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Developmental
Neuroscience
Laboratory

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Developmental
Neuroscience
Laboratory

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Developmental
Neuroscience
Laboratory

ABOUT US

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PI
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Geoffrey B. Hall
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Geoffrey B Hall

Geoffrey Hall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University.
He is a research scientist associated with the Imaging Research Centre, at St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, a cabinet member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies, and a core member of the McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind. In addition, Dr. Hall is the Program Director of the newly established Research and Clinical Training PhD Graduate Stream.

His interests broadly encompass the neurological foundations of human emotion and cognition, with a particular focus on neurodevelopmental disorders and psychopathology. Central to this work is the development of novel experimental and theoretical tools that lead to a deeper understanding of how emotion and cognition are mapped onto the developing brain, and how underlying neural systems aggregate into functionally connected networks. His research places an emphasis on the development of strong validated behavioural paradigms and draws upon a range of imaging methodologies, including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, MRI Cortical Thickness & Volumetry, Positron Tomography and Electroencephalography.

Current Projects:

• impact of genes and adversity on Diffusion Tensor Imaging indices of neural connectivity in major depression.

• functional and structural imaging indices of altered brain neurocircuitry in children at risk for and with pediatric onset of Bipolar Disorder.

• functional imaging study of cross-modal emotion processing in adults with autism -examining the role of gene expression and neurocircuits.

• an eye tracking behavioural and functional imaging study examining the highly circumscribed interests in ASD.

• the development of a computer based social cognition assessment battery for children with ASD.

• developmental changes during middle childhood in functional networks involved in emotion regulation, working memory and inhibitory control; an fMRI and DTI imaging study

Associations and Affiliations

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Geoffrey B Hall - Associations & Affiliations

Director,
Research and Clinical Training Graduate Stream
Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
McMaster University

Imaging Scientist
Imaging Research Centre,
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton

Core Member
Offord Centre for Child Studies,
Division of Child Psychiatry, McMaster Children’s Hospital

Core Member
McART - McMaster Autism Research Team
McMaster University

Associate Member/ Advisory Board Member
McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery & Study (MiNDS)
Neuroscience Graduate Program
McMaster University

Core Member

McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind
McMaster University

Associate Faculty
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
McMaster University
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Action Editor
Brain and Cognition
Elsevier

Publications

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1. Tatham EL, Hall GB, Clark D, Foster J, Ramasubbu R. The 5-HTTLPR and BDNF polymorphisms moderate the association between uncinate fasciculus connectivity and antidepressants treatment response in major depression. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2016 Jun 8. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27277475.

2. Tatham EL, Ramasubbu R, Gaxiola-Valdez I, Cortese F, Clark D, Goodyear B, Foster J, Hall GB. White matter integrity in major depressive disorder: Implications of childhood trauma, 5-HTTLPR and BDNF polymorphisms. Psychiatry Res. 2016 Jul 30;253:15-25. Epub 2016 Apr 27. PubMed PMID: 27261564.

3. Schmaal L, Hibar DP, Sämann PG, Hall GB, Baune BT, Jahanshad N, Cheung JW, van Erp TG, Bos D, Ikram MA, Vernooij MW, Niessen WJ, Tiemeier H, Hofman A, Wittfeld K, Grabe HJ, Janowitz D, Bülow R, Selonke M, Völzke H, Grotegerd D, Dannlowski U, Arolt V, Opel N, Heindel W, Kugel H, Hoehn D, Czisch M, Couvy-Duchesne B, Rentería ME, Strike LT, Wright MJ, Mills NT, de Zubicaray GI, McMahon KL, Medland SE, Martin NG, Gillespie NA, Goya-Maldonado R, Gruber O, Krämer B, Hatton SN, Lagopoulos J, Hickie IB, Frodl T, Carballedo A, Frey EM, van Velzen LS, Penninx BW, van Tol MJ, van der Wee NJ, Davey CG, Harrison BJ, Mwangi B, Cao B, Soares JC, Veer IM, Walter H, Schoepf D, Zurowski B, Konrad C, Schramm E, Normann C, Schnell K, Sacchet MD, Gotlib IH, MacQueen GM, Godlewska BR, Nickson T, McIntosh AM, Papmeyer M, Whalley HC, Hall J, Sussmann JE, Li M, Walter M, Aftanas L, Brack I, Bokhan NA, Thompson PM, Veltman DJ. Cortical abnormalities in adults and adolescents with major depression based on brain scans from 20 cohorts worldwide in the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder Working Group. Mol Psychiatry. 2016 May
[Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27137745.

4. Hanford LC, Sassi RB, Minuzzi L, Hall GB. Cortical thickness in symptomatic and asymptomatic bipolar offspring. Psychiatry Res. 2016 May 30;251:26-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2016.04.007. Epub 2016 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 27107808.

