Our Team

Our Team


Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, M.D., Ph.D

Dr. Aristotle Voineskos (MD, University of Toronto; PhD, University of Toronto) is the Koerner New Scientist, and Head of the Kimel Family Translational Imaging-Genetics Laboratory at CAMH. He is Vice President of Research at CAMH and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Voineskos’ work combines multi-modal neuroimaging and genetics approaches to map gene effects in the brain with a view to discovering vulnerability pathways for severe mental illness. This will aid in early identification of at-risk individuals and disease prevention. Currently, his neuroimaging approaches include MRI techniques known as diffusion tensor imaging and cortical thickness mapping. Disease populations currently under study include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as studying healthy individuals and healthy aging.

Another area of Dr. Voineskos’ work includes understanding genetic and structural brain determinants of brain function by combining the approaches described above with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). He also uses brain imaging to understand the effects of existing and novel treatments on brain structure and function.

Dr. Colin Hawco, Ph.D

Dr. Hawco (PhD, Neuroscience, McGill University) is an Independent Scientist in the Brain Health Imaging Centre at CAMH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and an Associate Member of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. He develops new approaches to uncover meaningful patterns of individual variability in complex neuroimaging data. He hopes this work will lead to better understanding of biological variability in patient samples and inform personalized medicine approaches in psychiatry. Since beginning his independent research program in 2020, Dr. Hawco’s group has grown to include four graduate students and other shared staff in the lab.


Dr. Erin W. Dickie, Ph.D

Dr. Erin Dickie (PhD, Neurological Sciences, McGill University) is a Project Scientist in the Kimel Lab and the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics (KCNI) at CAMH and Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is an invited instructor and member of international initiatives for education and best scientific practices, including the Researcher Council for the Digital Research Alliance of Canada. She is also the lead of Education and Open Science for KCNI. Her research studies brain connectivity in people with complex brain disorders (i.e., Autism and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders). She leads, with co-PIs Dr. Colin Hawco and Dr. Stephanie Ameis, the CIHR funded follow-up with SPINS and SPIN-ASD (SPIN-R). Additionally, she is also the neuroimaging lead for the ground-breaking, large-scale Toronto Adolescent and Youth Cohort (TAY) Study. Additionally, Dr. Dickie received a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award to investigate how personalized mapping may be a critical first step for the design of targets for neurostimulation therapy. Dr. Dickie founded the “ciftify” open software framework for surface-based analyses of MR data, collaborating with the Human Connectome Project.

Dr. Nicholas Neufeld, M.D., M.Sc

Nicholas Neufeld (MD, University of Toronto; MSc, University College London) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Dr. Neufeld’s research program investigates the neurobiology of severe mental illness across the lifespan and develop biomarkers, with a specific focus on schizophrenia and depression. His research philosophy centres on integrating multi-modal neuroimaging measures within clinical research to develop a comprehensive and impactful understanding of the mechanisms underlying treatment trajectories. An example of this work is the Magnetic Seizure Therapy for Schizophrenia – Neurocircuitry (MAST-Neuro) study funded by a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award (PI: Nicholas Neufeld). This study is embedded within the MAST-Trial, a federally funded clinical trial that compares electroconvulsive therapy and magnetic seizure therapy for clozapine and non-clozapine treatment augmentation in patients with treatment resistant-schizophrenia. MAST-Neuro aims to identify neuroimaging biomarkers of therapeutic effects and cognitive side effects in the ongoing MAST-Trial. Fundamentally, the MAST-Trial is positioned to lead to an indication for MST as a next-generation therapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, thereby increasing the number of therapeutic options available to the most severely ill patients with schizophrenia. MAST-Neuro is poised to improve our mechanistic understanding of the risks and benefits of this novel brain stimulation intervention and bring the field one step closer to personalized medicine.

Dr. Lindsay Oliver, Ph.D

Dr. Lindsay Oliver (PhD, Neuroscience, Western University; MSc, Human Cognitive Neuropsychology, University of Edinburgh) is a Staff Scientist in the Kimel Lab. Her research examines neural and behavioural correlates of cognition and functioning in psychiatric and non-clinical populations, with the overall goal of identifying biomarkers to inform targeted treatment options for these deficits. Much of Lindsay’s work has focused on the SPINS data, using advanced statistical analyses to identify relationships between brain connectivity and social cognitive performance across people with schizophrenia and healthy individuals. She is also involved in transdiagnostic research examining multimodal brain metrics and cognitive abilities across schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (SPINS-ASD), functional connectivity analyses in relation to psychotic depression (STOP-PD) and rTMS treatment response in schizophrenia (rTMS WM), as well as individually targeted brain stimulation for social cognitive impairments in people with schizophrenia (ModSoCCS).

Google Scholar - ResearchGate

Dr. Christin Schifani, Ph.D

Dr. Schifani (PhD, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg) is a Project Scientist with scientific appointments at the Slaight Family Centre for Youth in Transition and the Brain Health Imaging Centre. Her research focuses on using advanced multi-modal brain imaging (PET and MRI) to study modifiable disease biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder. A current focus is on using a novel PET imaging tracer targeting the synaptic vesicular protein 2A (SV2A) to study alterations in synaptic density in Autistic youth and those at risk for psychosis to understand what drives poor functional outcomes. Dr. Schifani also integrates neuroimaging into clinical trials to identify the neurobiological mechanisms of the efficacy of interventions. She received a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award to investigate how rTMS treatment impacts the brain microstructure using a cutting-edge method called Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI).

