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Principal Investigator

Dr. Deborah Sloboda

Dr Sloboda is a fetal physiologist. She completed her BSc at the University of Guelph, her MSc at Western University in London and her PhD in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto focusing on the effects of stress hormones during pregnancy on fetal development. In 2001 she received a fellowship from the Women's and Infants' Research Foundation at the University of Western Australia, where she spent 5 years completing her postdoctoral fellowship while opening new molecular research laboratories and taking on an administrative role as Lab Head. Here she was responsible for undertaking scientific research but also building and managing the Department’s wet lab facilities. In Australia, Dr Sloboda continued her investigations in fetal endocrine development and established a new research interest involving a prospective cohort study investigating the prenatal origins of reproductive function and the onset of puberty in adolescent girls.

In 2006 Dr Sloboda was recruited to the Liggins Research Institute at the University of Auckland where she investigated the effects of early life nutrition on reproductive and metabolic health. In 2009 she was awarded an Early Career Research Award from the University of Auckland.

During her time in New Zealand, Dr Sloboda was appointed Deputy Director of the National Research Centre for Growth and Development at the University of Auckland; a position she maintained from 2008-2011, while continuing her scientific research and managing her research lab. In 2009 she held the position of Acting Director of the Centre for one year.


In 2012, Dr Sloboda joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University as an Associate Professor. She is an Associate member to the Depts of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Pediatrics and continues to be an Honorary Research Fellow Appointment at the Liggins Institute in New Zealand, where she maintains collaborations. She was also awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Programming, which she held for 10 years (2012-2022).

Dr Sloboda is currently full Professor and Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. She holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Early Origins of Health and Disease. In 2015, she was awarded the International Society of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Nick Hales Award for outstanding research contribution to developmental programming, and in 2017 won the Hamilton YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Science Trade, and Technology. In 2019 she was awarded the FHS McMaster University Graduate supervision award for her outstanding student mentoring and in 2022 she recieved the McMaster University Faculty Association Award for Outstanding Service. 


Dr Sloboda is one of the founding co-Presidents of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Society of Canada, and was the Secretary of the International Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease for 10 years. She has published >140 papers in leading scientific journals and book chapters on the concept of early life origins of health and disease.

​Click here to view a list of selected publications and her Google Scholar profile.

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