Jose Cadavid

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After completing an undergraduate degree in Process Engineering in my home country (Colombia), I lived in Germany for 4 years and completed a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the Technical University of Dortmund. I then moved to Toronto to pursue a PhD in Chemical/Biomedical Engineering at the McGuigan Lab for tissue engineering, where I work on creating 3D lab models to study how cancer cells behave in different environments and how they interact with other cells commonly found in tumours. Cancer cells are like people and they behave differently depending on their environment and their neighbors, so I hope my research will help with treating this disease.

I am also passionate about teaching science and have been part of Discovery for 2 years now; every term brings its own challenges but also many rewards with it! When I am not in the lab, I enjoy playing bass, cooking, reading, doing 3D design/printing, and generally learning new skills.


Ileana Co

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Ileana received a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Chemical Engineering, specializing in Bioprocess Engineering with a minor in Commerce, at the University of British Columbia. She is currently a PhD candidate at the McGuigan Lab for Tissue Engineering at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.


Her PhD work focuses on developing tissue engineered models of pancreatic cancer and immune cells in order to understand their role in tumour progression and identify potentially novel therapeutic targets.


She is also the Finance and Large Events Coordinator for Let's Talk Science (UofT-St.George) and is involved in planning high school symposia like Let’s Talk Cancer and StemCellTalks. In her spare time, Ileana enjoys reading, watching movies, hiking, and spending time with friends and family through food and travel!


Katya D'Costa

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Katya is pursuing her PhD in vascular tissue engineering at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.


She completed her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and Biosciences at McMaster University in 2018. Curious and adventurous from a young age, her passion for teaching and mentorship was first sparked by her high school physics teacher. Since then she has been involved in a number of outreach initiatives such as the McMaster Children and Youth University, the Women in Engineering Mentorship program and most recently the IBBME Discovery program.


She has found working with Discovery to be a tremendously enriching experience as the students are very enthusiastic learners and eager to delve into hands-on experiments. Through the program, she hopes to share her love for the sciences and help students uncover their potential.


Nhien Tran-Nguyen

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Nhien is a Master of Applied Science candidate in Biomedical Engineering, conducting research in the computational modeling of coronary artery bypass grafts under the supervision of Prof. Piero Triverio.


She holds a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Biomedical Systems Engineering. Nhien has been a part of Discovery since Spring 2019 as a mentor and graduate student lead of Chemistry programming.


She is excited to lead the expansion of Discovery programming into the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).


Patrick Diep

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What if we could control the movement of metals in and out of cells? Pulling metals out of mine effluents and recovering them to make a profit? There are millions of litres of this wastewater out there, and the quantity of dissolved metals in them is worth billions. It’s a big idea and my PhD explores this possibility.


I also research best teaching practices for undergraduate synthetic biology, and I am co-founding a company called Indus where we 3D-print soil for hydroculture applications. In my spare time. 

I enjoy camping out in Algonquin, reading books on my balcony, and watching how water moves.


Judy Xia

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Hi everyone, my name is Judy and I am going into my third year of Chemical Engineering. I am so glad to be part of IBBME Discovery Program, which gives me an opportunity to engage with both high school students and other leads and to share our common interest in biomedical engineering.


This summer I am also doing research at McGuigan Lab looking at tumor-macrophage interactions. During the school year, I participated in various clubs such as Women in Science and Engineering which advocates for women empowerment in STEM by building leadership skills and confidence. Outside of schools,


I am a big fan of movies, shows, as well as literature: currently on Cloud Atlas, a book I have been procrastinating to finish.