McMaster University


McMaster University


Faculty Member of the Month



Deborah Sloboda

The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Lab, the Sloboda Lab, was established at McMaster University in 2012. The Sloboda Lab investigates how the early life environment impacts on maternal, fetal, placental and offspring metabolic development.

Events occurring before birth influence weight gain, deposition of body fat, and metabolic and reproductive function during childhood and beyond. We have shown that both poor maternal nutrition and prenatal stress have long-term effects on offspring growth and development and increase risk of disease in adulthood. Our lab investigates the long-term impacts of parental nutrition on offspring obesity risk and reproductive function. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms of transgenerational transmittance of disease risk – and we believe that they are embedded within the periconceptional (around the time of conception) environment.

Some of our most recent work concentrates around CIHR and NSERC funded experiments that investigate maternal nutrient manipulation on maternal pregnancy adaptations, including the maternal microbiome, placental inflammation and hypoxia and offspring reproductive and metabolic function. We also investigate the impacts of a father’s diet on the development is his children. In community based health studies, the Sloboda Lab engages with expectant mothers and services that support pregnant women. Her Mothers to Babies Study aims to develop a community-based formative knowledge transfer and work program of intervention, to improve diet, and body composition of women before and after conception. Check it out here:

The Sloboda Lab is filled with brilliant young trainees, from high school students, undergrads, grads and postdoctoral fellows. Most of them have won awards and prizes for their work! Its really these outstanding students that keep the lab moving forward and making new discoveries!

Look us up at
or follow us on Twitter @Sloboda_Lab!

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