Dr. Katie Bingham, M.D., Ph.D

Dr. Bingham (MD, Western University; PhD, University of Toronto) is a Geriatric Psychiatrist and Clinician Investigator with the University Health Network and University of Toronto. Her primary research focus is on cognition and functioning in major depression and related disorders. She joined the Kimel Lab in 2019, after completing her PhD, to gain experience in specialized neuroimaging techniques that can be applied to clinical research.

Post-doctoral and Research Fellows

Ju-Chi Yu, PhD

Dr. Ju-Chi Yu (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) is a postdoctoral research fellow focusing on developing multivariate techniques and applying them to brain imaging analysis. Currently, Dr. Yu is working on identifying transdiagnostic brain network biomarkers that contribute to the diversity under the diagnoses of Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. This project will provide insights into more sophisticated diagnoses that will be useful for developing personalized treatment plans for people with Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She also collaborated with international scholars on developing sparsification techniques for multivariate statistical methods. Such development facilitates the interpretation of results from big data such as in brain imaging analysis.

Dr. Peter Zhukovsky, Ph.D

Dr. Peter Zhukovsky (PhD, Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kimel Family Lab since early 2020. Dr. Zhukovsky’s work focuses on neural mechanisms of late-life depression and its associations with dementia. Using large-scale datasets such as the UK Biobank, Dr. Zhukovsky has been applying multivariate modeling and genomic analyses to better understand the neurobiology of depression; working on the OPTIMUM-NEURO study, he has been building expertise in the intricacies of a multi-site large scale clinical trial with deep phenotyping and biotyping, and is currently working on the fellowship papers based on this important study. Dr. Zhukovsky has supervised several students, including Gemma Moffat (a summer student), resulting in a Brain Communications paper; and Tulip Marawi (a Master’s student with Dr. Mulsant and Dr. Voineskos), who published two papers (Biological Psychiatry and Translational Psychiatry) with a third paper in submission. He also supervised Lauren McCabe (summer student) who had her poster exploring meta-analytic results of brain-cognition studies accepted at the CAN-ACN 2023. After the pandemic restrictions were lifted, he was able to present findings from the above projects at the Society of Biological Psychiatry Conference 2023 and the ROS/MAP annual investigators’ meeting 2023.

GitHub - ResearchGate - Twitter

Graduate Students

Hajer Nakua, BSc

Hajer Nakua is a PhD student at the University of Toronto in her final year working with Dr. Stephanie Ameis and Dr. Sean Hill. Her PhD evaluates methodological decisions that influence the delineation of dimensional brain-behaviour relationships in transdiagnostic samples featuring children with different mental health diagnoses and those without. She is interested in using multivariate statistical methods to better understand how to delineate more stable and reproducible brain-behaviour relationships.

Julia Galluci, M.Sc

Julia is a first-year doctoral student in the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Her research, under the co-supervision of Dr. Aristotle Voineskos and Dr. Colin Hawco, focuses on using multivariate statistical techniques to hone in on the neurocircuitry of depressive symptoms in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (SSDs).

Tulip Marawi, M.Sc

Tulip Marawi is a second-year Master of Science student in the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. She is interested in studying the complex relationship between depression and dementia in older age. Specifically, her thesis examines the multivariate associations between changes in brain structure and cognitive impairment in older adults with major depressive disorder or mild cognitive impairment. To do this, Tulip is working on the PACt-MD study (Preventing Alzheimer’s dementia with cognitive remediation plus transcranial direct current stimulation in mild cognitive impairment and depression), a multi-center randomized controlled trial aimed at preventing long-term cognitive decline and incidence of dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Tulip’s work has been presented at several national and international conferences and has been published in prestigious academic journals.

Justin Ng, M.Sc

Justin Ng is entering his first year of the PhD program at the Institute of Medical Science under the joint supervision of Dr. Colin Hawco and Dr. Jamie Feusner. His work focuses on understanding the neurobiology of cognitive domains, aiming to unravel the underlying brain mechanisms that drives the co-variability of cognitive performance - why and how general intelligences arise. He uses functional MRI data to test the hypothesis that advantageous brain network configuration and reconfiguration flexibility underlies general cognitive performance. The ultimate purpose of his current and projected studies is to provide pinpoint the biological mechanisms that should be altered to provide potent and lasting interventions for psychiatric, or even healthy populations.

Eman Nishat, MSc

Eman Nishat (BSc Neuroscience, University of Toronto) is in her second year of the PhD program at the Department of Physiology under the co-supervision of Dr. Stephanie Ameis and lab alumnus Dr. Anne Wheeler.

Nishat’s work is aimed at understanding the long-lasting effects of childhood concussion on neurodevelopment, with a focus on sex-specific differences. She uses advanced diffusion MRI data from the NIH-funded Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study to study microstructural changes in the brain’s white matter following childhood concussion and the relationship with cognitive performance, behaviour, and mental health.

Ultimately, Nishat aims to empower the field of neuroscience by shedding light on the complex and multifaceted factors that contribute to long-lasting symptoms in children following concussions.

ResearchGate - Twitter

Ruyi Pan, Ph.D

Ruyi Pan is a PhD student in statistics at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Jun Young Park and Dr. Aristotle Voineskos. Her research is developing statistical methods to analyze imaging data. She has developed a method CLEAN-V for testing reliability and heritability of imaging data. Currently she is building a new method to test the correlation of multimodal data.

