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. 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.

Graduate Students

Brittany Lau

I completed my undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences this past May at Western University. I am currently in my first year of completing my Master’s in Anatomical Sciences at Queens University. I am passionate about female reproductive health and pregnancy alongside mental illnesses. My past research projects investigated on the relationship between depression and therapeutic outcomes of cardiac rehabilitation, and alternative therapies for Parkinson’s disease patients. I look forward to working with Dr. Alavi to modifying online CBT modules for different populations with mental illnesses.

Gina Layzell

Georgina (Gina) Layzell is a graduate student who has worked in the QUOPL lab since 2020. She has an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Behavioural Psychology and is working towards a Masters degree in Neuroscience. Gina has a passion for making psychotherapy accessible to marginalized populations through virtual means. She has unique experience in both research and providing cognitive behavioural therapies. Her primary focus is working with patients with anxiety and depression secondary to chronic diseases and pain. Gina is currently working on both the programs for Cancer and for Chronic Pain delivered through the Online Psychotherapy Tool (OPTT).

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

Amrita Pannu

Amrita is an international medical graduate and a Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE) graduate from Queen’s University. Her master’s capstone project focused on conducting a needs assessment for trauma informed care education for psychiatry residents across Canada. In addition, she has been involved in several research projects within the department of psychiatry on topics ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, family therapy training, psychoeducation, justice and mental health program, and transcranial direct current stimulation. In Dr. Alavi’s psychotherapy lab, she is currently responsible for delivering psychotherapy as well as assisting in research projects, such as stepped care approach in electronic cognitive behavioural therapy (e-CBT) for depression and comparing clinical decision-making of AI technology to a multi-professional care team when allocating patients to stratified therapist care in an e-CBT program.

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.

Callum Stephenson

Callum has completed both a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Kinesiology and a Master of Science in Neuroscience at Queen’s University. He completed his thesis under the supervision of Dr. Alavi investigating the neural pathology of obsessive-compulsive disorder using electronically delivered cognitive behavioural therapy and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Callum was a mental health advocate on campus during his undergraduate degree and joined QUOPL in 2019 to merge his passion for research and mental health care accessibility. As a research assistant, Callum hopes to continue contributing to the development of high-quality mental health interventions that are innovative, accessible, scalable, and equitable.

Dr. Gilmar Gutierrez

Dr. Gutierrez received his MD from Queen’s University. He is currently working as a research assistant at QUOPL. His research interests involve the further development an understanding of online cognitive behavioral therapy for the management of different psychiatric conditions. As well as the study of Ketamine as a promising treatment for patients with treatment resistant depression. His work experience also includes delivering online psychotherapy for people with alcohol use disorder.

Volunteer Research Assistant

Alisha Ahmed

I’m a first year Health Sciences student at Queen’s. I am a huge mental health and student equity advocate and I’m very excited to learn about the effectiveness of e- therapy. As someone who is currently volunteering at Providence Care Hospital, I am interested in learning how e therapy will specifically impact a palliative care population. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and can’t wait to help out at the lab!

Anika Agarwal

Anika is a first-year undergraduate student at Queen’s University studying Health Sciences. She is passionate about helping others, seen through her work volunteering at a distress hotline. This has further intrigued her in the field of psychotherapy research as well as different mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and OCD. Anika is one of the research assistant volunteers this year and is extremely excited to work with the rest of this amazing team.

Athena Avdoulos

Athena is a fourth-year student in Life Sciences at Queens University. She is very dedicated to helping students learn how to cope with mental health, as seen through volunteering with the life Sciences DSC as an extracurricular co-chair, where she plans and executes fitness events to help relieve stress and improve mental health. Athena is a volunteer research assistant and is very excited to work alongside Dr. Alavi and the rest of the team!

Christina Holmes

Christina completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology this past May at Queen’s University and will be returning for her certificate in law this fall. Her interests lie in cognitive behavioural therapy for depression and anxiety and how therapy methods can be utilized in a forensic or correctional setting. She will be joining the lab as a research assistant on the Online Therapy for Correctional Workers project.

Eileen Danaee

Eileen is a first-year Health Sciences student at Queen's University. She is very passionate about mental health advocacy and has previously created an online gratitude-giving platform to improve overall mental health at her high school. Within the lab, she hopes to help create online psychoeducation modules on anxiety and personality disorders, while contributing to research on the efficacy of psychotherapy for various mental illnesses. Eileen is excited to be working alongside Dr. Alavi and her amazing team as a volunteer research assistant!

Felix Xu

Felix is a first-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at Queen's University. He is a strong proponent for providing accessible mental care that utilizes evidence-based research and techniques. Felix is interested in exploring and promoting the efficacy of online psychotherapy as a treatment for a multitude of mental illnesses. He is excited to contribute to the lab.

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.

Jazmin Eadie

Jazmin is extremely passionate about psychotherapy. She is entering her fifth year as a psychology and concurrent education undergraduate student and will be pursuing a master's in psychotherapy. In the future, Jazmin wants to have a practice that focuses on psychotherapy and doula work to help people manage their mental health from fertility up until the end of the first year. Within the lab, she hopes to create modules that focus on helping people conquer postpartum depression to see if online psychotherapy for this form of depression is effective.

Paniz Khamooshi

Paniz Khamooshi is a third-year undergraduate student at McGill University, living back-and-forth between Toronto and Montreal. Paniz is majoring in cognitive science and minoring in psychology and is very excited to be joining this lab and working alongside everyone! Her greatest interests are computational neuroscience, the neural basis of abnormal behaviour, psychopathologies and the psychology of addictions and personality disorders.

Sarah Zhu

Sarah is an undergraduate student studying Health Sciences at Queen's University. Sarah's research interests include investigating the treatment efficacy of electronically delivered cognitive behavioural therapy compared to pharmacotherapy for insomnia and online therapy for correctional workers. Sarah has also been involved in various mental health advocacy programs during her undergraduate, including working as a crisis line responder and volunteering at the Providence Care Hospital. Sarah is looking forward to continuing working alongside Dr. Alavi to explore the efficacy of treatments for mental illnesses.

Serena Sengupta

Serena is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying Life Sciences at Queen’s University. She has a strong interest in mental health and advocates for mental health as a Members Coordinator of  the Queen’s chapter of Jack.org. She is excited to be on the team as a volunteer research assistant.

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 at Queen’s University studying Health Sciences with a Certificate in Disability in Physical Activity. She is passionate about mental health advocacy, as seen through her work with Step Above Stigma, a mental health charity founded in Kingston. This has sparked her interest in researching the impact of cognitive behavioural therapy in different psychiatric disorders. Tessa is looking forward to continuing working alongside Dr. Alavi on developing online CBT Modules and exploring its efficacy for the treatment of mental illnesses.

Vineeth Jarabana

Vineeth is a second-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at Queen's University. Having volunteered at a crisis line, he recognizes the importance of psychotherapy research. He is particularly interested in developing effective psychotherapies for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He looks forward to learning about the many different aspects of the research process, whether it is by contributing to manuscripts or interviewing prospective study participants, as a research assistant.

Past Members

Aaron Philipp-Muller

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

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

Dr. Amir Shirazi

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.

Anastasia Shao

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

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.

Niloufar Malakouti

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

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.