Meet the Team
Professor Michael Thompson
Mike obtained his PhD from McMaster University and following periods as a PDF at the University College of Swansea and Lecturer at Loughborough University, UK he moved to the University of Toronto where he is now a full professor. He has received many awards for his work including the Fisher Scientific Lecture and Steacie Awards of the Canadian Society for Chemistry and the Ontario Council of University Faculty Associations Award for teaching excellence. From the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK he has been presented with the Theophilus Redwood, Industrially-Sponsored Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation and Boyle Gold Medal Awards. In 2007 he was given the E.T.S Walton Award of Science Foundation Ireland and in this connection received a Visiting Scientist appointment at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork City. Additionally, he has presented a number of endowed lectures at several Universities including the Dow Lectureship, University of British Columbia, the University Lectureship, Concordia University, the Varian Lecture at the Ottawa- Carleton Chemistry Institute and the Leverhulme Trust Lectureship at the University of Durham, UK. In 1998 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Finally he has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Analytical Chemistry, Analytica Chimica Acta, Talanta, Chemical Sensor Technology, the Analyst, Analytical Communications, and Biosensors and Bioelectronics, and as Editor, Analytical Chemistry, The Canadian Journal of Chemistry and Editor for the Analyst.
Dr. Christophe Blaszykowski
Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Blaszykowski is a synthetic organic chemist (PhD 2005, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris - France) with a particular interest in the surface chemistry of ultrathin molecular coatings as a means to modify/tailor the surface properties (wettability, work function, antifouling, biocompatibility) of various substrate materials of (bio)technological relevance (e.g. ITO, quartz, gold, plastics, stainless steel). In this respect, he has held research positions in several companies in such various fields as biosensor technology (MedMira Inc., Maple Biosciences Division), molecular optoelectronics (The Solar Venture/Wired Sun Inc.), and biomedical equipment (Spectral Medical Inc.). Dr. Blaszykowski's role as a Senior Research Scientist consists in developing the diverse (novel) surface-modifying building block molecules for ultrathin adlayer preparation (over 40 to date).
Dr. Sonia Sheikh
Dr. Sonia Sheikh received her BSc in Nutritional Science and Chemistry (2007), MASc in Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (2009), and PhD in Bioanalytical Chemistry (2014) from the University of Toronto (Canada). Her PhD Thesis focused on the development of antifouling and antithrombogenic ultrathin surface chemistries against biological fluids for bioanalytical and biomedical applications. Dr. Sheikh is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Professor Michael Thompson at the University of Toronto, where she is developing real-time and label-free biosensors as advanced alternatives to current clinical diagnostic techniques for various diseases/conditions. Always of great interest for Dr. Sheikh are both the fundamental and applied research on novel antifouling and biocompatible coatings, which she is also currently investigating.
PhD Student in Chemistry
Project: "Surface functionalization of aluminum nitride with proteins and peptides: Towards developing an electrode-free aluminum nitride biosensor."
Born in Hong Kong but moved to Toronto since 1997, Edmund completed his Honours Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of Toronto in June 2012 and then joined the Thompson group as an undergraduate research student. Working under Professor Thompson, he completed a Master of Applied Science at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) from January 2013 to June 2015, and is continuing his work with the research group as a PhD in Chemistry in September 2015. Using X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy amongst many other surface techniques, Edmund is currently investigating and optimizing the conditions needed to covalently immobilize proteins and peptides, as biological probes, onto aluminum nitride surfaces, a piezoelectric material our group has been interested in incorporating as transducers in acoustic wave biosensors for enhancement of sensitivity. Outside of the lab, he enjoys video games, biking, watching YouTube videos, and of course, going out with his lab mates for the usual tea/coffee/cold drinks. (Including iced coffee from Tim Hortons and sparkling green tea lemonade from Second Cup).
PhD Student in Chemistry
Project: "Development of Novel LC-MS/MS Assays for the Rapid Detection of Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance Profiles and Viability"
Niall currently conducts his research at St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto) and occasionally at SCIEX in Vaughan. He completed his bachelor's degree at U of T Mississauga specializing in Forensic Chemistry. Niall held a summer position at the Government of Ontario's Centre of Forensic Sciences before beginning his PhD. He thoroughly enjoys teaching and is proud of his work as a teaching assistant. Outside a school setting, Niall is an avid sports fan and plays a wide variety of them himself. He also enjoys sci-fi, fantasy, and action movies, alternative rock and rap/hip-hop, travel, world geography, flags, comics, and baking.
Brian De La Franier
PhD Student in Chemistry
Project: "Colorimetric Detection of LPA for Signalling Ovarian Cancer"
Brian De La Franier completed his bachelor's degree as a specialist of chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2012. He joined the Thompson group in September of the same year as a direct PhD student, and has been working on detection of ovarian cancer as his project since the beginning. He hopes to develop a low cost blood test for signalling ovarian cancer in its early stages to help prevent this disease from taking any lives. Outside of the lab he enjoys many different hobbies including film-making, theatre, programming, and photography.
PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering
Project: "Prevention of thrombogenesis in medical equipment"
Most of my research involves working on coating of surfaces for the prevention of thrombogenesis in medical equipment components, although I also like to invent small projects to broaden my field as much as possible. I like to have as much in-lab built components as possible for my project. Not including the projects, I have a wide variety of interests which start as small as subatomic particles to planets or stars. I am always happy to hear something new or invent something. I also like many sports; if someone has a new sport I am always happy to learn and try.
MASc Student in Biomedical Engineering
Project: "Early detection of ovarian cancer through aptamer-protein surface interactions"
Jenise completed her HBSc in Human Biology: Health & Disease and Chemistry at the University of Toronto and is now pursuing her Master of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Michael Thompson. Her project investigates aptamer-protein binding on quartz surfaces for future implementation in early detection of ovarian cancer. Outside of academia, Jenise enjoys all things related to the visual arts: illustration, traditional artwork, digital media, as well as graphic design to name a few. She also likes to spend time swimming, reading, and exploring the city.
MSc Student in Chemistry
Project: "A Theranostic Approach to the Prevention of Bone Metastases Caused by Invasive Duct Carcinomas"
Victor was born in the small town of Timisoara, Romania and he immigrated to Toronto, Canada at the age of 6. After finishing his Honours B.Sc. in chemistry in 2014, he was accepted into the direct-entry PhD program for bioanalytical chemistry. His project involves the detection and removal of a particular breast cancer biomarker, which would prevent the metastasis of the cancer from the breast to the bone. In his spare time, he likes to brew high quality beer as well as watch hockey (huge Maple Leafs fan). He also enjoys reading, with science fiction being his favourite genre and H.G. Wells his favourite author.
Rohan R. Ravindranath
MSc Student in Chemistry
Project: "Investigating biochemical methods to improve the biocompatibility of stainless steel stents"
Rohan Ravindranath obtained his Honors BSc. in chemistry and biotechnology from the University of Toronto (UofT) in 2014. He completed his fourth year project in organic chemistry under the guidance of Professor Jik Chin. Rohan is currently completing his MSc. under the joint guidance of Professor Michael Thompson and Professor Alexander D. Romaschin. His research interests involve developing a biocompatible stainless steel stent that does notelicit an immune response upon implantation. One approach involves modifying the surface of the stainless steel with a bifunctional linker molecule, followed by immobilization of whole antibodies and subsequent binding of endothelial cells. Outside of chemistry, Rohan enjoys playing golf, basketball and skiing. He has an interest in economics, and loves to try new types of cuisine.