INMHA Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies

Dr. Simone Vigod (Chair)
Head, Department of Psychiatry, Women’s College Hospital
Professor and Vice-Chair Clinical Innovation, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

Dr. Simone Vigod (MD 2003, FRCPC 2009) is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital, one of the University of Toronto’s nine fully-affiliated academic health sciences centres. Dr. Vigod is a leading expert in perinatal mood disorders and has conducted some of the largest studies worldwide on maternal mental illness around the time of pregnancy. Mental illness at this life stage poses unique risks to mothers and their children at a critical juncture in both of their lives. Her research is helping raise awareness about gaps in access to specialized perinatal mental healthcare, as well as identifying vulnerable populations where these gaps are most prominent. She also designs and evaluates novel health system interventions to improve access to and uptake of care for affected women. Her background includes an Honours BSc in Psychology from McGill University (1999), followed by an MD (2003), residency in psychiatry (2003-2009) and MSc in Clinical Epidemiology (2011) from the University of Toronto. She leads a clinical research program at Women’s College Hospital as a Senior Scientist and the Shirley A. Brown Memorial Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research in the Women’s College Research Institute, and is a Senior Adjunct Scientist at ICES in Toronto, Ontario where population-level health administrative data for her epidemiological studies are securely held.

Mark Asbridge
Professor and Head, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology with cross-appointment in Department of Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University

Mark Asbridge is Professor and Head in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and holds a cross-appointment in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Prior to joining Dalhousie, Mark completed his Ph.D. Sociology and Addiction Studies at the University of Toronto and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Mark’s research program examines the areas of addictions, road safety, injury prevention and emergency medicine, and public policy, with a primary focus on impaired driving research. He has published over 170 peer reviewed articles. His work on cannabis and impaired driving has informed public policy and education efforts provincially, nationally, and internationally, and he has previously presented to Departments of Justice, Health, and Public Safety, and Transport Canada, among many others, on this issue. Mark has served as an expert witness for the Canadian House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health focusing on the scientific evidence related to the health risks and harms associated with the use of cannabis, and in was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Second Technical Consultation on Drug Use and Road Safety Committee. Mark previously received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award and held the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving – MADD Canada Professorship in Impaired Driving Research and Prevention.

Marie-Hélène Boudrias, Pht, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University

Marie-Hélène Boudrias (Pht, PhD) is an Associate Professor at McGill University's School of Physical and Occupational Therapy. She is a physiotherapist by training and a neuroscientist. She is a researcher at the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital, a site of the Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation du Grand Montréal (CRIR), where she is responsible for Axe 1, which focuses on research into sensory, motor and cognitive functions and activities. She is also a member of the expert committee for CHUM's network of clinics specializing in long COVID-19 and Lyme disease. Dr. Boudrias' research aims to better understand the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying interactions between brain areas. She uses neuroimaging and electrophysiology techniques, as well as cutting-edge data analysis methods including artificial intelligence, to measure these interactions. The aim is to identify biomarkers of aging, stroke and long COVID. The ultimate goal of her research is to design therapeutic interventions specific to each individual, such as physical training or cortical stimulation protocols to improve motor functions and/or mitigate age-related decline in these functions.

Jennifer A. Chandler
Bertram Loeb Research Chair, Full Professor
Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa

Jennifer A. Chandler is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. She holds degrees in law from Queen’s University and Harvard Law School, and a BSc from the University of Western Ontario. She holds the University of Ottawa’s Bertram Loeb Research Chair.

Professor Chandler’s main research focus relates to ethical, legal and policy issues at the intersection of the brain sciences, mental health care and the law. She has published widely in legal, bioethical and health sciences journals and is the co-editor of the book Law and Mind: Mental Health Law and Policy in Canada (2016).

Florence Dzierszinski, PhD
President, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), The Royal
Vice-President of Research, The Royal

Dr. Florence Dzierszinski is the President of University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR) at The Royal, and Vice-President of Research at The Royal. She is focused on creating access to mental health care through research, delivered by interdisciplinary teams that bring together scientists and clinicians, with clients and their loved ones at the center. She leads a team of researchers who are developing novel approaches and technologies to make ground-breaking advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental conditions.

Dr. Dzierszinski has a long history of health research herself, including a CIHR Canada Research Chair at McGill University and awards from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) among others. Leveraging deep expertise in organizational design and change management, she is driven today by creating the organizational conditions and key partnerships that ensure scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and clients and families work closely so that discoveries are translated into care more quickly. In addition to her dual roles at The Royal and the IMHR, she serves on the board of Frayme, a knowledge mobilization network focused on system transformation for youth mental health, and is the vice Chair of the Board of OSSU [Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit], Ontario's catalyst for patient-oriented research.