Dr. Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar, M.D., M.Sc

Dr. Rashidi (MSc, Cognitive Science, Trento University; MD, University of Tehran) is a doctoral student. She studies brain structure and function among older adults with varying levels of risk for dementia, and examines their connections with cognitive scores. Rashidi-Ranjbar is primarily working with PACt-MD, a multi-centre clinical trial that aims to identify stepwise patterns of disease progression in older participants with depression, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Specifically, Rashidi-Ranjbar will use the three neuroimaging scans provided by each participant over a span of six months to identify structural and functional brain measures associated with the observed delay or prevention of dementia, as well as investigate the effect of cognitive training and brain stimulation on brain structure and function. In the coming year, Dr. Rashidi will use similarity network fusion (SNF), a modeling approach developed by lab collaborator Dr. Anna Goldenberg (SickKids), to identify similarity networks that integrate demographic, cognitive and imaging data. Rashidi anticipates that SNF will identify informative clusters of participants with similar profiles irrespective of diagnosis.

Ayesha Rashidi, BS.c

Ayesha Rashidi a first-year Master of Science student at U of T’s Institute of Medical Science working as a graduate research trainee in the Kimel lab under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Ameis. My thesis project focuses on understanding the structure of social cognition across autism spectrum (ASD) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) using a statistical modeling approach. The main objectives are to provide insight into distinct social cognitive factors present across ASD and SSDs, and examine their role in mental health symptoms and everyday functioning in affected emerging and young adults.

Teodora Secara, BS.c

Teodora Secara, University of Windsor, is a second-year PhD student at the Institute of Medical Science under the supervision of Dr. Colin Hawco. She focuses on understanding cognitive deficits and individual variability in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). As part of her thesis, Teodora is examining how variability during rest and task-based functional connectivity relates to cognitive impairments and transdiagnostic connectivity profiles that underlie psychopathology. Her work aims to advance personalized treatments for SSD and ASD, while identifying more homogeneous subgroups with shared etiology, treatment response, and phenotypic characteristics.

Thomas Tan

Thomas Tan (Bsc, Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Toronto) is a second-year master’s student in the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. He is supervised by Dr. Colin Hawco to investigate neural networks using fMRI and the effects of rTMS on resting state functional connectivity in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). He is also interested in optimizing rTMS treatments by determining personalized targeting for MDD. Thomas is a research analyst for lab alumnus.

Dr. Iska Moxon-Emre, Ph.D

Dr. Moxon-Emre (PhD, Psychology, University of Toronto) is a postdoctoral fellow, investigating the links between brain function and behaviour, in persons with autism and schizophrenia. She is using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and functional MRI to examine how non-invasive brain stimulation (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; rTMS) alters brain metabolism, functional connectivity, and depression, in emerging adults with autism. She is also combining multi-modal neuroimaging and social cognition data, from individuals with autism and schizophrenia (SPIN-ASD dataset), to identify patterns of brain-behaviour relations that cut across these diagnoses and relate to social cognition. The overarching goal of Dr. Moxon-Emre’s research is to inform the development of targeted treatments to improve outcomes in clinical populations.

ResearchGate - NCBI

Undergrad Students

Soroush Bagheri

Soroush Bagheri started as a summer research trainee in CAMH last year through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) under the supervision of Dr. Colin Hawco. He calculated fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (fALFF, a measure of resting state spontaneous brain activity) on the SPINS and SPIN-ASD dataset, then harmonized and statistically analyzed the data. He continued his involvement as a volunteer to complete the analyses and is now currently in the process of finishing the manuscript.

Clara Sun

Clara Sun (BMSc Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences, Western University) joined the lab as a summer student. Under the supervision of Dr. Erin Dickie, she investigated brain age gaps (the difference between age predicted by neuroimaging data and chronological age) among TAY Cohort participants. With support from Dr. Dickie and Jimmy Wong, she computed brain age using two open-source software tools (ENIGMA Brain Age Model and BrainChart) and conducted statistical analyses to explore brain age gaps among those with autism spectrum disorder and psychosis spectrum symptoms. Further understanding of brain age gaps will support their potential usage as prognostic and predictive markers for child and adolescent patients. Sun’s work contributes towards a larger project led by Dr. Stephanie Ameis and collaborators, and she looks forward to the opportunity to assist with the development of an in-house brain age model.

Sun also contributed to the lab’s imaging projects by reformatting, preprocessing, and conducting quality control on Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort (PNC) data. She is now pursuing an MSc at the Institute of Medical Science.


Jovanka Skocic

Jovanka Skocic (BA Psychology & Anthropology, University of Toronto) joined the lab in 2019 as a Research Analyst and is now the Program Officer. Jovanka performed a similar role at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she explored differences in brain structure and function through diffusion tensor imaging, magnetization transfer imaging, arterial spin labeling and functional MRI. Jovanka assists in day-to-day operations of the Kimel Lab including training and onboarding new staff, REB applications, and troubleshooting any issues as they arise. Outside of the lab, Jovanka’s interests include living an active lifestyle and you’ll find her at the yoga studio, dance studio, or out for a run.


Kevin Witczak

Kevin Witczak is a Research Assistant responsible for maintaining the lab’s compute cluster’s load balance system, which serves distributed concurrent computing resources to researchers in the lab with an over 99% availability rate. He is also responsible for administering and monitoring the lab’s systems for serialising and maintaining provenance for generated research data. He co-administers the computing cluster with Dawn Smith, leads in the development of researchers’ technical computing skills, and spearheads the lab’s computational integration with the SciNet supercomputer systems operated by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada.

