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.
ResearchGatePublications on PubMed
Sakina Rizvi,
PhD, MACP, RP
Scientist
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 research 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 Arthur Sommer Rotenberg (ASR) Suicide and Depression Studies Program at St. Michael’s Hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Her research within the ASR program aims to characterize the neurobiology of suicide risk and treatment resistant depression, primarily through the use of fMRI and PET neuroimaging, and to develop and test novel psychotherapeutic strategies. Within her biomarker research, she is evaluating brain reward mechanisms as predictors of treatment outcome and as a path for intervention. In addition to her research, Dr. Rizvi is actively involved in outreach and advocacy projects with an emphasis on providing mental health education to the community through the creative arts.
Publications on PubMed
Katherine Dunlop, PhD
Scientist

Dr. Dunlop received her PhD in Medical Science in 2018 at the University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Science, as a CIHR Vanier Scholar. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience as a CIHR Banting Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine in 2021. Dr. Dunlop uses cognitive science, human structural and functional neuroimaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation) to understand the biological causes of inter-individual variability in behaviour and symptomatology, treatment response, and predictors of symptom improvement.

Aleksandra Lalovic, MSc, MEd, RP
Research Psychotherapist
Aleksandra Lalovic is a Research Psychotherapist in the ASR Program. She is involved in several studies investigating innovative psychotherapeutic approaches to help people who experience suicidal ideation and behaviour. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Aleksandra completed her clinical training at University of Toronto’s OISE Counselling Psychology program. She also holds a research doctorate in Neuroscience from McGill University, where she studied the neurobiology and genetics of depression and suicide risk.
Publications on PubMed
Amanda Ceniti, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Amanda Ceniti received her PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Sidney Kennedy, where she studied the association between concussion, depression, and suicide risk using neuroimaging, reward, and clinical measures. Her qualitative postdoctoral research with the ASR Program focuses on building community capacity among the family/friends of those at risk of suicide. She is also involved in coordinating public outreach and advocacy initiatives with the team, including the Storybook Project.
ResearchGatePublications on PubMed
Molly Hyde, MSc
Graduate Student
Molly completed her HBSc and MSc at the University of Ottawa with a research focus in EEG methodology and brain stimulation treatment in depression. She is currently a PhD student with the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto and her project uses neuroimaging to uncover biomarkers associated with anhedonia and suicide risk. Molly is dedicated to improving mental health outcomes for patients and hopes to continue pursuing neuropsychiatry research in the future.
ResearchGate
Hailey Wright, B.Arts Sc. (Honours)
Research Coordinator
Hailey received her Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science with a minor in Mental Health & Addictions at McMaster University. Prior to joining the ASR, Hailey was coordinating neuroimaging research at CAMH with a focus on treatment resistant late-life depression. In the ASR, Hailey is coordinating the suicide and depression neuroimaging study stream, and is also involved with our community outreach efforts.
Jennifer Ma, BiSci
Graduate Student

Jennifer completed her Honours Bachelor of Integrated Science at McMaster University with a specialization in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour.  She is currently a MSc student with the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto and her project uses neuroimaging to examine potential biomarkers associated with suicide risk and pain perception. Jennifer is passionate about science communication, mental health advocacy and hopes to help bridge the gap between research and patient outcomes in the clinic in the future.

Yasmine Gray, MA
Research Coordinator

Yasmine Simone Gray is a Research Coordinator at ASR. She is supporting the Family/Friends of Individuals at Risk of Suicide Training (FIRST) study. Yasmine has a Master's degree in Critical Disability Studies and brings to the team, her expertise in Mad Studies, Critical Suicidology and Black Disability Studies. Outside of her work in ASR, Yasmine is an educator who uses storytelling and the arts to teach social justice education to a wide variety of audiences.

Melissa Tan, MA, RP, MTA, NMT-F
PhD Candidate

Melissa is a PhD candidate in Music and Health Sciences. She holds a MA in Music Therapy from the University of Roehampton in London, UK and is also a Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow (NMT-F) and Registered Psychotherapist (RP). Melissa is a practicing music therapist supporting clients with autism, neurorehabilitation, dementia, and mental health concerns. Melissa’s research interests lie in exploring the effects of music-based interventions for depression.

Anna Kiriakidis, RSSW, HBASc
Research Assistant

Anna is a Registered Social Service Worker with experience as a crisis counsellor and mental health support assistant for children and survivors of abuse. She earned her Honours Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Social Services from the University of Guelph, specializing in Youth and Family Counselling. Her aspiration is to pursue a Master of Social Work, focusing on effective healthcare interventions for acute mental health crises. Within the ASR Program, Anna is involved in the Supportive Trauma Exposure Preparation (STEP) study and provides assistance on the Suicide Biomarker projects.

