Sep 27, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Early-Career Collaborative Grant Recipients

Congratulations to our successful applicants


The Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry are pleased to announce the recipients of our inaugural Early-Career Collaborative Grant Competition.

The Early-Career Collaborative Grant facilitates innovative research projects that benefit patients who receive care from our departments. The aim is to advance both clinical care and the academic mission of both institutions.

Successful Applicants

Congratulations to the successful applicants, Dr. Ishrat Husain and Dr. Karim Ladha. They are co-principal investigators on the research project titled "TReAtmeNt with pSilocybin for Chronic Neuropathic Pain and Depression (TRANSCEND) Pilot RCT."

Co-Principal Investigators 


Dr. Ishrat Husain

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Lead of the Mood Disorder Service and head of the Clinical Trials Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health


Dr. Karim Ladha

Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, University of Toronto

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Staff Anesthesiologist, Unity Health – St. Michael’s Hospital

Research Summary

Chronic neuropathic pain is a debilitating condition that causes shooting, burning and stabbing sensations that are often constant and unrelenting in severity. While guidelines for the treatment of neuropathic pain exist, over 50% of patients do not experience adequate improvement from initial treatment. One reason for this could be that an estimated 40-80% of patients with neuropathic pain also suffer from concurrent major depressive disorder (MDD). A significant unmet need exists for novel therapies that effectively manage associated neuropathic pain and MDD.

Psilocybin has shown a possible therapeutic benefit in a range of mental health disorders including MDD in prior randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Furthermore, preliminary evidence supports the potential of psilocybin to alleviate chronic pain.

The TReAtmeNt with pSilocybin for Chronic Neuropathic pain and Depression (TRANSCEND) pilot RCT is a proof-of-concept, open label trial assessing the feasibility, tolerability, and preliminary efficacy of psilocybin therapy for adults with chronic neuropathic pain and co-morbid MDD to inform a larger RCT. Participants will be followed-up for three months after their treatment to assess the longer-term effects of the intervention. 


$100,000 over 2 years

Co-Investigators and collaborators

Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine: Dr. Hance Clarke, Dr. Akash Goel, and Dr. Duminda Wijeysundera
Department of Psychiatry: Dr. Venkat Bhat
York University Department of Psychology: Dr. Joel Katz and Dr. Paul Ritvo

Lead patient partners: Ms. Victoria Boateng and Ms. Sarah Nelson

Please join us in congratulating our colleagues on their successful application addressing this important topic in anesthesiology and pain medicine and psychiatry.

Benoit H. Mulsant, MD, MS, FRCPC
Professor and Labatt Family Chair of the Department of Psychiatry

Beverley A. Orser, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FACH
Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
Professor of Anesthesia and Physiology