Clinician Scientist Profiles: General Stream
My parents have always been my fiercest advocates. As a child, my family moved continents to ensure that I received an education that would lead me to a boundless future. My parents’ example encouraged me to consider the lives of individuals with few advocates and how I could change their circumstances. My clinical work with underserved communities reinforced my research interests and I chose to partake in the Clinician-Scientist Program initially under the supervision of Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, the Physician-in-Chief of CAMH. My work evaluates the Supporting Transitions and Recovery Education (STAR) Learning Centre. Our team elucidated the features differentiating STAR from other services, formulated the mechanisms that underlie the theory of change and determined health outcomes of participants. In PGY4, I have transitioned to forensic psychiatry projects under the supervision of Dr. Sandy Simpson. My current projects focus on examining the criminal justice system and intersectionality, most recently amongst culture and race. As a Clinician-Scientist, I utilize rigorous research methods to create and evaluate interventions for individuals experiencing severe and persistent mental illness and inform health policy initiatives to serve marginalized populations. For my commitment to marginalized communities, I have received the Ontario Volunteer Medal and the Governor General of Canada’s Caring Canadian Award
With interests in neuropsychiatry and measurement-based care, David Freedman is a PGY-4 Psychiatry Resident Physician. His past work has focused on medical education related to measurement-based care and quality improvement. At present, he conducts research under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Feinstein on research related to the neuropsychiatry of multiple sclerosis.
During my MD-PhD studies under the supervision of Dr. J. Roder and Dr. A. Wong, I found a role for Neuronal calcium sensor-1 in motivated behaviour and dopamine signaling in mice. In my residency, I hope to apply my background in preclinical research on brain circuitry and behaviours to inform therapies for patients. Advances in brain stimulation provide many opportunities to translate knowledge about brain circuitry from human neuroimaging and preclinical rodent models into circuit-based treatments for psychiatric disorders. As a CSP resident, I plan to investigate the effectiveness of targeted brain stimulation (e.g. deep brain stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) for treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder.
Erene Stergiopoulos completed her BSc in psychology and MA in history and philosophy of science at the University of Toronto. Her past work includes qualitative research on the experiences of medical students with disabilities, and uses a socio-cultural lens to study the effects of the hidden curriculum on their professional identity construction. Her current research uses mixed methods approaches to study barriers to physician health disclosure. She also works as a freelance health journalist translating psychiatric research and ethics for a general audience, with bylines in Nautilus, STAT News, and VICE.
Co-Supervisors: Dr. Juveria Zaheer & Dr. Tina Martimianakis
Prior to residency, I studied Health Sciences at McMaster University, followed by a graduate degree (MSc) in neuroscience at Queen’s University and medical school at Western University. Throughout my training, I have been involved in multiple research projects including cultural comparison of stigma and deep brain stimulation. My current research interests include novel therapeutic modalities for psychiatric disorders, specifically neurostimulation. As a part of the research team at the MRI-guided rTMS clinic (Toronto Western Hospital), I am currently looking at novel targets and optimization of parameters of rTMS treatment for various psychiatric disorders including personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
Helena Kim completed her BSc in psychology and human biology and PhD in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto. Her past work examined downstream targets of mitochondrial complex I dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression using post-mortem brain samples and animal and cell models. She completed her post-doctoral work at Queen’s University identifying microRNA markers of bipolar disorder and drug response in patients with MDD using clinical trial samples. Currently, her research interest includes identifying demographic, clinical, and molecular predictors of drug response in patients with mood disorders.
Supervisor: Dr. Benoit Mulsant
I am fascinated by the biology underlying psychiatric disorders, and my research uses genomic data as a window into that biology. I am particularly interested in psychoneuroimmunology, the way the brain and immune system interact to influence behaviour and predispose to psychiatric disorders. Prior to residency, I completed MD/PhD training at the University of Toronto with a research specialization in statistical genetics. I co-developed a method (BUHMBOX) to identify biologically relevant groups of patients in genetic samples with limited clinical data (e.g. immune-driven subgroups). I have collaborated with international consortia on genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia and immune-mediated disorders, and identified significant genetic overlap between schizophrenia and certain immune-mediated disorders (those with a strong T-cell component). In my CSP research I am continuing to use big data to better understand similarities and differences in biology – including neuroimmune mechanisms – across psychiatric disorders.
I completed my Bachelors of Health Sciences at McMaster University with a minor in psychology. Following this, I completed medical school at the University of Toronto. My research area of interest is in the genetics of schizophrenia in particular 22q11.2 deletion syndrome which confers a ~25% lifetime risk for schizophrenia. I currently work at the Clinical Genetics Research Program at CAMH and am studying predisposing factors and treatment of schizophrenia in individuals with this condition.
North de Pencier
Dr. North de Pencier has a BA (Hons) from the University of Chicago in South Asian Languages and Civilizations and an MD from Western University. Her research centers around the history of psychiatry.
Supervisors: Dr. Allison Crawford, MD PhD and Dr. Omair Husain, MBBS, MRCPsych
I am a second year psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto. I am interested in the clinical and research implications of
differential placebo effects in late-life depression.
Dr. Victor M. Tang is a Canadian resident physician in the clinician scientist program at the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry. He received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Science in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, and completed his medical training at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. During his research and clinical training, he has published work on topics of oxidative stress in mood disorders, neuroimaging in stimulant addiction, history and clinical treatment of catatonia, and on Electroconvulsive Therapy and Magnetic Seizure Therapy. Currently his academic interests are in brain stimulation for treatment-resistant mental illness and addiction psychiatry.