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Linda Booij

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

Principal Investigator

Dr. Linda Booij is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at Concordia University, Montreal, where she holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Eating Disorders as well as a chercheur boursier-senior salary award from the Fonds de Recherche en santé - Québec. She conducts research on eating disorders and on early life stress and brain development. Research projects are conducted in clinical populations in addition to longitudinal cohorts, and involve imaging technology, genetic and epigenetic markers, as well as cognitive-behavioural measures. Dr. Booij is also co-director of Concordia’s Centre for Clinical Research in Health, researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre Centre, and works as psychologist at the Eating Disorders Continuum at the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île de-Montréal.

She obtained graduate degrees in Research Methodology & Statistics and in Clinical Psychology at Leiden University, Netherlands. She did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Dept. of Psychiatry at McGill University before starting her own laboratory.

Concordia profile

Sainte-Justine profile

LAB MEMBERS

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Melissa Nicolosi

B.A. (Hons.), Psychology; B.A. Communications

Research Coordinator

Melissa manages the Booij lab, contributes to various research projects and is the coordinator of the Study of resemblance between monozygotic twins (PDIMOZY) at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre. She has earned her Honours B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University and a B.A. in Journalism (Faculdade Casper Libero, Brazil). Melissa has previously worked as a journalist, public relations specialist, language specialist and teacher. Her research interests include eating disorders and the neuroscientific basis of psychopathologies and cognitive development.

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Elmira Ismaylova

Ph.D. in Biomedical Psychiatric Sciences

Alumnus/ Researcher

Elmira has a B.Sc. degree in Psychology from McGill University, and earned a M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of Montreal researching the influence of early-life stressors on brain function/structure and mental health outcomes, and the role of the underlying epigenetic mechanisms in cohorts of singletons and twins. Elmira teaches developmental psychology and psychopathology and has worked at Concordia University. She has also supervised undergraduate and graduate thesis students with her most recent research focus on the behavioral correlates of social cognition.

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Kevin Casey

Ph.D. in Neurosciences

Research Assistant

Kevin assists in the statistical analyses of various research projects, especially those involving brain and/or genetic or epigenetic components. These include, for example, the analyses of epigenome-wide data collected in individuals with anorexia nervosa. He also works on the statistical analyses of brain-imaging data that is being collected in our PDIMOZY twin cohort. Kevin joined the Booij lab after completing his Ph.D. at McGill in 2013 on the neurobiology of addiction. Currently, Dr. Casey also teaches at Vanier College.

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Carola Tuerk

Ph.D. in Cognitive Neurosciences

Postdoctoral Fellow (FRQS)

Carola is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University. Using a combination of longitudinal modeling, neuroimaging and epigenetic methods, she is interested in genetic and environmental contributions to brain and cognitive development, the effects of early life adversity on child development and its role in mental health. Carola has a BSc in Psychology (University of Konstanz, Germany), an MSc in Neuroscience (University of Geneva, Switzerland) and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience (University of Montreal, 2021).

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Julian Chiarella

Ph.D. candidate

Clinical Psychology

Julian is interested the association between early life adversity and epigenetic mechanisms. His research focuses on the role of histone modifications in the brain of individuals with and without history of trauma. These data are collected via Positron Emission Tomography imaging. Julian has an Honours B.Sc. in Psychology and Life Sciences and an M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University. He is concluding his Ph.D. and plans work as a researcher and clinical psychologist.

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Jocelyn Fotso Soh

Ph.D. candidate

Clinical Psychology

Jocelyn is interested in the effect of epigenetic factors on the development and maintenance of psychopathology. He has an Honours B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of New Brunswick and an M.Sc. in Cardiovascular and Renal Sciences from Memorial University, Newfoundland. Jocelyn joined the lab as a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology and is presently conducting research on the neurobiology of eating disorders. He plans to continue doing research and to work as a clinical psychologist.

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Naomi Azar

Ph.D. candidate

Clinical Psychology

Naomi researches the effects of early adversity on child development and whether this association can be a risk factor mental health issues. She is studying prenatal exposure to environmental contaminants and its associations with brain development and emotion regulation in school-aged children. Naomi started in the lab in 2017 as an R.A. She earned an Honours B.A. in Psychology and is a now graduate student in Clinical Psychology, both at Concordia University.

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Édith Breton

Ph.D. candidate

Biomedical Sciences, option Psychiatry

Édith is studying the role of childhood developmental and neurobiological factors in the risk of eating disorders in youth. She holds a Master's degree in Biochemistry from the Université de Sherbrooke and a B.Sc. in Physical Therapy from McGill University. She plans to pursue a career as a scientist, combining her experiences in various disciplines to improve the mental health of children and adolescents, with a particular focus on prevention.