Nadia Fairbairn
Assistant Professor & Philip Owen Professorship, Addiction Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Scientist, British Columbia Centre for Substance Use

Dr. Nadia Fairbairn is an Assistant Professor and holder of the Philip Owen Professorship in Addiction Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Fairbairn is a board-certified General Internal Medicine specialist and addiction medicine specialist. She is a scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Substance Use. Her research program is focused on strategies to close the evidence-to-practice gap in addiction medicine through clinical, educational and research innovation. As part of these efforts, she conducts research focused on the epidemiology of addiction, quantitative and qualitative data analyses, and clinical trials. She has over ten years of experience conducting observational and interventional research and has published extensively in these areas, with over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. She regularly serves on clinical guideline committees at the provincial and national level to inform evidence-based practice for treatment of substance use disorders, and led the development of the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) national injectable opioid agonist treatment guideline. Dr. Fairbairn is Program Director/Principal Investigator of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded International Collaborative Addiction Medicine Research Fellowship that trains the next generation of clinician scientists in addiction medicine. She is Interim Medical Director of the Regional Addiction Program at Vancouver Coastal Health. She holds a scholar award with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/St. Paul’s Foundation for her work on strategies to reduce overdose and improve addiction treatment outcomes among people who use drugs.

Rita Isabel Henderson, MA, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine & Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Rita Isabel Henderson is an Associate Professor in Family Medicine with a joint appointment in Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from the Université de Montréal, with MA and BA(Hons) degrees in the same from Dalhousie University.

As a social science-trained clinical scholar of settler background, Rita Isabel Henderson seeks to advance system transformation for health equity, particularly with Indigenous populations to redress settler colonial legacies in healthcare. She has extensive experience with community-based participatory research with First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners, advancing research in the developmental origins of health and disease, interrupting toxic stress among marginalized youth, mitigating stress for chronic disease management, and advancing regional strategy for addressing the toxic drug crisis. She has extensive partnerships with bio-sampling initiatives with Indigenous communities, for wastewater surveillance of pathogens and harvester-based sampling of country meats for emerging infectious diseases in the Arctic, as well as another focused on a rare inherited neuromuscular disorder with particular prevalence in the prairie region. Dr. Henderson has authored clinical practice guidelines for providing care to Indigenous patients with diabetes and obesity. She is a member of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) and takes particular interest in aligning health research with Indigenous data governance.

Dr. Emily Jenkins PhD, MPH, RN
Associate Professor, Faculty of Applied Science, School of Nursing, The University of British Columbia

Dr. Emily Jenkins, a registered nurse, is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. She brings extensive clinical and research expertise from acute and community mental health and substance use settings.

Her clinical training and experience informs her program of research, which aims to enhance mental health outcomes and reduce substance use harms for Canadians through mental health promotion strategies and health services and policy redesign. Dr. Jenkins' current research is characterized by an “upstream” focus and includes studies exploring strategies to facilitate citizen engagement in mental health and substance use policy and intervention design, and youth engaged research to promote mental health and reduce substance use harms.

She is recognized as a leader in the mental health and substance use field and has established policy, practice and media channels that support knowledge mobilization and research impact.

Dr. Jibran Khokhar
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University

Dr. Khokhar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University. He completed his B.Sc. Honours from Queen’s University and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College. Prior to joining Western, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph. He has received many awards and prizes including the Stephen G. Holtzman Award from the College on Problems Drug Dependence.

Dr. Khokhar’s research revolves around understanding the link between substance use and schizophrenia, with an eye toward developing treatments to reduce substance use in this population. His laboratory also focuses on the long-term effects of developmental exposure to drugs commonly used by adolescents such as cannabis and nicotine vaping. By combining behavioural pharmacology with translationally-relevant pre-clinical magnetic resonance brain imaging and electrophysiological methods, his laboratory hopes to uncover the causal mechanisms underlying substance use and neuropsychiatric disorders, with the ultimate goal of targeting these mechanisms through pharmacology or neuromodulation.

Since 2018, Dr. Khokhar has served as a reviewer for multiple CIHR competitions and schemes, and is a member of the College of Reviewers. Dr. Khokhar also serves on the Board for the Canadian Mental Health Association-Waterloo Wellington Chapter, and the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids. He is also passionate about science communication, and has presented at TEDxGuelphU and visits local schools and community centres to speak about substance use. Lastly, he also chairs the Equity Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, and is heavily involved in community-engaged scholarship around harm reduction in his courses.

