Dr. Tohid Didar – Faculty of Engineering
Tohid Didar

Dr. Tohid Didar


Biomedical devices, bio-sensing, microfluidics, bio-functional interfaces, bio-hybrid micro/nano-robots
  • Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nano-biomaterials

    Mechanical Engineering

  • Associate Professor

    McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering


Our lab is focused on developing bio-functional interfaces for the design and development of the next generation of advanced biomaterials, biosensors, medical coatings and organs-on-chips for applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. We focus on bio-inspired approaches to develop new technologies with the goal of translating them into the clinic. The following three research platforms in our lab are:

Micro/nano-engineered interfaces

This research platform is focused on the design and development of bio-inspired functional materials and coatings with emphasis on integration into biomedical devices. Biomedical devices span a wide range of apparatus, appliances and materials used for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes such as extracorporeal devices used in blood purification, point-of-care diagnostics, implants, and drug discovery platforms. The performance of all such devices relies on the effective interaction of biological entities with synthetic material. We focus on engineering the physical, mechanical, and chemical structure of the interface between biological and non-biological matter (i.e. the bio-interface) as a means for designing innovative, highly functional engineering platforms for biomedicine. More specifically we focus on designing effective bio-interfaces to minimize non-specific binding while retaining and enhancing the desired function of the bio-interface (e.g., attachment of specific biomolecules and cells, selective proliferation/differentiation of cells, avoiding biofilm and clot formation, etc).

Lab-on-Chip Platforms

Recently, with the advances in miniaturization, Lab-On-a-Chip devices have started to play an important role for a wide range of biomedical applications such as point of care (POC) diagnostics, cell sorting, drug discovery and basic studies. A Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) is a device fabricated using micro and nano-fabrication techniques that integrates one or several laboratory functions on a single chip of only a few square millimetres in size while consuming small biological sample volumes in the order of nano and picolitres. Reduction of time and cost of assays, precision in detection, high surface to volume ratio, portability and ability to design cellular microenvironments are the main advantages of LOC devices for cell detection and sorting. In our lab, we focus on integrating and incorporating our newly designed and engineered bio-functional interfaces into miniaturized LOC devices to enhance their efficiency for applications in diagnostics and drug discovery.

Organs-on-Chips Platforms

Organ-On-Chip devices are biomimetic microsystems lined by living cells that reconstitute the key functional and micro-environmental features of whole organs including tissue-tissue interfaces, mechanical forces, fluid flow and relevant chemical gradients. These microfluidic devices can reproduce complex integrated organ-level responses to pathogens and inflammatory cytokines, as well as nanoparticles and pharmaceuticals; they also can effectively mimic disease states and complex pathophysiological responses. Organ-On-Chip microdevices lined by human cells may therefore expand the capabilities of cell culture models and provide low-cost alternatives to animal and clinical studies for drug screening and toxicology applications. Our goal is to develop 3D Organ-On-Chip micro-devices that reproduce key structural, functional, and mechanical properties of whole organs, including the lung, gut and kidney and implement these functional devices for drug discovery as well as personalized medicine where patient specific cells are used to construct the organ function in vitro to investigate personalized patient specific treatments.

Dr. Didar’s interview with CTV News

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Before joining McMaster University in 2016, Dr. Tohid Didar was a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. There he designed and developed a robust and clinically relevant extracorporeal dialysis-like treatment (DLT) device for sepsis treatment, leveraging medical grade hollow fiber filters. He obtained his PhD degree in 2013 from McGill University. His doctoral research was focused on design and development of miniaturized devices for label-free and high-throughput sorting, detection and in vitro culture of primary and rare cells. During his PhD studies, he was a research fellow at Harvard University, a member of NSERC-Create Integrated Sensor Systems training program and a visiting researcher at the National Research Council of Canada. Dr. Didar has several patented technologies in microfluidics and bio-functional interfaces as well as over 50 journal and conference publications and invited talks.

B.Sc., Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, 2004;

Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 2013;

PDF, Harvard University (Wyss Institute), Boston, USA, 2016