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Rachel Dufour

M.A. candidate

Clinical Psychology

Rachel is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology  program at Concordia University. Her reseach focus is on pediatric eating disorders and their early risk factors in childhood. She obtained her Honours B.A. in Psychology at McGill University, where she acquired experience in both child development and eating disorder research. Rachel is currently involved in a multidisciplinary research project in collaboration with the eating disorders treatment program at Sainte-Justine Hospital.

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Sabrina Sacco

Ph.D. candidate

Psychology

Sabrina is interested in vulnerability markers and risk factors for eating disorders, anxiety and depression among children and adolescents. She has a Specialization B.A in Psychology from Concordia University and has conducted research on picky eating. Sabrina is a graduate student in the Psychology Research program at Concordia University, currently conducting research on the psychosocial consequences of pediatric obesity intervention programs.

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Dany Laure Wadji

Ph.D. Intern

Mobility Research Fellow

Dany Laure is a doctoral Mobility Research Fellow, funded by the Swiss National Research Foundation and the Swiss Confederation. She is interested in epigenetic and psychopathological factors associated with early life adversity, including domestic violence and child maltreatment. In addition to her research work, Dany  teaches the Intercultural Colloquium for Master students at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

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Sanjna Navani

M.Sc. Candidate (KU Leuven)

Research Intern

Sanjna is interested in understanding how aspects of one’s socio-political identity (e.g., unique challenges and experiences of communities and cultures) relate to mental health, how these aspects inform access to mental healthcare resources, and the quality of the care received. She has a B.A. in Psychology and English Literature from McGill University and is currently a Master’s student at KU Leuven (Belgium). During her internship at the Booij Lab, she will be conducting a project on minority stress and eating behaviours in the LGBTQ+ community.

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Micaël Thériault

B.A. (Hons.) Psychology

Research Assistant

Micaël has graduated with honours in Psychology at Concordia University in 2022. Since concluding his undergraduate thesis, he has been involved in research on the cognitive-emotional processes associated with disordered eating in males. Micaël has co-authored an article on adult picky eating and given presentations on his research findings at various scientific conferences. He is currently working as a research assistant and providing support to different projects in our lab. He plans on pursuing graduate studies in clinical psychology.

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Leanne Cloutier

B.A. (Special.) Psychology (in progress)

Research Assistant

Leanne is an undergraduate specialization student in the psychology program at Concordia University. She currently works with the RESPPA project, dealing with stress and resilience in pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has written her undergraduate thesis in 2022 on sex differences and stress in drug addiction relapse. Her research interests are stress, eating disorders, and risk factors for the development of psychopathology. She plans on pursuing graduate studies in clinical psychology

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Sean Spinney

M.Sc. Computer Sciences (in progress)

Research Assistant

Sean is a graduate student in computer science with a background in statistics and computational modelling. He generally assists with the planning, programming and interpretation of statistical modelling of high dimensional data, such as brain imaging. Sean joined the Booij lab in 2022 while completing his Masters degree at Mila, a Montreal based research institute in artificial intelligence,  on the topic of bio-inspired reinforcement learning. 

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Maegan Harvison

B.A. (Hons.) Psychology (in progress)

Advanced directed research student 

Maegan is an undergraduate honours student in the Psychology program at Concordia University. She has shown interest in research throughout her undergraduate career and contributed to publications in the field of disability in postsecondary education. She hopes to further her knowledge in mental health and disordered eating, and plans to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology.

 
 

ALUMNI

POST-DOCTORATES

Sild, Mari – Concordia University

Hayward, Dana – Concordia University

Pomares, Florence – Concordia University

DOCTORATES

Ismaylova, Elmira – University of Montreal

Schumann, Lyndall – Queen's University

Levesque, Melissa – University of Montreal

Verhoeven, Floor – Leiden University

MASTER’S

DiSante, Jessica – University of Montréal

Chiarella, Julian – Queen's University

Verner, Marie-Pier – University of Montréal

Chartier, Gabrielle – University of Montreal

Ismaylova, Elmira  – University of Montreal

Farshadgohar, Tina – University of Montreal

Wang, Dongsha – McGill University

HONORS THESIS STUDENTS

Harvison, Maegan – Concordia University

Thibaudeau, Kaniza – Concordia University

Theriault, Micaël – Concordia University

Nassar, Elsa-Lynn – Concordia University

Crescenzi, Olivia – Concordia University

Scardera, Sara – Concordia University

Weight, Charlene – Concordia University

Rodd, Keara – Queen's University

Thunem, Jennifer – Queen's University

Sarah Goegan – Queen's University

Chiarella, Julian – Queen's University