5. Lam RW, Milev R, Rotzinger S, Andreazza AC, Blier P, Brenner C, Daskalakis ZJ, Dharsee M, Downar J, Evans KR, Farzan F, Foster JA, Frey BN, Geraci J, Giacobbe P, Feilotter HE, Hall GB, Harkness KL, Hassel S, Ismail Z, Leri F, Liotti M, MacQueen GM, McAndrews MP, Minuzzi L, Müller DJ, Parikh SV, Placenza FM, Quilty LC, Ravindran AV, Salomons TV, Soares CN, Strother SC, Turecki G, Vaccarino AL, Vila-Rodriguez F, Kennedy SH; CAN-BIND Investigator Team. (2016) Discovering biomarkers for antidepressant response: protocol from the Canadian biomarker integration network in depression (CAN-BIND) and clinical characteristics of the first patient cohort. BMC Psychiatry. Apr 16;16(1):105. PubMed PMID: 27084692.

6. Restivo MR, McKinnon MC, Frey BN, Hall GB, Taylor VH. (2016) Effect of obesity on cognition in adults with and without a mood disorder: study design and methods. BMJ Open. Feb 29;6(2):e009347. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009347. PubMed PMID: 26928024.

7. Schmaal L, Veltman DJ, van Erp TG, Sämann PG, Frodl T, Jahanshad N, Loehrer E, Vernooij MW, Niessen WJ, Ikram MA, Wittfeld K, Grabe HJ, Block A, Hegenscheid K, Hoehn D, Czisch M, Lagopoulos J, Hatton SN, Hickie IB, Goya-Maldonado R, Krämer B, Gruber O, Couvy-Duchesne B, Rentería ME, Strike LT, Wright MJ, de Zubicaray GI, McMahon KL, Medland SE, Gillespie NA, Hall GB, van Velzen LS, van Tol MJ, van der Wee NJ, Veer IM, Walter H, Schramm E, Normann C, Schoepf D, Konrad C, Zurowski B, McIntosh AM, Whalley HC, Sussmann JE, Godlewska BR, Fischer FH, Penninx BW, Thompson PM, Hibar DP. (2016) Response to Dr Fried & Dr Kievit, and Dr Malhi et al.
Mol Psychiatry. Feb 23. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.9. PubMed PMID: 26903270.

8. Hanford LC, Sassi RB, Hall GB. (2016) Accuracy of emotion labeling in children of parents diagnosed with bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2016 Apr;194:226-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.01.031. Epub Jan 20. PubMed PMID: 26874055.

9. Hanford LC, Nazarov A, Hall GB, Sassi RB. (2016) Cortical thickness in bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Bipolar Disord. Feb;18(1):4-18. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12362. Epub 2016 Feb 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 26851067.

10. Hanford LC, Hall GB, Minuzzi L, Sassi RB. (2016) Gray matter volumes in symptomatic and asymptomatic offspring of parents diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26767977.

11. Wonch KE, de Medeiros CB, Barrett JA, Dudin A, Cunningham WA, Hall GB, Steiner M, Fleming AS. (2016) Postpartum depression and brain response to infants: Differential amygdala response and connectivity. Soc Neurosci. Jan 18:1-18. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26680151.

12. Schmaal L, et al. (2015). Subcortical brain alterations in major depressive disorder: findings from the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder working group. Molecular Psychiatry {Epub}.

13. Carew, C. L., Tatham, E. L., Milne, A. M., MacQueen, G. M., & Hall, G. B. C. (2015). Design and Implementation of an fMRI Study Examining Thought Suppression in Young Women with, and At-risk, for Depression. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 99: e52061-e52061.

14. Christensen R , Van Ameringen M , Hall G. (2015). Increased activity of frontal and limbic regions to emotional stimuli in children at-risk for anxiety disorders. Psychiatry Research. 233: 9-17.

15. Tang A , Beaton EA , Tatham E , Schulkin J , Hall GB , Schmidt LA. (2015). Processing of different types of social threat in shyness: Preliminary findings of distinct functional neural connectivity. Social Neuroscience. 1: 1-23.

16. Traynor, JM and Hall GBC. (2015). Structural and Functional Neuroimaging of Restricted and Repetitive Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis and Treatment. 3: 21-34.

17. Oremus C , Oremus M , McNeely H , Losier B , Parlar M , King M , Hasey G , Fervaha G , Graham AC, Gregory C , Hanford L , Nazarov A , Restivo M , Tatham E , Truong W , Hall GB , Lanius R , McKinnon M. (2015). Effects of electroconvulsive therapy on cognitive functioning in patients with depression: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open. 5(3): e006966.

18. Tang, A., Beaton, E. Schulkin, J., Hall, G & Schmidt, L. (2014). Revisiting shynessand sociability: A preliminaryinvestigation of hormone-brain-behavior relations. Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 1-11.

