Aisha Nazli, PhD

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 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, including 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.


Christina Hayes, PhD


Before joining the Kaushic lab in 2019, Christina briefly 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  the impact of intestinal microbiome on the function and health of the gastrointestinal tract, under the supervision of Dr. Elena Verdu. Christina completed her BSc (Hons, with Distinction) in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT; 2011). At UOIT, Christina was awarded an NSERC Undergraduate Research Award for her thesis investigating changes in B cell surface marker expression following exposure to probiotic strains of Lactobacilli under the supervision of Dr. Julia Green-Johnson. Christina also worked with Dr. Brian Ikeda (UOIT) as a Research Assistant on a project examining charge transfer resistance changes of redox couples using different electrodes during her undergraduate studies (2008-2010).


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 of the lab.

When not in the lab, Christina enjoys spending time with her two kids and husband, but also loves to nap when possible because they are exhausting. To stay sane, Christina likes to dance, sing poorly, and go thrifting.

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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 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 investigating the effectiveness of estrogen and probiotics 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.