Sandra E. Black, O.C., O.Ont., Hon DSc., MD, FRCP(C), FRSC, FAAN, FAHA, FANA
Primary Investigator

Dr. Black has had continual peer-reviewed funding since 1986. Her research has focused on the cognitive sequelae of stroke and stroke recovery, the differential diagnosis of dementia, and the use of neuroimaging techniques to elucidate brain-behaviour relationships in stroke and dementia.

With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Heart & Stroke Foundation, she is currently conducting prospective studies on the utility of quantitative structural and functional imaging in diagnosis and monitoring of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, vascular and other dementias, and on the interactions of Alzheimer's and cerebrovascular disease.

Dr. Black also conducts collaborative research on sensorimotor recovery after stroke using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and on praxis, neglect and attentional processes in stroke and dementia. She was the co-principal investigator of a clinical trial on the efficacy of amphetamine with physiotherapy to facilitate motor recovery after stroke. She has over 600 publications and has been actively engaged in treatment trials for stroke, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Dr. Black currently serves on the executive committees of the Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research (ISTAART) and the International Society for Vascular Behavioural and Cognitive Disorders (VAS-COG). She was also the co-chair of the Alzheimer's Imaging Consortium (International Congress of AD) from 2009-2011. She is on the steering committee for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Consortium and serves on the data publication committee. She serves on the Ontario Stroke Network (the governing body of the Ontario Stroke System) and was a member of the steering committee for the Canadian Stroke Strategy from 2005-2009. She was head of the division of neurology, department of medicine at Sunnybrook from 1995-2006. She has received outstanding mentorship awards from the Institute of Medical Sciences (2001) and the department of medicine (2009), University of Toronto. Dr. Black was the Inaugural Director, Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (2012-20), she has directed Sunnybrook’s Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program (2006-) and became Scientific Director, Dr. Sandra Black Centre for Brain Resilience and Recovery (2020-), funded for $10M by anonymous donation. Her research career bridges dementia and stroke, using standardized neuroimaging, genetic, clinical and cognitive measures to elucidate brain-behavior relationships, with recent focus on Alzheimer/Small Vessel Disease interactions. Publications: 709 papers (70 invited) (Google HI 120; >67,000 citations). Recognitions include: Dean’s UofT Lifetime Achievement Award, U of Waterloo Honorary Doctorate, Lifetime Achievement Award--AAN’s Society of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology (2020), Appointment as Member, Order of Ontario (2012) and Officer, Order of Canada (2015) citing contributions to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and vascular dementia. She was also recently awarded the Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize, Office of Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (2021) which recognizes Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to treatment, amelioration or cure of brain disorders.

BrainLab's multidisciplinary team includes expertise from a broad range of backgrounds including neurology, psychology, radiology, computer science, and many more.

Imaging Team

Dr. Fuqiang Gao, MD
Research Radiologist

Joel Ramirez, PhD
Research Associate

Christopher Scott
Imaging Lab Manager

Nima Nourhaghighi
Software Engineer

Rita Meena, MSc
Imaging Analyst

Dr Maged Goubran, PhD
>> SRI Profile

Dr. Katherine Zukotynski, BASc, MD, FRCP(C)
Neuroimaging Advisor

Stephanie Berberian
Junior Imaging Analyst

Ginelle Feliciano
Junior Imaging Analyst

Abby Woods
Junior Imaging Analyst

Administrative Team

Farrell S. Leibovitch
CPSR Director Research & Training
>> CPSR Website

Jennifer Bray
Clinical Research Coordinator

Karen Truong
Clinical Research Manager

Petra Geller
Administrative Research Assistant

Luca Pisterzi
Strategy and Operations Director

Aparna Bhan, MSc, CCRP
Project Manager

Dr. Ljubica Zotovic, MD
Project Manager

Kapil Punniyamoorthy
Administrative Research Assistant

Josie Chundamala
Budget & Contracts Manager

Clinical Team

Dr. Benjamin Lam, MD

Vanessa Yhap
Database Manager

Gillian Gabriel
Senior Neuropsychometrist QC/QA Research Coordinator

Ajey Nachnani, MD
QA Manager/Clinical Trial Monitor

Samantha Paul-Stotz
Clinical Nurse Practitioner

Maryna Butenko
Pharma Clinical Trials Program Manager

Rebecca Taylor
Manager - Psychometry

Morgan Koo
Study Manager

Saira Mirza, PhD
Research Associate

Elizaveta Sadovnikova
Clinical Research Coordinator

Yuliya Chaykovska
Clinical Research Coordinator

Nasrin Alavi, MD, CCRP
Clinical Research Coordinator

Marjan Farshadi, MD
Clinical Research Coordinator

Johnnamel De Mayo
Research Coordinator

Zhala Taghi-Zada
Clinical Research Coordinator

Halil Akbulut, MD
Clinical Research Coordinator

Meghan Mitchell
Clinical Research Coordinator

Abbie Onabadejo
Clinical Research Coordinator

Samira Gutierrez De La Pava
Clinical Research Coordinator

Toronto Dementia Research Alliance

As part of succession planning, the TDRA coordinating centre has moved to CAMH as of Sept 8, 2020.
Please refer to the TDRA website for more information:


Dr. Sean Nestor, MD, PhD
Neurologist in Psychiatry
Clinician Scientist Program

Dr. Ryan Muir, MD
Resident Physician in Neurology

Courtney Berezuk
PhD Student

Shraddha Sapkota, PhD
Post Doctoral Fellow

Graduate Student

Myuri Ruthirakuhan
Post Doctoral Fellow

Stephanie Terenzi
Graduate Student

Dr. Julie Ottoy, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Matthew Settimi
Graduate Student

Min Su (Peter) Kang
Postdoctoral Fellow

Caroline Cachero
Summer Student

Kristiana Xhima, PhD
Summer Student

Anahita Dhru
Summer Student

Lab Alumni

Anoop Ganda: Research Coordinator
Elizabeth Hollingdrake: Research Coordinator
Robin Harry: Research Coordinator
Alicia McNeely: Research Coordinator/Imaging Analyst
Samantha Barbosa: Research Assistant
Emnet Gammada: Research Coordinator
Joanne Lawrence: Nurse Coordinator
Isabel Lam: Research Coordinator
Amanda Silva: Administrative Research Coordinator
Jiali Zhao, PhD: Image Processing Optimization
Sarah Stewart: Research Coordinator
Jodi Edwards, PhD: Post-Doc Fellow
Austyn Roseborough: Junior Imaging Analyst
Samantha Palmer: Research Coordinator
Dr. Alexandra Kim, MD: Research Associate
Marnie Younker: Clinical Coordinator
Gregory Szilagyi: Masters Student
Senny Chan: Research Coordinator/Psychometrist
Heba Ragheb: Research Coordinator
Nazanin Barkhordari: Project Manager
Fiona Muckle: Research Coordinator
Sabrina Pacheco: Operations/Database Manager
Brandy L. Callahan: Post Doctoral Fellow
Lauren Bechard: Masters Student
Manu Sharma: Research Coordinator/Imaging Analyst
Dr. Angela Tomas, MD: Fellow
Dr. Carmen Ojeda-Lopez, MD: Fellow
Areti Apatsidou: Research Coordinator
Shakira Mohammed: Research Coordinator
Ferhana Dhira: Research Coordinator
Hassan Akhavein, PhD: Image Processing Software Developer
Breni Varatharajah: Research Coordinator/Psychometrist
Vito Losito: Program Manager
Natalia Guira: Clinical Coordinator
Dr. Philippe Desmarais, MD: Fellow
Dr. Catherine Miville, MD: Fellow
Dr. Fadi Frankul, MD: Research Coordinator
Valerie Closson: Research Program Coordinator
Kim Roos-Assar, BA, BSc: Research Administrative Coordinator
Anna Lvova: Administrative Research Coordinator
Maryam Niapour, PhD: Research Unit Portfolio Manager
Rashid Rafeek, BSc(Hons.): Research Coordinator
Tess Lin: Communication Strategist
Michelle Lee: Clinical Assistant
Frank Tran: Research Coordinator
Jordana Compagnone: Research Coordinator
Cristin Napier: TDRA Relations Coordinator
Kirstin Walker, MEng: Junior Imaging Analyst
Arman Abedin, CCRP: Research Coordinator
Sadia Sarwar: Database Coordinator
Elahe Marandi, MD: Clinical Research Coordinator
Tiffany Scarcelli, MSc: Communications & Stakeholder Strategist
Winnie Qian: Research Participant Strategist
Jane Ding: Database Coordinator
Emily Di Giovanni: Administrative Research Coordinator
Dr. Jieli Geng, PhD: Visiting Scientist
Melissa Holmes: Database Manager
Pugaliya Puvee: Imaging Analyst
Sabrina Adamo, HBSc: Assistant Brainlab Projects Coordinator
Swathilekha (Swath) Nath: Research Program Coordinator
Dr. Hossam El Shahawy, MD: Research Coordinator
Aqsa kamal: Clinical Research Coordinator
Dr. Mahdi Biparva, PhD: Image Processing Software Develope
Dr. Kie Honjo, MD: Research Associate
Edward Ntiri: Research Software Developer
Miracle Ozzoude, HBSc: Senior Imaging Analyst
David Colelli: Graduate Student
Karan Patel, MD: Research Coordinator
Andrea Ricci: Clinical Administrative Assistant
Helen Pham: Research Contracts Coordinator
Parisa Mojiri, MSc Comp. Eng.: Image Processing Software Developer
Hafsa Rahman: Clinical Research Coordinator
Ingita Patel: Research Coordinator
Alexandra Storace: Research Coordinator/Psychometrist
Melanie Perlin: Clinical Administrative Assistant
Priya Jeyarathnarajah: Research Coordinator
Xiang Ji, MSc: Clinical Research Coordinator
Anna Malakhova: Clinical Research Coordinator
Alix Ginsberg MSc(A): Administrative Research Coordinator
Maurylette Gui: Research Coordinator / Psychometrist
Mackenzie Low: Research Assistant