Research projects

Current funded projects


Subtypes of major depressive disorders as predictors of incident Type 2 Diabetes

Depression is an emerging risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Specific depression subtypes such as atypical depression (characterised by increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, and marked fatigue or weakness) might be more relevant for T2D than others. The objectives of the study are to a) investigate the role of depression subtypes on T2D incidence in a Canadian community sample while controlling for other T2D risk factors; and b) evaluate whether including depression subtypes improves previous developed diabetes risk scores. We are combining survey data with administrative data in Ontario and Quebec.

Funding: CIHR, 2018 -


Emotional well-being, metabolic factors and health status (EMHS) Study

The goal of this project is to assess how emotional health, metabolic factors and lifestyle related behaviors impact on people’s physical health and blood sugar over time. The study is conducted in collaboration with researchers from McGill University,  University of Montreal and University of Calgary and the CARTaGENE project

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases, and continues to increase in numbers and significance. Metabolic abnormalities, such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, impaired glycaemic control, systemic inflammation, adverse high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and adverse triglycerides are important risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Recent research also suggests that depression with metabolic abnormalities could represent a distinct psycho-metabolic syndrome. The co-occurrence of metabolic abnormalities and depression might amplify the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Using a community sample of people aged 40 to 69 years, the main objective of this study is to evaluate the interaction between depression, metabolic abnormalities and lifestyle related behaviors on the incidence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. More than 2,500 individuals who participated in the CARTaGENE baseline assessment were recruited and re-assessed 4 to 5 years after baseline assessment.

Understanding the associations and interactions between depression, metabolic abnormalities and behavioral factors might lead to better identification of individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes,
which has the potential to have a massive impact on the development of effective diabetes prevention and intervention strategies.

Funding: CIHR, 2013 -


Evaluation of diabetes treatment study (EDIT)

The Evaluation of Diabetes Treatment Study (EDIT) is a community-based survey conducted with insulin-naïve adults (n=2,028) from Quebec who had a diagnosis of diabetes for less than 10 years in 2011. Participants have been re-assessed annually. The two main objectives of this project are a) to identify if psychological problems, social support, diabetes related distress and negative attitudes toward insulin are predictors for change in health status and b) to identify how people manage the change in diabetes treatment (e.g., initiation of insulin therapy) and stay in good health condition.

The proposed study will provide knowledge about psychological problems associated with decline of health status after change in diabetes treatment. This information will allow us to develop tailored interventions to reduce the psychosocial impact of the transition. Knowledge of effective individual coping strategies may help us to guide individuals likely to experience greater difficulty.

Funding: CIHR, 2010 -


Montreal diabetes health and well-being study (DHS)

The Montreal Diabetes Health and Well-Being Study is a telephone survey of the adult population in Quebec, Canada. Participants with diabetes were recruited between January 2008 and April 2008 through random selection of phone numbers (random digit dialing, n=2003) and are assessed every year. The purpose of this longitudinal project is to follow the course of diabetes in a community sample and to study the incidence of and risk factors for depression and disability.

Funding: CIHR, 2009 -


Sleep, mental health and heart diseases study

Though previous research has examined poor sleep and mental health as independent risk factors for the development of heart diseases, the potential synergistic effect between sleep and depression or anxiety in the context of heart disease risk has received little attention.

Using a community sample of people aged 40 to 75 years, this project will evaluate the interactions between sleep behaviors, depression, anxiety, and heart diseases incidence. Specific objectives are to investigate

a) the association between depressive symptoms and sleep at baseline with incidence of heart diseases; b) the association between anxiety symptoms and sleep at baseline with incidence of heart diseases; and c) a potential effect modification of lifestyle related behaviors on the relation between depression/anxiety with sleep disturbances  and incidence of heart diseases.

Funding: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2016 -


Systemic inflammation, diabetes and depression study

Emerging evidence suggests that systemic inflammation may play an important role in the pathogenesis and recurrence of depression in people with type 2 diabetes.

The proposed study seeks to examine the association between systemic inflammation and depression in a community sample of individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The central research questions are: a) Are the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) associated with an increased risk of depression in individuals with type 2 diabetes?  b) Are individuals with type 2 diabetes and elevated CRP or IL-6 markers and depressive symptoms at higher risk for poor diabetes control and cardiovascular diabetes complications? 

Funding: Canadian Diabetes Association, 2016 -


Depression, anxiety, systemic inflammation and risk of type 2 diabetes study 

The aim of this study is to evaluate the interaction between depression, anxiety, systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes incidence.

The three main objectives are a) to identify the association between depression/anxiety symptoms and systemic inflammation while controlling for other diabetes risk factors;
b) to evaluate potential interactions between depression/anxiety, systemic inflammation and lifestyle related behaviors and their association with type 2 diabetes incidence while controlling for other
diabetes risk factors; and c) to identify the role of recurrent depression on the association between systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes incidence.

Funding: Healthy Minds Canada/Pfizer Canada and CIHR, 2016 -



Past funded projects


Diabetes neighborhood and mental health study

The aim of this study is to provide a better understanding of the complex relationship between neighborhood environment, physical activity, diet, depression, disability and quality of life in people with diabetes. We are interested in both, geographic neighborhood information and perceived neighborhood characteristics.

Funding: Canadian Diabetes Association, 2010-2013


Neighbourhood characteristics, chronic conditions and mental health

This project aims to identify the effect of neighbourhood characteristics on depression in peole with and without chronic conditions and to test potential pathways linking the neighbourhood environment to depression. The researchers will use data from participants of a large Canadian health survey followed-up for 16 years. The project is done in collaboration with researchers from the geography department of University of Montreal.

Funding: CIHR, 2011-2013


Depression and obesity

The team was interested in the longitudinal association between depression and obesity in the community. Using data from the longitudinal Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS), we evaluated the temporal change in prevalence of obesity–depression comorbidity and the longitudinal association from obesity to depression. 

Funding: CIHR, 2007-2010


Psychiatric disorders and chronic conditions

The aim of the project was to study the association between mental disorders, chronic somatic conditions, and reduced functioning/disability in a representative Canadian community sample. Using data from the Canadian Community and Health Survey, the team compared the prevalence of functional disability in individuals with chronic medical conditions and comorbid mental disorders in comparison to individuals with either chronic medical conditions or mental disorders alone.

Funding: CIHR, 2006-2008