19. Thompson PM , Stein JL , Medland SE , Hibar DP , Vasquez AA , Renteria ME , Toro R , Jahanshad N , Schumann G , Franke B , Wright MJ , Martin NG , Agartz I , Alda M , Alhusaini S , Almasy L , Almeida J , Alpert K , Andreasen NC , Andreassen OA , Apostolova LG , Appel K , Armstrong NJ , Aribisala B , Bastin ME , Bauer M , Bearden CE , Bergmann O , Binder EB , Blangero J , Bockholt HJ , Bøen E , Bois C , Boomsma DI , Booth T , Bowman IJ , Bralten J , Brouwer RM , Brunner HG , Brohawn DG , Buckner RL , Buitelaar J , Bulayeva K , Bustillo JR , Calhoun VD , Cannon DM , Cantor RM , Carless MA , Caseras X , Cavalleri GL , Chakravarty MM , Chang KD , Ching CR , Christoforou A , Cichon S , Clark VP , Conrod P , Coppola G , Crespo-Facorro B , Curran JE , Czisch M , Deary IJ, de Geus EJ , den Braber A , Delvecchio G , Depondt C , de Haan L , de Zubicaray GI , Dima D , Dimitrova R , Djurovic S , Dong H , Donohoe G , Duggirala R , Dyer TD , Ehrlich S , Ekman CJ , Elvsåshagen T, Emsell L , Erk S. (2014). The ENIGMA Consortium: large-scale collaborative analyses of neuroimaging and genetic data. Brain Imaging and Behavior. 8(2): 153-82.

20. Hall, G. B. C., Milne, A. M. B., & MacQueen, G. M. (2014). An fMRI study ofreward circuitry in patients with minimal or extensive history of major depression. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. 264: 187-198.

21. Guo Q , Thabane L , Hall G , McKinnon M , Goeree R , Pullenayegum E. (2014). A systematic review of the reporting of sample size calculations and corresponding data components in observational functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. NeuroImage. 86: 172-81.

22. Dhindsa K, Drobinin V , King J , Hall GB , Burgess N , Becker S. (2014). Examining the role of the temporo-parietal network in memory, imagery, and viewpoint transformations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8: 709.

23. Guo Q , Parlar M , Truong W , Hall G , Thabane L , McKinnon M , Goeree R , Pullenayegum E. (2014). The reporting of observational clinical functional magnetic resonance imaging studies: a systematic review. PloS One. 9(4): e94412.

24. Tang A , Beaton EA , Schulkin J , Hall GB , Schmidt L. (2014). Revisiting shyness and sociability: a preliminary investigation of hormone-brain-behavior relations. Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 1430.

25. Truong W , Minuzzi L , Soares CN , Frey BN , Evans AC , MacQueen GM , Hall GB. (2013). Changes in cortical thickness across the lifespan in major depressive disorder. Psychiatry Research. 214(3): 204-11.

26. Carew CL , Milne AM , Tatham EL , MacQueen GM , Hall GB. (2013). Neural systems underlying thought suppression in young women with, and at-risk, for depression. Behavioural Brain Research. 257: 13-24.

27. Meusel LA , Hall GB , Fougere P , McKinnon MC , MacQueen GM. (2013). Neural correlates of cognitive remediation in patients with mood disorders. Psychiatry Research. 214(2): 142-52.

28. Yucel K , Nazarov A , Taylor VH , Macdonald K , Hall GB , Macqueen GM. (2013). Cerebellar vermis volume in major depressive disorder. Brain Structure & Function. 218(4): 851-8.

29. Tatham, E. Schmidt, L., Beaton, E, Schulkin, J., Hall, GB. (2013). Processing of Affective Faces Varying in Valence and Intensity in Shy Adults: An Event-related fMRI Study. Psychology and Neuroscience. 6(1): 57-65.

30. E. Beaton, Schmidt, L., E, Schulkin, J., Hall, GB. (2013). Repeated measurement of salivary cortisol within and across days among shy young adults. Personality and Individual Differences. 55(6): 705-710.

31. Frey BN , Andreazza AC , Houenou J , Jamain S , Goldstein BI , Frye MA , Leboyer M , Berk M , Malhi GS , Lopez-Jaramillo C , Taylor VH , Dodd S , Frangou S , Hall GB , Fernandes BS , Kauer-Sant'Anna M , Yatham LN , Kapczinski F , Young LT. (2013). Biomarkers in bipolar disorder: a positional paper from the International Society for Bipolar Disorders Biomarkers Task Force. The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry. 47(4): 321-32.

32. Doyle-Thomas KA , Goldberg J , Szatmari P , Hall GB. (2013). Neurofunctional underpinnings of audiovisual emotion processing in teens with autism spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 4: 48.

33. Lord C , Steiner M , Soares CN , Carew CL , Hall GB. (2012). Stress response in postpartum women with and without obsessive-compulsive symptoms: an fMRI study. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN. 37(2): 78-86.

34. Guo, Q., Hall, G., McKinnon, M., & Thabane, L. , Goeree, R., Pullenayegum, E. (2012). Setting sample size using cost efficiency in fMRI studies. Open Access Medical Statistics. 2: 33–41.

