J. Downar Laboratory

Located In Toronto.

About Us.

The Jonathan Downar laboratory (rTMS Lab) focuses on translational research, drawing upon these advances to help develop a new generation of tools for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of psychiatric disease. The major therapeutic approach of the lab employs image-guided brain stimulation via repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Current research focuses on improving the speed, cost, efficacy and range of applications for rTMS in treating psychiatric illnesses. A second major focus of the lab is to develop clinically useful tools for predicting treatment outcome and for selecting the optimal treatment parameters in any given patient. These include the development of reliable automated classifiers for predicting treatment outcome in individuals based on resting-state functional MRI, the development of multimodal biomarker suites for predicting outcomes using a combination of EEG, MRI and behavioural measures. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop rTMS and other neurostimulation treatments into cost-effective, widely accessible treatment options for patients with psychiatric illness, alongside medications and psychotherapy.

OUR TEAM.

Meet our hard working team

  • All
  • Director
  • Students
  • Lab Members
  • Past Members
Dr. Jonathan Downar ~ Co-Director
Dr. Peter Giacobbe ~ Co-Director
Teri Cairo ~ Lab Manager
Jean-Philippe Miron ~ Psychiatrist
Helena Voetterl ~ Graduate Student
Katharine Dunlop ~ PhD Candidate
Arsalan Mir Moghtadaei ~ MSc Candidate
Sarah Peters ~ MSc Candidate
Farrokh Mansouri ~ PhD Candidate
Peter Fettes ~ PhD Candidate
Laura Schulze ~ PhD Candidate
Jack Sheen ~ MSc Candidate
Eileen Lam ~ Clinical Research Coordinator
Kamran Mir-Moghtadaei ~ Research Student
Justine Bajohr ~ Lab Member
Eman Nishat ~ Lab Member
Ilya Demchenko ~ Lab Member
Samantha Goncalves ~ Lab Member
Dorsa Derakhshan ~ Lab Member
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Dr. Jonathan Downar

Jonathan Downar - MD, PhD, FRCPC
Scientist, Krembil Research Institute
Affiliated Faculty, Techna Institute for the Advancement of Technology for Health
jonathan.downar@uhn.ca
416-603-5667

Dr. Jonathan Downar is Co-Director of the UHN rTMS clinic, founded in 2011. He also holds the position of Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute at Toronto Western Hospital. He is an Associate professor at the Department of Psychiatry and the Institute of Medical Science within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

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Dr. Peter Giacobbe

Dr. Peter Giacobbe - MD. M.Sc. FRCPC
peter.giacobbe@uhn.ca
416-603-5009

Dr. Giacobbe is a psychiatrist at the University Health Network in Toronto, where he serves as the Head of the Electroconvulsive Therapy Service, co-Head of the rTMS service and Director of the Fellowship Program. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, with appointments in the Division of Brain and Therapeutics and the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. He completed medical school at the University of Western Ontario, followed by residency, fellowship training and graduate school at the University of Toronto. Dr. Giacobbe’s clinical and research interests focus on the development and evaluation of novel pharmacological and neuromodulatory treatment strategies for individuals with treatment-resistant mood disorders. He has published over 50 articles and book chapters on the topics of mood disorders and brain stimulation, including papers in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Brain Stimulation, CMAJ, Lancet, and Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Terri Cairo

Terri Cairo - BSc. CCRA SoCRA
Clinical Research Manager
terri.cairo@uhn.ca
416 603 5800 ex. 4950

Terri is a highly motivated and hard working clinical research professional with a keen eye for detail. She has strong editing, organization techniques and a clear passion for learning. She demonstrates outstanding team building and staff training strategies repeatedly recognized throughout her employers. She recently completed work developing the Asthma Research Program currently underway at Dr. Gordon Sussman Clinical Research Inc. and is now leading various research projects with Toronto Western Hospital in Major Depression and other mental illnesses, focusing not only on drug related interventions but also rTMS technology. Her research areas of interest include canine behavioral related research and clinical hypnotherapy. With years or clinical research experience as well as a strong regulatory compliance education from Seneca College... No challenge is too large.

