ALUMNI SPEAKER SERIES "Next Generation of Implants and Medical Devices: Exploring Additive Manufacturing’s New Biofabrication Frontiers"Export this event to calendar

Thursday, May 20, 2021 — 1:00 PM EDT

"Next Generation of Implants and Medical Devices: Exploring Additive Manufacturing’s New Biofabrication Frontiers""

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Thanks to the rapid progress of additive manufacturing technology advancements and research, the biomedical industry is opening thrilling new frontiers that are dramatically improving patient outcomes. Now, with the ability to use ceramics, polymers and metallic materials in the additive manufacturing process, the range of customized implantable medical devices is poised to be greatly - and safely – expanded.

With a multidisciplinary approach that combines principles of materials science, engineering, biomechanics, molecular biology, pharmaceuticals and extended clinical monitoring, biomed additive manufacturing researchers and industry experts will discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with bridging the gap between biology and engineering, as they work to solve some of medical science’s most vexing (and costly) problems.

The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panel of experts.

A Zoom link will be sent to those who register for this session. 

Mihaela VlaseaMihaela Vlasea, PhD
BASc 2008, Mechatronics Engineering; PhD 2014, Mechanical Engineering
Associate Research Director, MSAM
Assistant Professor
Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo

Additive manufacturing, also known as industrial 3D printing, is rapidly changing the manufacturing landscape. Dr. Vlasea’s research focuses on innovative design, process optimization and adoption of new materials for powder bed fusion and powder bed binder jetting additive manufacturing processes. Her research goals are to bridge the technological gaps necessary to improve part quality, process repeatability and reliability.

Panel Speakers:


Aye Nyein San
BASc 2004, Systems Design Engineering
Cosm Medical Corp.

Aye Nyein San received her BASc degree from University of Waterloo (Systems Design Engineering in 2004) and MASc degree from the University of Toronto (MIE in 2006). She is driven to innovate in the healthcare ecosystem by applying systems engineering principles. Aye currently holds the CTO position at a Toronto MechTech startup, Cosm Medical Corp., where she strives to change the way women affected by pelvic organ prolapse are treated, bringing personalized 3D printed treatment options to clinicians around the world. Previously, she was the VP Engineering at SQI Diagnostics, a publicly traded company, building complex biotech analysis platforms. Aye played a key role with the launch of imaware™, an online direct-to-consumer blood testing platform offering diagnostic tests to monitor celiac disease and arthritis tests. Early in her career, Aye introduced in-house additive manufacturing processes to the R&D team at Baylis Medical. 

Stewart McLachlinStewart McLachlin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
University of Waterloo.

Dr. McLachlin is leading a new research program in Orthopaedic Mechatronics at the University of Waterloo, which brings together biomechanical modeling and simulation of human joint mechanics with the design and manufacturing of next-generation orthopaedic implants and related technologies. His expertise and reputation in orthopaedic biomechanics has been recognized through awards from the Cervical Spine Research Society, the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, and recently from the International Society for Computer-Aided Surgery. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. McLachlin has received funding awards from NSERC (Discovery Grant), CFI, Mitacs and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, as well funding support from the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology and the Network for Aging Research at Waterloo.

Emmanuel HoEmmanuel A. Ho, PhD
Associate Professor at School of Pharmacy
Cross appointed to the Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Professor Emmanuel A. Ho is a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) and the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology. His research interests include the development and characterization of targeted drug delivery systems, nanomedicines and medical devices for imaging, treatment, and prevention of diseases including HIV/AIDS, chronic wounds, and cancer. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the GlaxoSmithKline / Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences (CSPS) Early Career Award, the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada New Investigator Research Award, the Rh Award for Excellence in Research, and the WIN Research Leader Award. Dr. Ho also serves on the board of numerous scientific societies including Treasurer for CSPS, Focus Group Liaison for the Controlled Release Society (CRS), and the Past President of the Canadian Chapter of CRS. He is currently an Associate Editor for Drug Delivery and Translational Research, Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Guest Editor for Pharmaceutics. Dr. Ho is the co-founder and CEO of Asli Technologies (focused on synthesizing “eco-inks” for 3D biomedical printing applications), the CSO of Theraphage Bio (focused on bacteriophage-based immunotherapeutics), and co-host of Not So Serious Science podcast (interviews with experts & science explained in layman’s terms).

Thomas WillettThomas Willett
Assistant Professor
Department of Systems Design Engineering

Professor Thomas Willett is the director of the Composite Biomaterial Systems Laboratory. His research interests concern skeletal biomaterials and tissues. 

He specializes in:

1) Bone quality and fragility - developing improved understanding of the mechanisms that determine the mechanical behaviour and failure of bone and how collagen modifications due to ageing, disease, irradiation, and other causes alter these mechanisms and the mechanical behaviour of the tissue. He also works with musculoskeletal tissue banks.

2) Development of 3D printable nanocomposite biomaterials for skeletal reconstruction – by leveraging the exciting and rapidly advancing fields of additive manufacturing/3D Printing, nanocomposites, and bioinspiration, his team seeks to develop disruptive new technologies for application in skeletal reconstruction and repair (orthopaedics), particularly next-generation graft materials for treating large skeletal defects caused by trauma, cancer, etc.

Prof. Willett's laboratory receives major funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science.

Boxin ZhaoBoxin Zhao
Department of Chemical Engineering

Professor Boxin Zhao is a member of the Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology, Institute for Polymer Research, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology at the University of Waterloo. He established the Surface Science and Bionanomaterials Laboratory at the University of Waterloo in 2008 and has been the head of the laboratory since then. The laboratory has been well known for its interdisciplinary research capacity to take on both fundamental and applied research projects, and has collaborated widely with industrial partners to address industrial challenges and societal needs. His research interests include smart polymers, sustainable polymers, microplastic degradation, antimicrobial coatings and composites, hydrogels, bionanomaterials, soft materials and interface, biomimetic adhesion, electrically conductive polymers and adhesives, soft robotic devices, advanced manufacturing, etc. He has 100+ peer-refereed papers on the top journals including Macromolecules, Advanced Materials, Nature Materials, and Progress in Polymer Sciences, and has delivered many presentations in national and international conferences - more details.

Please note: This session will be recorded with permission of the speakers and moderator and will be posted to view on the Alumni Speaker Playlist on the Waterloo Engineering YouTube Channel after the live session. Viewers do not have permission to record the session.