Meet the Team

Research Lab Lead

Dr. Nazanin Alavi

Dr. Nazanin Alavi is a staff psychiatrist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Queen's University. With remarkable expertise in the field of digital mental health, Dr. Alavi's research focuses on advancing the understanding and application of innovative technologies in mental healthcare. One of her significant contributions, alongside her team at OPTT Inc., involves developing a stepped care model for treating mental health disorders using a machine learning algorithm that effectively identifies the level of care required by individuals. Furthermore, Dr. Alavi's passion lies in integrating online psychotherapy with various therapeutic techniques. For instance, she combines online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Ketamine to address treatment-resistant depressive disorders and discover tailored treatment combinations for each patient's unique needs.


Dr. Megan Yang

Dr. Yang brings valuable expertise to our team as a skilled Psychiatrist and passionate advocate for mental health care accessibility. With her role at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, she leads a clinic dedicated to serving the unique needs of Transitional Aged Youth, demonstrating her commitment to providing specialized care. As an Assistant Professor at Queen's University, Dr. Yang combines her clinical experience with a love for teaching, allowing her to inspire and educate the next generation of mental health professionals. She firmly believes in breaking down logistical barriers and ensuring that high-quality mental health care is available to all individuals. Dr. Yang's enthusiasm for innovative treatment approaches further strengthens our team's dedication to finding effective solutions for mental health challenges.

Lab Manager

Kimia Asadpour

Kimia joined our research lab in 2023 as our Lab Coordinator, taking the role of managing and organizing various aspects of our research projects. Her responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks aimed at ensuring the smooth functioning of our lab. She brings with her a Bachelor of Art in Psychology from York University, showcasing her academic background and strong foundation in the field. Kimia's passion lies in mental health, and she is dedicated to exploring innovative ways to enhance care delivery. Her experience as a legal assistant and crisis helpline volunteer has provided her with valuable insights into the significance of community mental health interventions. She has a crucial role in coordinating, implementing, and managing various research studies and projects.

Technical Lead

Saad Sajid

Saad is a dedicated and accomplished member of our research lab team. Joining us in 2020, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Saad completed his bachelor's degree in Science with Honors, majoring in Biology, at Queen's University. He then pursued his passion for public health and earned a Master's degree in Public Health from Cardiff University. During his undergraduate years, Saad actively engaged in research within the Department of Psychiatry, where his focus revolved around suicide risk and involuntary admission in the emergency department. With his strong background in research and understanding of mental health dynamics, Saad now serves as a technical lead in our lab. His contributions and leadership have been invaluable in driving our projects forward and promoting evidence-based practices.

Graduate Students

Alex Knyahnytskyi

Alex Knyahnytskyi is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor’s of Science degree, specializing in neuroscience and psychology. Alex has previously worked in the lab as a research assistant working on the corrections project and has now received the opportunity to pursue his masters under the supervision of Dr. Alavi. Over the course of his undergrad Alex has gained experience in various domains of neuroscience primarily focusing on things such as qualitative research, neuroimaging techniques, and work with novel therapeutic interventions. Alex looks forward to learning more about the effects of electronically delivered therapies on various demographics.

Brittany Lau

Brittany brings a diverse range of experiences and a passion for improving women's reproductive health, pregnancy, and mental illnesses. After completing her undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences at Western University, she joined our lab in 2022. Currently, Brittany is pursuing her Master's in Anatomical Sciences at Queens University. Her research projects have focused on exploring the correlation between depression and the therapeutic outcomes of cardiac rehabilitation, as well as investigating alternative therapies for patients with Parkinson's disease. Brittany's interests also extend to the development and modification of online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) modules to cater to different populations with mental illnesses.

Gina Layzell

Georgina (Gina) Layzell joined the lab in 2020 and has since been an invaluable asset to the team. With an Honours Bachelor's degree in Behavioural Psychology and her ongoing pursuit of a Masters degree in Neuroscience, Gina brings a strong academic foundation to her work. What sets Gina apart is her passion for improving access to psychotherapy for marginalized populations, particularly through virtual platforms. She possesses a unique combination of research expertise and hands-on experience in providing cognitive behavioural therapies. Her primary focus revolves around working with patients who suffer from anxiety and depression stemming from chronic diseases and pain. Currently, Gina is actively involved in developing programs for both cancer and chronic pain, delivered through the innovative Online Psychotherapy Tool (OPTT). With her expertise and dedication, Gina plays a vital role in advancing the lab's mission to enhance mental health support for diverse populations.

Jasleen Jagayat

Jasleen brings together a unique blend of expertise in neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI). She joined our lab in 2020, after graduating from McMaster University with an Honours BSc in Neuroscience. Her passion for research led her to work as a research assistant at QUOPL, where she gained practical experience and developed a keen interest in online psychotherapy. Motivated by her work, Jasleen decided to continue her academic career and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Neuroscience. Her research focuses on integrating a stepped care model into online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression, with the aim of making improvements to the mental health care system. Jasleen's exceptional contributions to the field have been recognized with the prestigious Mitacs grant, highlighting her outstanding research capabilities. In addition to her neuroscience expertise, Jasleen's proficiency in AI allows her to bring innovative perspectives to her work, exploring ways to enhance mental healthcare and online psychotherapy.

