Research Team

J Don Richardson, MD, FRCPC
Scientific Director

Dr. Richardson is a psychiatrist, Professor, Department of Psychiatry-Western, Medical Director of St. Joseph's Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic in London, and the Scientific Director of the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre at the Parkwood Institute. Dr. Richardson is also Associate Scientist with Lawson Health Research Institute, Tanna Schulich Chair in Neuroscience & Mental Health at Western University, and a fellow with the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health. He has a Social Work degree from McGill University and completed his medical degree at Queen's University and his fellowship in psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. He has more than 25 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of Veterans and Canadian forces members with PTSD and other Operational Stress Injuries. Dr. Richardson has more than 75 published articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals in Military and Veteran Mental Health including risk factors for PTSD and suicidal ideation, sleep disturbances, health care utilization, treatment outcomes and the impact of PTSD on quality-of-life.

Anthony Nazarov, PhD, PMP
Associate Scientific Director

Dr. Anthony Nazarov is a clinical neuroscientist with a research focus on PTSD, moral injury, and social cognition. Dr. Nazarov has extensive expertise in conducting military and Veteran mental health research, and has received funding from Veterans Affairs Canada, Department of National Defence, and CIHR. Prior to joining the Lawson Health Research Institute, Dr. Nazarov was a Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, Department of National Defence, investigating psychological resilience and mental health in Canadian Armed Forces personnel. Dr. Nazarov is interested in using experimental and survey methodologies to explore the interplay between psychological trauma, moral transgressions, and well-being. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how we can better identify, treat, and prevent moral injury and related OSIs.

Brent Davis, PhD 
Head of Advance Analytics

Brent is passionate about using data to push the frontier of research forward. With his full-time role at the OSI, he is excited to take that expertise into mental health research. He is a longtime member of the Western community, with a PhD in Computer Science and HBSc in Biochemistry, both from Western. His research includes novel applications of machine learning, natural language processing and information retrieval; his dissertation established a trio of algorithms useful for searching entire social networks more deeply. Outside of work, Brent is a technology enthusiast, keeping on top of the latest and greatest across the landscape of computational devices.

Kylie Dempster, PhD
Head of Operations
Kylie has a PhD in Health Biosciences at Brock University where she also completed her Master’s degree where she has also held roles as Research Coordinator and Instructor for several undergraduate Health Sciences courses. Kylie’s doctoral research examined the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on cardiovascular and autonomic development from childhood to young adulthood as well as the potential mediating roles of inflammation and lifestyle factors on these changes. She has a passion for interdisciplinary research involving social determinants of health on long-term disease risk and early identification of changes which precede adverse health outcomes.

Natalie Ein, PhD
Head of Research and Implementation
Dr. Natalie Ein is a Research Associate with the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre. Natalie completed her Masters and PhD at Ryerson University in the Psychological Science program. Natalie’s background is in stress-related intervention research, including methodological reviews (meta-analyses, systematic reviews), mixed method designs, and psychophysiology.

Jenny Liu, PhD
Head of Scientific Development and Knowledge Mobilization
Dr. Jenny Liu is a Postdoctoral Associate with the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University. Dr. Liu’s background is in the science of stress and resilience. She works with stakeholders to identify the determinants of resilience in different communities, and support efforts to promote or build resilience using a number of evidence-informed strategies and approaches.

Jenna Dias, BA-HRM
Administrative Assistant

Jenna is a 2009 graduate of Western University with a BA in political science and a diploma in Human Resources Management from Sault College. Jenna is looking forward to using her experience and skillset to support the OSI Research Centre Team.

Stephanie Houle, PhD
Research Associate
Dr. Stephanie Houle has recently completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Her primary research interest is the psychological impact of morally injurious military experiences, with a particular focus on understanding the nosology and clinical utility of the moral injury construct. Dr. Houle’s clinical specializations include the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of operational stress injuries, as well as the delivery of mental health services in the context of comorbid medical problems.

Kate St. Cyr, MSc, PhD Candidate
Research Associate

Kate St. Cyr has been with St. Joseph’s OSI Clinic team since 2009, working as a researcher and program evaluation support officer. After completing a BA in Anthropology at McMaster University and an MSc in Public and Population Health in 2008 at Simon Fraser University, she relocated from BC to London, ON, where she found work with the Middlesex London Health Unit and, ultimately, the OSI Clinic at the Parkwood Institute. Once the MacDonald Franklin Research Centre was opened in 2018, Kate migrated from the the OSI Clinic to begin her role as a research associate with the Research Centre. In her current role, Kate is involved in all stages of the research process, from the development of research studies to data analysis to writing and the dissemination of final products. Kate’s research interests include treatment outcomes and determinants of health, particularly as they relate to military personnel and Veterans; and vicarious trauma.