Salim Mansour, B.S.c

Salim Mansour (BSC in Software Engineering, University of Toronto-Scarborough) is a Research Methods Specialist. He works mainly with diffusion MRI data management and pipeline development in the lab, as well as functional and TMS preprocessing. He is the lead developer on our internal tractography pipeline and on our sgacc targeting pipeline for an ongoing TMS study. He also provides support for MRI data and pipeline management for several studies in the lab using his software engineering background and optimizes preprocessing in the lab through containerization and workload management.

Dawn Smith, B.Sc

Dawn Smith (BSc Psychology, York University; BSc Computer Science, York University) is a Research Methods Specialist responsible for keeping the Kimel Lab’s technical infrastructure running smoothly in the face of heavy demand and constant change. Her primary interests are in developing and deploying new tools to automate common preprocessing tasks and improving MRI quality control processes. To this end, she has helped develop Datman, a python-based package for MRI data management, and helped create an MRI quality control dashboard to track image quality metrics.

Yar Al Dabagh, B.Sc

Yar Al Dabagh (HBSc, McMaster University) is a Research Analyst who joined the Kimel lab in January 2023. He currently contributes to the processing and handling of data from the OPTIMUM study, which explores neuroimaging and molecular biomarkers associated with dementia risk in patients with treatment resistant late-life depression. He is also involved in developing data processing and data validation workflows for the Kimel Lab.

Nandni Sharma, B.Sc

Nandni Sharma (HBSc, Ontario Tech University) is a Research Analyst who works on many different projects including ASCEND and SPIN-ASD. She analyzes neuropsychological and neuroimaging data within the Brain Health Imaging Centre, while improving data management and quality control software. She is also involved in REDCap operations to manage clinical research data.

Ghazaleh Mohammadalinejad, M.Sc

Ghazaleh Mohammadalinejad (BSc, Electrical Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, MSc, Neuroscience, University of Alberta) just graduated with a neuroscience major and joined the lab in the spring. She assists with improving the lab’s MRI data management and quality control. One of Ghazaleh’s primary roles involves implementing preprocessing pipelines on the collected data.

Judy Kwan, B.Sc

Judy Kwan (BSc., Animal Physiology, University of Toronto) is a Research Analyst working on both SPINS and STOP-PD. For both studies, she takes the lead collecting neuropsychological and social cognitive assessments from research participants, and coordinating shared visits for the sample collection lab and MRI. Kwan is also responsible for providing training to new study staff.

Co-op and Summer Trainees

Oliver Chen

Oliver Chen is a physiology and pharmacology undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. He is supervised by Dr. Voineskos and Dr. Hawco, and works closely with Julia Gallucci, a doctoral student. During the summer, Oliver dedicated his efforts to two specific projects. Firstly, he worked on ASL quality control for the TAY study. Secondly, he worked on a systematic review that focuses on exploring the neurobiological correlates of depressive symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. This review aims to provide an overview of various studies that have examined the neurobiology of depressive symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorders using neuroimaging techniques.

Zara Khan

Zara Khan will be entering her third year of undergraduate studies, studying electrical and biomedical engineering at McMaster University. She is collaborating with Teodara Secara, a PhD student, under the supervision of Dr. Colin Hawco. Their objective is to investigate the transdiagnostic relationship between neurobiological heterogeneity and cognition by analyzing timeseries data. They will specifically examine the timeseries variability in individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and typically developing controls. To accomplish this, they will employ multivariate statistics, particularly Partial Least Squares Correlation, to identify associations between the timeseries variability and cognition. Focusing on variability may provide new opportunities for transdiagnostic interventions targeting specific cognitive impairments to improve functional outcomes across these disorders.

Feyifolu Obiri

Feyifolu Obiri (BMSc Microbiology and Immunology, Western University, anticipated 2024) joined the lab as a summer student. Under the supervision of Dr. Aristotle Voineskos and Dr. Peter Zhukovsky, she is seeking to better understand brain cognition relationships in treatment-resistant late-life depression. She is using white matter diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data and neuropsychological evaluations to analyze neural correlates of cognitive impairment in the unique OPTIMUM sample. Utilizing R, MATLAB, and Slicer, she creates correlation matrices, conducts multivariate analyses, and visualizes tracts of interest. Obiri also provides quality control assistance for tractography imaging.

Ayowale Olorunsola

Ayowale Olorunsola (BSc Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, University of Windsor, expected 2025) joined the lab as a summer student, and he is under the supervision of Dr. Lindsay Oliver and Dr. Colin Hawco. They are investigating the validity of the TASIT-S (The Awareness of Social Inference Test Short Form) in identifying deficits in social perception in individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs). This research will improve the administration time of the original test, leading to its use in future studies and clinical practice. Ayowale also works on ASL quality control data for the TAY (Toronto Adolescent and Youth) study at the lab.

Fariah Sandhu

Fariah Sandhu is an undergraduate student from York University. She is working in the TIGR Lab at CAMH as a Summer Research Student under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Ameis and graduate student Ju-Chi. Fariah is using multivariant statistics to produce outputs on Schizophrenic and Autistic youth in order to distinguish the individual differences between both groups of interest and normal healthy controls. As part of her summer project, Fariah is taking part in quality control of fMRI and DWI scans which will be used as participant data for her research. Fariah’s research will contribute to the current understanding of individual differences between Schizophrenic and Autistic youth and the healthy population and will encourage further research within the scientific community on complex brain-behaviour relationships in youth with mental health disorders.


