Dr. Agarwal’s research interest lies in understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the interactions between schizophrenia pathophysiology, antipsychotics, cognition and metabolic abnormalities with specific focus on the insulin signaling in the brain as an explanatory model. . This is clinically relevant as metabolic risk leads to a 20% reduction in life expectancy for patients with severe mental illness. He is also working on translating this knowledge to developing novel treatment strategies that can help decrease the cognitive and metabolic dysfunction in severe mental illness.
Dr. Mahavir Agarwal completed his medical degree (MBBS) at JIPMER, Pondicherry, a premier medical school in India. He completed his residency in psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, the largest mental health hospital and research institute in India. He obtained a PhD from the same institute where his work focused on multi-modality imaging based investigation of correlates of neural plasticity and cognition in schizophrenia. He moved to Toronto in 2017 where he completed a two-year fellowship at CAMH with Dr. Margaret Hahn and Dr. Gary Remington focusing on the relationship between metabolic health and cognition in schizophrenia, and the effect of antipsychotics on these domains. His expertise includes multi-modality neuroimaging, cognitive assessments, and in vivo measures of glucose metabolism (including the gold standard pancreatic euglycemic clamp).
Dr. Agarwal has over five years’ experience working with and helping individuals with mental illness achieve better physical and mental health. He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications. He is the recipient of the Discovery Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2018, and the Hughes Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC), U of T and the Bebensee Schizophrenia Research Fellowship by the Ian Douglas Bebensee Foundation in 2017. His work has been funded by organizations including the PSI Foundation, Ontario and the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), Government of India. His current research is focused on investigating the neural correlates on antipsychotic induced insulin resistance in the brain and on clinical trials examining novel treatments that target cognitive and metabolic dysfunction in severe mental illness.
To complement his research interest, he works at the Mental Health and Metabolic Clinic and the Clozapine Clinics at CAMH, which focus on applying pharmacological interventions to improve psychopathology, cognition, and metabolic outcomes in individuals with serious mental illness.