Tri Le
Research Assistant and Ambassador/Head of Volunteer and Student Engagement

Tri Le has been a volunteer at the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre at the Parkwood Institute since 2019 and has joined the team as Research Assistant in 2020. He holds a BHSc in Health Sciences from Western University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from Fanshawe College. Tri has experience conducting various research projects in London, ON, for organizations such as: the McCormick Dementia Services – Day Program, Ontario Telemedicine Network, and Rise Asset Development. He is passionate about research concerning the mental health and well-being of the elderly. Currently, he is assisting the team with examining the longitudinal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Veteran and spouse well-being, and on moral distress in health care workers.

Dominic Gargala
Research Assistant

Dominic initially joined the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre in August 2020 as a computer science intern and now remains as a full-time employee. He holds a BSc in Medical Science & Biology and a BSc in Computer Science from Western University. Dominic has experience working in research as a web application developer through the department of biology at Western University. With a strong foundation in computer science and a passion for data science and machine learning, Dominic is excited about the potential to use data-driven insights to tackle research problems and assist in the collection and transformation of various datasets at the research centre.

Clara Baker
Research Assistant

Clara joined the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre in 2021 and works as a full-time research assistant. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts, Honors Specialization in Psychology. Clara is passionate about health and rehabilitation, and plans to pursue a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

Callista Forchuk, MSc
Research Assistant

Callista Forchuk has been working at the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre at Park­wood Institute since 2018. She holds a BA in psychology, and MSc in Personality and Meas­urement from Western University. Callista has published on the relation between PTSD and depression comorbidity with quality of life, and the relations between PTSD symptoms and sexual dysfunction. Currently, Callista is involved in research examining the longitudinal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Veteran and spouse well-being, and on moral distress in health care workers, as well as research examining the role of confidentiality in mental health help-seeking and disclosure of morally injurious events.

Vanessa Soares, MD
Research Assistant  

Vanessa Soares joined the team in February 2020.  She completed her HBSc in Biology at the University of Toronto and her Medical Degree from the Medical University of the Americas in the Caribbean. Vanessa has spent most of her clinical experience focused on psychiatry in various hospitals in both the US and Canada. She previously worked at McMaster University through the Offord Centre as a Research Assistant in pediatric psychiatry. 

Julia Gervasio, MA, PHD Candidate
Research Assistant

Julia is a current PhD student in the department of Psychology at Ryerson University. She received her MA in Psychological Science from Ryerson University and BSc. (Hons.) from the University of Toronto. Julia’s areas of research include resilience, disordered eating, and investigating individual differences in stress physiology.

Ilyana Kocha
Research Assistant

Ilyana Kocha started volunteering with the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre in May 2021 before joining our team as a Research Assistant. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Psychology from Western University, and a BPR in Public Relations from Humber College. She’s interested in studying and promoting outreach and access to mental health services.

Michelle Birch
Research Assistant

Michelle Birch has joined the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre as a Research Assistant. She has an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and has a deep interest in trauma research and a passion for helping others. With a goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist, she is looking forward to gaining hands-on experience in the field and broadening her research skills.

William (Liam) Younger
Research Assistant
Liam has worked with the MacDonald Franklin OSI Research Centre since December, 2022. He completed his Bachelor of Science with Honours at Acadia University, majoring in both Psychology and Biology, and is currently completing a Masters in Psychotherapy at McMaster University. Liam has a keen interest in a wide variety of topics in the domains of clinical psychology and neuroscience and has a passion for furthering our understanding and the effective utilization of novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment of trauma-related, substance use, and mood disorders. In his free time, he enjoys hobbies such as hiking/exploring, cooking, playing disc golf, and producing music.

Affiliated Scientists

Rachel Plouffe, PhD
Assistant Professor

Maya Roth, CPsych

Sonya Wanklyn, CPsych

Visiting Scholars, Scientists, and Graduate Students

Thomas Wasiuta, MD
Psychiatry Resident and Visiting Scholar

Deanna Walker, PhD Candidate
Psychology PhD Candidate and Visiting Scholar

Evgenia (Jane) Milman, PhD, LP
Postdoctoral Fellow

Bethany Easterbrook, MSc, PhD Candidate
Clinical Psychology PhD Candidate and Visiting Scholar

Pouria Saffaran, Masters Candidate
Masters Student

Jieun Jung, Masters Candidate
Masters Student

Tricia Mohan, MD
Psychiatry Resident and Visiting Scholar

Undergraduate Trainees and Volunteers

Akshitha Ereddy

Evelyn MacDonald

Hung Nguyen

Janissha Pushpaharan

Madalena Costa

Neha Raina

Rishika Bhogadi

Sierra Crocker

Valerie Kulakouski