Four BME faculty promoted to associate professor

On July 1st, Drs. Kei Masani, Sara Vasconcelos, Sowmya Viswanathan, and Azadeh Yadollahi were promoted to Associate Professor at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This promotion was based on their research excellence, teaching mandates, and community- based contributions.

Kei Masani (KITE, BME)

Dr. Masani’s research focuses on improving the mobility and function of individuals with spinal cord injury. This was achieved by investigating the physiological control mechanisms/biomechanics in able-bodied individuals and developing strategies to overcome the shortfalls of current therapeutic tools. Funded by agencies such as Wings for Life Foundation, Praxis, CHRP, NSERC, and CIHR, etc., Dr. Masani’s research endeavors culminated in 132 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of biomechanics, functional electrical stimulation, and spinal cord rehabilitation.

Since 2013, Dr. Masani has taught and developed 2 courses: Human Whole-Body Biomechanics (BME430) and Rehabilitation Engineering (BME1471). Dr. Masani has also supervised 54 undergraduate summer students, 6 undergraduate thesis students, 12 Master’s students, 4 PhD students and 4 postdoctoral students. The success of Prof. Masani’s mentoring is exemplified in the numerous awards received by his students ranging from Mitacs, NSERC, and CIHR. 

Sara Vasconcelos (Toronto General Research Institute, BME)

Dr. Vasconcelos’ research focuses on developing cell-based regenerative medicine therapies and predictive models (organ on a chip technologies) of diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease to identify novel therapeutic strategies. Since joining BME in 2014 and funded by various agencies such as CIHR, HSF, NSERC, CFREF-MbD, JDRF-USA and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, Dr. Vasconcelos has published 19 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of regenerative medicine and cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dr. Vasconcelos’ work has appeared in prominent journals including Science Translational Medicine, Nature Methods, Nature Materials and Biomaterials. She received several awards for her work, including the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research Innovation and Science in Canada, and the prestigious Young Innovators in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Award, BMES, USA. Since 2014, Dr. Vasconcelos has supervised 4 undergraduate students, 3 Master’s students, 4 PhD students and 4 postdoctoral students. Her trainees have received scholarships, presented at international conferences, and produced first author papers.

Sowmya Viswanathan (Schroeder Arthritis Institute, Krembil Research Institute, BME)

Dr. Viswanathan’s research focuses on developing novel cell-based therapies for inflammatory and chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis. Supported by various funding agencies such as CIHR, Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, NSERC, and BioCanRx, Dr. Viswanathan has received funding over $3M and published 41 peer-reviewed articles in the area of arthritis and cell-based therapies and has filed 1 patent and 11 disclosures.

Since 2014, Dr. Viswanathan had supervised 16 undergraduate students, 4 MASc students, 2 PhDs, and 7 post-doctoral fellows. In total, her students have jointly received more than $370,000 in awards and recognition from agencies such as the Arthritis Society Fellowship, NSERC Graduate scholarships, and the Mount Sinai Hospital Graduate in Science and Technology Scholarship.

Azadeh Yadollahi (KITE, BME)

Dr. Yahdollahi’s research focuses on better understanding the physiology of cardiorespiratory disorders such as sleep apnea and asthma, developing non-invasive wearable technology to monitor physiological signals associated with these disorders, and finding alternative treatments for afflicted patients. Funded by Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, Canada Research Chair, New Frontiers Research Fund, Canada Foundation for Innovation and NSERC, she had published 39 peer-reviewed publications in the area of cardiorespiratory disorders and sleep apnea and presented her work 13 times nationally and 8 times internationally.

Since 2014, Dr. Yadollahi had taught Modeling, Dynamics and Control of Biological Systems (BME344), and has served as guest lecturer for Clinical Engineering Instrumentation II (BME1439), a BME graduate course for a number of years. Dr. Yadollahi had supervised 21 undergraduate summer students, 2 undergraduate thesis students, 5 undergraduate capstone student projects, 10 Master’s students, 6 PhD student, and 5 postdoctoral students. Dr. Yadollahi has also focused on STEM youth outreach for equity-deserving individuals including young women, and youth from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities.