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 Fellows

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.

Jasleen Jagayat

Jasleen graduated from McMaster University (Honours BSc - Neuroscience). After taking a year to work as a research assistant at QUOPL and enjoying her work in online psychotherapy, she decided to continue her academic career. She is currently completing her Master of Science in Neuroscience at Queen's University under Dr. Alavi's supervision. She is investigating the incorporation of a stepped care model into online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression. She's hoping to continue to learn and make changes to the mental health care system.


Niloofar Nikjoo

Niloofar is a medical graduate from Iran University of Medical Sciences. She has been working as a research assistant in Dr. Alavi’s lab since January 2020. She has developed electronic CBT modules for various mental health conditions including insomnia and ADHD. She has been delivering therapy to patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and patients with diagnoses of depression and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Niloofar has started her Master of Science in Neuroscience at Queen’s University under Dr. Alavi’s supervision. Her interest is on investigating the effectiveness of the electronic CBT on relapse prevention in individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Research Assistants

Anastasia Shao

Anastasia is a candidate of Master's in University of Toronto in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care in Buddhist stream. She studied psychology in her undergraduate in University of Toronto. Anastasia did two thesis's in her undergraduate, one is LGBTQ coming out experience, the other is systematic review of methodology in Mindfulness Meditation. Anastasia has also been working in the QUOPL Lab for 1 year, and is extensively trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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.

Niloufar Malakouti

Niloufar is a medical graduate from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. She is currently a master’s student at the school of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s university. Niloufar has been working in Dr. Alavi’s research lab as a Research Assistant since 2019. Her work involved developing “Electronic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Modules” for psychiatric disorders, specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She was also responsible for providing online CBT to patients suffering from anxiety and depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Niloufar is currently involved in the E-CBT research projects, offering talk therapy to patients suffering from anxiety.

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.

Ferwa Khan

Ferwa Khan is a first-year student attending the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at Queen's University. She loves finding ways to help her community members. Previously, she started a school club that aimed to improve access to healthcare for women and children globally. She is now excited to help her community as a volunteer research assistant.





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.





Melinaz Barati Chermahini

Melinaz graduated with bachelor of science majoring in biology. She is currently doing a Masters in Public Health. Her latest research activity was at St. Michael’s hospital, investigating the effect of cardiovascular risk factors on cognitive performance of patients with dementia and cognitive deficits. Melinaz has also been involved in mental health advocacy programs during her undergraduate. Her research interests are: analyzing determinants of health, improving the effectiveness and accessibility of treatment, addressing social and psychological impacts of COVID-19, and preventive medicine.

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.