35. Oremus M , Oremus C , Hall GB , McKinnon MC ,. (2012). Inter-rater and test-retest reliability of quality assessments by novice student raters using the Jadad and Newcastle-Ottawa Scales. BMJ open. 2(4): 1-6.

36. Depape AM , Chen A , Hall GB , Trainor LJ. (2012). Use of prosody and information structure in high functioning adults with autism in relation to language ability. Frontiers in Psychology. 3: 72.

37. DePape AM , Hall GB , Tillmann B , Trainor LJ. (2012). Auditory processing in high-functioning adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. PloS One. 7(9): e44084.

38. Barrett J , Wonch KE , Gonzalez A , Ali N , Steiner M , Hall GB , Fleming AS. (2012). Maternal affect and quality of parenting experiences are related to amygdala response to infant faces. Social Neuroscience. 7(3): 252-68.

39. Milne AM , MacQueen GM , Hall GB. (2012). Abnormal hippocampal activation in patients with extensive history of major depression: an fMRI study. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN. 37(1): 28-36.

40. Lord C , Rieder A , Hall GB , Soares CN , Steiner M. (2011). Piloting the perinatal obsessive-compulsive scale (POCS): development and validation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 25(8): 1079-84.

41. Mathewson KJ , Drmic IE , Jetha MK , Bryson SE , Goldberg JO , Hall GB , Santesso DL , Segalowitz SJ , Schmidt LA. (2011). Behavioral and cardiac responses to emotional stroop in adults with autism spectrum disorders: influence of medication. Autism Research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. 4(2): 98-108.

42. Zwaigenbaum L , Scherer S , Szatmari P , Fombonne E , Bryson SE , Hyde K , Anagnostou E , Anognostou E , Brian J , Evans A , Hall G , Nicholas D , Roberts W , Smith I , Vaillancourt T , Volden J. (2011). The NeuroDevNet Autism Spectrum Disorders Demonstration Project. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. 18(1): 40-8.

43. Santesso DL , Drmic IE , Jetha MK , Bryson SE , Goldberg JO , Hall GB , Mathewson KJ , Segalowitz SJ , Schmidt LA. (2011). An event-related source localization study of response monitoring and social impairments in autism spectrum disorder. Psychophysiology. 48(2): 241-51.

44. Lord C , Hall G , Soares CN , Steiner M. (2011). Physiological stress response in postpartum women with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A pilot study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 36(1): 133-8.

45. Beaton, E.A., Schmidt, L.A., Schulkin, J. & Hall, G.B. (2010). Neural correlates of implicit processing of facial emotions in shy adults. Personality and Individual Differences. 49: 755–761.

46. Frey BN , Hall GB , Attard S , Yucel K , Skelin I , Steiner M , Soares CN. (2010). Shift in the brain network of emotional regulation in midlife women: is the menopausal transition the turning point?. Menopause, 17(4): 840-5.

47. Mathewson KJ , Jetha MK , Drmic IE , Bryson SE , Goldberg JO , Hall GB , Santesso DL , Segalowitz SJ , Schmidt LA. (2010). Autonomic predictors of Stroop performance in young and middle-aged adults. International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology. 76(3): 123-9.

48. Hall GB , Kamath MV , Collins S , Ganguli S , Spaziani R , Miranda KL , Bayati A , Bienenstock J. (2010). Heightened central affective response to visceral sensations of pain and discomfort in IBS. Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society. 22(3): 276-e80.

49. Hall GB , Doyle KA , Goldberg J , West D , Szatmari P. (2010). Amygdala engagement in response to subthreshold presentations of anxious face stimuli in adults with autism spectrum disorders: preliminary insights. PloS One. 5(5): e10804.

50. Milne A , MacQueen GM , Yucel K , Soreni N , Hall GB. (2009). Hippocampal metabolic abnormalities at first onset and with recurrent episodes of a major depressive disorder: a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. NeuroImage. 47(1): 36-41.

51. Senaratne R , Milne AM , MacQueen GM , Hall GB. (2009). Increased choline-containing compounds in the orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus in euthymic patients with bipolar disorder: a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Psychiatry Research. 172(3): 205-9.

52. Bennett, L.M., Hall G.B.C., Schmidt, L.A., Steiner, M., & MacMillan, H. (2009). How do new mothers who were exposed to child maltreatment parent?:A Canadian feasibility study. International Journal of Child and Family Welfare. 12(1): 1-9.

53. Goldberg J , Anderson GM , Zwaigenbaum L , Hall GB , Nahmias C , Thompson A , Szatmari P. (2009). Cortical serotonin type-2 receptor density in parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 39(1): 97-104.

54. Beaton EA , Schmidt LA , Schulkin J , Antony MM , Swinson RP , Hall GB. (2009). Different fusiform activity to stranger and personally familiar faces in shy and social adults. Social Neuroscience. 4(4): 308-16.

