Meet the Team

Research Lab Lead

Dr. Nazanin Alavi

Dr. Nazanin Alavi is a staff psychiatrist and assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Queen's university. She has also worked as a staff psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto. Dr. Alavi’s research focuses on the effectiveness of online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. Dr. Alavi is a pioneer of online CBT in Canada, with more than 12 years of research experience in delivering online psychotherapy. She successfully led multiple clinical trials evaluating efficacy of e-CBT and e-DBT in addressing mood, anxiety and personality disorders, authored numerous peer reviewed publications with particular focus on online care delivery, and is the author of the first handbook on delivering online CBT published by Springer-Nature.

Psychiatrist

Dr. Megan Yang

Dr. Yang is a Psychiatrist at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre where she runs a clinic for Transitional Aged Youth when she is not busy in the ER.  Her position as an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University has allowed her the opportunity to harness her penchant for grandstanding into something more agreeable – teaching.  She believes that quality mental health care, unburdened by logistical barriers, should be accessible to everyone.

Lab Manager

Charmy Patel

Charmy has completed her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a specialization in Biology and has a master’s degree in public health. Throughout her undergraduate degree she got the gratifying experience to be working in Dr. Alavi’s research lab as a Research Assistant. She is currently working as a lab manager. This role involves duties associated with coordinating, implementing and balancing multiple research studies and projects.

Technical Lead

Saad Sajid

Saad completed his bachelor’s in science (Honours; Biology) from Queen’s University and a Master's in Public Health from Cardiff University. Throughout his undergraduate degree, Saad has been involved in research at the Department of Psychiatry with Dr. Alavi. Broadly speaking, the research has primarily focused on suicide risk and involuntary admission in the emergency department. Currently, he is working as a technical lead at the research lab.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Amir Shirazi

Dr. Shirazi has a medical doctorate and a PhD in statistical physics of complex systems. He has been a data & machine learning scientist for the last 6 years, mostly working in natural language processing (NLP). Dr. Shirazi joined Dr. Alavi's lab as a MITACS postdoctoral fellow, and his research is focused on using NLPin psychotherapy, to facilitate the therapy process, and to make streamlined processes personalized to each client's needs.

Dr. Elnaz Moghimi  

Dr. Moghimi holds a PhDin Kinesiology and Health Science from York University. Her graduate work focused on the experiences of women with binge eating disorder with CBT and methylphenidate treatments. Dr. Moghimi’s research interests include exploring the relationship between mental health and eating behaviours, eHealth treatments for eating disorders, and the importance of positive and supportive interpersonal relationships when an individual engages in significant health behaviour changes.

Medical Students

Gilmar Gutierrez

Gilmar is a medical student at Queen’s University. He has completed his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at UBC in Vancouver. Gilmar's research interest includes the study of different methods to manage cognitive load in residents educational training, and the study of Ketamine as a promising treatment for patients with treatment resistant depression. He is also involved in delivering e-CBT to patients with bipolar disorder.

Graduate Students

Aaron Philipp-Muller

Aaron graduated from U of T Psychology (Honours BSc) and is a master’s Student co-supervised by Dr. Nazanin Alavi and Dr. Taras Reshetukha. Aaron’s research experience is in behavioural and clinical neuroscience, including research in olfactory memory, circadian rhythms, multi-sensory integration, and stroke rehabilitation. He is currently running a clinical trial on the combined effects of Ketamine and online psychotherapy to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and hopes to influence clinical practice with his current research.

Callum Stephenson

Callum completed his Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a Specialization in Kinesiology at Queen’s University. He is currently completing his Master of Science in Neuroscience at Queen’s University under the supervision of Dr. Alavi. Callum’ interest is on investigating the effects of electronically delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on Brain Structure in Individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder using Functional MRI. Callum is passionate about furthering his research in the hopes of influencing health policy for more accessible and equitable mental health care delivery.

Research Assistants

Anastasia Shao

Yijia (Anastasia) is an undergraduate student in Psychology and Philosophy at University of Toronto. She is currently a therapist at Dr. Alavi’s clinic. Anastasia is also currently involved in the E-CBT research project and is interested in research in evidence-based therapies. Outside of the lab, Anastasia is an advocate for open access and scientific practices, an ambassador of Youth Care Center at university of Toronto, and a cat enthusiast.

