Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder
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Our Team

Our doctors:

Dr. Benjamin GoldsteinDr. Benjamin Goldstein

Director, Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder

View Dr. Goldstein's profile »


Dr. Rachel MitchellDr. Rachel Mitchell

Psychiatrist

View Dr. Mitchell's profile »


Dr. Neal WestreichDr. Neal Westreich

Psychiatrist

View Dr. Westreich's profile »


Simina TomaDr. Simina Toma

Fellow

View Dr. Toma's profile »

Simina obtained her medical degree from Laval University in Quebec City and completed her post-graduate medical training in psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is currently enrolled in a Masters' program through the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto, while undertaking a joint clinical and research fellowship focusing on the care of young adults with mood disorders. She has a clinical interest in integrating biological and psychosocial aspects in the treatment of youth with bipolar disorder and psychosis. She is also interested in linking the clinical characteristics of bipolar disorder to neuroimaging and biomarkers.


Current members:

(alphabetically by last name)

Helena Brown
Helena Brown

Research Assistant

Helena graduated from York University with a specialized honours BA in Psychology. She is interested in identifying the mechanisms underlying mental illness, including bipolar disorder; specifically the biological and psychosocial factors in order to create comprehensive, targeted treatment. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Toronto.

Wei Fang Dai
Wei Fang Dai

Database Manager

Wei received her Master of Public Health in epidemiology and comparative effectiveness outcomes research from Columbia University. She also completed her honours BSc. in both cell & systems biology at University of Toronto. She has experiences managing clinical databases and performing large scaled data analysis for organizations including New York City Department of Health, International Center for AIDs Prevention, and MSF-USA. Currently, she is working to expand CYBD’s database capacity and improve data collection efficiency by transitioning into REDCap Software.

Mikaela Dimick
Mikaela Dimick

Graduate Student

Mikaela graduated with a B.A. in psychology from McGill University. She is currently a graduate student in pharmacology and toxicology program at the University of Toronto and is studying the relationship between retinal vessels and bipolar disorder. In addition, Mikaela is interested the genetics of early-onset bipolar disorder, specifically which genes may be involved in developing bipolar disorder. Mikaela plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology after completing her current degree.

Lisa Fiksenbaum
Lisa Fiksenbaum

Statistician

Lisa received her PhD in social-personality psychology at York University. She also satisfied the course requirements for the clinical psychology program. She has extensive training in statistics and research, and has taught introductory and advanced courses in research methods and statistics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, she served as a statistical consultant at the Institute for Social Research at York University, where she consulted with clients on research design, statistics, software training, and manuscript and grant preparation. Lisa provides biostatistical assistance to the team members at the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder.

Alana Friedlander
Alana Friedlander

Research Assistant

Alana is a recent graduate of University of Toronto Scarborough where she received an HBSc Specializing in Psychology with Co-op. She has previously been involved in numerous mental health research studies. Alana is currently involved in researching whether brain functions and structures are associated with blood vessel functioning and specific biomarkers in those with Bipolar Disorder, healthy young adults and individuals who have a family history of Bipolar Disorder. In the future, she plans to return to school and earn her MA in Clinical Psychology.

Anahit Grigorian
Anahit Grigorian

Junior Imaging Analyst

Anahit graduated from York University with specialized honors BSc in biology and a Master of Science in neuroscience. Her master’s thesis focused on abnormal brain connectivity in human albinism. She used structural MRI and advanced MRI applications such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tractography to study connectivity differences in the primary visual pathway of individuals with albinism and controls. She is currently interested in clinical research on mental illnesses, focusing on the study of the link between cardiovascular health and white matter integrity in adolescents with bipolar disorder.

Sudhir Karthikeyan
Sudhir Karthikeyan

Research Assistant

Sudhir completed his BSc in the honours psychology, neuroscience and behaviour program at McMaster University and obtained his master's degree in neuroscience from the University of Ottawa. He is interested in identifying neuroimaging biomarkers for bipolar disorder to improve diagnostic accuracy.

Kody Kennedy
Kody Kennedy

Graduate Student

Kody completed his bachelors of science in pharmacology and biomedical toxicology at the University of Toronto. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in pharmacology at the University of Toronto and is interested in investigating the association of cardiovascular disease with clinical measures of the brain and heart in bipolar disorder.

Diana Khoubaeva
Diana Khoubaeva

Research Assistant

Diana graduated from the University of Toronto with an HBSc. specializing in Psychology. She will be working on a study evaluating the feasibility of developing and implementing an intervention focused on increasing aerobic fitness in adolescents with bipolar disorder. Diana is generally interested in learning about the clinical assessment and treatment of bipolar disorder, and elucidating the factors behind bipolar disorder misdiagnosis and comorbidity with other physical and mental illnesses. She is particularly interested in studying how biological, cognitive, and social factors interact in individuals with familial risk of bipolar disorder to predict the onset and severity of bipolar disorder. Diana intends to pursue graduate studies in social work and contribute to improving mental health outcomes and mental health literacy in migrant, refuge, and marginalized groups.