55. Beaton EA , Schmidt LA , Schulkin J , Antony MM , Swinson RP , Hall GB. (2008). Different neural responses to stranger and personally familiar faces in shy and bold adults. Behavioral Neuroscience. 122(3): 704-9.

56. Hall GB , West CD , Szatmari P. (2007). Backward masking: evidence of reduced subcortical amygdala engagement in autism. Brain and Cognition. 65(1): 100-6.

57. Van Ameringen M , Mancini C , Szechtman H , Nahmias C , Oakman JM , Hall GB , Pipe B , Farvolden P. (2004). A PET provocation study of generalized social phobia. Psychiatry Research. 132(1): 13-8.

58. Hall GB , Witelson SF , Szechtman H , Nahmias C. (2004). Sex differences in functional activation patterns revealed by increased emotion processing demands. Neuroreport. 15(2): 219-23.

59. Hall GB , Szechtman H , Nahmias C. (2003). Enhanced salience and emotion recognition in Autism: a PET study. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 160(8): 1439-41.

Lab Members

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Jenna Traynor
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Jenna Traynor

Jenna completed her undergraduate studies at York University (B.A., Psychology). Currently, she is a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. She is interested in the behavioural and neurobiological mechanisms that subserve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Her research uses various methods to examine the etiology and function of repetitive behaviours in ASD, including eye tracking, resting-state and task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Currently, she is investigating the relationship between GABAergic function, response inhibition and repetitive behaviour in young adults with ASD.

Jenna is also completing McMaster University's Research and Clinical Training program. Her long-term career goal is to combine neuroimaging research methods with evidence-based clinical practice. Broadly, she is interested in imaging the neural changes accompanying treatment of mood, anxiety and personality disorders.

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Samantha Daniel
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Samantha Daniel

Samantha completed her undergraduate studies at University of Waterloo (B.A. Honours Psychology), and a master’s degree at the University of Windsor (M.A. Child Clinical Psychology). Currently, Samantha is working toward a PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour in our lab, with a focus on development of processes such as emotion regulation and executive function. Specifically, she is working on a study investigating how mothers’ childhood experience of trauma impacts such processes in 3-year old children, and examining mediating factors, such as maternal empathy. Samantha is also involved in the Clinical Extension program, and is working on gaining further clinical experience with children and youth in the Hamilton community.

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Heather Gallant
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Heather Gallant

Heather completed her B.Sc at Dalhousie University, majoring in psychology and neuroscience. She completed her thesis in the Neruoecomonics Lab focusing the relationship between changes in visual processing associated with the acquisition of perceptual expertise and the role of medial-frontal cortex in these changes. After graduation, she worked as the Lab Manager of the Language and Learning Lab at the University of Toronto. It was then she realized she wanted to combine her two passions: child development and neuroscience. Currently, at McMaster University, Heather is working on an ongoing project that investigates the role of the pre and post-natal environment on the development of anxiety and depression. Particularly her work focuses on the effect of late gestation cortisol levels and early postnatal maternal sensitivity on the size and function of the amygdala as well as the structure of the associated cortico-limbic pathways.
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Ellis Freedman
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Ellis Freedman

Ellis completed his undergraduate studies at McMaster University (B.A. Psychology Neuroscience and Behaviour). During his undergrad he has been a part of the Dr. deCatanzaro’s animal research lab, where he examined O-estradiol levels in axillary sweat of males. Ellis is currently a graduate student in the McMaster Psychology Neuroscience, and Behaviour program. His Masters work involves the creation of computerized assessments to target social skills within Autism. He has also assisted in the creation of the IMPACT (International Mobile Psychiatric Assessment for Children and Teens) with Amber Rieder. Ellis’ research interests include the interaction between stress and childhood bullying and its contribution to child development, the development of psychometric assessments, and neuroendocrinology.
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Aya Dudin
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Aya Dudin is a Masters student working on the collaborative “fMRI Baby Faces” study between McMaster University and the University of Toronto. She completed her HBSc in Behavior Genetics and Neurobiology at UofT where she developed an interest in the underlying neurobiology of maternal behavior, both typical and atypical. Aya is particularly interested in women’s brain activation patterns to infant stimuli and the differential neural correlates underlying postpartum depression and major depression. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Alison Fleming (UofT) and Dr. Hall.

