Benjamin Hatton, Associate Professor

B.Sc.Eng (Queen’s), M.Sc.Eng (McMaster), Ph.D (U Toronto)

Ben Hatton established a lab in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UofT in Sept 2012, after a research associate position at Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Wyss Institute for Bio-inspired Engineering, for 5 years (2007-2012) with Prof. Joanna Aizenberg. Previously, he was a post-doc at Bell Labs, in Murray Hill, NJ (2006-2007), and at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) in Tsukuba, Japan (2005). His Ph.D. research, in MSE/Chemistry at UofT (2000-2005), was on mesoporous organosilica thin films. Dr. Hatton has worked in a range of materials chemistry areas, including nanomaterial synthesis (ceramic nanocomposites by colloidal processing, self-assembly mechanisms for nanocomposites, nanoporous thin films), and the fabrication and properties of bio-inspired surfaces through topographical patterning.  


Dalal Asker, Ph.D.  Research Associate


Dalal Asker has a Ph.D. in applied microbiology and over 20 years experience in applied and pathogenic microbiology, molecular biology and epigenetics. She holds an associate adjunct professor position at Alexandria University, Egypt and has worked in four major research facilities in Japan (Hiroshima, Shizuoka, Fujisawa), Sweden (Lund), the US (MA, Indiana, NJ), prior to joining the Hatton group in 2013.  Dalal’s research is on the anti-biofilm and antibacterial activity of microstructured surfaces, using techniques such as optical (confocal) fluorescence microscopy.


Tarek Awad, Ph.D.


Dr. Tarek Awad has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and over 20 years experience in colloidal chemistry, biophysics, physicochemical characterization, surface functionalization, food science and the nano-encapsulation of pharmaceuticals. Tarek’s research focuses on the design of surface treatments to help reduce the problems of microbial contamination of materials associated with food processing, and the immobilization of various antimicrobial enzymes to biomaterial surfaces.


Thomas Dingle, B.Sc. (U Toronto)


Thomas Dingle is a Ph.D. candidate in MSE (since Sept 2015), and did his undergraduate studies in the Nano program of Engineering Science at UofT (2015). He is jointly supervised by Prof. Geoff Ozin in Chemistry (UofT), and is working on the Solar Fuels project, funded by the Connaught Foundation. Thomas is developing photo fuel cells, which take in CO2 and water and use sunlight to generate ‘solar fuels’ such as methane. 

Kurtis photo.jpeg

Kurtis Laqua, B.Eng (McGill)


Kurtis joined the lab in September 2017 after receiving his undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering from McGill University. His MASc research focuses on developing biomimetic surface topographies to control surface properties such as adhesion and wettability.



Derek Aranguren van Egmond, B.Eng. (McGill)


Derek completed his undergraduate studies in Materials Engineering at McGill University. In 2016 he joined the MSE department at the University of Toronto, where his M.A.Sc. research involves the design and mechanical optimization of ultralight, bio-inspired materials. Derek is presently investigating the development of structural aerospace materials inspired by the astounding mechanical quality observed in the biomineralized architectures of marine microorganisms. This project is a collaboration with Prof. Glenn Hibbard's Cellular Hybrid Materials group in MSE.


Cameron Stewart, B.Sc. (Waterloo)


Cameron Stewart joined the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) in 2013, after his undergraduate degree in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo (2013). He is in the Ph.D. program (IBBME), jointly supervised with the group of Prof. Yoav Finer in Dentistry at UofT. Cameron’s research involves the synthesis and design of novel antimicrobial drug-loaded nanoparticles for dynamic (smart) antimicrobial adhesive layers in dental fillings and reconstructions. These particles may also have many applications as mass-producible drug carriers for targeted delivery and as drug-eluting surface coatings.


Alexandra Tavasoli, B.Sc. (U Toronto)


Alex Tavasoli is a graduate of Chemical Engineering at UofT, and is part of the multi-group, interdepartmental Solar Fuels project (Connaught Foundation) to optimize the design of photocatalytic surfaces that can efficiently capture and reduce carbon dioxide, to generate useful fuels such as methane.


Desmond van den Berg, B.Sc., M.A.Sc (U Toronto)


Desmond van den Berg is a graduate of the MSE department (2015, 2017), and is currently in the Ph.D program of IBBME. His research is on the design of non-wetting antimicrobial surfaces for medical devices. Desmond has incorporated techniques such as soft lithography and electrospinning to generate surface topographies, and is testing the performance of antimicrobial fabrics for healthcare applications.