Megan Mio
Megan Mio

Graduate Student

Megan is a graduate of Western University, where she completed her Honours BMSc in Pharmacology. She is currently pursuing an MSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto. Megan’s research at CYBD centers around the intersection between mental and vascular health. She is planning to use advanced MRI techniques including Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to study white matter connectivity in adolescents with bipolar disorder. She is interested in examining whether vascular dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder is linked to reductions in white matter integrity.

Danielle Omrin
Danielle Omrin

Social Worker/Research Coordinator

Danielle graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Social Work and honours BSc in psychology and cognitive science. She is registered with both the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Danielle provides evidence-based treatment interventions to individuals and families affected by bipolar disorder and is passionate about disseminating knowledge on bipolar disorder to increase awareness and reduce stigma. She leads the social media initiatives at CYBD and assists with community engagement activities.

Najla Popel
Najla Popel

Graduate Student

Najla graduated from the University of Toronto with an Hon. BSc. in Human Biology. She is a Certified Clinical Research Professional and has previous research experience in clinical trials in cardiology. She is currently pursuing her MSc in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and is interested in studying the impact of aerobic fitness on cardiovascular health and its link to bipolar disorder as well as the impact of fitness on brain structure. She will be working on the first exercise intervention study to assess feasibility of increasing aerobic fitness in adolescents with bipolar disorder.

Jessica Roane
Jessica Roane

Social Worker/Research Coordinator

Jessica is a graduate of the Master of Social Work Program at the University of Toronto and also completed her Honours BSc in Psychology at Dalhousie University. She is registered with both the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. At the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder, Jessica provides individual and family therapy. She also provides behaviour change counselling within the context of an exercise study that seeks to improve aerobic fitness in adolescents with bipolar disorder. Jessica is also currently involved in a research study that proposes to implement dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) for adolescents with bipolar disorder.

Randa Shickh
Randa Shickh

Registered Kinesiologist / Exercise Expert

Randa graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master in Professional Kinesiology and Honours BKin. She is registered with the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario and is a member of the Ontario Kinesiology Association. Her interest is in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and improving cardiorespiratory fitness in youth with bipolar disorder. She will be administering aerobic fitness tests and providing exercise coaching to youth with bipolar disorder.

Ariel Silver
Ariel Silver

Lab Manager

Ariel graduated with an Honours BSc in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a MSc in Social and Personality Psychology from Queen’s University. She is currently completing the Clinical Research Certificate program at the Michener Institute, where she is gaining expertise and knowledge in clinical trials. Ariel is working on multiple studies aimed at identifying biomarkers and risk factors associated with bipolar disorder in youth. In the future, she plans to continue working in clinical research with the goal of bettering outcomes for youth with psychiatric illness.

Alysha Sultan
Alysha Sultan

Graduate Student

Alysha is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in the department of pharmacology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in identifying and validating biological markers that can inform the assessment and treatment of adolescents with bipolar disorder. She is also interested in examining the impact of novel pharmacological treatments on psychiatric outcomes among youth with bipolar disorder. In the future, Alysha hopes to continue her graduate studies with a focus on understanding the biological factors associated with bipolar disorder.

Vanessa Timmins
Vanessa Timmins

Social Worker/Research Coordinator

Vanessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from McGill University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. She is registered with both the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Vanessa provides dialectical behaviour therapy and behavior change counselling within the scope of two research studies. In addition, she is providing evidence-based interventions within the clinic for adolescents with and at-risk for bipolar disorder. She oversees data management at CYBD, and is transitioning the team from paper-based data collection to electronic data collection. She also provides financial oversight to CYBD, liaising with various departments to maintain CYBD’s financial position.

Yi (Wendy) Zou
Yi (Wendy) Zou

Graduate Student

Wendy is a Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate student from the University of Toronto. After graduation, she continued on the path of pharmacology and is currently pursuing a PhD of Science under the supervision of Dr. Goldstein. She is interested in investigating non-invasive diagnostic methods for bipolar disorder. She hopes that studying neuroimaging and inflammation well help to shed light on the question.


Affiliate members:

(alphabetically, by last name)

Jaime CazesJaime Cazes

Jaime graduated from York University with an honours B.Sc in psychology. His undergraduate thesis involved cognition, memory, and neuroscience in patients with brain injury. His primary focus at the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder is the link between genetic risk factors, genetic loading, and brain imaging in youth with bipolar disorder. Jaime was awarded a CREMS summer placement with CYBD and is currently a medical student at the University of Toronto where his interests are in neurology and neuropsychiatry.

Megan Hird
Megan Hird

Alvi Islam
Alvi Islam

Alvi completed his MSc in pharmacology from University of Toronto and did his research thesis under the supervision of Dr. Goldstein. His thesis work investigated the association between obesity and structural changes in the brain in youth with and without mood disorders. Currently, his primary focus has been consolidating various structural imaging analytic pipelines to process MRI data in the lab. He is also the lead for a new MRI study that will examine structure and function of blood vessels in the heart, brain, and body.

Adam Urback
Adam Urback

Adam completed his MSc in pharmacology from the University of Toronto and conducted his research under the supervision of Dr. Goldstein. His research during his thesis focused on examining differences in cerebrovascular reactivity, a measure of blood vessel health in the brain, between individuals with and without bipolar disorder. Currently he is overseeing and working on analyses examining the association of various measures with cerebrovascular reactivity, such the function of blood vessels in the heart and body.


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