The Sloboda Lab is comprised of postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students with various educational backgrounds, such as biochemistry, physiology, nutrition and the life sciences. Their breadth of knowledge in their respective projects offer a different perspective on the critical relationship between a mothers diet during pregnancy and its profound effect on offspring development and later life health.
Dr. Tatiane Ribeiro

Tatiane is a postdoctoral fellow that completed her PhD at the University of Marigna in Brazil investigating the impacts of maternal exposure to an environmental chemical on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in both mothers and offspring, and how exercise during pregnancy, had a positive impact on moderating the negative metabolic effects of maternal obesity. She is currently investigating the early origins of unhealthy aging and susceptibility to infection, and whether host x microbial interactions during key developmental windows (including pregnancy) contribute to accelerated aging and metabolic disease.

Kate Kennedy

Kate is a PhD Candidate studying the role of the gut microbiome in perinatal programming. Formerly of the University of Waterloo (BSc, MSc), her Master’s thesis was an evaluation of molecular methods used in microbiome analysis. From molecular and microbial she is moving to mice (and humans), but not disowning our digestive denizens. In her doctoral research she will study the role of the maternal gut microbiome in mediating offspring disease risk later in life.

Christian Bellissimo
bellisc@mcmaster.ca; Twitter: @CJBellissimo

Christian is a PhD Candidate studying the affects of maternal obesity on the development of the maternal-fetal interface. Christian graduated from the Honours Life Sciences Co-op Program at McMaster in 2017, completing his final work placement and undergraduate thesis in the Sloboda lab, investigating the effects of maternal obesity on placental inflammation. In his Doctoral work, Christian will investigate the impacts of maternal obesity and inflammation on early placental development, aiming to discover how early changes to placentation prime offspring later life disease risk.

Erica Yeo

Erica is a MSc student that graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. Having completed her undergraduate thesis in the Sloboda Lab studying the role of serotonin signalling in fetal pancreatic development in the context of maternal obesity, her MSc thesis will investigate the the role of the gut microbiome in maternal metabolic adaptations to pregnancy.

Undergraduate Members

Brianna Kennelly (Undergraduate Thesis)

Donya Zolfaghari (Undergaduate Thesis)

Alexandria Amadasun (Undergraduate Co-op)

Jade Schneider (Undergraduate Thesis)
Daniel Diatlov (Undergraduate Thesis)

Gaurav Ambwani (Undergraduate Thesis)
Megane Bouchard (Undergraduate Thesis)

Dr. Luseadra McKerracher
(mckerrl@mcmaster.ca; Twitter: @luseadra)

Luseadra is a postdoctoral fellow, cross-appointed between the Sloboda Lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and Dr. Christina Moffat’s group in the Department of Anthropology. Luseadra co-leads the Mothers to Babies Study (M2B), an interdisciplinary community health research project focused on maternal health during pregnancy in Hamilton, ON, Canada. M2B participants include Hamilton-area expectant mothers, their support networks, the clinicians and community workers that interact with and advise those expectant mothers, and other stakeholders in the community. You can learn more by visiting her website.

Jessica Breznik

Jessica is a PhD Candidate in the Bowdish lab (Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine) working with the Sloboda lab to examine the impact of obesity on maternal inflammation during pregnancy. She has a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from Queen’s University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo in Honours Biochemistry (Biotechnology Specialization, Co-op). In her doctoral research, Jessica aims to discover how obesity-induced changes in inflammatory status modulate maternal metabolic and immune adaptation to pregnancy. 

Patrycja Jazwiec
jazwiepa@mcmaster.ca; Twitter: @PatrycjaJazwiec

Patrycja is a PhD student studying the impact of paternal obesity on placental development. Patrycja graduated from McMaster University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology & Genetics (Hons, co-op stream) and a minor in Biochemistry. As a senior thesis project student in the Sloboda lab, Patrycja examined the impacts of maternal undernutrition on offspring ovarian development. For her doctoral work, Patrycja is investigating the pathways that regulate placental development in the context of paternal obesity.

Jessica Wallace

Jessica graduated with an MSc from the Sloboda Lab at McMaster University in October 2016.  For her Master’s, Jessica investigated the consequence of poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy on gut and placental function. Jessica is working now as a Research Technician between the Sloboda and Bowdish labs, assisting in day-to-day operations and completion of experiments. 

Lab Alumni

Brendan Patterson (MSc; 2016-2018)

Dr. Johanna Selvaratman (PDF; 2016-2017)

Wajiha Gohir (MSc; 2014-2016 )

Kaitlyn Chan (MSc; 2013-2015)

Michael Tsoulis (MSc; 2012-2014)​​​