Walid Farhat

Walid Farhat | Professor
MD, FRCSC, FAAP

Main Appointments

  • Department of Surgery
  • Pediatric Urologist, Fellowship Program Director & Associate Surgeon-in-Chief of Education, The Hospital for Sick Children

Additional Appointments

  • Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information

Division of Urology, The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Ave, Room M299 (Black Wing)
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8 Canada

walid.farhat@sickkids.ca (email)
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology (web)

Administrative Assistant

Lisa Abreu
+1 416 813-6580 (office)
lisa.abreu@sickkids.ca (email)


Research Theme

Research Interests

As a team investigator at SickKids’ Research Institute, Dr. Farhat’s basic science research focus is urinary bladder tissue engineering.

His research goals are to study the fundamental structure of the urinary bladder, and its critical physical characteristics to create a suitable bladder substitution that carries the same biocompatibility and versatility as the normal bladder substitution that carries the same diseases such as cancer or abnormal bladder development may affect the proper function of the urinary bladder and these, in turn, cause renal dysfunction, urinary incontinence and ultimately necessitate urinary bladder augmentation or replacement.

Currently the large intestine is used as a substitute tissue for the urinary bladder; however, has several reported problems such as infection, stone formation, metabolic abnormalities (secondary to absorption or urine), perforation and carcinogenesis, which in turn have ignited interest in bladder tissue engineering for bladder regeneration. Dr. Farhat has thus focused his research towards developing a bladder outside the patient which, when ready, can be placed back in the patient. However, this organ must be exposed to the same environment outside, as it will need to function under inside the patient, in order to contract, expand and hold urine the way a normal bladder functions.

In order to accomplish this goal, Dr. Farhat invented and patented the urinary bladder bioreactor. The bioreactor exposes the tissue to the same stretching and environmental stresses that the bladder is exposed to within the body, resulting in the tissue adopting similar characteristics to those of normal bladder cells.

Currently, there are a few ongoing projects that Dr. Farhat’s lab is working on:

  • Biomimetic scaffolds
  • Suitable cells
  • Bioreactor and biomechanical stimulation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

Select Publications

Islam SS, Mokhtari RB, Akbari P, Hatina J, Yeger H, Farhat WA. Simultaneous Targeting of Bladder Tumor Growth, Survival, and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition with a Novel Therapeutic Combination of Acetazolamide (AZ) and Sulforaphane (SFN). Target Oncol. 2016 Apr 1;11(2):209-27. Principal Author.

Syed IS, Pedram A, Farhat WA. Role of Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) Signaling in Bladder Cancer Stemness and Tumorigenesis. Curr Urol Rep. 2016 Feb 1;17(2):11. Principal Author.

Islam SS, Mokhtari RB, Noman AS, Uddin M, Rahman MZ, Azadi MA, Zlotta A, van der Kwast T, Yeger H, Farhat WA. Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling promotes tumorigenicity and stemness via activation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in bladder cancer. Mol Carcinog. 2015 Mar 1. Principal Author.

Cheung CL, Looi T, Lendvay TS, Drake JM and Farhat WA. Use of 3-Dimensional Printing Technology and Silicone Modeling in Surgical Simulation: Development and Face Validation in Pediatric Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty. J Surg Educ. 2014 Apr 18. 2014 Apr 18. Principal Author.

Islam SS, Mokhtari RB, El Hout Y, Azadi MA, Alauddin M, Yeger H, Farhat WA. TGF-β1 induces EMT reprogramming of porcine bladder urothelial cells into collagen producing fibroblasts-like cells in a Smad2/Smad3-dependent manner. J Cell Commun Signal. 2014 Mar 1;8(1):39-58. Principal Author.

Islam SS, Mokhtari RB, Kumar S, Maalouf J, Arab S, Yeger H, Farhat WA. Spatio-temporal distribution of Smads and role of Smads/TGF-β/BMP-4 in the regulation of mouse bladder organogenesis. PLoS One. 2013 Apr;Apr 19;8(4), 2013. Principal Author.

Cheng HL., Laoi Y, Farhat WA. Monitoring tissue development in acellular matrix based regeneration for bladder tissue engineering: multiexponential diffusion and T2for improved specificity. NMR in Biomedicine. Mar;25(3):418-26, 2012. Senior Responsible Author

Farhat WA, Loai Y, Beaumont M, Hai-Ling MC. The acellular matrix (ACM) for bladder tissue-engineering: A quantitative magnetic resonance imaing study. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 64(2):341-8, 2010. Principal Author.

Beaumont M, DuVal MG, Loai Y, Farhat WA, Sandor GK, Cheng HL. Monitoring angiogenesis in soft-tissue engineering constructs for calvarium bone regeneration: An in vivo longitudinal DCE-MRI study. NMR Biomed. 2010 Jan;23(1):48-55. Coauthor or Collaborator

Cheng HL, Islam SS, Loai Y, Antoon R, Beaumont M, Farhat WA. Quantitative MRI assessment of matrix development in cell-seeded natural urinary bladder smooth muscle tissue-engineered constructs. Tissue Engineering Part C Methods. Aug;16(4):643-51, 2010. Senior Responsible Author.