Niloofar Nikjoo

Niloofar is a dedicated and accomplished medical graduate from the Iran University of Medical Sciences. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and a strong drive for excellence. With her medical background she showcases a deep commitment to expanding her expertise. Her research interests lie in exploring the efficacy of electronic CBT as a preventive measure for relapse in individuals with alcohol use disorder. Niloofar's dedication to her work is further exemplified by her concurrent pursuit of a psychiatry residency, which provides her with invaluable practical experience in the field.

Sandy Luu

Sandy's expertise in the growing field of digital mental health brings a unique and interdisciplinary perspective to the team. Sandy completed her Honours BSc in Life Sciences at McMaster University, where she specialized in Sensory Motor Systems. During her studies, she gained practical experience while working on projects examining mood and exercise, mindfulness meditation, and rumination using electroencephalography (EEG) and Fitbit tracking devices. She also holds previous experience researching app-based interventions for children and youth living with chronic pain. Driven by her fascination with the brain-body connection and innovative health tools, she joined the QUOPL lab in 2023 to pursue her Master's degree in Neuroscience. Sandy’s research focuses on topics in neuropsychology while examining tools for managing mood and anxiety disorders using online psychotherapy. Above all, she is committed to promoting health equity and accessibility and is constantly exploring ways to break down barriers to mental health care. Sandy’s areas of interest include mindfulness training, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychedelics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Research Assistants

Anchan Kumar

Anchan is a medical graduate from St. Kitts and Nevis. She has completed her clinical training in both the U.S.A and Canada, further enhancing her expertise in the field. Joining our lab in 2020, As part of our online psychotherapy research at Queen's University, she provides invaluable online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to patients struggling with mood and anxiety disorders. Currently, Anchan is actively engaged in our E-CBT research projects, offering online CBT to individuals facing depression and anxiety. Beyond her medical pursuits, she finds joy in traveling, cooking, dancing, and even teaching English to newcomers.

Callum Stephenson

Callum holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Kinesiology and a Master of Science in Neuroscience, both from Queen's University. He joined the team at QUOPL in 2020, driven by his passion for research and the goal of improving accessibility to mental health care. Callum conducted his thesis research under the guidance of Dr. Alavi, focusing on the neural pathology of obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research involved exploring the effectiveness of electronically delivered cognitive behavioural therapy combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging. With a strong background in mental health advocacy, Callum actively promoted mental well-being on campus during his undergraduate studies. Callum is committed to making significant contributions to the development of innovative, accessible, scalable, and equitable mental health interventions.

Christina Holmes

Christina brings with her, expertise and passion for psychology and law. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Queen's University and is pursuing her studies by obtaining a certificate in. Christina joined our lab in 2021 and has since made remarkable contributions to our team. Her research interests revolve around cognitive behavioural therapy, specifically its application in treating depression and anxiety. Moreover, she is intrigued by the potential of therapy methods within forensic and correctional settings and is part of a study offering Online Therapy to Correctional Workers experiencing mental health disorders.

Eileen Danaee

Eileen is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Health at Queen's University. With a strong passion for mental health advocacy, she has already made significant contributions to the field. In her high school, Eileen developed an innovative online gratitude-giving platform aimed at enhancing overall mental well-being. Since joining our lab in 2022, she aims to leverage her skills and knowledge to create online psychoeducation modules focusing on anxiety and personality disorders. Additionally, Eileen is eager to contribute to ongoing research investigating the effectiveness of psychotherapy for various mental illnesses.

Dr. Gilmar Gutierrez

Dr. Gutierrez, holds an MD from Queen's University and contributes his expertise as a research assistant at QUOPL. His dedication lies in advancing the field of online cognitive behavioral therapy for various psychiatric conditions, aiming to improve its effectiveness and accessibility. Since joining the lab in 2021, Dr. Gutierrez has played a crucial role in the study of Ketamine as a potential treatment for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, exploring its promising therapeutic effects. Moreover, his professional background encompasses delivering online psychotherapy tailored for individuals with alcohol use disorder. With his diverse experiences and unwavering commitment to mental health research, Dr. Gutierrez is an invaluable asset to the team.

Jazmin Eadie

Jazmin joined the lab in 2021 with an unwavering passion for psychotherapy. With a background in psychology and concurrent education, she has acquired a strong foundation in understanding the intricacies of the human mind. Currently pursuing her master's degree in psychotherapy, Jazmin is deeply committed to making a positive impact on people's lives through her work. Jazmin envisions establishing a practice that combines psychotherapy and doula work, providing comprehensive support for individuals from fertility to the end of the first year, specifically focusing on mental health. Within our lab, Jazmin's expertise devotes her efforts to creating modules aimed at helping individuals conquer postpartum depression.

Tessa Gizzarelli

Tessa Joined our lab in 2021, currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Sciences with a Certificate in Disability in Physical Activity, she brings a unique perspective to our projects. Tessa's passion for mental health advocacy is evident in her involvement with Step Above Stigma, a prominent mental health charity based in Kingston. This experience has fueled her interest in investigating the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in various psychiatric disorders. Tessa is actively works on the development of online CBT modules and exploring their efficacy in treating mental illnesses.