Elizabeth Selezneva, BSc
Research Coordinator

Elizabeth received her BSc in Psychology from York University and is currently completing her Masters of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health at King's College London. Prior to joining St. Michael's Hospital, Elizabeth gained significant clinical experience working as a Psychometrist at both Baycrest and SickKids Hospitals, and as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, investigating drugs to enhance social communication in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. At the CDSS, Elizabeth serves as a Clinical Trial Coordinator, where she coordinates clinical trials exploring innovative treatments for depression.

Jaehee Kim, BSc
Graduate Student

Jaehee achieved an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, specializing in Psychology. She is diligently pursuing her Master of Science in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto, and her research endeavors center around the characterization of dopamine receptor binding in treatment resistant depression (TRD). Jaehee's aspirations are firmly rooted in the realm of clinical science. She envisions a future as a trailblazing neuropsychiatry researcher with the pursuit of knowledge and dedication to the field of mental health and treatment.

Inayah Rehman
Undergraduate Student Researcher

Inayah is currently pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto, with double majors in Health and Disease and Psychology and a minor in Immunology. She has recently discovered a passion for research and is involved in an ASR project that aims to investigate neurological biomarkers of suicide and their relationship with pain. Inayah hopes to pursue a graduate degree in a field that brings together her two passions: medicine and mental health.

Maria Diaz
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Maria is pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto with dual specialization in Ethics, Society & Law and Psychology. She works in the Family/Friends of Individuals at Risk of Suicide Training (FIRST) study at St. Michael’s Hospital as part of the ASR Suicide and Depression Studies Program. Passionate about youth mental health, Maria serves as a Mental Health Peer Advisor (MHPA) at the university and volunteers as a crisis responder at KidsHelpPhone. Her interest in the neurobiological markers of memory impairment in neurodegenerative diseases drives her toward further education, aiming to integrate psychology and neuroscience for impactful contributions to mental health research and practice.

Nathania Ebegbare

Nathania is a Research Volunteer conducting her third year Summer Placement for her Honors Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Social Services at the University of Guelph-Humber, specializing in Youth and Families. Known for her experience writing legal documents and reports as a Legal Assistant, she aspires to become a seasoned public policy and research professional, holding a Master’s degree in Public Policy. With a keen eye for social change, she aims to conduct research and craft evidence-based policies that address pressing societal issues, which will be congruent with her work assisting in the FIRST and STEP studies with data analyses, literature searches, and research manuscript writing.

Abigail Wiliszewski, BAH

Abigail completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University with a major in Psychology. She has previous research experience working with individuals with depression, and populations at risk for suicide. With the ASR Program, she is helping with the screening, recruitment, and running participant assessments for the suicide biomarker projects.

Asmarie Nankam, BHSc

Asmarie earned her Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining the ASR, Asmarie gained clinical experience working as a SUPPORT Ambassador at the CHEO Research Institute, facilitating clinical research in the ED. In the ASR, Asmarie is involved in suicide and depression neuroimaging studies, that aim to examine potential biomarkers associated with suicide risk.

Reem Bagdady

Reem is entering her fifth year at the University of Toronto studying psychology and political science, with a passion for mental health research and practice. Prior to joining ASR, Reem was a Research Placement Student at CAMH aiding with a longitudinal cohort study investigating youth mental health concerns. She is also currently a neurofeedback technician at a private psychology clinic. As part of ASR, Reem is involved in aiding with a systematic review paper investigating the effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. 

ASR Alumni

Nicole Edgar, HBSc
Research Coordinator
Julie Stinson, MA
Research Coordinator
Joanna Yu, PhD
Research Manager
Yingchen Fan, MSc
Research Assistant
Zarin Zahra, HBSc
Research Assistant
Mehek Chaudhry, MSc
Research Coordinator
Shane McInerney,
MD, MRCPsych
Clinician-Scientist
Alana Harrington, MSc, CCRP, PMP
Research Manager
Janice Pong, MSc
Communications Lead
Anum Shivji Arwani, MSc
Outreach Coordinator
Yvonne Bergmans, PhD, MSW, RSW
Suicide Interventionist
Troy Chow, MSc
Graduate Student
Tian Renton, PhD
Graduate Student
Sophie Vaccarino, MSc
Graduate Student
Jane Foster, PhD
Scientist
Susan Rotzinger, PhD
Program Manager
Nikita Nogovitsyn, PhD
Post Doctoral Fellow
Shijing (Cynthia) Wang, MScClone
Research Coordinator
Michael Morton, HBSc
Research Assistant
Aliana Razac, HBSc
Research Assistant
Sarina Rain
KRSS Summer Student
Katie Vandeloo, MSc, BSc
Research Coordinator
Kristen Tse
Research Assistant
Garima Amarnath
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Jennifer Yu
Undergraduate Research Assistant