DOHaD Canada Trainee Development Committee (TDC)

Call for TDC is under review!

The DOHaD Canada Trainee Development Committee (TDC) has closed the call for trainees at all levels (Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral) who are interested in serving as members-at-large on this committee. The TDC’s mandate is to represent the interests and priorities of the trainee membership of DOHaD Canada within the larger Society and its Executive Council. The TDC also operates to enhance the experiences of and professional development opportunities for DOHaD Canada’s trainee members.
As a member-at-large, trainees will support the TDC in:

  • Organizing events (during the annual meeting or independent/satellite activities) that address trainee career development goals, inside and outside of the academic program
  • Maintaining communication between trainee membership, the TDC and, by extension, Executive Council
  • Fostering extensive inter-disciplinarity and community-building among trainee members
  • When applicable and appropriate, liaising with trainee groups of other scientific societies, including the International DOHaD Society.

We are currently reviewing application to recruit 4 new members to join the committee, with a particular focus on inclusion of underrepresented identities in DOHaD (Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIAP+, and people living with disability), as well ensuring regional representation across Canada. The outcome is to be announced. For more information on our committee, please see below. For all inquiries regarding these positions, please contact Maryam Kebbe (maryam.kebbe@gmail.com) and Christian Bellissimo (bellissimo.christian@gmail.com). We look forward to hearing from you!

Christian and Maryam
Co-Chairs – Trainee Development Committee, DOHaD Canada


The Trainee Development Committee (TDC) comprises four to ten active trainee members (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows) of the DOHaD Canada Society, of which two (committee Co-Chairs) are elected members of DOHaD Canada council. The roles of the TDC are two-fold. First, we represent the needs and priorities of trainee members of the Society to ensure their voices are represented within the decisions taken by the Society’s Council. Secondly, we seek to enhance the experiences and professional development opportunities for trainee members within the Canadian DOHaD Chapter. To do this, we actively liaise with the Society’s Council, organize events for trainees by trainees, and root our decision making in fostering inclusive, interdisciplinary community-building among trainee members.

Committee Members:

Christian Bellissimo, B.Sc. (Hons.) – Co-Chair

PhD Candidate, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University

Christian received his undergraduate degree in the Honours Life Sciences program Co-op program at McMaster University, completing research work placements in the Genetics & Genome Biology and Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Programs at the SickKids Research Institute between 2015 and 2016. He joined the lab of Dr. Deborah Sloboda in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster in 2016 as an undergraduate thesis student in 2016, going on to transition into doctoral studies in the lab. It was here that Christian’s training in Developmental Origins Research began.

Christian’s doctoral work examines the intersection between the immune microenvironment at the maternal-fetal interface and systemic metabolic dysfunction in the context of obesity. Ultimately this work aims to determine how these factors interact to produce adverse fetoplacental outcomes in pregnancies complicated by metabolic disease to develop targeted strategies that improve both perinatal and long-term health. Christian is one of two trainee representatives for the DOHaD Canada Council.

bellisc@mcmaster.ca | Twitter: @CJBellissimo

Dr. Maryam Kebbe, PhD – Co-Chair

Postdoctoral Fellow, Reproductive Endocrinology & Women’s Health Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Dr. Maryam Kebbe completed her Honours BSc in Life Sciences at the University of Ottawa in 2015, CPD accreditation in human nutrition in 2017, and PhD in Medical Sciences (Pediatrics) at the University of Alberta in 2019. She then completed postdoctoral training in the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford and is currently a CIHR Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Reproductive Endocrinology & Women’s Health Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Dr. Kebbe initially established her roots as a behavioural scientist and innovated solutions within clinical settings to manage obesity, from childhood through adulthood. She then carved her niche within the developmental origins of health and disease. Specifically, her prime interests are in studying the role of the breastmilk and infant gut microbiomes, and their determinants, in obesity programming. Through her work, Dr. Kebbe plans to develop and implement novel, effective, and sustainable nutrition and microbiome-based interventions to prevent obesity in infants and children. She is one of two trainee representatives for the DOHaD Canada Council.

Twitter: @DrKebbe | YouTube: Nutribiomes

Marina White, B.Sc. (Hons.) – Member at Large

PhD Candidate, Department of Health Sciences, Carleton University

Marina is a PhD candidate in Dr. Kristin Connor’s lab in Health Sciences at Carleton University, where she began her graduate studies after receiving her BSc Hon. in Neuroscience at Carleton in 2017. Her research investigates how maternal health and the placenta influence fetal and infant development, with a focus on pregnancies complicated by maternal HIV infection or fetal congenital anomalies. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how the early nutritional environment and alterations in placental phenotype in these pregnancies may affect growth and neurodevelopmental trajectories.

Past Members:

  • Hirotaka Hamada
  • Kozeta Miliku
  • Luseadra McKerracher
  • Shelby Oke