Christina Hayes, Ph. D

Before joining the Kaushic lab in 2019, Christina worked with Dr. Jane Foster (McMaster University) on microbiome, neurodevelopmental and immune focused research projects for the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Network (POND) and Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND) in Research Assistant and Post-Doctoral Fellow roles. Christina also worked as a Scientific Researcher for McMaster University’s Axenic/Gnotobiotic Unit in 2018/2019. Christina completed her PhD from McMaster University in 2018 investigating how the intestinal microbiome impacts the function and health of the gastrointestinal tract under the supervision of Dr. Elena Verdu. In the Kaushic lab, Christina is the lead for the laboratory component of a clinical trial investigating the roles of estrogen and microbiome in vaginal health. Additionally, Christina manages the day-to-day operations and training for the lab.

Christina is currently on maternity leave and is enjoying spending time with her family.

Aisha Nazli, Ph.D

Aisha received her MSc and MPhil from the University of Karachi, Pakistan and PhD from the University of Nottingham, England. Her PhD research examined gene expression and manipulation to study Listeria monocytogenes pathogenicity. She was awarded multiple accolades during her studies, including the Overseas Research Studentship (ORS), University of Nottingham Scholarship and Pakistan Commonwealth Scholarship. After completing her PhD, Aisha did a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Nottingham. In 2001, Aisha moved to Canada and accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University, within the Mucosal Immunology in Intestinal Disease Research Program.


In 2005, Aisha joined the Kaushic lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Shortly thereafter, she was appointed as a Research Associate Academics and later progressed to the position of Research Scientist in 2009. Her research in the Kaushic lab focuses extensively on different aspects of host-pathogen interactions and host immune responses against several sexually transmitted pathogens, specifically Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In 2010, Aisha’s first HIV paper was published in a leading infectious disease journal, PLOS Pathogens. The novel impactful findings in this publication received international attention from both the news media and scientific community and has been accessed more than 21,231 times and cited more than 500 times.


Outside of the lab, Aisha enjoys spending time with family, along with painting, calligraphy, and gardening.

Sussan Kianpour, M.Sc.

Sussan is the founder and Principal Consultant of SKQR Consulting. She wrote Guildline’s 17025 Quality Manual to meet 17025:2017 accreditation requirements for A2LA. 

She has Master degree in Immunology (M.Sc.) from Faculty of Medicine in Tehran University of Medical Sciences; Software Engineering from Mohawk College; Web Design & Development and Certified Clinical Research Associate(CCRA), both from McMaster University and Quality Management from University of Manitoba. 

She has 15+ years experience in Research Immunology - cell and organ culture; Cytology; Histology; Microscopy; Molecular Biology and extensive experience in Quality Management of clinical trial drug distribution in HHS and MIRC . Currently in Dr. Kaushic's Research lab, Sussan is covering for Dr. Hayes by managing day to day operations and training  for the  Lab and the lead for the laboratory component of a clinical trial investigating the roles of estrogen and microbiome in vaginal health. Also she is the Web Master for the Kaushic group.

She has demonstrated ability to problem-solve, take initiative, self-motivate, work independently, adapt to constant change, and multi-task. She has a proven record of accomplishment in commitment to excellence and technical competence while always maintaining a high level of personal integrity. She is analytical with exceptional organizational and time management skills.

Jenna Ratcliffe, BA

Jenna has been working with vulnerable and marginalized populations through the coordination of social-health research and clinical trials at McMaster University since 2006. 

She's coordinated studies ranging from evaluating the effectiveness of school bullying prevention programs to understanding the supportive needs of young women diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Currently, Jenna is coordinating Dr. Kaushic's Randomized Controlled Trial testing the effectiveness of estrogen and pro-biotics in the prevention of HIV among African Canadian women. 

Jenna has an undergraduate degree (BA) from the Faculty of Social Sciences and an associate degree in Certified Clinical Research (CCRA), both from McMaster University.