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Jean-Philippe Miron

Jean-Philippe Miron, M.D., FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Fellow

Dr. Miron obtained his medical degree (M.D.) from the Université de Montréal in 2013. He continued his residency training in Psychiatry and graduated in 2018. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC) and holds an Independent Practice license with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). His main focus is the treatment of mood disorders using neuromodulation therapies, mainly repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). After the completion of his 2-year fellowship in summer 2020, Dr. Miron will return to Montreal to work as a clinician-scientist at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). He will continue doing research in the field of neuromodulation and aim to increase the efficacy and accessibility of these therapies, by collaborating with scientists on the national and international level as well as other care providers, in order democratize the use of these forms of treatment.

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Helena Voetterl

Helena Voetterl, B.Sc.
Graduate Student

Helena received her B.Sc. in Cognitive Science from the University of Osnabrück in Germany. As an undergraduate she conducted research internship at the University of Victoria in New Zealand, investigating autism spectrum disorder in animal models. Helena is currently enrolled in the Masters program Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. As her thesis project, Helena is investigating accelerated rTMS treatment and biological markers of treatment response in major depressive disorder in the Downar lab.

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Katharine Dunlop

Katharine Dunlop, HBSc. - PhD Candidate
(Institute of Medical Science, Univ. of Toronto)
katie.dunlop@uhn.ca

Katie Dunlop is a PhD Candidate affiliated with the Institute of Medical Science and the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms and predictors of clinical response to non-invasive brain stimulation. Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), she investigates response to non-invasive brain stimulation in major depression, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Katie is a CIHR Vanier Scholar (2015-2018) and the inaugural recipient of the Jonathan Dostrovsky Award in Neuroscience (2016). Katie is also a Junior Fellow at Massey College and a co-opted member of the University of Toronto's Governing Council.

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Arsalan Mir-Moghtadaei

Arsalan Mir-Moghtadaei - M.Sc.
a.mir@uhn.ca

Arsalan is a graduate student pursuing his masters in the field of neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. He is interested in investigating biological markers to distinguish and predict responders and non-responders of rTMS treatment in medication resistant depression. Currently he is analyzing morphological changes that occur in response to rTMS treatment in hopes of improving the clinical efficacy of rTMS for the treatment of major depressive disorder. He is also a junior fellow at Massey College and is involved with many extracurricular activities that cater to building a better community and helping the less fortunate. As an avid cross country mountain biker, he is also on the University of Toronto varsity cross country-mountain biking team.

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Sarah Peters

Sarah Peters - M.Sc.
s.katherine.peters@gmail.com

Sarah received her B.Sc. in Neuroscience, Psychology, and French from the University of Toronto in 2015. As an undergraduate student, she completed a research project in visual cognition. For her Masters thesis project, she is using fMRI to investigate relationships between large-scale functional brain networks that are predictive of response to rTMS in patients with treatment-resistant depression. After completing her graduate studies, Sarah plans to pursue medicine at McMaster University. In addition to clinical research, Sarah is an expert greeting card maker and is steadily growing her collection of house plants.

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Farrokh Mansouri

Farrokh Mansouri - BASc. MHSc. PhD Candidate
farrokh.mansouri@mail.utoronto.ca

Farrokh obtained his BASc degree in Engineering Science in 2012 and his MHSc degree in Clinical Engineering in 2014, both from the University of Toronto and is currently working towards his doctoral degree at the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.

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Peter Fettes

Peter Fettes - BSc.

Peter graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. in Neuroscience. As a doctoral student with Jonathan Downar, Peter is studying the orbitofrontal cortex as a novel rTMS stimulation target for major depressive disorder. Peter was awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Canadian Graduate Scholarship (CGS) to support his work in the Downar lab

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Laura Schulze

Laura Schulze - PhD Candidate
laura.schulze@uhn.ca

Laura holds BSc and MSc degrees in the field of neuroscience. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, under the supervision of Drs. Jonathan Downar and Sidney Kennedy. For her PhD thesis, Laura is investigating the use of accelerated rTMS (i.e., multiple sessions of rTMS daily) in the treatment of major depression. Laura was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation to support her work in the Downar lab.

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Jack Sheen

Jack Sheen - B.Sc.
Jack.sheen@uhn.ca

Jack graduated from the University of Toronto in Physiology. As a research technician at the rTMS lab, Jack has been involved in a variety of projects, including rTMS treatment administration for various studies, RedCap database programming, and rTMS machine maintenance. In addition, Jack excels at hitting three-point shots and frying chicken wings.

