People

Co-directors

Dr. Laurence J. Kirmater, PsychiatristLaurence 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.


Michael Lifshitz, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University and the Department of Psychiatry of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He did his PhD in Neuroscience at McGill and a postdoctoral fellowship with Tanya Luhrmann in the Stanford Department of Anthropology. Before his doctorate, he completed a master's in neuroscience and an undergraduate in psychology, philosophy, and world religions, all at McGill. He studies practices that aim to transform subjective experience—from meditation and hypnosis to placebos, prayer, and psychedelics. He is particularly interested in how these practices can modulate feelings of agency, so that inner thoughts and sensations can come to feel as if they are emerging from a source beyond the self. His work combines phenomenology, neuroscience and ethnography to shed light on the plasticity of consciousness.


Faculty

Véronique Bohbot received her PhD in cognitive neuroscience in 1997 at the University of Arizona under the supervision of Dr. Lynn Nadel, co-author of Nobel Laureate Dr. John O’Keefe. Dr. Bohbot is an internationally recognized expert in the field of spatial memory and navigation. She studied spatial memory in healthy individuals from 8 years old to 85 years of age. She also examined spatial memory in relation to cultural differences as well as various neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. Dr. Bohbot’s research uses methods with cutting edge technology such as virtual reality and neuroimaging in order to stimulate memory and the hippocampus, thereby reducing risks of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Currently, Dr. Bohbot holds an Associate Professor position in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University.


Guillaume Dumas, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Computational Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montréal and the Director of the Precision Psychiatry and Social Physiology laboratory at the CHU Sainte-Justine research center. He holds the IVADO Chair in "AI and Mental Health", the FRQS J1 grant in "AI and Digital Health", and is an affiliated academic member of Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute. He is also an affiliate member of the Human Brain and Behavior Laboratory, in the Center for Complex Systems and Brains Sciences of Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Dumas investigates the neurobiology of social cognition through the lens of complex systems theory and computational methods. His scientific interests connect with biomedical research, specifically in psychiatry, which requires the integration of biological, psychological, and social dimensions of the human mind.


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.


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.


Kyle Greenway, MD MSc FRCPC, is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at McGill University, attending psychiatrist at the Jewish General Hospital, and investigator at the Lady Davis Institute. He conducts clinical, naturalistic, and fundamental research on novel psychiatric interventions, particularly psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies for refractory depressive disorders. He leads the Ketamine-Assisted Therapy service at the Jewish General Hospital, one of only a handful of clinics in the world to offer a psychedelic therapy for severe depression in a public payer system. His work explores the impacts of extra-pharmacological factors on psychedelic and conventional psychiatric treatments, including how treatment protocols can be tailored to individuals based on their unique life experiences and cultures. Before joining McGill, Dr. Greenway completed postdoctoral studies at the world-leading Imperial College Psychedelic Research Centre, as well as the McGill Clinical Investigator Program.


Soham Rej is currently a Geriatric Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at the Jewish General Hospital/Lady Davis Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada since 2017. He completed his medical school (2009) and psychiatry residency at McGill (2014), followed by a geriatric psychiatry clinical and research fellowship at the University of Toronto (2017). Soham's Geri-PARTy lab has 12-15 full-time staff, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students and investigates clinical trials to improve mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders in older adults with three foci: 1. Technology-Assisted Behavioral Interventions with a Human Touch (Virtual Reality, Zoom, Sensors, Phenotyping, Robots), working closely with Community Partners and using Mixed Quanti-/Quali-Methods; 2. Mind-body Interventions (Mindfulness, Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, Exercise, Health Education); and 3. Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (Ketamine, Psilocybin). As of June 2021, he has 104 peer-reviewed publications, $1.9M in peer-reviewed research funding (CIHR, FRQS, etc.) and $1.8M in charitable, corporate, and governmental funding. He has mentored more than 55 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, psychiatry residents, and other trainees. We often have post-doctoral, research assistant, and volunteer positions available. If you are interested, please send your CV to Dr. Sekhon: harmehr.sekhon [at] mail.mcgill.ca.


Associates

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.


Dr. Najmeh Khalili-MahaniNajmeh Khalili-Mahani (PhD, MEng, MA) is a senior research associate at McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (McGill University), and an adjunct professor in Concordia's Departments of Design and Computational Arts (since 2017), Electrical and Computer Engineering (since 2019), and Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology (2024). She is the founding director of the Media Health Lab (https://media-health.com) at Concordia University, focusing on implications and applications of Information and Communication Technologies in population health and wellbeing--particularly in older populations and those marginalized by psychosocial stress. The interdisciplinary research at the Media Health Lab is informed by the neuroscience of stress, neuropharmacology of pain and anxiety, psychosocial data science (including neuroimaging), media studies and digital health. Research in the Media Health lab flourishes in the theoretical grounds of Media Ecology (McLuhan), Cybernetics (Bateson), and Transactional Theory of Stress (Lazarus); and involves various approaches (ranging from living labs, to survey studies, to quantitative psychophysiological monitoring) to inform innovative technology development at the nexus of these fields. Research in the Media Health lab is signified by projects such as PlaythePain (https://playthepain.com), a play-oriented digital citizen laboratory for qualitative and participatory research; Better Games for Older Adults, and several widely cited articles on Screens and Stress, particularly in the COVID-Era. For publications, visit: https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/230310/publications.


