Current Projects


Year: Fall 2023 - Present

Team Leads: Nathan Ruesch, Elisabeth Lawton

Subteam Leads: TBD

Hemophilia is a rare genetic condition affecting more than 250,000 people worldwide, according to a 2021 report from the World Federation of Hemophilia1. People with the disease lack the ability to produce a blood clotting factor, which is factor VIII for hemophilia A2. Intravenous injections, often from a young age, is the standard of care for this condition, and has negative impacts on the patient's quality of life and compliance with treatment. This project proposes to design optimized lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) for the delivery of a mRNA gene therapy for hemophilia A. Significant advancements were made in mRNA vaccines delivered via LNPs around the year 2020 as part of the global effort to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The same technology shows promise to treat many cancers and rare diseases7, such as hemophilia5,6.


Year: Fall 2023 - Present

Team Leads: Sara Fraser, Karim Mustafa (Fall '23), Marlo Naish (Winter '24)

Subteam Leads: TBD

Current methods of wound closure are inconvenient for internal use, especially in laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgeries, leaving an unmet need in surgeons’ toolbox1,2,3. Although sutures have high tensile strength3,4, they are prone to infection5 and their repeated punctures damage surrounding tissues3. This project proposes a biomimetic surgical adhesive inspired by the adhesion mechanism used by brown algae (Fucus serratus) and primarily composed of alginate, phloroglucinol, and calcium ions. Preliminary research has shown that such a formulation can be as strong as commercial fibrin sealant, which is the most commonly used type of internal surgical adhesive, but without any of the health risks associated with fibrin sealants2. The bioadhesive aims to decrease surgery time and improve patient outcomes compared to current internal wound closure methods in minimally invasive surgery. 

Past Projects


Year: 2022-2023

Team Leads: Charlotte Volk & Emma Wong (Fall)/Taisei Fu (Winter)

Subteam Leads: Katelyn George, Zahra Panju, Ian Chuang, Taisei Fu (Fall)/Katya Shchukin (Winter)

Disease-carrying mosquitoes are a major problem in Ghana, and many species are resistant to common insecticides. However, red mangrove extract is repellent and larvicidal against the main species of disease-carrying mosquito present in Ghana. We propose creating a natural, eco-friendly mosquito repellent using mangrove leaf extract that targets disease-carrying mosquitoes in Ghana. We would develop a repellent that could be manufactured on-site in Ghana, using an extract from the red mangroves grown in the region and other common materials.

Maneico is now independent from BioDesign and continuing as a start-up. See more


Year: 2022-2023

Team Leads: Rus Trana & Pew Dey

Subteam Leads: Amber Birks & Marion Vandewynckele-Bossut (Fall)/Rus Trana (Winter)

Cervical cancer is the 4th most common variety of cancer in women worldwide, leading to approximately 266,000 deaths annually [1]. In less developed regions, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer after breast cancer [1]. High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) strains (such as 16 and 18) are the major causes of cervical cancer but can be treated if detected early enough [2]. We propose to create an ultra-sensitive protein detection technique applying microfluidics for the p16INK4a biomarker for cervical cancer. A POC device with increased sensitivity and accuracy can be used as an adjunct to DNA-based HPV testing to improve cervical cancer screening, mainly in low-resource settings. See more

Cervic-o is no longer continuing as a BioDesign project.

Year: 2021-2022

Team Lead: Anne Kyung

Subteam Leads: Lan Ann Hyunh & Zahra Panju

Our team seeks to design a microneedle patch that can fluorescently detect sodium levels in the body, allowing for simple and non-invasive monitoring. See more

Year: 2021-2022

Team Lead: Mary Wan

Subteam Leads: Maria Calderbank, Katia Rosenflanz, Jada Thompson, Charlotte Volk

Hello! Welcome to micROS—a collaboration between McGill Biodesign and the McGill Rocket Team! Together, we are investigating the changes in levels of reactive oxidative species in microgravity and hypergravity environments. Our McGill Biodesign team is focused on designing 1) the microfluidic chip composed of channels for the flow of reagents and a microwell holding the cells, in which the reaction will take place, 2) the perfusion system for timely and efficient delivery of reagents to the microwell containing the cells, and 3) the hydrogel that the cells will be embedded in to be kept alive throughout the experiment. See more

Year: 2020-2022

Team Leads: Bernadette Ng & Tirza Pang

Subteam Leads: Neil Banik, Sebastien Gaviria Velez, Zoe Goldberger, Leah-Kathleen Lavoie, Frank Li, Mary Wan

Our goal is to fight the water crisis, specifically in Honduras. The crisis disproportionately affects developing countries; hence we are creating a water filtration backpack that is low-cost, durable, and eco-friendly. Solar-A not only facilitates safe transportation and provides low-cost filtration, but also uses the mechanical walking movement from traveling to the water source to power a sensor capable of detecting when the water is potable.  See more

Algo by Biocene

Year: 2020-2022

Team Leads: Anne Kyung, Kimia Shafighi, & Megan Wai

Subteam Leads: Tahsin Abedi, Justin de Vries, Shagun Sachar, Hasan Sagheer, Victoria Pittard

Algo by Biocene is a device intended for use in bodies of water with algal overgrowth (algal blooms) where its two-part extraction and treatment will harvest and treat algae. A pump followed by flocculation and centrifugation is to be used for the collection and subsequent mechanical extraction of the algae. Key benefits of this process include the durability and efficiency of cell harvesting, with over 90% cell recovery and compatibility with most algal types. The algae will then be allowed to collect and dewater in a secondary chamber, where a waterproof photo-reflective sensor is located to alert the consumer when the device is almost full through LED indicators. In the future, a web application may be incorporated to convey more detailed information. From this chamber, the algal biomass can be treated to produce a sustainable fertilizer or biofuel through lipid extraction and conversion.  See more


Year: 2019-2020

Team Lead: Kimia Shafighi

BluBand is a transmitter capable of transforming a short-wave radio frequency signal into a cellular signal. It can attach to the glucose sensors worn by diabetic children attending Camp Carowanis and continuously monitor their blood sugar levels both day and night. BluBand is waterproof and easy to wear, making it ideal for children at the camp.

Baculovirus Gene Therapy

Year: 2019-2020

Team Lead: Elizabeth O'Meara

The Baculovirus team worked to develop a transient gene therapy delivery system using baculoviruses. Particular focus was given to growth factors critical to the healing process and lacking in many chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers. Unfortunately, this project was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Year: 2018-2020

Team Lead: Anne Kyung

ActivAid is a novel interactive bacterial cellulose wound dressing targetting venous ulcers. It includes innovative components that help maintain an ideal wound environment in order to prevent infection and accelerate healing. Although COVID-19 prevented the creation of a prototype for ActivAid, the design was submitted to Venturewell's DEBUT competition in June 2020.


Year: 2018-2019

Team Lead: Ella Reifsnyder

MAAscreen is an eco-friendly and biodegradable sunscreen. Conventional sunscreens utilize chemical UV filters that threaten the marine environment, while MAAscreen extracts mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) from algae as a more sustainable alternative.