Expertise in biomedical nanotechnologies

Members of the Nanotechnology Research Centre team stand for a group photo in front of a large wall banner displaying the words Celebrating our diversity and a map of the world.

Team photo, 2019

Our Biomedical Nanotechnologies team at the Nanotechnology Research Centre designs, synthesizes and tests nanomaterials for the ability to manipulate biological systems. Our multidisciplinary team of synthetic organic chemists, biomedical engineers, microscopists, cell biologists, immunologists and biochemists designs functionalized multivalent materials that can target, deliver and modify target cells or tissues. In addition, at the Centre, we build multiparametric sensing devices that can isolate or enrich nanoparticles for improved characterization. Our recent application in 3D bioprinting is expanding, and we actively seek collaboration in this area.

Main areas of expertise

  • Design and synthesis of nanostructured materials for biological and biomedical applications
    • Synthetic organic chemistry of organogel materials from low molecular weight gelators
    • Hydrothermal and sol-gel methods of inorganic nanoparticles and nanowires
    • Microfluidics of drug and bioactive compounds encapsulated lipidpolymer nanoparticles
  • Characterization of engineered nanomaterials and their physiological interaction or response at subcellular scale
    • Analysis of size distribution, morphology and structures of drug delivery system in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or cryo-TEM, scanning electron microscopy (SEMs) and dynamic light scattering (DLS)
    • Quantitative analysis of payload encapsulation and loading efficiency in drug delivery systems, such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) or bioactive compounds, using RiboGreen and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
    • Identification and localization of nanomaterials in biological systems using correlative electron and fluorescent microscopy
    • Metabolic analysis using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of mast cells upon activation
  • Molecular manipulation of mammalian biology
    • Receptor-mediated cellular activation during inflammation
    • Recombinant protein production using genetic constructs for expression in eukaryotic or prokaryotic systems
    • Nanocytotoxicity by measuring metabolic activity, viability, reactive oxygen species generation and other functional assays
    • 3D bioprinting of immunocompetent tissues
    • Examination of protein expression by western blot, flow cytometry and histology
    • Enrichment and characterization of extracellular vesicles (EVs)

Our experts

Head shot of Marianna Kulka.

Marianna Kulka

Team Lead


  • Allergy and pseudo-allergic responses
  • Lipid and polymer nanoparticle design to target inflammation
  • Mast cell and basophil biology
  • G protein-coupled receptor signalling and regulation of expression
  • Inter-cellular communication via extracellular vesicles and nanopores
Head shot of Benazir Alam.

Benazir Alam

  • Lipid nanoparticle transfection of mammalian cells
  • Endocytosis via clathrin-dependent and clathrin-independent mechanisms
  • Transcriptomic profiling of mammalian cells (quantitative polymerase chain reaction, RNA sequencing)
Head shot of Narcy Arizmendi.

Narcy Arizmendi

  • In vitro use of immortalized human and rodent cell line cultures
  • Nanoparticle formulation and synthesis
  • Drug delivery systems
Head shot of Khalid Azyat.

Khalid Azyat

  • Organic chemistry, polymers
  • Design, synthesis, purification and characterization of new molecules
Head shot of Darren Makeiff.

Darren Makeiff

  • Synthetic organic chemistry
  • Supramolecular chemistry
  • Soft nanomaterials characterization (supramolecular gels)
  • Drug delivery systems
Head shot of Hui (Julie) Qian.

Hui (Julie) Qian

  • Cryo-transmission electron microscopy
  • Immuno-electron microscopy
  • Electron tomography
  • Analytical transmission electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy
Head shot of Valentyna Semenchenko.

Valentyna Semenchenko

  • Bacterial cell culture maintenance
  • Design and optimization of recombinant genetic constructs
  • Design, development and finalization of the standard operating procedure for protein purification

Bradley Smith

  • Rheology and DHR-3 rheometers
  • Small instrument repair
  • Thermal analysis equipment (thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry)
Head shot of Ashley Wagner.

Ashley Wagner

  • Primary cell generation and in vitro use
  • Mouse intestinal organoid generation and in vitro use
  • Assessing biocompatibility of nanoparticles
Head shot of Feng Wang.

Feng Wang

  • Molecular biology, cell biology and protein biochemistry techniques
  • Application of optical microscopy for cell imaging
  • Nanoemulsions
  • Lipid nanoparticle production and characterization
Head shot of Mickie Wiebe.

Mickie Wiebe

  • Facilitator in the organic synthesis laboratory
  • Rheometer contact
  • Polarizing microscopy
Head shot of Steven Willows.

Steven Willows

  • Cell biology and immunology
  • Lipid nanoparticles
  • Biology of prion proteins
Head shot of Zhimin Yan.

Zhimin Yan

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and chromatography
  • NMR metabolomics
  • Intermolecular interactions

Muhammad Amirul Islam

  • Synthesis, characterization and applications of organic, inorganic and hybrid nanoparticles
  • Synthesis, characterization and applications of stimuli-responsive and multifunctional hydrogel
  • Material development for theragnostics
  • Development and application of water filtration membranes
  • Material development for adsorptive water treatment
Head shot of Shammy Raj.

Shammy Raj

  • Design and synthesis of bioresponsive materials
  • Design and development of immuno-therapeutic systems
  • Design of therapeutic peptides to manipulate mast cell activity
Head shot of Marcus Pehar.

Marcus Pehar

  • Cell biology and immunology
  • Biology of prion proteins
  • Cellular inflammation
Head shot of Nishita Hiresha Verma.

Nishita Hiresha Verma

  • Biotechnology
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Bioinformatics
Head shot of Sabrina Rodrigues Meira.

Sabrina Rodrigues Meira

  • Biocompatible coatings
  • Nanofabrication
  • Exosome isolation and characterization

Contact us

Biomedical nanotechnologies
Marianna Kulka, Team Lead
Telephone: 780-641-1687

Related link

Video on our expertise and instruments