Michael Joseph, M.Sc

Joseph (BSc, Biology & Psychology, McMaster University; MSc, Physiology, University of Toronto) is a Research Analyst. He assists with improving the lab’s MRI data management and quality control software. Michael previously performed a similar role at the Ontario Brain Institute, where he specialized in neuroimaging and clinical data collection databases. To this end, Michael teaches a monthly introductory course to train the hospital’s research staff and scientists in using databases for their research projects. Michael is also involved in managing SPINS-ASD: a new study comparing autism-spectrum and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders led by lab collaborator Dr. Stephanie Ameis. Michael’s primary interests lie in developing new software to automate MRI data analysis and understanding the statistical techniques involved.

Jerrold Jeyachandra, M.Sc

Jeyachandra (M.Sc, Science, Queens University) joined the lab as a Research Analyst. He is responsible for maintaining and expanding upon the lab’s computational pipelines for processing imaging data. In addition, he manages the analysis of phantom data, which provides critical insight into scanner performance across the many research centres involved in the lab’s studies. Jeyachandra is also interested in utilizing computational techniques to improve precision in therapeutic neurostimulation. He is the lead developer of BOONStim (Bayesian Optimization of NeuroStimulation), a pipeline utilizing cutting-edge technologies from neuroimaging and TMS electrical field modelling, to automatically calculate an optimal TMS coil position given a target region of any size or shape.

Sonja Stojanovski, B.Sc.

Sonja Stojanovski (BSc Neuroscience, Psychology, & Physiology, University of Toronto) is a second-year Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Physiology working with lab alumnus Dr. Anne Wheeler. Over the past year, Stojanovski collaborated with current lab members and lab alumnus Dr. Arash Nazeri’s to apply his Superficial White Matter methods to identify how TBI affects these structures in youth and the elderly. Recently, Stojanovski collaborated with the lab to explore how traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affects the etiology of ADHD. The paper reporting her findings features many Kimel Lab members as coauthors, and was recently published at Biological Psychiatry. Stojanovski recently won the Margaret & Howard GAMBLE Research Grant for three consecutive terms starting this fall, and holds Sickkids Restracomp scholarship for the rest of her degree. Stojanovski looks forward to continued collaboration with the lab.

Grace Jacobs, B.Sc

Grace Jacobs (BSc, Biomedical Science, University of Ottawa) is in her fourth year of the PhD program at the Institute of Medical Science under Dr. Voineskos’ supervision. She recently published her work (Jacobs et al, Neuropsychopharmacology) using structural and functional MRI data to better understand the neural mechanisms of psychosis symptom development in youth, including sex and age dependent differences. Jacobs is currently studying neurodevelopmental disorders ADHD, ASD, and OCD, which have many overlaps in symptoms, genetic risk, and neurobiology as well as tremendous variation in presentation within disorder. Her work focuses on integrating behavioural and multimodal structural neuroimaging measures from these three groups to identify data-driven subgroups that cut across diagnoses and have distinct biological profiles. Potentially, this can one day change how we define diagnostic labels altogether.

Dr. Natalie Forde, Ph.D

Dr. Forde (BSc Chemistry, University College Cork, Ireland; MSc Neuropharmacology, National University of Ireland, Galway; PhD Psychiatry, University of Groningen, the Netherlands) joined the lab in January 2018 as a post-doctoral research fellow. Dr. Forde is interested in symptoms that appear across different neurodevelopmental disorders and investigates their neural correlates by integrating imaging data from multiple modalities. Forde uses the uniquely large Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network dataset of children and adolescents with various neurodevelopmental disorders to identify biomarkers that relate to symptoms across disorders. In the future, this may help design targeted interventions like transcranial magnetic stimulation to improve cross disorder symptoms and long-term outcomes for those with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Anagha Vadarevu

Anagha (BSc- Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Toronto Scarborough, expected 2021) joined the lab as a co-op student for the September to December 2019 term. Under the supervision of Dr. Hawco she will be working on data analysis and quality control of the NEUR study, which involves analyzing TMS-fMRI data collected from both healthy participants and participants with Schizophrenia. The goal is to be able to create an “Open Science” framework where the data can be uploaded to a repository and shared with other researchers.

Gabrielle Herman, B.Sc

Herman (BSc Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour, McMaster University, 2018) joined the lab in May as a research analyst. She assists with data management and quality control for several studies in the lab. She has been especially involved in the OPTIMUM study on late-life depression, and has created a number of tools to track study recruitment. She also manages twice-yearly uploads of imaging and clinical data for the lab’s two NIH R01-funded studies (OPTIMUM and SPINS). Herman has also contributed code to various analysis and data management pipelines. She is interested in neurocognitive predictors of brain activity, and hopes to investigate brain networks and network flexibility.

Dr. John Anderson, Ph.D

Depression is known to be a significant risk factor for conversion from healthy aging to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and from MCI to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The pathways affected by depression and dementia are thought to overlap; however, evidence linking the two is tenuous. At the Kimel lab at CAMH, I am exploring how depression affects grey and white matter microstructure across the spectrum of healthy aging to dementia using multi-shell DWI acquisitions. We hope that by identifying common pathways underlying depression and dementia, we can identify individuals at-risk for dementia earlier, and perhaps prevent conversion by treating the depressive symptoms.

