SOMA Student Representatives

SOMA is made up of both Master's and PhD MiNDS students who have volunteered their time and energy to enhance the MiNDS student experience. SOMA is always looking for new volunteers, event ideas and input on how we can enhance student life. If you would like to volunteer with upcoming events, please e-mail the SOMA team at: soma@mcmaster.ca.

President: Gabriella Mattina

Gabriella is in the fourth year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Meir Steiner and Dr. Geoffrey Hall. Her research focuses on investigating genetic risk factors that contribute to altered brain functioning in women with OCD during the perinatal period.


Gabriella participates in the Out of Our MiNDS outreach group and enjoys tutoring elementary and high-school students in math and science. She also helps to organize the NeuroColloquia series and the Jack Diamond memorial lecture. In her spare time, you can find Gabriella at Zumba!

President-Elect: Ashley Bernardo

Ashley is in the third year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Ram Mishra. Ashley’s research is focused on investigating neuroprotective and restorative effects of novel peptides as potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease.


Ashley is involved in many Neuroscience related groups such as Out of Our MiNDS, the MiNDS program newsletter and the MiNDS Highschool Co-op placement program. Outside of academia Ashley enjoys spending time with friends, reading and snowboarding.

Past President: Gésine Alders

Gésine is in the fourth year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Luciano Minuzzi and Dr. Geoffrey Hall. Her research focuses on utilizing neuroimaging techniques to identify biomarkers in major depressive disorder. She is also interested in the emerging field of neuroethics, and in evidence-based policy-making in the provincial children's mental health system.


Gésine mentors and coordinates activities for the young ladies in her church, and in her spare time, she enjoys being a group exercise instructor, cycling, and spoiling her nieces.

Director of Social Communications: Anastasiya Slyepchenko

Anastasiya is in the third year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Benicio Frey. Her research is looking at the role of circadian rhythms in mood during pregnancy and the postpartum period.


In her spare time, she enjoys many things, such as reading for pleasure, painting people, flowers, and landscapes, and taking care of her plant friends.

Director of Member Relations: Herry Patel
(January 2018 - May 2018)

Herry is in the first year of his Masters under the supervision of Dr. Michael Amlung. He works in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addictions Lab (CNALab) and conducts research focused on studying Episodic Future Thinking and its effects on delay discounting among individuals with addictive disorders. For his thesis research, he hopes to integrate EEG neurofeedback into this protocol in order to develop a supplementary therapeutic technique for individuals with addictive disorders.

Additional Volunteers

SOMA Liaison: Aya Dudin

Aya Dudin is in the second year of her Ph.D. working under the supervision of Dr. Geoffrey Hall. Aya is interested in the underlying neurobiology of maternal behavior, both typical and atypical. Her research is part of the collaborative “fMRI Baby Faces” study between McMaster and the University of Toronto.


When not in the lab, Aya enjoys participating in Musical Theatre, travel and learning about various cultures.

Organizer for the Jack Diamond Memorial Lecture: Crystal Mahadeo

Crystal is in the second year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Fahnestock.


She is also a writer for the MiNDS program Newsletter and a member of the outreach volunteer program Out of Our MiNDS. In her free time Crystal enjoys traveling, running and cooking.

SOMA was founded in 2011 by Bill Simpson, Ritesh Daya, Ahad Siddiqui, Thomas Sabljic, and Behrad Garmsiri.

During its first electoral year, 5 students were nominated by their peers as representatives: Jonathan Lai, Bill Simpson, Mark Tucci, Ritesh Daya and Eric Tatham.