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Andrew Davis
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Andrew is a PhD candidate in the department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Sciences, having received an MSc from the same department and an honours BSc in Physics from Brock University. In this capacity he has worked under the supervision of Dr. Michael Noseworthy in studies with a focus on functional MRI imaging of skeletal muscle, with the intention of devoloping a method to characterize peripheral vascular diseases that affect oxygenation and perfusion. In June he will present his most recent work entitled "Skeletal Muscle Motion Maps from Post-Contraction Gradient Echo Spin Saturation Effect" at the 23rd annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

In the Hall lab, Andrew supports research efforts in neuro-imaging acquisition and analysis, with a special interest in automated image processing and streamlined quality control of diffusion tensor imaging and functional MRI studies. He also works as an imaging co-ordinator for the nationwide CAN-BIND project, aimed at improving treatment for depression. In this capacity he has helped to improve the quality and efficiency of the imaging protocol. His interests in the study also involve standardization of MRI images from various sites and manufacturers to allow them to be analyzed as a single dataset. He hopes to apply his skills in a post-doctoral position in the near future.
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Mayra Almanza
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Mayra Almanza

Mayra is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour at McMaster University. She completed her PhD in “Neuroscience and Behavioral Analysis” at the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. Her PhD work focused on investigating working memory in each of the three trimesters of pregnancy and its association with characteristic changes in the prefrontal-parietal electroencephalographic (EEG).
Mayra is particularly interested in studying the relationship between brain structures and brain activation patterns during executive functions and parental behaviour.
Currently, she is involved in developing a metric to assess physical infant characteristics of “cuteness”. This “cuteness” metric will allow the examination of the reward value of own-baby versus other-baby and receptivity to infant facial cues in mothers, non-mothers, and those with and without depression. Secondary fMRI analyses will examine the relationship between the reward value (cuteness) and engagement of reward circuitry; Nucleus Accumbens and Orbitofrontal Cortex.

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Amber Rieder
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Amber Rieder

Amber completed her undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University (B.A. Sociology) and at McMaster university (B.Sc. Psychology Neuroscience and Behaviour). Amber is a PhD candidate student in the McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery and Study Program (MiNDS). Amber completed her undergraduate thesis in the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory, examining the functional MRI of individuals suffering from IBS and comorbid anxiety. 
Her PhD work is in the field of global mental health and mobile/electronic assessment and treatment. Amber has developed the International Mobile Psychiatric Assessment for Children and Teens (IMPACT) a mobile, tablet delivered, assessment for children in hard-to-reach regions of the world. This was done in collaboration with fellow graduate student Ellis Freedman, and undergraduate student, Rita Abdel-Backi, under the supervision of Dr. Geoffrey Hall. In many places in the world, access to expertise in assessment and treatment of psychological disorders is limited or non-existent. The IMPACT was developed as an interview to be delivered by non-experts in these populations. 
Additionally, Amber is interested in the examination of biological signatures in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as genome-wide associations, starting at the level of the synapse (synaptic functioning, excitation-inhibition balance) to local circuits and brain connectivity. From these biological signatures, Amber is working on a project that will use a novel approach of clustering genotypic profiles (biologically driven common pathways in ASD) through machine learning and factor analysis. These biological signatures will be used to develop a computerized assessment to target heterogenous Autism phenotypes.

Amber’s research interests include the interaction between pre- and post-natal mental health and its contribution to child development, the development of psychometric assessments, global mental health,  accessibility to assessment and treatment, neuroimaging (fMRI, DTI, Cortical thickness, Functional connectivity), Autism, Genomics/Epigenetics.
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Gésine Alders
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Gésine completed a BSc Hons. degree (Psychology) at the University of Toronto and an MSc (Neuroscience) at the University of Western Ontario. Her MSc thesis involved using the Partial Face Encoding Task in a neuroimaging study to examine the influence of isolating facial features on behavioural and neural indices of empathy. Currently, Gésine is enrolled in the McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery & Study Program (MiNDS), and is a trainee in the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression - www. canbind.ca. Her PhD studies involve using a variety of neuroimaging techniques to examine emotion regulation, structural integrity and functional connectivity in persons with mood disorders before and after receiving treatment. Gésine is also interested in the neuroethics of cognitive enhancement, and in the development of neuroimaging techniques to assist in the differential diagnosis of atypical Parkinsonian syndromes. Gésine enjoys being a group fitness instructor, cycling outdoors, baking, and spoiling her nieces.
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Diana Parvinchi
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Diana Tajik-Parvinchi

Diana Tajik-Parvinchi is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour at McMaster University. She completed her PhD in the “Brain Behaviour and the Cognitive Sciences” area in Psychology at York University in November of 2011. Her PhD. work was focused on understanding the psychopathology of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and its comorbid conditions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Following her graduate work, she was awarded an NSERC supported visiting fellowship at Defence Research Development Canada-Toronto (DRDC-Toronto) where she examined the effects of various factors on cognitive ability of healthy adults. She completed six months of this fellowship prior to relocating to SickKids Hospital. In July 2012 she began her research fellowship at Psychiatry research at SickKids hospital where she took the lead on a private/public-initiated project between a commercial partner, the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) and SickKids Hospital. The major aim of her research at SickKids was to apply cognitive training methods to develop a software-based intervention program for children with ADHD. Currently, she is involved in research examining the relationship between brain structures and function with the aim of understanding training induced changes within the brain. She is also working on designing and developing a computerized cognitive training intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
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Rita Abdel Baki
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Rita Abdel Baki
Rita did her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour at McMaster University. Her interests include developmental psychology and neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently her research involves studying brain development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Sophia Roth
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Sophia Roth

