Current Lab Members

Victoria Sanfrancessco MSc Year 1

I first started in Dr. Hood’s lab volunteering weekly during my undergraduate experience at York, where I completed my BSc in Kinesiology and Health Science. In my fourth year, I took several of Dr. Hood’s advanced physiology courses and developed an interest in the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial and skeletal muscle health following exercise. I have recently started my MSc where I will be focusing on the role of the transcription factor ATF4 in mediating the mitochondrial unfolded protein response following acute and chronic exercise, and its implications in contributing to mitochondrial health and dynamics. I am grateful for this opportunity to develop my academic career under the supervision of Dr. Hood. Outside of the lab I enjoy working out, watching anime, and spending time with friends and family.
Jenna Wong MSc Year 1

I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology. I am excited to be continuing my academic career with Dr. Hood as an MSc student. Currently, I am working on a study investigating the role of the transcription factor TFE3 on skeletal muscle adaptations to endurance and acute exercise. Outside of the lab, I love playing sports, going on road trips, and talking about art history.

Neushaw Moradi MSc Year 2

I started at the Hood Lab as an undergraduate Independent Study student, and I am grateful to continue as an M.Sc. student. My thesis focuses on the restoration of mitochondrial health in skeletal muscle by characterizing three different agents as we identify their time- and dose-dependent intracellular signaling behaviours, in vitro. Alongside my research, I have been granted the privilege to collaborate with my colleagues as an author in two newly published scientific reviews on mitochondrial bioenergetics, preservation, and turnover (IJMS and AJP Cell). Finally, I have gained authorship in an original study (J. Physiol), owing to my early opportunity to partake in research during my undergrad, with Dr. Triolo and Dr. Hood. I am humbled by these experiences as they allow me to enhance my versatility in this career and refine my trajectory towards a well-rounded scientist. Outside of the lab, I enjoy working out and spending time with friends, family, and my weird cat named Fish.
Mikhaela Slavin PhD Year 1

I started in Dr. Hood’s lab in my undergrad, where I completed my Independent Study researching changes in cellular autophagy in a denervation model. I have now recently completed my MSc thesis with Dr. Hood, investigating the role of the transcription factor ATF5 in the transcriptional regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and the Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response (UPRmt) following a bout of acute exercise. I have recently started my PhD in his lab where I will be expanding upon the aim of my MSc thesis to unravel the roles of ATF5 and the UPRmt in the regulation of mitochondrial quality control, including the maintenance of mitochondrial protein homeostasis, biogenesis and mitophagy basally, in a training model, and during the induction of organelle proteotoxicity. I am looking forward to further developing my skills as a researcher in physiology throughout my doctoral studies with Dr. Hood. In my spare time I like to work out, play sports, practice yoga, read, and spend time with friends and family.
Jonathan Memme
PhD Year 4

I started in Dr. Hood’s lab as an undergraduate researcher and have completed my BSc, and MSc theses with Dr. Hood. I am currently in the midst of my PhD studies where I am focused on characterizing transcriptional regulation of mitochondrial quality control pathways with exercise and disuse. Outside of the lab I enjoy cycling, golfing, playing/watching hockey and hanging out with my dog, Grapes.
Ashley Oliveira
PhD Year 4


I started in Dr. Hood’s lab as an undergraduate student completing an independent study on the mitochondrial unfolded protein response and exercise. My MSc thesis further explored the retrograde signaling involved in the mitochondrial unfolded protein response and the effect of disrupted mitochondrial protein import, under the supervision of Dr. Hood. My PhD studies now look at mitochondrial maintenance and turnover with a specific focus on mitophagy and key lysosomal regulators, TFEB and TFE3, and how this impacts exercise adaptations. Outside of the lab I enjoy reading and collecting comics, practicing yoga, and spending quality time with my cats.
Rita Kumari, Post Doctorate

I completed my PhD in Biomedical sciences with the focus on understanding the role neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the pathophysiology of Parkinson disease from Delhi university, India. After gaining few years of research experience as Independent Researcher at Delhi university, I decided to move to Canada with my family and got very exciting opportunity to join the esteemed lab of Dr. Hood. I am looking forward to expanding my Learning and share my research experience with my colleagues at Dr. Hood’s Lab. In my free time I love to spend time with my family by watching movies and going out for long drives.
Debasmita Bhattacharya, Post Doctorate

I came to Canada in 2012 with my husband and daughter. I had a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Biotechnology from India and always aspired to have a Doctoral degree. Thankfully I got admission in York University to do Masters in Heath Science. That was the beginning of my journey towards fulfilling my dream. Thereafter, I graduated from York University with MSc and PhD degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. My PhD research dissected how a protein called p107 control muscle stem cell fate decisions through its metabolic role. During my doctoral studies, I had 5 publications among which one got published in Nature Communications. From the time I started my graduate studies, I had always admired Dr. Hood’s research and wished to be a part of his team. I was fortunate enough to get an offer to pursue my Post-Doctoral research in Dr. Hood’s esteemed lab. Currently I am doing two different and quite interesting projects. One is to understand the implications of lysosomal malfunction and finding strategies to mitigate it in order to improve health. My second project focusses on how muscle mitochondrial transplantation can rescue cellular homeostasis. Besides lab work, I love dancing and have done many stage performances. Last but not the least, I love spending quality time with my family.