The Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Venkat Bhat


Dr. Bhat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is currently a staff psychiatrist based at two Depression Centres: The Centre for Depression and Suicide Studies at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Poul Hansen Depression Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. At St. Michael’s Hospital, he is the Director of the Interventional Psychiatry Program which offers novel psychopharmacological (e.g. IV ketamine/other anesthetic agents), neurostimulation (e.g. rTMS, ECT, emerging neurostimulation modalities) and digital therapeutic (mobile-based monitoring and interventions) interventions for Mood and other Disorders. At Toronto Western Hospital, he has a focus on invasive neurostimulation (Deep Brain Stimulation and Invasive Brain Mapping) and is currently leading a study comparing ECT to IV Ketamine for Treatment-resistant Depression. Dr. Bhat collaborates closely with anesthesia, imaging, informatics, neurology and neurosurgery to offer emerging and procedural interventions for psychiatric disorders, his research program aims to understand treatment-response with these emerging interventions.

Sharadha K

Research Coordinator

Sharadha Kolappan is the research coordinator for the digital studies that the group has been very interested in in-corporating, as part of the Psychiatry Intervention Program. She holds a B.Sc. degree from University of Toronto, majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology, as well as a B. Eng. and MASc. degree, majoring in Biomedical Engineering, from Ryerson University. Being a key point of contact between external collaborators, digital partners, research students, and clinicians, she is thrilled to be part of a group that strives to deliver novel mental health interventions to the community.

Ilya Demchenko

Research Coordinator

Ilya is a Research Coordinator for the neurostimulation theme within the Interventional Psychiatry Program who manages several studies investigating novel non-invasive brain stimulation approaches for treatment-resistant depression. He holds an HBSc from the University of Toronto and a MSc from McGill University, with a specialty in Neuroscience-Psychiatry. By acting as a liaison between clinicians, scientists, trainees, and collaborators, Ilya strives to streamline the research process and facilitate the translation of discoveries to clinical practice.

Yuelee (Ben) Khoo

Data Analyst

Yuelee is a research analyst at the Interventional Psychiatry Program. He is currently analyzing data from the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND) to investigate anti-depressants’ impact on sleep quality, anxiety, and sexual functioning. With an interest in psychosocial health and research methodology, he received his MSc in Biostatistics from the University of Toronto after pursuing his BSc in Psychology from Western University.

Binh Nguyen

Graduate Student

Binh Nguyen received his B.Eng degree in Biomedical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada in 2019. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Binh’s research focus is on affective computing. He works on data analytics, signal processing and machine learning to analyze passive and active data in a mental health setting. Binh’s research is being overseen by Dr. Sri Krishnan and Dr. Venkat Bhat.

Sophie Vaccarino

Graduate Student

Sophie is a Master’s student with St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute of Medical Science at University of Toronto, specializing in anhedonia, neuroimaging, and biomarkers of antidepressant response. She also works as the research coordinator for a long-term follow-up study of individuals receiving deep-brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression; and as a research assistant for the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression. Sophie received her HBSc from Queen’s University, studying Life Sciences and Psychology, and hopes to pursue a medical degree in the future with the aim of continuing clinical research in the field of precision psychiatry.

Fathima Adamsahib

Physician Assistant

Fathima is a physician assistant working within the Interventional Psychiatry Program and Ambulatory Mental Health Program at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is a graduate from University of Toronto’s Physician Assistant Program, and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto with a specialist in Mental Health Studies. Fathima works in collaboration with her supervising physicians to provide existing and novel treatment options and is an advocate for patients and their families. She strives to increase access to mental health care for individuals with acute and persistent mental health illness.

Stephanie Lu

Undergraduate Volunteer

My name is Stephanie Lu and I am a second year student studying my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Queen’s University. I chose to get involved with the Interventional Psychiatry Program because I am very passionate about mental health. I keep my mental health high on my priority list by doing activities to clear my head, such as yoga and reading books. One of my favourite books of all time is called When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. In addition, I have the role of community outreach on the executive committee of Project Happiness Queen’s, which is a club about nurturing mental health from elementary school. Mental health is something I am very interested in, and with the cutting edge work that Interventional Psychiatry Program does, I could not wait to get involved!

Karim Al_Mradi

Undergraduate Volunteer

Karim Al-Mradi grew up in the United Arab Emirates and is currently a 4th year psychology student at York University. He hopes to pursue medical school after his undergraduate studies and has an interest in psychiatry, and psychological intervention. Karim’s other interests include writing, which is exemplified by his articles that are disseminated annually in the York University Medical Magazine, and on his own personal website. Karim also has an interest in sports, he regularly plays squash and does free running in his own time and is vice president for the York University Boxing Club.

Helen Liu

Undergraduate Volunteer

I’m a third-year undergraduate in the Honours Psychology program at McGill. I’m extremely passionate about both the research and therapeutic aspects of psychology, particularly in regard to mood and anxiety disorders. I hope to pursue clinical psychology in the future to help those afflicted with mental health issues, not only by providing psychotherapy but also by studying ways to make treatment more effective and beneficial for the client. I’m eager to help research novel forms of treatment for depression and other disorders because of the incredible impact it could have on many people’s lives and the ground-breaking advances we’d be making in the field.

Roohie Palmar


Roohie Parmar has a Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Master’s of Science in Global Health from McMaster University. Her professional interests are within psychiatry, community medicine and reducing health disparities.

Jack Yassa

Medical Student

Jack Yassa is currently a second year medical student studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway and also an aspiring family physician. At the start of his medical training career, Jack began collaborating in different fields of medical research with the Galway Hospital in Ireland, SickKids and Saint Michael’s Hospital in Toronto which has allowed him to pick up a unique interest in the field of psychiatry. Passionate about cognitive behavioural therapy and it’s vast applications to mental health, Jack hopes to one day utilize a psychotherapy based approach as part of his daily practice as a family physician.

Aksharra Balachandran

Medical Student

Aksharra is currently a third year medical student at Trinity College Dublin. Prior to starting medical school she completed her Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto specializing in Neuroscience. Aksharra has currently been helping the team look at the therapeutic potential of ketamine in treating chronic pain and chronic depression. Aksharra has strong interests within the realm of mental health and hopes to pursue her career in Family Medicine or Psychiatry.

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