Principal Investigator


Dr. Shannon Bainbridge

Shannon Bainbridge is an associate professor in the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, with cross appointment to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and affiliate investigator status at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). She obtained her Ph.D. from Queen's University (Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology) with a dissertation that focused on the effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy. Professor Bainbridge went on to complete two post-doctoral fellowships, the first at Magee-Womens Research Institute (Pittsburgh, PA) and the second at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto, ON). In both fellowships her research examined how different biological and genetic influences affect early placental development in the context of both healthy and pathological pregnancies. In 2011, Dr. Bainbridge established the Placenta Lab at the University of Ottawa. Her research program focuses on understanding the contributing role of the placenta to two common and debilitating conditions of pregnancy: preeclampsia and intrauterine fetal growth restriction (IUGR). 



Dr. Samantha Benton

Samantha is a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Bainbridge. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia in the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences program (2014). Her research interests include understanding the molecular mechanisms of placental dysfunction in preeclampsia and IUGR. She was awarded the Molly Towell Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015. 


PhD Students

Pascale Robineau-Charette

Pascale is a PhD candidate in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa. She has a strong interest in reproductive immunology, embryology and placental dysfunction. She’s currently investigating factors that modulate immune cell populations at the maternal-fetal interface, and how these changes might lead to placental dysfunction that can alter pregnancy outcome. Outside of the lab, she is a competitive ultimate player and a coffee and craft beer lover.

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Fahmida Jahan

Fahmida completed her Masters from Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba. She received an honorary Major Student Award (Manitoba Medical Service Foundation Award) and Heart and Stroke Foundation Master Award from the University for excellence in research. She also pursued her research career as a scientific staff in the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Her current research interest is investigating NAD+ metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction in the disease state of Preeclampsia. Outside research she likes listening to music and traveling.


Graduate Students


Anika Mukherjee

Anika is currently in her 2nd year in the Masters of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at the University of Ottawa. She holds a BSc. in Biomedical Sciences from uOttawa where she did her honours project with the Bainbridge lab as well. Her current thesis project is to investigate whether computer vision can be used to automate routine image analysis of placentas. She is interested in reproductive medicine and everything about it that can be automated. Outside of research, Anika is passionate about machine learning and enjoys spending downtime making art and travelling.   

Purvasha Patnaik



Undergraduate Students

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Sonia Dancey

Sonia is a first-year medical student at the University of Ottawa. Sonia started volunteering with the Placenta Lab in the summer of 2018 and continued on with her UROP project, looking at the use of synoptic reporting to standardize placental pathology reports. Sonia is excited to continue working on various projects within the lab and participate in outreach activities. Outside of the lab, Sonia enjoys dancing and searching for the best shawarma in the city.  

Erika Mery