Meet the ASR Team

Sidney H. Kennedy,
MD, FRCPC
Chair
Sidney H. Kennedy is the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide and Depression Studies at St. Michael’s Hospital, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and a Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute. Dr. Kennedy’s work involves new drug evaluation, neuroimaging and neurostimulation therapies in depression, and the development and renewal of treatment guidelines for both Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. In defining a direction for ASR, Dr. Kennedy identified biological markers and risk assessment as the primary research focus, in addition to continuing and developing clinical interventions to aid persons with suicidal ideation and behaviour.
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Yvonne Bergmans,
PhD, MSW, RSW
Suicide Interventionist
Yvonne is the Suicide Intervention Consultant at the Suicide Studies Research Unit of the ASR Chair in Suicide Studies. Based out of St. Michael's Hospital, she is involved in both clinical and research endeavours. She has established a 20 week group intervention for people who have experienced two or more suicide attempts. 
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Shane McInerney,
MD, MRCPsych
Clinician Scientist
Dr Shane McInerney is a Staff Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the ASR Suicide and Depression Studies program at St Michael's Hospital. His current area of research is in relation to the neurobiological underpinnings of suicide and how increased knowledge in this area may be able to guide treatment options. He is particularly interested in the field of mood disorders and he offers a range of treatments including pharmacotherapy and a psychosocial intervention for individuals with suicidal risk.
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Sakina Rizvi,
PhD
Scientist; Co-Lead, ODN
Dr. Sakina Rizvi received her PhD in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Collaborative Program in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. She has over 10 years of experience in psychiatry across the areas of neuroimaging, neuropsychology, psychotherapy, pharmacology, and scale development; with a focus in Major Depressive Disorder. Currently, Dr. Rizvi is a Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at St. Michael's Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Her role in the ASR Chair is to develop the suicide biomarker and treatment resistant depression research program. In addition, as Co-Lead for the Ontario Depression Network, her goal is to promote mental illness advocacy, education and resource building across Ontario.
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Susan Rotzinger, PhD
Program Manager
Susan Rotzinger is the Program Manager for the ASR Chair and for the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network for Depression, one of the Integrated Discovery Programs of the Ontario Brain Institute. Susan holds a PhD in Neuroscience-Psychiatry from the University of Alberta, and has many years of experience managing clinical and preclinical research programs. Susan’s goal is to maximize the benefit of the research collaborations and partnerships of our growing networks, to facilitate biomarker discovery and improve treatment and prevention strategies.
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Jane Foster, PhD
Scientist
Dr. Foster is a Scientist within the ASR program. Her research, based at McMaster University, aims to understand how the body’s immune system and gut microbiota affects brain development and function. Dr. Foster hopes that her research accomplishments lead to a better understanding of how these relationships contribute to psychiatric disorders such as neurodevelopmental disorders, anxiety and depression. In collaboration with her clinical colleagues, she is interested in translating these findings to the depressed patient population (MDD) and suicide risk.
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Venkat Bhat, MD, FRCPC
Psychiatrist, Fellow
Dr. Venkat Bhat is a Psychiatrist and Fellow in Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. His clinical work is in the area of mood disorders and Interventional Psychiatry, with a focus on new and emerging treatments for treatment-resistant conditions. He has interdisciplinary research interests and has a current research focus on using various computational and data science methods to personalize treatments for individual patients.
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Alana Harrington, MSc, CCRP, PMP
Research Manager
Alana is a research manager with the ASR team at St. Michael's Hospital, and is largely responsible for financial management, SOP development and implementation and assisting with obtaining funding for the team's projects. She obtained a M.Sc. in Epidemiology from York University after receiving her HBSc from the University of Toronto. Additionally, she holds both Certified Clinical Research Professional and Project Management Professional certifications.
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Janice Pong, MSc
Communications Lead
Janice Pong is the Communications Lead for the ASR Chair in Depression and Suicide Studies and the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network for Depression (CAN-BIND). She manages a wide range of communications, knowledge translation (KT) and outreach initiatives aimed at maximizing the reach and impact of depression and suicide research. She is passionate about connecting and empowering members of the mental health community to drive new discoveries for mental wellness. Janice received her HBSc in Human Biology: Health & Disease, with minors in Bioethics and Psychology, and her MSc in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto.
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Anum Shivji Arwani, MSc
Research Coordinator
Anum is a research coordinator within the Arthur Sommer-Rotenberg Suicide and Depression Studies program at St. Michael’s Hospital. She holds a MSc in Neuroscience and enjoys managing a portfolio of community based knowledge translation and outreach projects, including CAN-BIND’s annual Family and Friends Day. In addition, Anum advocates to improve health literacy, mental health awareness and wellness through volunteering for NPO's such as Health Out Loud and the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Ontario (Health and Wellness Portfolio).
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Amanda Ceniti, HBSc
Graduate Student
Amanda Ceniti is a PhD Candidate with the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the association between concussion and subsequent depression and suicidality using neuroimaging techniques. She is involved in several studies with the program, including biomarkers of suicide risk and suicide-related presentations to the emergency department, as well as public outreach and advocacy initiatives. Amanda's primary role is research-oriented, but she is also responsible for ASR website development. Amanda received her HBSc at the University of Toronto, specializing in Neuroscience and minoring in Music History & Culture.
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Tian Renton, MSc
Graduate Student
Tian is a second year PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI) at the University of Toronto. Her program of research seeks to investigate the impact of depressive and anxiety symptoms on recovery following a sport-related concussion in adolescent aged athletes. Outcomes from her research seek to inform rehabilitation and concussion management practices for concussed athletes.
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Troy Chow, HBSc
Graduate Student
Troy Chow received his HBSc at Queen’s University, specializing in Life Sciences with an honors project in cardiac surgery outcomes. He is currently working towards a MSc in the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Having developed a passion for clinical research and mental health, his work uses neuroimaging to explore changes in function and reward circuitry in depression during treatment. Troy’s primary responsibility involves research however, he continues to advocate for mental illness through the development of community programs outside of the ASR.
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Zarin Zahra, HBSc
Research Assistant
Zarin Zahra received her HBSc at the University of Toronto, majoring in Psychology and Global Health and minoring in Environmental Studies. She is currently a research assistant with the Suicide and Depression Studies research unit of the ASR Chair in Suicide Studies. Her research focuses on several studies related to biomarkers for suicide risk, treatment resistance, and the involvement of anhedonia and reward processing in depression. Although her primary role is research oriented, Zarin is also responsible for managing the ASR social media sites.
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ASR Alumni

Nicole Edgar, HBSc
Research Coordinator
Julie Stinson, MA
Research Coordinator
Joanna Yu, PhD
Research Manager
Yingchen Fan, MSc
Research Assistant