TIP Logo_FINAL_reframed_smaller DARKERGR

Lab Members

Principal Investigator:

MWB Headshot.jpg

Dr. Michael W. Best

Dr. Best is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychological Clinical Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is an Affiliate Scientist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. Dr. Best completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University and his predoctoral internship at the Aaron T. Beck Center for Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

His research focuses on cognitive treatments for psychotic disorders and understanding the mechanisms for how these treatments improve people’s lives. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based therapy that focuses on how thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are interconnected and contribute to a person’s quality of life. Cognitive Remediation is a treatment to improve neurocognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and problem-solving with the ultimate goal of improving a person’s ability to engage in activities in everyday life.

Grad Students:

SylviaCropped_edited.jpg

Sylvia Romanowska

Sylvia is a first year MA student in the Clinical Psychology program. She completed a BSc in Psychology at the University of Alberta and an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary.

 

Her research interests include neurocognition and functional recovery in schizophrenia-spectrum illness, treatment approaches in first-episode psychosis, and service user engagement in serious mental illness.

 

When she’s not in the lab, she enjoys cooking, traveling, singing, and hiking.

53930229_10213704152026736_2927471840920

Talia Leibovitz

Talia is a first year Master’s student in the Psychological Clinical Science Program at UTSC. Her undergraduate degree in Psychology was completed at Queen’s University.

Talia is primarily interested in researching the mechanisms of CBT and cognitive remediation for psychosis. Her goal is to contribute to the refinement of these therapeutic techniques so that they are more effective in improving functional outcomes and quality of life for individuals diagnosed with psychosis. She also strives to increase accessibility to these treatments.

Other than psychology, Talia enjoys hiking, animals, drinking coffee and doing crosswords! She is passionate about supporting others and always welcomes questions and/or chats!

Shreya Jagtap

Shreya is a first year MA student in the Clinical Psychology program. She completed a BSc in Mental Health Studies at the University of Toronto. 

 

Broadly, her research interests include exploring the relationship between symptom dimensions and functional/neurocognitive recovery in those with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders,  as well as identifying processes in evidence-based therapies for SSDs, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and cognitive remediation therapy, that support this recovery.  

In her spare time, Shreya enjoys watching movies, playing videogames, and exploring the city with her dog.  

Portrait 2.jpeg

Robert Aidelbaum

Rob is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He completed an MA in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto and an MA in Experimental Psychology at Carleton University.

 

Rob’s research interests involve analyzing the manifestation of both neurocognition and social cognition in various diagnostic groups across the psychosis spectrum and assessing how patterns of impairment may be influencing real-world functioning. The goal of his research is to improve our understanding of the connection between cognition and functioning, in the hopes of supporting the development of novel treatments aimed at improving areas causing lasting distress that do not respond to current standard treatments.  

When not in the lab, you will likely find Rob either camping, skiing, working in his garden, watching a movie, or playing with his dog.

Bio Photo.jpg

Jess D'Arcey

Jess is a first-year MA student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. She completed her BSc in Mental Health Studies at UTSC as well as an MSc in Medical Science at the University of Toronto and CAMH.

 

Broadly, her research interests are in exploring mechanisms of symptom maintenance and recovery in psychosis. More specifically, Jess is interested in cognitive and emotional models of symptom maintenance in hopes of highlighting new treatment targets and finding ways to adapt current treatments. She hopes to center lived experience in her work.

 

Outside of psychology, Jess enjoys spending her time outside in nature with her pup, camping, crafting,  spending time with friends, or curled up with her cat and a good book! 

jess.jpg
Peer Researcher:

Allison Dyer

Allison Dyer is a Peer Researcher with an interest in researching how those with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders can live an abundant quality of life while evolving their own coping strategies.

 

With three years of experience in First Interventions Treatment Team (Scarborough Health Network) as a client, Allison hopes to continue in roles as Peer supports for those with Psychosis. 

 

When not reading up on Psychosis, she enjoys reading fictional stories, writing poems and watching movies.

Screenshot_20210217-090504_Photo Editor.

Laboratory Manager:

Felicia Martins

Felicia is a University of Toronto graduate, where she obtained a HBSc with a specialization in Mental Health Studies. She has been a Horatio Alger Scholar since 2015, and was inducted into Psi Chi International Honour Society in Psychology in 2018. Her research interests broadly include severe mental illness and associated therapeutic interventions, trauma and emotion regulation, and reducing stigma.

thumbnail_Image.jpg
Clinical Trial Coordinator: 

Lola Wazir

Lola is interested in the fields of research that investigate the effects of an individual's environment on psychosis. She enjoys hot Pilates and hiking in her free time.

AFD0354E-6F1F-4208-8AC6-CBE56F2BF9A3.JPG
Clinical Trial Therapist:

Marie Kessaris

Marie (MA Counselling Psychology) is a qualifying Registered Psychotherapist under the supervision of Dr. Mike Best. Utilizing the structure, theory, and techniques of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Marie maintains curiousity and respect for the wisdom of the participants with whom she collaborates. Marie is passionate about obstacle-free mental health services, person-centered treatment, facilitating a compassionate perspective of mental health issues, and recognizing strengths in people.

Marie's research interests include the relationships between psychosis and adverse childhood experiences (ACE), attachment, systemic/intergenerational trauma, and emotional expression. 

In moments of spare time, Marie enjoys watching movies and documentaries, stop-motion animation, playing board and videogames, and searching for new music.

pfpuoft2.png

Research Assistants:

Laura Ramos

Nitha Vincent

Rawan Hedefa

Rida Riaz

Sannan Saheeb

Stephanie Barakat

Aaima Cheema

Aqsa Zahid

Hanna Hamzai 

Harjas Singh
Insia Ali Razi

Kartik Kambli
Kaylynn Brant


 

Lab Alumni:

Karin Onno (Lab Manager)

Laiba Rizwan (Research Assistant)

 Zoryana Babiy (Research Assistant)

Mehmet Topyurek (Research Assistant)