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: 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.

Co-President Elects: Kathryn Reynolds and Saurabh Shaw

Kathryn Reynolds

Kathryn is in the third year of her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Laurie Doering and Dr. Angela Scott. Her research focuses on purinergic signaling pathway dysregulations which contribute to Fragile X Syndrome.

Outside of the lab, Kathryn is a reviewer for the Health Science Inquiry graduate student journal. She also enjoys exploring rural Ontario while pursuing her passion for landscape photography.

Saurabh Shaw

I come from a biomedical engineering background and am currently working with Dr. Sue Becker to develop better diagnostic and prognostic tools for psychopathologies such as PTSD. I love designing and building devices, especially when they can interact with the brain. Consequently, I co-founded and run a group for neurotechnology enthusiasts, called NeurotechHA. We organize hackathons and networking events with neuroscience-oriented companies. 

I have been at McMaster for all of my undergraduate and graduate career and have lived in Hamilton for over 9 years. When not in the lab or answering emails, I am an avid traveler and foodie.

Past 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 teaching Zumba!

Director of Social Communications: TBA

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.