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
Christina is a passionate researcher with a particular interest in studying interactions between mucosa and microbiota. Christina finds extracting meaningful, compelling information from experiments and large datasets exciting and joyful, which continually fuels her curiosity and drives her to delve into further investigations.
In the Kaushic lab, Christina is the lab lead on a phase I clinical trial investigating the impacts of probiotics and estrogen on vaginal microbiota and inflammation. Trial enrolment has recently wrapped up, and she is eager to dive into data analysis! In addition to her research, Christina implements her organizational, interpersonal, and problem solving skills to keep the Kaushic lab running smoothly; if you need anything, she is the go to person. This includes addressing any issues that arise, facilitating training of new members, managing biosafety aspects of the lab, ordering supplies, maintaining lab inventories, performing financial and ethics administrative tasks, writing and editing scientific literature, as well as overseeing and mentoring students working on animal projects. Christina strives to be helpful and foster a collaborative and supportive atmosphere in the lab. Her days are filled with a rich diversity of tasks, and she find the research, helping colleagues, and being highly productive rewarding and fun.
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).
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 and go thrifting.