Bringing our vision to life – valuing collaboration to foster a strong culture of research

Penny MacDonald, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Clinical Neurological Sciences

Dr. MacDonald’s research is focusing on the under-standing of the neural basis for cognitive processes with a particular interest in defining the unique role of the basal ganglia (a group of structures linked to the thalamus in the base of the brain and involved in coordination of movement.) She’s also interested in understanding the cognitive features of movement disorders such a Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Corticobasal Ganglionic Degeneration, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Multiple System atrophy, as well as the effect of medication on cognition in patients with these diseases. Dr. MacDonald and her team use neuropsychological tests that probe different facets of cognition and combine them with functional neuroimaging techniques in healthy volunteers and patients. The goal is to uncover the neural structures that mediate different cognitive processes and how these processes are impaired in various disease states.

Arlene MacDougall, MD
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

A clinician researcher, Dr. MacDougall’s research focuses on global mental health and early psychosis. She is leading a multi-institutional Grand Challenges Canada funded project entitled Community Recovery Achieved Through Enterpreneurism (CREATE), which is based in Kenya and involves the development of a social business and accompanying psychosocial rehabilitation toolkit as a means of creating meaningful employment and fostering overall functioning of people living with serious mental illness in Kenya.

Janet Martin, PharmD
Assistant Professor, Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Martin is the founder and co-director of MEDICI (Medical Evidence, Decision Integrity, Clinical Impact) Centre in the Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine. MEDICI provides collaborative leadership in identifying, prioritizing, synthesizing, contextualizing and reliably translating important medical knowledge related to drugs, devices, procedures and programs into real-world practice and policy — first locally and then beyond. The emphasis is on collaborative efforts to improve decision-making that resonates with real-world needs and timelines.

As an educator, Dr. Martin is passionate about her subject expertise, the act of teaching, learning from her students, and, above all else, giving students the best learning experience that she can. Her teaching methods revolve around teamwork, self-directed learning, and real-world examples. Dr. Martin is at the forefront of a teaching revolution, promoting pedagogy that is new and dynamic.

Julio Martinez-Trujillo, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute; Provincial Endowed Academic Chair in Autism

Dr. Martinez-Trujillo became interested in the brain after going to medical school and becoming a clinical neurophysiologist. As a physician, he became frustrated with how little he could do for children with ADHD, autism and epilepsy, and so he left his clinical practice to pursue graduate training and investigate how the brain’s electrical activity produces complex behaviour. Today, his research is investigating the role of the primate prefrontal cortex and the associated brain regions in intelligent behaviour using techniques such as electrophysiology, behavioural measurements, imaging and molecular biology to measure and manipulate brain activity during complex cognitive tasks.

As the Provincial Chair in Autism, Dr. Martinez-Trujillo is further developing, consolidating and enhancing existing capacity to conduct research, teaching and research training in autism studies while ensuring the continued growth and development of community scholars with expertise in autism at Western University.

Christina McCord, DDS, MSc
Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

After obtaining her Doctor of Dental Surgery from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. McCord completed her specialty training in oral pathology and oral medicine, as well as her Master’s at the University of Toronto. She is an oral pathologist who teaches in the undergraduate dental and postgraduate oral and maxillofacial surgery programs. She also maintains a clinical oral pathology practice at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.

Christopher McIntyre, MD, PhD
Professor, Medical Biophysics, Paediatrics; Robert Lindsay Chair of Dialysis Research and Innovation

Hailing from the United Kingdom, and the University of Nottingham, Dr. McIntyre is considered one of the world’s most innovative clinician scientists who is recognized for shaping attitudes and beliefs about dialysis. Dr. McIntyre and his team of multidisciplinary researchers are focusing on the pathophysiology of the effects on cardiovascular, brain, liver and gastrointestinal structure and function in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Dialysis patients live with a huge burden of symptoms on quality of life, and most of the issues stem from the dialysis itself. Dr. McIntyre is using studies in basic clinical science, natural history studies and the development and application of novel therapeutic strategies into large scale randomized controlled trials. He has found that by reducing the temperature of the dialyzate, the part of the mixture that passes through the membrane in dialysis, they can prevent drops in blood pressure and the heart and brain. He is currently involved in the largest study ever completed with dialysis patients worldwide to test his discovery.

Patrick O'Donoghue, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, with cross-appointment to Chemistry; Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology

Dr. O’Donoghue studies post-translational modifications of proteins, which takes place when proteins are chemically modified in the cell. These modifications can ultimately change what kind of signals are sent inside of a cell, and can turn on and turn off kinases, which modulate their behaviour. When proteins are mismodified, it can be associated with cancer and other diseases such as neurodegeneration — a process he is trying to understand.

Lena Palaniyappan, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychiatry, Clinical Neurological Sciences, Medical Biophysics; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Training as a psychiatrist, Dr. Palaniyappan was struck by how little we know about the human brain and the mental phenomenon that is produced by it. This led him to begin his research looking at the mechanisms behind symptoms in mental illness using state-of-the-art neuroimaging equipment.

His research focuses on improving the diagnostic process and treatment choices in psychosis and depression — two of the largest contributors to human suffering across the globe. His team wants to translate the advances in neuroscience to clinical psychiatric practice.