Sophia completed her undergraduate degrees in Criminology and Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa. There, she developed an interest in abnormal psychology and studying clinical populations, primarily youth with mood and anxiety disorders. In her current research at McMaster, she is looking at youth and young adults with cerebral palsy and is interested in determining the mental health trajectories of young people with the disorder. She is using neuroimaging techniques to analyze brain development in this population and determine brain-behaviour correlates of the overall well-being of young people with CP.
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Sondos Ayyash
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Sondos Ayyash

Sondos completed her undergraduate studies at Ryerson University (B.Eng, Biomedical Engineering). She then went on to complete her Masters degree at McMaster University (M.A.Sc., McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering) in the Centre for Advanced Micro-Electro-Fluidics lab. Her Masters work was focused on the detection of bacterial viability and drug susceptibility through metabolic monitoring.

Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. She is interested in combining two imaging modalities: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), using the following analysis tools: FSL, AFNI, SUMA and SPM, for the purpose of investigating functionally derived grey matter networks and their related structural white matter networks in severely depressed patients.
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Irene O’Connor
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Irene O’Connor
Irene completed her undergraduate studies at McMaster University (B.Sc. Psychology), as well as completing a B.Ed. and M.Ed at the University of Western Ontario. She worked at Woodview Children's Centre in an independent living skills for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and later at Hamilton Health Science's Pervasive Developmental Disorders team as a resource consultant linking families of school-aged children to available community resources. She subsequently worked at the Offord Center for Child studies co-ordinating a genetics study of family trees containing 3 or more cases of ASD as well as working as psychometrist for the Pathways in ASD study, a longitudinal study on predictors of optimal outcome.

Irene is currently a graduate student in the McMaster Psychology Neuroscience and Behaviour program. Her work involves assisting with the creation of computerized assessments to target social skills with Ellis Freedman and Amber Rieder. She is also studying the development of vocational skills in transition-aged youth with ASD as part of a collaborative project between McMaster University, the Offord Center for Child Studies, the Hamilon-Wentworth District School Board and Woodview Children's Center. Her broad interest is factors contributing to resilience across the lifespan for individuals with ASD.
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Gabriella Mattina
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Gabriella Mattina is a Ph.D. student in the McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery and Study (MiNDS) program. She completed her Honours B.Sc. in Biology and Psychology at McMaster University. Gabriella’s research interests include investigating genetic markers and neural circuitry underlying psychiatric disorders, with a focus on women’s mental health. Her current project examines genetic risk factor for the development and exacerbation of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in women during the perinatal period, in combination with postpartum functional and structural connectivity in women with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Meir Steiner and Dr. Geoffrey Hall. Outside of academia, Gabriella is a Zumba machine that also enjoys baking and eating Nutella.

Past Lab Members

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Andrea Milne
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Andrea completed her PhD in our lab.
She was studying Major Depressive Disorder. Her project involved two fMRI studies and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging study. The fMRI study was aimed at understanding the function of two key areas of the brain involved in depression; the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortices.
To study hippocampal function Andrea was conducting a habit-recollection memory task in first episode MDD patients, multiple episode MDD patients and controls.
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Amanda Ramdyal
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Amanda completed her Masters degree in Medical Sciences in our lab.
She studied the neural correlates of asthma. Her project involved participant interviews as well as functional MRI. Participants were initially screened to determine their level of suggestibility in order to ensure that participants involved in the fMRI study were either highly suggestible or suggestion-resistant. The fMRI study was aimed at understanding the functions of key brain areas involved in asthma and emotional processing, such as the anterior cingulate cortex. To study asthma-related emotional processing Amanda's fMRI paradigms involved an asthma specific emotional conflict task, as well as an emotional stroop task, in patients with asthma.

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Catherine Lord
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Catherine Lord was a Post Doctoral Fellow in our lab.
She carried out an fMRI study on post partum OCD.
For more info see (pubmed ID; 20537805)
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Jennifer Barrett
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Jennifer was a Post Doc in our lab who worked under the supervision of Alison Flemming at the University of Toronto.
Jennifer worked our fMRI Baby Faces study with Drs Flemming (UofT), Steiner and Hall.
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Ivan Skelin
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Ivan Skelin was a Research Fellow working under the supervision of Dr. Claudio N. Soares. He was studying the effects of monoamine depletion paradigms (acute tyrptophan and phenylalanine/tyrosine depletion) on mood and vasomotor symptoms in midlife women. In addition to using standardized tests for mood (HAM-D, MASDR) and objective vasomotor symptoms assessment (sternal skin conductance monitoring), Ivan was using fMRI to identify the neural correlates of effects of monoamine manipulations on brain circuitry involved in mood regulation.

