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Students & Collaborators

Current Members:


Dr. Cassidy’s research program is focused on using multimodal neuroimaging methods to understand brain mechanisms of psychopathology. He has a long-standing interest in the role of the dopamine system in reward processing in schizophrenia and addiction. His graduate training at McGill University was focused on basic neuroscience (MSc) and clinical research (PhD) in schizophrenia. He completed postdoctoral training focused on neuroimaging methods at Columbia University within the Division of Translational Imaging under the mentorship of Anissa Abi-Dargham and Guillermo Horga.


Since arriving at The Royal in 2016, Dr. Cassidy has continued his neuroimaging work in schizophrenia and expanded to the study of PTSD and other neuropsychiatric conditions. His goal is to bridge the gap between the problems faced by individuals with mental illness and the technical challenges of understanding brain function. By bringing his expertise in these two disparate questions he strives towards a more scientific understanding of human experience. Such insights serve to advance neuroscience and could also improve mental health outcomes, particularly when they can explain psychiatric risk or improve strategies for early intervention and prevention of conditions such as PTSD and schizophrenia.

Dr. Clifford Cassidy

Principal Investigator

Tram Nguyen

Research Coordinator


Tram completed her PhD in Psychology at The University of Western Ontario in 2017. Her graduate training was focused on cognitive psychology (MSc) and cognition and perception (PhD). She has a special interest in neuroimaging and mental health research. Since joining the lab in 2019, she has been contributing experimental and administrative support to all active projects.

Rami Al Haddad

PhD Student


Rami is a PhD student in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine program at the Unversity of Ottawa. He completed his MSc from the University of Ottawa working at the Heart Institute on the validation of PET radoopharmaceuticals for heart-related diseases. His primary research interests are nuclear and magnetic brain imaging techniques. Since joining the lab, Rami has been working on fMRI investigation of brain activation during trauma evocation and fear conditioning in PTSD, as well as in other neuropsychological disorders. 

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Rami Hamati

PhD Student


Rami completed a MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Ottawa investigating the effects of combining antidepressant medications on the activity of dopamine, serotonin, and cortical neurons in the rat brain. Currently, he is completing a PhD in Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr. Cassidy exploring dopaminergic and haemodynamic correlates of fear learning in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia using multimodal neuroimaging; simulataneous [11-C] raclopride PET, fMRI, and neuromelanin-MRI.​

Adelina McCall

MSc Student


Adelina is a first year MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Cassidy. She completed her BSc in Neuroscience at Carleton University with minors in Biology and Psychology. Her MSc thesis focuses on using a novel neuroimaging method known as neuromelanin-sensitive MRI (NM-MRI) to investigate the locus coeruleus norepinephrine system in individuals with PTSD. Adelina is currently enrolled in the Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program at The University of Ottawa.

Former Members:

Rosario Furlano

Research Coordinator

Giuliana Borracci

Research Assistant

Alicia Ouskine

Research Assistant


The Royal's Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, Ottawa, ON:

Col. Rakesh Jetly, MD

Head, Centre of Excellence on Mental Health, Directorate of Mental Health, Canadian Armed Forces Health Services

David Attwood, MD

Clinical Director, Integrated Schizophrenia and Recovery Program

Jakov Shlik, MD, PhD

Clinical Director, Operational Stress Injury Clinic

Lauri Tuominen, MD, PhD


Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY:

Guillermo Horga, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Diana Martinez, MD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Institute of Biomedical Technology, Milan, Italy:

Luigi Zecca, MD, PhD

Senior Researcher, Italian National Research Council

McGill University Research Centre for Studies in Aging, Montreal, QC:

Pedro Rosa-Neto, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry

Temple University, Philadelphia, PA:

Johanna Jarcho, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Western University, London, ON:

Lena Palaniyappan, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Terran Biosciences, New York, NY:

Samuel Clark, MD, PhD

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Terran Biosciences

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