Angela Marques Filipe, PhD, is a social scientist based at McGill University and her research interests include science and technology studies, medical anthropology, and critical global health. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Wellcome Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society in the University of Edinburgh and member of the Wellcome Trust Biosocial Birth Cohort Research Network. Prior to joining McGill, Angela studied for her PhD at the London School of Economics and King’s College London under the supervision of Professors Ilina Singh and Nikolas Rose. Funded by British, European, and North American research councils and agencies, her interdisciplinary work comprises, to date, two main streams of research: (i) the global histories of psychiatric diagnosis, developmental science, and childhood neurodisability/diversity and (ii) the social lives of knowledge production and translation in biomedicine and in biosocial research. Her publications include articles in journals such as Medical Anthropology, Social History of Medicine, Biosocieties, Frontiers in Sociology, PLOS Biology, Current Psychiatry Reports and the co-edited volume Global Perspectives on ADHD (2018, JHUP), as well as invited review essays in the American Journal of Sociology, Science as Culture, Sociology of Health & Illness, and Somatosphere.


Maxwell J. D. Ramstead will begin the Douglas Utting Fellowship for Studies in Depression at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal in September 2019. He is affiliated with the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry and the Culture, Mind, and Brain program at McGill University and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging of University College London. He is the author of over a dozen peer reviewed publications in journals such as Physics of Life Reviews and Synthese. His current research explores social-cultural and computational approaches to depression, as well as active inference and multiscale explanation in psychiatry, the cognitive sciences, and the computational neurosciences.


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.


Elizaveta Solomonova is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, where she works at Ian Gold’s Neurophilosophy Lab. She completed an interdisciplinary PhD in Psychiatry and Philosophy at the Université de Montréal. Dr. Solomonova did her undergraduate and graduate research training at the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine, where she worked on projects focused on sleep, memory, dream content, somatosensory stimulation during sleep, nightmares, sleep paralysis, and contemplative practices. In her work, she combines first-person techniques for the study of subjective experience with electrophysiology and other biomarkers, such as epigenetics and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Dr. Solomonova has collaborated extensively with media artists, philosophers and contemplative scientists, and is interested in developing novel synthetic approaches to the study of the mind. She is one of the founding members of YHouse, an interdisciplinary center for study of consciousness in New York. Dr. Solomonova’s postdoctoral work focuses on the relationship between social cognition (theory of mind, empathy), sleep and contemplative practices. She is funded by by McGill’s Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives initiative, by the Outstanding Science Award from the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network, and by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec en Société et Culture.


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.

 


Postdoctoral Fellows

Axel Constant is a PhD student in the Philosophy of Biomedicine at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Paul Griffiths and Peter Godfrey-Smith. He is a graduate trainee at the Culture Mind and Brain Program of the University McGill and was a visiting fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging of the University College London under the supervision of Karl J. Friston. He received an MSc in Cognitive Science from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Philosophy from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His published work is at the intersection of Evolutionary Biology, the Philosophy of Cognitive science and Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Cultural Anthropology. His current work aims at extending methods employed in Computational Psychiatry to theories and models employed in Cultural Psychiatry. His focus is on the theory of looping effects of human kinds and on Ecosocial models of psychiatric disorders as applied to depression and autism.


Sara de la Salle is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, working with Drs. Kyle Greenway, Soham Rej, Alex Lehmann, and Michael Lifshitz. She completed her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Ottawa, examining clinical and electrophysiological correlates of the antidepressant treatment response to single and repeated ketamine infusions in treatment-resistant depression. Her current research focuses on altered states of consciousness, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, the experiential factors of ‘set’ (mindset) and ‘setting’ (physical and social environments), and the importance of culture and individually-tailoring mental health treatments. Sara is currently supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship award.


Graduate Students

Sara G. Gloeckler is a doctoral candidate at McGill University, researching psychedelic-assisted therapy using music and mindfulness approaches. Her work involves qualitative analyses of patient choice, cultural identity, and treatment expectations, as well as evaluating music preferences and psychedelic use in naturalistic settings. Sara’s research is supervised by Dr. Kyle T. Greenway and Dr. Soham Rej at the Jewish General Hospital/Lady Davis Institute. She is a recipient of the McCall MacBain Scholarship – Finalist Award (2022) and McGill’s Graduate Excellence Fellowship (2023). She is a Stratas Scholar, and her projects are currently funded by the Lady Davis Institute/TD Canada Trust Graduate Scholarship Award.


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).


Jonas Mago, PhD CandidateJonas Mago, a Ph.D. Candidate at McGill University, conducts research under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Lifshitz and co-supervision of Prof. Dr. Karl Friston. His work focuses on the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and contemplative practices, with a specific interest in the neuro-computational modeling of mindfulness and psychedelic therapies based on the free energy principle. With a master's degree in Mind, Language, and Embodied Cognition from the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated with distinction, and an undergraduate degree from University College Maastricht, graduating Cum Laude, Jonas has established a strong academic foundation. His scholarly efforts are supported by awards from notable organizations, including the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and Mind & Life Europe, recognizing his contribution to advancing our understanding of the mechanisms behind human flourishing through a blend of cognitive, neurobiological, and computational methodologies.


Eli Oda SheinerEli Oda Sheiner is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University who works under the co-supervision of Samuele Collu and Laurence J. Kirmayer. Eli’s doctoral research focuses on the ethical, political, and phenomenological dimensions of drug use, with a particular emphasis on criminalized substances. He works in collaboration with the Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside—where he conducted his ethnographic fieldwork—to generate community-led research initiatives. Aside from his research, Eli has organized alongside groups such as Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users to advocate for the rights of the unhoused and precariously housed community members of the Downtown Eastside.

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