Anchan Kumar

Anchan is a medical graduate from St. Kitts and Nevis and has completed her clinical training in both the U.S.A and Canada. As a mental health advocate, the online psychotherapy research at Queen’s has given her the opportunity to provide online CBT to patients suffering from mood and anxiety disorders. She is currently involved in the E-CBT research projects offering online CBT to patients suffering from depression and anxiety. Apart from medicine, her interests include travelling, cooking, dancing and teaching English to newcomers.

Georgina (Gina) Layzell

Georgina (Gina) Layzell is currently working as a research assistant in the lab. She has an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Behavioural Psychology.  Gina has a lot of experience with cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness, and individualized education. She is responsible for providing therapeutic feedback and conducting the intake interviews during the screening process. She is currently involved in running a clinical trial on Developing and Implementing an Online Psychotherapy Program to Address Mental Health Challenges in Oncology and Palliative Care.

Jasleen Jagayat

Jasleen graduated from McMaster University with a Neuroscience degree. Throughout her undergraduate career, Jasleen gathered a lot of experience from different labs as a research assistant and now is looking forward to learning more about psychotherapy. She is working as a research assistant in the lab. She is currently involved in running a clinical trial on Investigating the effectiveness of incorporating a stepped care approach into electronically delivered CBT for depression. In her free time Jasleen likes to experiment with different art techniques.

Niloofar Nikjoo

Niloofar is a medical graduate. She received her medical degree from Iran University of Medical Sciences with distinction. Niloofar's research is on developing online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) modules for insomnia. She was also involved in running a clinical trial using the online psychotherapy tool to address mental health problems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Niloufar Malakouti

Niloufar is medical graduate from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. After graduating, Niloufar worked the following two years as a general doctor in an emergency department. Alongside being a Master’s student in Rehabilitation Science at Queen’s University, Niloufar is working with Dr. Alavi on developing “Electronic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Modules” for psychiatric disorders, specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She was also involved in running a multiple clinical trials including using the online psychotherapy tool to address mental health problems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteer Research Assistant

Alex Knyahnytskyi

Alex is an undergraduate student studying Human Biology and Psychology at the University of Toronto. He is working as a volunteer research assistant in the lab. He is currently involved in running a clinical trial on Delivering online cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) to address mental health challenges in correctional officers.

Sarah Zhu

Sarah is working as a volunteer research assistant in the lab. She is currently involved in running clinical trials on Delivering online cognitive behavioural therapy to address mental health challenges in correctional officers and also CBTi to patients suffering from insomnia.




Tessa Gizzarelli

Tessa is an undergraduate student studying Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She is passionate about helping others, seen through her volunteerism at the hospital and serving on Step Above Stigma, a mental health advocacy club at Queen’s University, which has further sparked her interest in anxiety and depression research. She is working as a volunteer research assistant in the lab. Tessa is working with Dr. Alavi on developing “Electronic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Modules” for different psychiatric disorders.

Past Members

Dr. Anthi Stefatos

During her residency at department of psychiatry at Queen's university Dr. Stefatos helped with editing online psychotherapy modules for addressing mood and anxiety disorders.

Ariana Yakuby

During her medical school, Ariana helped with designing online CBT modules for addressing social anxiety disorder symptoms.

Dr. Caitlin Yee

During her residency at department of psychiatry at Queen's university Dr. Yee helped with developing online psychotherapy modules for addressing depression in chronic pain.

Dawn Armstrong

During her medical school,  Dawn helped with designing online CBT modules for addressing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress disorder.

Farnaz Safavifar

During her work as a research assistant in the lab, Farnaz helped with some research work helping other research members.

Israa Sinan 

During her work as a volunteer research assistant in the lab, Israa helped with providing therapy feedback under Dr. Alavi's supervision.

Maedeh Mir

During her work as a research assistant in the lab, Maedeh helped  with providing therapy feedback.

Payam Khalafi

During his work as a research assistant in the lab, Payam helped with developing online psychotherapy modules for addressing depression and anxiety in Oncology and Palliative Care patients and relapse prevention in substance use disorder.

Quratulain Ahsan Khan

Quratulain worked as a research volunteer in the lab.

Dr. Shadé Miller

During her residency at department of psychiatry at Queen's university Dr. Miller helped  with providing therapy feedback and developing online psychotherapy modules for addressing depression and anxiety in Oncology and Palliative Care patients.



Zara Abbaspour

During her work as a research assistant in the lab, Zara helped  with providing therapy feedback.