Navona Calarco (MSc, Medical Science, UofT; BA, Cognitive Science, York University) completed her master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Aristotle Voineskos in December 2021. Her thesis analyzed data from the SPINS schizophrenia project, and established that white matter circuitry is dimensionally and strongly related to both neurocognition and social cognition, consistent with diagnosis, and predictive of functional outcomes. During her MSc, Navona also worked as an RA with lab alumnus Dr. Yuliya Nikolova, linking in vivo neuromelanin-contrast and cognitive performance in late-life depression. Navona is now completing a PhD in Medical Biophysics with Dr. Kâmil Uludağ at Toronto General Hospital. Her goal is to discover neural markers of disease and dysfunction relevant to early detection and intervention efforts.

Google Scholar - Website

Dr. Hideaki Tani, MD, Ph.D

Dr. Tani (MD, PhD in Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Japan) joined the lab in April 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Tani studies the effect of antipsychotics on brain metabolite change compared with placebo using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in patients with psychotic depression. He also investigates the neural correlates between neurochemical findings and structural connectivity assessed with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). These works will contribute to our knowledge on the biological effects of antipsychotics on the brain, as well as improve the neuroscientific understanding of how antipsychotic medication change brain function and structure in treatment response.

Mathuvanthi (Mathu) Manogaran

Manogaran (BSc Computer Science, University of Toronto Scarborough, expected 2021) joined the lab as a co-op student for the January - May term, and enjoyed it so much she stayed for an additional co-op term until August 2018. In collaboration with Dawn Smith and Dr. Erin Dickie, she supported many aspects of the lab’s computational infrastructure and contributed to software development. She is responsible for creating a program that can convert the lab’s native directory structure to a new reproducible data format (BIDS), and created several portable Docker images for Dr. Dickie’s Ciftify program. Manogaran also upgraded DTI processing pipelines and made several contributions to the lab’s quality control interface.

Ella Wiljer

Wiljer (BSc Molecular Biology and Genetics, expected 2021) returned to the lab for a third year as a summer student. Under the supervision of Dr. Dickie, she performed an investigation of population anatomical variability within and between a set of brain atlases frequently used in clinical resting state studies. She analysed cortical folding and sulcal depth patterns in these atlases using the publically available Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset. She evaluated the degree of similarity from correlation matrices of individual participants across atlases. Wiljer looks forward to publishing her findings in a paper currently in preparation.

Sophie Mulsant

Mulsant (BSc Pharmacology, McGill, expected 2022) joined the lab as a summer student in 2019. She worked with Dr. Dickie to organize the data and learn coding skills. She aided with quality control for multiple lab datasets, primary for STOP-PD under the supervision of Dr. Nick Neufeld.

Sinead Ramsaroop

Sinead Ramsaroop (BA, Psychology, York University, expected 2017) spends two days each week with the lab to provide administrative support to its students, staff, and Dr. Voineskos. She appreciates that her role affords her an inside view of hospital bureaucracy, academic administration, and the scientific process. Ramsaroop is also very committed to community advocacy, and outside of the lab, runs her own charity called Project Reset, which helps facilitate a psycho-education treatment program for women accessing city shelters.

Rutwik Bangali

Rutwik Bangali (BEng Electrical Engineering, University of Toronto, expected 2019) returned as a summer student for the second year. Bangali analyzed metabolite concentrations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) data from the STOPPD dataset. Bangali worked closely with Dr. Nick Neufeld, Dr. Sofia Chavez, and Joseph Viviano to ensure his data analysis and processing scripts could be applied to the study’s multiple data-collection sites, and also worked to automate the entire pipeline to ensure ease of future use.

Lauren Liu

Lauren Liu (BEng Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, expected 2019) joined the lab as a summer student. In collaboration with Joseph Viviano, Liu analyzed the relationships between structural topology and brain dynamics at rest, among participants with schizophrenia and healthy control populations. She tested various diffusion tractography algorithms and parameters in order to tackle the challenge of quantifying structural connectivity strength between brain regions. Liu subsequently developed a processing pipeline to produce ROI-to-ROI connectivity matrices for various structural metrics to use in conjunction with functional MRI correlation matrices, which will soon be adopted into the lab’s larger processing pipelines system. Combining multimodal neuroimaging techniques - in this case structural and functional - allows for a more comprehensive characterization of global brain networks, an essential first step to future interventions.

Dayton Miranda

Dayton Miranda (BSc Life Sciences, Western University, expected 2020) returned as a summer student for the second year. In collaboration with Dr. Erin Dickie and Saba Sahab, Miranda analyzed structural and functional MRI data from patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls in an effort to identify between-group structural differences in the cortex, which in turn might contribute to an explanation of the functional disconnectivity observed in schizophrenia. Further understanding of the structural features and markers of schizophrenia might allow the illness to be identified and perhaps predicted using structural as opposed to functional scans, which are quicker and therefore cheaper to collect. Miranda is continuing to analyze incoming data for this project, and looks forward to reporting his results in an upcoming paper.

Laagi Yoganathan

Laagi Yoganathan (BSc Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University) returned as a summer student for the second year. Under the supervision of Drs. Stephanie Ameis and Colin Hawco, he worked on a project investigating the efficacy of rTMS treatment in individuals who have high functioning autism and comorbid executive functioning (EF) deficits. Yoganathan analyzed cognitive assessment and task-based fMRI data to determine if there are any changes on EF performance or in the brain networks involved with EF following rTMS treatment. He is now pursuing an MSc in Psychology at McMaster University.