Marco Antonio Maximo Prado
Robarts Research Institute
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology/Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Brain and Mind Institute
University of Western Ontario

Marco Prado, a Brazilian-born Canadian neuroscientist, has a strong interest in understanding how molecular and cellular changes in neurodegenerative diseases contribute to protein misfolding and cognitive failure. He uses novel genetically-modified mice to model neurochemical deficits in dementia and also to manipulate proteostasis in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases. He is particularly focused on studying how long-term changes in neuronal signalling modulate gene expression, cognition and mechanisms that control neuronal resilience. His group discovered that the prion protein interacts with different receptors, including mGluR5, which has emerged as a major target in Alzheimer’s disease. Marco Prado received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship (Guggenheim Foundation), a Faculty Scholar Award (University of Western Ontario), the Dean’s Research Excellence Award (University of Western Ontario) and a visiting faculty award from the Brazilian. His laboratory has been funded consistently in the last 24 years by government and private agencies in three different countries (Brazil, USA and Canada). He has published over 160 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Andrew T. Olagunju
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
Psychiatrist, Joseph’s Healthcare

Andrew T. Olagunju is an Assistant Professor at the department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, and a psychiatrist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Ontario. He holds affiliate position with the Research Institute of St. Joe's Hamilton, and a collaborator on the global burden of disease project at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington in Seattle, USA. Previously, he was a Senior Lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and an affiliate in Research with King’s College London. His background includes MBBS from the University of Ilorin (2000), psychiatric residency at the University of Lagos (FMCPsych, 2009 and FWACP, 2010), and Master of Science degree in International Humanitarian Action (module on Epidemiology and Health Policy) from University College Dublin (European Union Commission Erasmus Mundus scholar, 2007). He completed an Australian Government sponsored postgraduate training in translational psychiatry at the University of Adelaide and a Clinical Fellowship at McMaster University.

He devotes his time to medical education and cutting-edge research in psychiatric epidemiology, public mental health, health service evaluation, global health, and the application of translational medicine in psychiatry. He has over 150 publications, including papers in top journals such as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and JAMA that are highly cited (35,000+ citations, H-index=48). He has received recognition for his research work, including awards, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Society of Biological Psychiatry, American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, and Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Since 2018, he works on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Clinical Sciences, Journal of Climate Change and Health, and he is an Associate Editor with Frontier in Psychiatry (Section on public mental health). He is a grant reviewer for Wellcome Trust, UK.

He is a founding board member of Patela Care Foundation, a non-governmental organization with mainstream health programs for the underserved population to alleviate suffering, poverty and promote equitable access to health services. He supports mental health advocacy and the development of research capacity in developing countries.

Melissa Perreault, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph

Dr. Melissa Perreault is an Associate Professor and neuroscientist in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph. Her primary preclinical research focus is to understand sex differences in the cellular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. She also works to discover sex-specific neurophysiological patterns that can be used as biomarkers to identify disorder states, as well as function as an additional readout for the evaluation of novel therapeutics. Dr. Perreault also spends much of her time on Indigenous and neuroethics initiatives. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists in the Royal Society of Canada and is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

Tabrez Siddiqui, MSc, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba

Dr. Tabrez Siddiqui is an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba and is widely acclaimed for his groundbreaking research in the fields of synapse development, synaptic plasticity, and the molecular logic of neural circuits. His academic journey began with graduate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, where he specialized in biophysics and biochemistry. During his postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia, he focused on unraveling the mechanisms underlying neuronal synapse development. In 2014, Dr. Siddiqui joined the University of Manitoba, where he holds an appointment in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology. His research laboratory is situated within the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine, and he serves as a principal investigator at the PrairieNeuro Research Centre.

The Siddiqui lab is dedicated to investigating the crucial roles played by synaptic adhesion and scaffolding molecules in the development, maintenance, and plasticity of neuronal synapses. Moreover, they explore how these processes can be regulated in both healthy and disease states. Dr. Siddiqui has cultivated a multifaceted research program that encompasses various facets of neuroscience, including molecular, systems, and behavioral branches. To address their research questions, the Siddiqui lab employs a wide array of approaches, including protein chemistry, glycobiology, cellular assays, molecular genetics, viral methods for manipulating neuronal circuits, slice electrophysiology, and animal behaviour studies.

Dr. Siddiqui was elected as the President of the Manitoba Neuroscience Network in 2023, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS). His research contributions have been acknowledged with Young Investigator Awards from the Brain Behavior Foundation in 2013 and the Canadian Association of Neuroscience in 2021.

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