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Erica Tatham
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Erica Tatham

Erica completed her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Psychology at McMaster University. She completed her undergraduate thesis in the lab and is now currently pursuing her Masters of Science in the MiNDs graduate program. Her interests lie in using neuroimaging techniques to further understand the neural anatomy and functional effects of mental illness. Her current project uses diffusion tensor imaging to investigate white matter integrity changes in patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Additionally, Erica will be investigating the influence of gene and environment on neural connectivity changes in major depression, and weather these changes are associated with response to anti-depressant treatment.
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Lindsay Hanford
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Lindsay Hanford

Lindsay did her undergraduate in biomedical sciences at the University of Guelph where she developed an interest in Neuroscience and decided to pursue it here at McMaster through the MiNDS graduate program. Her interests lie in the neurodevelopment of pediatric onset of mental illness, more specifically how it develops, how the impairments translate to neurocircuitry and what impact it has on mental health later on in life. Her PhD project involved looking at the differences in emotional conflict and resolution capabilities using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging across the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. These offspring range from being unaffected, to having a diagnosis of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (partially affected group), to Pediatric Bipolar Disorder (affected group). 
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Caitlin Carew
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Caitlin Carew completed her Masters Degree in our lab.
She studied the neuropathology of major depressive disorder. Her project involved an fMRI paradigm designed to examine the neural correlates of rumination and thought suppression. The fMRI paradigm was aimed at understanding the role of the prefrontal cortex in regulation of conscious thought in young women with depression.
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Krissy Doyle
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Krissy Doyle completed her PhD in our lab.
She studied cross-sensory emotion processing in teens with autism spectrum disorders. The processing of social information involves a network of distributed brain regions, many of which appear to be aberrant in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Because information from the different senses is typically complimentary, cross-sensory integration of social-emotional cues provides information about social judgment that is unobtainable from any one sense in isolation. The objective of Krissy’s study was to investigate the neural circuitry underlying the processing of socially important, affective multimodal cues in high functioning teenage boys with ASD.
The study used individually thresholded emotional face stimuli (% of maximal) in a cross-sensory task that involved the matching of an emotion face and voice combination to an emotion label, to see how successful integration can facilitate the processing of emotion in difficult to detect situations.
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Rhandi Senaratne
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Rhandi Senaratne completed her Masters Degree in our lab.
She studied the neurophysiology of bipolar depression. Her project involved an fMRI paradigm designed to examine the neural correlates of recollection memory and reward processing. In addition, Rhandi used Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to examine biochemical markers of neural function in patients with Bipolar Disorder.
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Caitlin Gregory
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Caitlin completed her bachelor of science in Genetics at McMaster University. She is currently studying medicine at the University of Toronto.
Caitlin worked for us as a research assistant in a clinical trial looking at the effect of the probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium longum, on anxiety and depression in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Many studies suggest that psychiatric co-morbidities in IBS patients develop as a consequence of gut inflammation and are therefore amenable to therapy with specific probiotic strains such as B. longum. For this clinical trial, our lab is collaborating with a gastroenterology lab at the McMaster Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute in order to examine changes in IBS symptoms, biomarkers and gut microbiota in addition to functional changes in the central nervous system as a result of administration of this probiotic strain of bacteria.
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Allyson Graham
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Allyson Graham

Allyson completed her bachelor of science in Psychology at McGill University. Currently, she is pursuing a Master's Degree with the McMaster Institute for Neuroscience and Discovery (MINDS Program). She is interested in studying the neurological mechanisms that give rise to subtle affective processing. Her master's thesis will investigate genetic influences on neuroanatomic profiles in the developing autistic brain.
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Wanda Truong
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Wanda’s masters thesis involved cortical thickness analyses of MRI anatomical images in patients with major depressive disorder. She also investigated the relationship between structural changes in the brain and their resultant functional consequences. In general, her research interests involve the use of neuroimaging to study the developmental course of affective disorders.

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Alexander Hall
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Alexander Hall
Alex completed his B.Sc at the University of Guelph, majoring in biological sciences as well as completing a minor in neuroscience. It was at this point that he developed an interest in neuroscience research and particularly the biological basis of psychiatric disorders. He decided to pursue this interest through the MiNDS graduate neuroscience program here at McMaster where he completed his M.Sc. His project examined the role of the pre and post-natal environment on the development of anxiety and depression. Particularly his work focused on the effect of late gestation cortisol levels and early postnatal maternal sensitivity on the size and function of the amygdala as well as the structure of the associated cortico-limbic pathways.

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Kathy Ghajar
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Kathy Ghajar

Kathy completed her Bachelor of Science degree at McMaster University, in the Biology and Psychology program. She became involved in the lab while doing a project course, and went on to complete her undergraduate thesis in the lab the following year. Her undergraduate thesis was an exploratory project on brain plasticity in healthy adults, where she observed the improvement of working memory abilities through the use of a computerized training program, Cogmed. She completed her Master’s thesis in the Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour graduate program. In partnership with Sick Kids hospital in Toronto and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), she’s conducted an imaging study to examine brain development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She also carried out a Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) study, looking at the concentration of metabolites in the brain of children with ASD, OCD, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).