Our Team


Brendan M Leung, Ph.D. Principle Investigator, Assistant Professor – Department of Applied Oral Sciences, School of Biomedical Engineering , BSc Hon. – Biochem (University of Ottawa), BASc – Chem. Eng. (University of Ottawa), MASc and PhD – Biomedical Engineering (University of Toronto)

My research program focuses on the development of advanced tissue construct platforms and cell-based assay technologies to understand fundamental phenomenon that govern tissue homeostasis and responses in human diseases. Specifically I’m interested in creating in vitro tools to understand the role of human associated microbes in chronic disease, including metabolic syndrome, fibrosis and cancers. When not in my office or in the lab, you can find me hiking on one of many scenic Nova Scotia coastline trails with my camera.


Andy Huang, MASc candidate – Biomedical Engineering, BSc Hon. – Biology (Dalhousie University) 

I obtained my BSc from Dalhousie University, completing an honours in Biology. My honours project was focused on the functional analysis of a disulfide-bond catalyzing enzyme in Streptococcus mutans, a strain of oral bacteria known to cause dental caries. In my MASc research project aimed towards the development of an in vitro mammalian-microbial co-culture system to mimic the human mucosal layer by using various hydrogels to fabricate a synthetic mucus in combination with aqueous two-phase systems. Outside of research in the lab, I enjoy the outdoors, travelling, and running.

Nick (Leung lab)

Nick Dawe, MASc student – Biomedical Engineering, BSc Hon. – Microbiology and Immunology (Dalhousie University) 

I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Dalhousie University in 2019 while completing an undergraduate research project in Microbiology & Immunology. My undergraduate research project investigated the role of a metabolite in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Following graduation, I worked as a research technician in the Microbiology department at Dalhousie University. I am now working towards a MASc in biomedical engineering where I will be developing an in vitro tissue culture platform that is capable of recapitulating the tumour microenvironment and maintaining tumour cell heterogeneity. When I’m not in the lab, you can find me at the golf course, in an ice rink coaching hockey, or exploring Halifax/Nova Scotia with friends and family.


Courtney O’Brien, MASc student – Biomedical Engineering, BASc. – Chemical Engineering (Dalhousie University) 

I graduated from Dalhousie University in 2018 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. After graduating in 2018, I worked in the environmental industry for 2 years. I am now in the MASc in Biomedical Engineering program where my research project involves the development of mucus-like biomaterials to support a chronic lung infection model. In my free time I like to bake and spend time outdoors with my dog.

Andrew Clarke

Andrew Clarke, NSERC USRA research student, Medical Sciences – Dalhousie University 

I am a 4th year student in the Medical Sciences program at Dalhousie University.  My interest lies in the characterization of the human oral mucosa and associated therapeutic applications. Currently, hmy research focuses on determining the antimicrobial effect of novel bioglasses and peptides on cariogenic bacteria.  Outside of the lab, you can likely find me at the gym, or on the football field where I have helped coach Halifax West High School football.


Ethan Ring, Honour Thesis student, Medical Sciences – Dalhousie University 

Hey there! My name is Ethan Ring, I’m a 4th year student in the medical sciences program at Dalhousie. When I’m not busy with work or school, I enjoy playing the guitar and spending time with friends and family. I’ve been a Nova Scotian for over 13 years and hope to aid in the health care of the province by become a general practitioner someday! My project aims to understand stem cells of the apical papilla (SCAP) and how their viability and differentiation are impacted in the presence of common antimicrobials used in regenerative endodontic therapy. My research will focus on the construction of a blood coagulation scaffold in order to best replicate the formation of clots after regenerative dental surgery, seeing if such clots will protect SCAP cells from damage caused by antimicrobial treatments. My hopes are to widen the scope of knowledge in dental regenerative medicine and help push the discovery of novel treatments in a safe and controlled manner.


Dimah Alabdulhafith, Honour Thesis student, Medical Sciences – Dalhousie University 

I am a 4th year Medical Sciences student at Dalhousie University. I am interested in research pertaining to delivery methods of oral microbiota transplants. For my honours thesis project I will be studying modes of microbial adhesion and approaches of treatment administration. In my free time I like to hang out with friends, go on hikes and practice yoga.

Lab Alumni

Matthew Kelvey – Hon. thesis student, Medical Science, 2020

Matthew Curry – Hon. thesis student, Microbiology and Immunology, 2020

Sungbin Lim – Mitacs Globalink Research Fellow, 2020

Hajung Kim – Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2020

Priyanshi Rao – Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2020

Sarah Spencer – Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2019

Brianna MacKinnon – Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2019

Artem Soroka – Experiential learning student , Chemical Engineering, 2019

Kajanan Sivapalan – Experiential learning student , Medical Sciences, 2019

Gavin Raddall – Honour thesis student, Medical Science, 2018

Breagh Devereaux – Experiential learning student, Medical Science, 2018

Jessica Grant-Burt – Summer student 2017

Emily Bishop – DDS summer student, 2017

Claire Jurgens – Undergraduate research student, 2017

Michaela Kember – Undergraduate research student, Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2017

Lauren Kelly – Undergraduate research student, Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP), 2017

Jacob Nickerson – DDS summer student, 2016