Team

Our team champions equity, diversity, and inclusion, mental and physical health, as well as respect, collaboration, and determination.


Dr. Adetola Adesida

Dr Adetola Adesida is a Professor and Divisional Director of Orthopaedic Basic Science Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta, Canada. He leads biologists, clinicians, and engineers interested in musculoskeletal and maxillofacial cartilage tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research. His research is supported by major competitive awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation of Innovation, University of Alberta Hospital Foundation, and the Alberta Cancer Foundation. He completed his doctoral studies at the School of Pharmacy, University of Manchester (UK), and post-doctoral training at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research in the University of Manchester and Harvard Medical School. He is a recipient of fellowship awards from Harvard Medical School and the Marie Curie fellowship program of the European Commission, which he exercised at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland. He is a recipient of the Collaborative Exchange Prize of the Orthopaedic Research Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a member of the College of Reviewers of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He serves on the editorial board of Nature Scientific Reports. He holds several patents and has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers in cartilage tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Aillette Mulet Sierra

Aillette Mulet Sierra is a Research Technician in Dr. Adetola Adesida Laboratory, Surgery Department, University of Alberta. She has a MSc degree in Biochemistry and twenty years of experience in Translational Research. Her background knowledge areas include Molecular Immunology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. Since 2010, She has been working in developing cell-based tissue engineering strategies to facilitate repair or regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues in collaboration with orthopedic surgeons at Dr. Adesida Laboratory. She is involved in different research projects and in the training of graduated and undergraduate students. Also, she has been responsible for all the administrative work related with the laboratory day to day operation.

Melanie Kunze

Melanie Kunze completed her Biology Laboratory Technician diploma in Frankfurt and worked as a Laboratory Technician in research and development at Æterna Zentaris GmbH and c-LEcta GmbH as well as in molecular diagnostics at αΩ Labor Medizinische Kooperationsgemeinschaft GbR. Since 2016 she has been working in Dr. Adetola Adesida’s lab under the nasal reconstruction project. Additionally, one of her main responsibilities within the lab is to take care of molecular biology related tasks, including qRT-PCR, for the entire research group as well as student training and administrative work.

Alex Szojka

Alex Szojka is a graduate of biology and mechanical engineering programs at the University of Calgary. He joined Dr Adesida’s research group in 2015 to create biomimetic 3D printed meniscus scaffolds for meniscus tissue engineering. Alex returned from 2016-2021 to complete his PhD in Experimental Surgery. In close collaboration with colleagues, he developed a strategy called, “mechano-hypoxia conditioning” to enhance formation of engineered human meniscus fibrocartilage.

Alex can be reached at aszojka@ualberta.ca or via Linkedin (linkedin.com/in/szojka).

Xiaoyi Lan

Xiaoyi Lan is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cross-disciplinary Program, University of Alberta. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, University of Alberta. She is currently co-supervised by Dr. Yaman Boluk (Engineering), and Dr. Adesida (Surgery). Her research is focused on advancing the capabilities of human nasal fabrication. Specifically, she is working on 3D bioprinting of mechanical robust cartilage for nasal reconstructive surgery and in bioink rheological analysis.

Dr. Michael Turner

Dr. Michael Turner is a Master of Science (Surgery) Student in the University of Alberta Department of Surgery working in the lab of Dr. Adetola Adesida. He is currently a Graduate Research Assistantship Fellow of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. His research focuses on the repair of the avascular portion of the meniscus. Current efforts are focused on the enhancement of collagen scaffolds using chondrogenically primed mesenchymal stem cells to generate scaffold characteristics which are favorable for meniscus repair. His other focus is on delivery systems for these repair substrates with a particular interest in injectable hydrogels and reconstituted lyophilized tissue. Dr. Turner is looking to enter into an orthopedic residency at the conclusion of his MSc, with a focus on sports medicine.

Yan Liang

Yan Liang graduated from a 7-year joint MD and MSc program at Shantou University Medical School (SUMC) in 2014. He was trained in the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of SUMC as a plastic surgeon in the last two years. After graduation, he was awarded funding from the Li Ka Shing Foundation for a 4-year PhD program. He joined Dr. Adesida’s lab in 2014 working in meniscus tissue engineering using autologous stem cells, supported by research grants from CIHR, ECECAF, UHF, and the Alberta Cancer Foundation. His latest work was for projects working in engineering high-quality autologous cartilage grafts for nasal reconstruction. He successfully defended his PhD thesis in late 2019.

Hilda Ma

Hilda Ma was trained as a biomedical engineer in Hong Kong and completed her master degree in the same major at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany. She is currently a PhD student in the department of surgery under the supervision of Dr. Adesida Adetola. Her research topic is using tissue engineered constructs as models to study the molecular mechanism of osteoarthritis in a simulated microgravity environment. Hilda previously won the golden award of JEC outstanding engineering project competition and her proposed medical device is under clinical test in Hong Kong.

Margaret Vyhlidal

Margaret Vyhlidal is a Master of Science (MSc) student in the Department of Surgery in Dr. Adetola Adesida’s laboratory at the University of Alberta. She obtained her Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours degree in Physiology at the University of Alberta with a primary focus in cell physiology. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie how meniscus cells sense, interpret, and respond to mechanical stimuli through a process known as mechanotransduction. Margaret has received a number of studentships including the national 2021/2022 Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship- Master’s (NSERC). She is grateful to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and the University of Alberta Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research for their support in her work. Upon finishing her MSc degree, Margaret is looking to enter medical school at a Canadian institution. Margaret enjoys spending her free time outdoors and engaging in many different physical activities including hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, skiing, and kickboxing.

Femi Akinola

Femi Akinola is a third-year undergraduate student at the U of A studying Materials Engineering. She will be working with the 3D Printing group focused on cartilage growth, supervised by Dr. Adetola Adesida. In her spare time, Femi enjoys writing, reading, design, and trying to solve “people” problems through her own personal projects.

David Li

David Li is an undergraduate student in Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta. He joined the lab in May 2020, where his project focused on developing mechano-hypoxia conditioning as a strategy to enhance formation of engineered human meniscus fibrocartilage. He is further developing this strategy using mesenchymal stem cells and hyaluronan hydrogels to engineer articular cartilage. David optimistically hopes to apply his civil engineering knowledge in a biology-related field.

Malou Sopcak

Malou Sopcak is an undergraduate student completing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in biology with a minor in philosophy at the University of Alberta. Since joining the lab in May 2020, her research has focused on determining whether soluble factors released from engineered nasal cartilage are able to induce chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. She is interested in further identifying the signalling molecules responsible for promoting chondrogenesis. Notable achievements include placing second in a watermelon-eating contest in a 2017 rugby tournament.

Jaden Majumdar

Jaden Majumdar is a 1st year student at U of T in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, in the Engineering Science program. He works in the lab as a summer student at the U of A in the Department of Experimental Surgery, supervised by Dr. Adetola Adesida. His research focuses on biomechanics and how they affect the growth of cartilage, mainly in meniscus. The project he most recently worked on was centered on the effects of dynamic and cyclic-hydrostatic-pressure forms of mechanical loading on chondrogenesis, as well as the effects of the cells’ environment, such as the presence of growth factors, on their growth and development. Jaden aspires to gain a greater knowledge in the field of biomechanics, and conduct research in the future.