Erika Ziraldo

Erika Ziraldo (BEng AREA, University of Guelph, expected 2018) joined the lab as a summer student. With support from Dr. Dickie and Joseph Viviano, Ziraldo developed a cleaning pipeline to remove artifacts from spiral resting state functional MRI scans. Thorough testing and application of the pipeline to multiple datasets has demonstrated improved brain connectivity in expected regions. The pipeline has been made publicly available for other researchers at CAMH. Ziraldo will be returning to the Kimel lab for another student term this fall.

Dr. Yuliya Nikolova, Ph.D

Dr. Yuliya Nikolova (BA, Psychology, Harvard University; PhD, Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University) completed her training as a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Etienne Sibille’s Neurobiology of Depression and Aging lab. Throughout her postdoctoral work she collaborated with Dr. Voineskos on projects aiming to accelerate the translation of basic preclinical research to human neuroimaging and clinical applications. In her most recent project, Dr. Nikolova developed a novel transcriptome-based polygenic risk score for depression, which maps onto cognitive brain function and performance, as well as stress-related depressive symptoms. Over the past year, Dr. Nikolova received two prestigious conference travel awards to present her work at the annual meetings of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Society of Biological Psychiatry. She was recently appointed the next Koerner New Scientist at CAMH and will continue her collaborative work with Dr. Voineskos.

Laura Stefanik, M.Sc

Laura Stefanik (BA, Psychology, Queen’s University; MSc, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto) recently graduated under the supervision of Dr. Voineskos. Stefanik’s work focuses on the application of novel data aggregation algorithms for social cognitive, neurocognitive, and neuroimaging data in an effort to identify impairment-specific markers of illness across adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum, schizophrenia spectrum and bipolar disorder. The goal of this work is to enhance disease subtyping and to identify treatment targets to improve social functioning. During her graduate studies, Stefanik had authorship on five peer reviewed scientific publications and her work was presented at a number of local and international academic conferences. Stefanik recently accepted a Research Analyst position with the Slaight Family Centre for Youth in Transition and Child, Youth and Emerging Adult Programs.

Saba Shahab, M.Sc

Saba Shahab (BSc, Neuroscience, University of Toronto) completed her MSc under the supervision of Dr. Voineskos. Over the past year, she collaborated with Dr. Dickie to apply a tool developed in-lab to a replication dataset in an effort understand how the brains of individuals with schizophrenia differ in their functional organization from those of neurotypical adults. Identifying abnormalities in functional organization in the brains of schizophrenia patients may lead to a better understanding of the disease process, and illuminate new targets for future treatment interventions. Shahab also conducted a systematic review and meta analysis examining sex-based differences in white matter microstructure in schizophrenia, which was recently published in Schizophrenia Bulletin. Shahab completed her degree in June 2017, and is now a first-year medical student at Western University.

Dr. Tom Wright, Ph.D

Dr. Tom Wright (PhD Neurophysiology, Gothenborg University, Sweden) is a Research Methods Specialist, who works mainly on the lab’s MRI quality control metrics. Most notably, Dr. Wright developed an in-house interactive ‘dashboard’ interface that allows staff to easily examine individual participant data, seamlessly observe and track longitudinal trends across participants, sites, and scan types, and communicate issues with relevant parties. Additionally, Dr. Wright regularly consulted with the lab’s students and scientists to support the computational requirements of their projects, and worked with the lab’s staff to strengthen its general computational infrastructure. Dr. Wright recently accepted a position as a Senior Research Associate (Electrophysiology) at the Kensington Vision & Research Centre.

Dawson Overton, M.Sc

Dawson Overton (BSc, Computer Science, University of Toronto, MSc, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Toronto) is interested in the characterization and identification of psychosis spectrum disorders using the BOLD signal and ASL neuroimaging data, especially using predictive computational techniques, such as support vector machines, neural networks, and other machine learning models. He most recently worked in the lab in summer 2019 as a research student, and is in his third year of medical school at the Schulich School of Medicine in London ON.

Daniel Felsky, Ph.D

Dr. Daniel Felsky (PhD, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto) completed his doctoral training under Dr. Voineskos in 2016, and has since completed a productive first year of his postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and recently transitioned to a postdoctoral scientist position in the newly founded Center for Translational and Computational Neuroimmunology at Columbia University Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Felsky is continuing his investigations into the complex genomic foundations of aging and Alzheimer’s disease as an associate scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Since starting his fellowship, Dr. Felsky has published four peer-reviewed articles, been invited to speak at three national and international conferences, and, in 2016, was awarded the CIHR Institute of Aging Fellowship Prize of Excellence in Research on Aging. Recently, Dr. Felsky has returned to CAMH as the Head of Whole Person Modeling at the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics.

Julie Winterburn, M.Sc

Julie is a student in the second year of her Master’s degree with the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her thesis focuses on comparing machine learning techniques reported in the magnetic resonance imaging literature for schizophrenia/control classification. Her previous work includes atlasing the hippocampus on high-resolution magnetic resonance images. Julie has been with the Kimel Family lab group since 2012. In her spare time, she can be found baking delicious treats, eating said baking, or out rowing on Lake Ontario.

