is pursuing her PhD in Chemical Engineering and she is the recipient of a MEDA award. 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!

Contact: zahra.abdali(at), Office: Wong 6080 

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!

Contact: mario.arenasgarcia(at), Office: Wong 6080

Masoud Aminzare

Masoud has joined the Dorval Lab to pursue his PhD in Chemical Engineering.  He is the recipient of a MEDA award and is co-advised by Prof. Sara Mahshid (Bioengineering). 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.

Contact: masoud.aminzare(at), Office: Wong 6290

Google Scholar link

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, and is the recipient of a MEDA award.  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.

Contact: dalia.saldanha(at), Office: Wong 6080

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).

Contact: daniel.modafferi(at), Office: Wong 6290.

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Master students

Saadia Wasim

Saadia is a thesis-based Master's student in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She is the recipient of an EUL scholarship. She was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and is originally from India. Saadia completed a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE. Her research focuses on how proteins can be engineered to be used as sensors. She enjoys community and social services, teaching, travelling, eating, cooking and playing chess.

Contact: saadia.wasim(at), Office: Wong 6290

Jiawei Yan

Jiawei is a Master of Engineering student in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He was born and raised in the People’s republic of China, and completed a Bachelor of Engineering in Applied Chemistry from the Dalian University of Technology. During his Bachelor’s degree, he focused on the synthesis of antibacterial agents and metal organic frameworks. He joined the Dorval lab in the Fall 2018. Now, his research focuses on bio-organic supramolecular assemblies for producing environmentally-friendly devices. When he is free, he likes singing, cooking, watching movies, teaching, and being around children.

Contact: jiawei.yan(at), Office: Wong 6290

Raed Gharbi

Raed is a MEng student in Chemical Engineering, working on a joint project between the Dorval Lab and the Omanovic Lab.  He is the recipient of both EUL and MEUSMA awards.

Contact: raed.gharbi(at), Office: Wong 6290

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Undergraduate students

Oliver Xie

Oliver is currently an undergraduate pursing a degree in Chemical Engineering at McGill. He received NSERC USRA awards through the SURE program for the Summers 2018 & 2019.  Oliver is interested in studying the application of biologically-derived materials to the creation of novel energy sources. As part of the Dorval Lab, he will be conducting research into bio-photovoltaics and the assembly of molecular solar cells using engineered proteins. In his free time, Oliver enjoys travelling and building model rockets.

Armita Amini

Armita is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University.  She received NSERC USRA awards through the SURE program for the Summers 2018 & 2019.

Xiaodan Zhu

Xiaodan is an undergraduate student at McGill University, joining the group for a research project.

Yangshixing Li

Yangshixing Li is currently an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University. She is joining the Dorval Lab motivated by her interests in advanced materials, especially bio-inspired materials at the nanoscale. As part of the lab, she will be assisting research on the synthesis of inorganic nanostructures. Apart from engineering, she likes kickboxing, literatures, philosophy, and photography.

Sophia Roy

Sophia’s interest to join the Dorval Lab comes from her life motivation to work on innovative solutions for a better environment. She is the recipient of both SURE and EUL awards for the Summer 2019. She will contribute to the design of a bio solar cell which introduces protein fibers as conductive elements. She believes that solar energy research, along with all green energy technologies, are crucial domains to advance for ensuring a sustainable future. Apart from science, Sophia enjoys dancing, travelling, baking, painting and tutoring!

Cathy Zhou

Cathy is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, joining the group for a research project

Ziqi Zheng

Ziqi is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, joining the group for the Summer 2019 for a research project.  She will assist with the analysis of bioconjugated protein composites.  Ziqi also enjoys tennis and keeping pets! 

Liam Curtis

Liam is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, joining the group for a research project.  

Aastha Goyal

Aastha is an undergraduate student in Chemical Engineering at McGill University, joining the group for a research project.  

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Lab alumni

Graduate and Postdoctoral alumni:

Bita Janfeshan, Postdoc, Fall 2018.


Undergraduate alumni:

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-JolicoeurUG research project (CHEE 494), McGill University, Summer 2019.

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

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

Alexandra JacobsonUG 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, UG research intern, 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

© 2019 Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne.  All rights reserved.