People

Co-directors

Suparna Choudhury is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University and an Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. She did her doctoral research in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, postdoctoral research in transcultural psychiatry at McGill and most recently directed an interdisciplinary research program on critical neuroscience and the developing brain at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin. Her current work investigates the production and dissemination of biomedical knowledge – in particular cognitive neuroscience – that shapes the ways in which researchers, clinicians, patients and laypeople understand themselves, their mental health and their illness experiences. Dr Choudhury’s research focuses primarily on the cases of the adolescent brain, cultural neuroscience and personalized genomic medicine. Her research investigates (i) How biological knowledge with significant social and clinical impact is produced. This line of research has focused mainly on the models, methodologies and disciplinary intersections in developmental cognitive neuroscience labs that work on the “teenage brain”. (ii) How this knowledge circulates and how it is it taken up, applied or resisted. This looks at how brain research informs mental health policy trans-nationally, how the language of genomics and neuroscience is interpreted by patient communities and lay users, and how these sciences shape everyday practices outside scientific research from education to meditation (iii) Social and political contexts of cognitive neuroscience, and interdisciplinary approaches to brain research through the framework of critical neuroscience.

 

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, the journal of the Section on Transcultural Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association, and directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He founded and directs the annual Summer Program and Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry at McGill. He also founded and co-directs the CIHR-IAPH Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. His past research includes studies on cultural consultation, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants and refugees, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth, and resilience among Indigenous peoples. His current projects include a multi-site study of culturally-based, family-centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth; development of a web-based multicultural mental health resource centre; and the use of the cultural formulation in cultural consultation.

 

Samuel Veissière studies the interaction between cognition, culture, and human behavior in evolutionary and developmental perspectives. As humans, our evolved psychology is adapted (and constantly adapting!) to the unique challenges of being a social, cultural, political, and cooperative species. Dr. Veissière and his colleagues draw on range of experimental, ethnographic, and theoretical models and methods to study the cognitive underpinnings of culture, and the role of culture and context in shaping the regimes of attention, expectations and intuitions that drive human behaviour.

 

 

Faculty

Ian Gold is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy & Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. He completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton University and did postdoctoral training at the Australian National University in Canberra. From 2000 to 2006 he was on the faculty of the School of Philosophy & Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne and returned to McGill in 2006. His research focusses on the theory of delusion in psychiatric and neurological illness and on reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience. He is the author of research articles in such journals as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Mind and Language, Consciousness and Cognition, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, World Psychiatry, Transcultural Psychiatry, Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. No Mind is an Island, a book co-written with Joel Gold, is due to appear in 2012.

 

 

Amir Raz holds the Canada Research Chair in the cognitive neuroscience of attention, and heads the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at McGill University and the Clinical Neuroscience and Applied Cognition Laboratory at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a member of the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychology as well as the Montreal Neurological Institute. Dr. Raz is an interdisciplinary cognitive neuroscientist. He holds diplomate status with the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis. His active research interests span the neural and psychological substrates of attention, self-regulation, and effortful control. He is also conducting research into the cognitive neuroscience and culture, authorship processes, and atypical cognition.

 

 

 

Students

Ana Gómez-Carrillo is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry of McGill University. She obtained her medical degree from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) and completed a psychiatry residency and specialized training as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin (Germany). She spent two years working on an in-patient crisis and depression ward with perinatal mental health services, treating mood and somatoform disorders. Dr. Gómez-Carrillo received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for her doctoral research on depression as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease. She then spent two years studying the processing of emotions in primary visual cortex at the Visual Perception Lab of the Charité University Hospital. She recently finished subspecialty training in immigrant and refugee mental health as a fellow clinical observer at the Cultural Consultation Service in the Jewish General Hospital. Dr. Gómez-Carrillo takes a special interest in the philosophy and anthropology of psychiatry, specifically how integrative frameworks can guide clinical assessments and interventions. Her current research focuses on integrating person-centered and precision psychiatry in the clinical assessment of depression. In her work, she also seeks to delineate the intersubjective nature of the diagnostic process and clarify the use of metaphors in the creation of illness narratives and meaning co-construction. As a side project, she works on tool development for cultural adaptation of psychological interventions and culturally responsive web-based mental health resources. Her research is currently funded by the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.

 

Vincent Laliberté is a psychiatrist and a PhD student in anthropology at McGill University. His main area of study is the neuroscientific discourse in psychiatry and in other areas related to mental health, such as in contemplative practices. He is also interested in conceptualizing the different ways in which social sciences can contribute to the neurosciences. In addition, Vincent conducts research in social and community psychiatry and has a clinical practice at the Welcome Hall Mission, a shelter in Montreal, where he provides mental health care to homeless people. He is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Resarch (CIHR) and the McGill Healthy Brain for Healthy Lives (HBHL).

 

 

 

Maxwell Ramstead is a Ph.D. student at McGill University affiliated with the Department of Philosophy and the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Université de Montréal and an M.A. in Philosophy (specialized in Cognitive Science) from Université du Québec à Montréal. His research explores the variational free-energy principle and multiscale explanation in cognitive and computational neurosciences and in psychiatry. He is grateful that his Ph.D. research project, entitled Have We Lost Our Minds?, is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.