The Developmental Research in Early Adversity, Mental Health, Biological Susceptibility and Gender (DREAM BIG) Research Team
Vanessa Babineau is a PhD Candidate and Vanier Scholar in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. Her research is focused on women’s mental health during pregnancy and the development of infant and early childhood dysregulation from 3 months to 6 years of age, within a gene by environment framework of prenatal maternal depression and child genetic susceptibility (e.g., serotonin allelic variation of 5-HTTLPR). She previously worked with the McGill Youth Study Team on a project that was focused on gestalt processing in high functioning children with autism. She has completed clinical internships in the Childhood Disorders Day Hospital at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, and at the Child and Family Center of the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. Her future plans include pursuing postdoctoral studies to continue her research of women’s mental health during pregnancy and child development, as well as provide mental health services for children and their families. Vanessa completed a Master of Arts in School/Applied Child Psychology at McGill University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Psychology at Concordia University.
Sahar Balvardi is a Masters student in Psychiatry at McGill University and has completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the same university. Her research interests evolve around children’s mental health and for her Masters thesis, she is working on an evaluation of the Day Hospital treatment program at the Child Psychiatry Department of The Jewish General Hospital. This program is an integration of education and mental health, offered to children with severe behavioural and emotional problems. Sahar is hoping to obtain her PhD in child or clinical psychology and provide mental health services for children from disadvantaged communities. In addition to her academic interests, Sahar is a part of Orphan Sponsorship Program (OSP) at McGill University which aims to bring awareness and raise money to sponsor orphans in different countries.
Cathryn Gordon Green is a PhD candidate in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. He research interests are centered in the area of biological sensitivity to context. Using the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment) dataset which is part of the DREAM BIG (Developmental Research in the Environment, Adversity, Mental Health, Biological Vulnerability and Gender) consortium she is currently working on a project investigating how adverse effects of the prenatal environment and genotype interact to predict early age child development and psychopathology. She did her Masters with the McGill Youth Study Team focusing on understanding time perception in persons with Down syndrome. Cathryn completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Concordia University, and her Master of Arts in Human Development at McGill University.
Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau is a Master's student in the Statistics program at UQAM. She is working as a Statistician for the MAVAN Group. Alexia completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Computer Science at McGill University.
Leonora King is a PhD candidate in the department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She completed her Masters degree in the same department under the supervision of Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz and Dr. Gustavo Turecki, where her research topic was “Perinatal Depression and DNA methylation of Oxytocin-Related Genes in a Sample of Mothers and Children”. Her current PhD project continues to focus on genetic and psychosocial factors that influence the early life environment. Particularly, her research interests explore factors that contribute to resilience in the context of early life adversity. Such factors include genetic variation of oxytocin-related genes and mother-child attachment patterns. She is also interested in sibling attachment as well as extended family and social support as protective factors that could buffer against early life adversity. Using the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment) dataset which is part of the DREAM BIG (Developmental Research in the Environment, Adversity, Mental health, Biological vulnerability and Gender) consortium, she is well placed to explore these research questions. In addition to her academic research interests, Leonora is also involved in several community and cooperative organizations to address isolation, bridge intergenerational connectedness and promote female health and wellness.
Eszter Szekely is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University Faculty of Medicine. Her research interests involve the integration of complex genomic, neuroimaging and behavioral data to the study of developmental psychopathology. In her current research, she works with large, international birth cohorts to evaluate a developmental model which incorporates the complex interactions between our genome, early life stressors, maternal care, temperament and gender in predicting the emergence of later psychopathology. Eszter completed her Master Degrees in Clinical Child Psychology, Cognitive Neurosciences and Epidemiology. She obtained her Doctoral Degree in Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the US National Human Genome Research Institute.