Clinician Scientist Profiles
I completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. For my Master’s degree, I worked under the supervision of Dr. Paul Frankland at the Hospital for Sick Children researching adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus using mouse models. I completed medical school at the University of Toronto and developed an interest in child and adolescent psychiatry. I am particularly interested in working with children with autism and hope to intertwine my future clinical practice with research in order to learn how to best understand and treat children with autism and co-morbid mental health disorders.
I am fascinated by the biology underlying psychiatric disorders, and my research uses genomic data as a window into that biology. I am particularly interested in psychoneuroimmunology, the way the brain and immune system interact to influence behaviour and predispose to psychiatric disorders. Prior to residency, I completed MD/PhD training at the University of Toronto with a research specialization in statistical genetics. I co-developed a method (BUHMBOX) to identify biologically relevant groups of patients in genetic samples with limited clinical data (e.g. immune-driven subgroups). I have collaborated with international consortia on genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia and immune-mediated disorders, and identified significant genetic overlap between schizophrenia and certain immune-mediated disorders (those with a strong T-cell component). In my CSP research I am continuing to use big data to better understand similarities and differences in biology – including neuroimmune mechanisms – across psychiatric disorders.
Project Title: Optimization of treatment parameters for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression
Supervisor(s): Dr. Jonathan Downar
Songyang (Simon) Yu