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Eileen Lam

Eileen Lam - BPHE, BEd
eileen.lam@uhn.ca
416-603-5800 ex. 5494

Eileen graduated with a BPHE from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto, and went on to complete her BEd at OISE/UT. She has over a decade of experience in clinical research project management, focusing on the treatment and prevention of eating disorders. Eileen is currently assisting Principal Investigators Dr. Blake Woodside and Dr. Jonathan Downar on clinical trials involving neurostimulation, as well as studying genetic biomarkers of eating disorders. Outside of work, Eileen has represented Canada as a member of the National Women's Floorball team since 2009, and plays competitive ultimate frisbee in Toronto.

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Kamran Mir-Moghtadaei

Kamran Mir-Moghtadaei - Physiology Spec
kamran.mir.moghtadaei@mail.utoronto.ca

Kamran is an undergraduate student pursuing his HBSc as a physiology specialist at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He is interested in developing clinically useful tools for predicting treatment outcomes and for selecting the optimal treatment parameters in any given patient. Currently he is creating software that focuses on improving the speed, cost and efficiency of rTMS treatment at the Toronto Western Hospital. His most recent contribution is 'Scalp-based heuristics for locating the nodes of the salience network for use in neurostimulation'. Additionally, Kamran is developing a new way of obtaining BDI-II from patients outside the clinic as part of his thesis. He hopes that this innovative method will improve upon traditional rTMS data collection, where by improving both data quality and quantity for future research.

Moreover, Kamran is an executive member of ECSpeRT a division of St. John Ambulance located at the University of Toronto in Mississauga (UTM). As an Advanced Medical First Responder, he and his team provide first aid care to all students, staff, and visitors of the UTM campus.

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Justine Bajohr

Justine Bajohr - B.Sc.
justine.bajohr@mail.utoronto.ca

Justine is currently completing her fourth year of her B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Bioethics. Justine’s main interests lie in the field of neuroplasticity as well as Alzheimer’s research and advocacy. As an undergraduate research student, Justine works on developing her clinical research skills and learning more about rTMS by helping out with the different ongoing projects in the lab. She looks forward to completing her undergraduate thesis with the Downar lab and using the skills and knowledge she gains in her future research career.

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Eman Nishat

Eman Nishat
eman.nishat@mail.utoronto.ca

Eman is currently in her fourth year at the University of Toronto, pursuing a B.Sc. in Neuroscience. Throughout her undergraduate education, Eman has studied a variety of courses on human development and behaviours. Her passion for Neuroscience stems primarily from her interest in the neural mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders. Eman’s role in the lab allows her to work on various ongoing projects and gain valuable hands-on experience. She will be completing her undergraduate thesis project in the lab and looks forward to learning more about the role of brain stimulation in treating psychiatric disorders.

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Ilya Demchenko

Ilya Demchenko, B.Sc.
ilya.demchenko@mail.utoronto.ca

Ilya is an undergraduate researcher doing B.Sc. in Neuroscience, Physiology and Psychology at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the rTMS Lab, Ilya was studying contextual semantics in large-scale brain networks, particularly among patients with epilepsy. He also worked as a research assistant at the University of Toronto, where he studied molecular and behavioural mechanisms associated with core symptoms of Parkinson's disease. For his undergraduate research project, Ilya is investigating the effects of rTMS treatment on major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder.

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Samantha Goncalves

Samantha Goncalves
samantha.goncalves@mail.utoronto.ca

Samantha is completing the final year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in the Human Biology: Neuroscience specialist and Psychology minor programs. Upon completion, Samantha aspires to attend medical school to obtain an MD and to specialize in Neurology. At the lab, Samantha enjoys assisting with all projects, especially when acquiring new skills is involved. With her focus on healthy controls, Samantha hopes to illuminate the extent of diversity within the healthy population. Outside of the lab, Samantha’s favourite activity is rousing her dog, Albus The Brown, for a quick walk to the nearby coffee shop.

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Dorsa Derakhshan

Dorsa Derakhshan
dorsa.derakhshan@mail.utoronto.ca

Dorsa is in her final year of pursuing a B. Sc. degree specializing in the field of Neuroscience from University of Toronto. For her undergraduate research project, she is currently working on a comprehensive chart review of the rTMS clinic's patients' records regarding demographic data, medical and psychiatric comorbidities, illness characteristics and various psychosocial factors to investigate potential moderators with treatment outcome.

Software.

SALIENCE NETWORK


Application to identify the different nodes of the Salience Network for use in neurostimulation. Available on App Store and Google Play 

Contact Us.

Krembil Research Institute is part of Toronto Western Hospital, near downtown Toronto.

Mon - Fri 09:00 – 17:00

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