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Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, Ph.D

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the tools of choice for the analysis of the brain in normally functioning and diseased states. Different MRI acquisition protocols provide excellent contrast and resolution and can be analyzed using automated techniques. The goal of Dr. Chakravarty’s work is to develop and use computational neuroanatomical techniques to understand how the structure of the brain is altered in psychiatric disorders. These techniques include the automated identification of structures and computational metrics that quantify their shape. He is currently working on adding information from diffusion tensor imaging in order to describe inter-structural connectivity. Many of these techniques can be used to elucidate phenotypes that can help describe how known risk genes may be affecting brain anatomy and ultimately increasing susceptibility to psychiatric illness. This work will aid in the early identification and treatment of those at high-risk of developing severe forms of mental illness.

Dr. Chakravarty now heads the CoBrA Lab at the Douglas Institute, Montreal.

Dr. Tristram Lett, Ph.D

Dr. Anne Wheeler, Ph.D

Anne is a new Catalyst Scholar in traumatic brain injury (TBI) at SickKids Hospital.


David Rotenberg, M.Sc

David is now the Manager of Scientific Computing at CAMH.

Mikko Mason, B.Sc

As a relatively new member of the Kimel Lab, I am excited to work with so many bright, engaged individuals. My role as a study RA challenges me to apply my psychometric experience to a research setting, and I am constantly amazed by the resilience with which our patients meet mental health challenges. I plan to further my education and combine research, clinical work, and teaching in the future.

On a more personal level, I feel like a Finn when in Canada and a Canadian when in Finland. I have a soft spot for old novels and the CBC. I believe in free time the way I believe in unicorns, but find sanctuary in wild places. I am happiest in woods or water or on a bike.

Tina Behdinan, MSc

Tina is now persuing her MD at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Robert S.C. Amaral, B.Sc

Robert is pursuing graduate studies at the CoBrA Lab at the Douglas Institute, Montreal.

Matt Park, B.Sc

Matt is now pursuing his MD at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Jon Pipitone, M.Sc

Jon is now pursuing his MD at the Queen’s School of Medicine.

Dr. Mélissa Lévesque, Ph.D

Melissa did a BSc in Psychology at McGill University, followed by an MSc in Neuroscience, also at McGill. During her Master’s degree she studied the function of the serotonin 1A receptor following acute administration of fluoxetine, using positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F]MPPF in healthy populations of both rats and humans. Then, during her PhD in Biomedical Sciences in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal, she studied the long-term impacts of prenatal and early postnatal adversity on brain development using MRI and fMRI, and epigenetic mechanisms, specifically DNA methylation, in a cohort of adolescent monozygotic twins followed since birth.

At CAMH, she is now working on testing the accelerated aging hypothesis of schizophrenia using both DTI and peripheral markers in young and old schizophrenia patients and controls. Her interests lie in uncovering the biomarkers of vulnerability for mental illness using a combination of neuroimaging and molecular strategies.

Dr. Arash Nazeri, M.D.

Dr. Arash Nazeri (MD, Tehran University of Medical Sciences) completed a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Voineskos in 2016, and has since started his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Nazeri has maintained his collaboration with the lab from long distance and continues his research on gray matter tissue microstructure in brain health and disease using diffusion-weighted MRI. He has also recently joined Chen Ultrasound Laboratory in St. Louis as where he works on applications of focused ultrasound on the brain. His primary goal is to developing novel neuro-therapeutic and neuro-diagnostic approaches using focused ultrasound.


Dr. Tina Roostaei, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Tina Roostaei (MD, Tehran University of Medical Sciences) completed a postdoctoral fellowship in imaging-genetics in neurodegenerative disorders under the mentorship of Dr. Voineskos in 2016. She has now joined the Center for Translational and Computational Neuroimmunology, Columbia University, New York, as a postdoctoral research scientist. Tina is continuing her studies on the genetic basis of susceptibility and progression of brain neurodegenerative disorders, with focus on the functional genomics of Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Her goal is to contribute to the advancement of understanding of the pathophysiology of these brain disorders and to find targets for their treatment and prevention.

Nikhil Bhagwat, M.Sc

Currently I am working on developing novel biomakers and diagnostic applications for neurodegenerative disorders using machine-learning techniques. My research interest include, computational neuroscience, machine-learning, signal processing and related areas.

Amy Miles, MA

Amy Miles (BA, Psychology & French Language and Literature, University of Maryland; MA Developmental Psychology, Columbia) is a fifth year PhD candidate under the supervision of Drs. Allan Kaplan and Aristotle Voineskos. She is interested in the neurobiological underpinnings and developmental trajectories of eating disorders and has designed a structural MRI study to explore the neuroanatomical correlates of risk for and manifestation of Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Ultimately, Amy hopes to use this information to identify novel therapeutic targets for AN, the most fatal psychiatric disorder and one for which there are currently no evidence-based treatments.

Vincent Man, BSc

Joseph Viviano, M.Sc

Joseph Viviano (BA, Psychology, Queens University; MSc, Biology, York University) is responsible for the design and implementation of a data management platform used by researchers in the lab and beyond, as well as the lab’s general computational infrastructure. Viviano’s role also involves the design and implementation of analytic code used by the lab’s scientists, and the development of novel prognostics tools utilizing MRI scans to guide patient-specific treatment. Over the past year, Viviano has worked to develop a fully-automated method for identifying patients with schizophrenia and comorbid severe cognitive impairment, as well as a method for predicting Alzheimer’s onset.

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