Sandy Zakaria

PhD Candidate

B.Sc. (Honours) Biological Sciences, Minor in Psychology, University of Windsor, 2014

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, anticipated 2024

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
McMaster University
Health Science Centre, Room 4H32
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1

Tel. 905.525.9140 ext.28813
Fax. 905.522.9033


Brief Biography

Sandy completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Windsor, majoring in Biological Science and minoring in Psychology. She joined the School of Biomedical Engineering and the Li lab in 2016 as an M.A.Sc. student and transfer to a Ph.D. in 2018.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, and hiking!

Research Interests

Her research interest is to develop a diagnostic test using functional nucleic acids and the gut microbiota for the early detection of colorectal cancer. Her other research interest includes the commercialization of research to make a real-world impact.


Chang, D., Zakaria, S., Esmaeili Samani, S., Chang, Y., Filipe, C. D., Soleymani, L., Brennan, J.D., Liu, M., & Li, Y. (2021). Functional Nucleic Acids for Pathogenic Bacteria Detection. Accounts of Chemical Research, 54(18), 3540-3549.

Li, J., Li, Gu, J., Zhang, H., Liu, R., Zhang, W., Mohammed-Elsabagh, M., Xia, J., Morrison D., Zakaria, S., Chanf, D., Arrabu, A., & Li, Y. “(2021). A Highly Specific DNA Aptamer for RNase H2 from Clostridium difficile. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13(8), 9464-9471.

Rothenbroker, M., Zakaria, S., Morrison, D., & Li, Y. (2019). DNAzymes: Synthetic Enzymes Made of DNA. In Biocatalysis (pp. 1-16). Springer, Cham.

Chang, D., Zakaria, S., Deng, M., Allen, N., Tram, K., & Li, Y. (2016). Integrating Deoxyribozymes into colorimetric sensing platforms. Sensors, 16(12), 2061.

Zakaria, S., Market, M., & Hebert, J. (2015). Cancer: An Example of Epigenetic Peril and Promise. Epigenetics in Society, 1, 53.