Volunteer Research Assistant

Alisha Ahmed

Alisha, is a Health Sciences student at Queen's University, became member of our research lab in 2022. With a strong passion for mental health and student equity, she eagerly seeks to explore the efficacy of e-therapy. Alisha's volunteer work at Providence Care Hospital has sparked her curiosity about how e-therapy can uniquely benefit individuals in palliative care. She is enthusiastic about broadening her knowledge and is eager to contribute to the lab's mission.

Anika Agarwal

Anika is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Health Sciences at Queen's University. Her journey with the lab began in 2022. Anika's passion for making a positive impact on others is evident in her commitment to volunteering at a distress hotline, where she provides support to those in need. This experience has sparked her interest in psychotherapy research and deepened her understanding of mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and OCD.

Ferwa Khan

Ferwa Khan is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at Queen's University. Since joining the lab in 2022, Ferwa has demonstrated a genuine passion for making a positive impact on her community. Her commitment to helping others is evident through her previous initiative of starting a school club focused on enhancing access to healthcare for women and children worldwide. Inspired by this experience, Ferwa is thrilled to contribute to her community as a volunteer research assistant, leveraging her knowledge and skills to further our lab's mission. She is currently involved in the data management in the lab.

Paniz Khamooshi

Paniz Khamooshi is an undergraduate student at McGill University, seamlessly navigating between the vibrant cities of Toronto and Montreal. Currently pursuing a major in cognitive science and a minor in psychology, Paniz brings a wealth of knowledge and a strong passion for research to our team. Joining our lab in 2022, she is thrilled to collaborate with fellow members and contribute to cutting-edge scientific endeavors. Paniz's primary interests lie in the field of computational neuroscience, delving into the intricate workings of the brain and its relation to abnormal behavior, psychopathologies, as well as the psychology of addictions and personality disorders.

Serena Sengupta

Serena is completing her undergraduate studies in the field of Life Sciences at Queen's University. She joined our research lab in 2021, bringing her enthusiasm and commitment to our team. Serena possesses a strong interest in mental health and has actively engaged in advocating for mental health awareness as a Members Coordinator for the Queen's chapter of Through her involvement, she has developed a deep understanding of the challenges individuals with mental health disorders face. In our lab, Serena is actively involved in exploring the unmet needs of individuals experiencing mental health disorders. Her research aims to identify innovative approaches and solutions to address these needs and improve the lives of those affected.

Vineeth Jarabana

Vineeth is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at Queen's University, he joined our lab in 2021. Vineeth's prior experience volunteering at a crisis line has instilled in him a deep understanding of mental health challenges. His passion lies in developing effective psychotherapies for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and he is committed to making a positive impact in this area. As a research assistant, Vineeth eagerly looks forward to expanding his knowledge and skills by actively participating in various aspects of the research process. Whether it involves contributing to manuscripts or conducting interviews with prospective study participants.

Past Members

Aaron Philipp-Muller (2020-2022)

Aaron completed his Master of Science in Neuroscience at Queen's University under Dr. Alavi's supervision. He was investigating the combination of Ketamine and Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Alex Knyahnytskyi (2020-2021)

During his work as a research assistant, Alex worked on the Corrections project.

Dr. Amir Shirazi (2020-2022)

Dr. Shirazi joined Dr. Alavi's lab as a MITACS postdoctoral fellow, and his research focused on using NLPin psychotherapy, to facilitate the therapy process, and to make streamlined processes personalized to each client's needs.

Amrita Pannu (2022-2023)

During her work as a research assistant in the lab, Amrita helped with multiple projects and also provided psychotherapy to patients.

Anastasia Shao (2020-2022)

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

Dr. Anthi Stefatos (2020-2021)

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 (2020-2021)

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

Athena Avdoulos (2022-2023)

Athena worked in the lab as a volunteer research assistant.

Dr. Caitlin Yee (2020-2021)

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.

Charmy Patel (2019-2022)

Charmy worked as the lab manager at  QueensOPL, where she helped to oversee the daily operations and ensure that all studies were conducted efficiently. Prior to her role as lab manager, Charmy was also a researcher at the lab, contributing to various projects.

Dawn Armstrong (2020-2021)

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

Elnaz Moghimi (2021-2022)

Elnaz worked in the lab as a post-graduate fellow and worked on several research projects.

Maedeh Mir (2020-2021)

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

Niloufar Malakouti (2020-2022)

Niloufar worked as a research assistant in the lab and work extensively on different studies, 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.

Payam Khalafi (2020)

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.

Sarah Zhu

Sarah worked as a research assistant in our lab starting in 2021, focusing on mental health research, including investigating electronically delivered cognitive behavioral therapy and online therapy for correctional workers. She was also actively involved in mental health advocacy through crisis line response and volunteering at Providence Care Hospital.

Quratulain Ahsan Khan (2021)

Quratulain worked as a research volunteer in the lab.

Dr. Shadé Miller (2020-2021)

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 (2020-2021)

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