IMH Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program


The UBC Institute of Mental Health (IMH) Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program in Mental Health supports the training of young investigators in translational research in order to create vital training opportunities and research capacity in mental health.


Inspired by Sunny and Stewart Marshall’s vision and commitment to advance mental health research, the IMH Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program invests in promising young scholars who will contribute to advancing understanding and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Annually, the IMH in partnership with the UBC Department of Psychiatry invites applications from qualified candidates for Scholar and Fellow awards which are supported by the Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program in Mental Health. The program funds stipends of $75,000 per year for each Fellow and $25,000 per year for each Scholar, for up to two years.


RESEARCH TITLE: Neural Mechanisms Underlying Sex Differences in Depression and Negative Cognitive Bias in Susceptible Populations

Travis is researching the neural mechanisms that underpin pessimistic thinking, a common aspect of depression. His research pays particular attention to how it differs according to age and sex.

He says, “We see lots of treatments based on research solely done in adult males. However, we’ve found in our lab that many treatments do not work the same in females, so we want to see if there are sex-specific effects on pessimism related to inflammation and the growth of new neurons in the brain. My background includes a lot of study in the different ways that stressors affect the adolescent brain, so my research as a Marshall Fellow will hopefully lead to multiple treatments tailored for groups susceptible to cognitive symptoms of depression, such as teenage girls.”


2014/9 - 2018/8 PhD, Psychology - Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience
Brock University, Ontario, Canada
Doctoral Dissertation: Patterns of endocrine, behavioural, and neural function underlying social deficits after social instability stress in adolescent rats
(Supervisor: Dr. Cheryl M. McCormick)
2012/9 - 2014/8 MA, Psychology - Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience
Brock University, Ontario, Canada
Master’s Thesis: Effects of social context on endocrine function and Zif268 expression in response to an acute stressor in adolescent and adult rats (Supervisor: Dr. Cheryl M. McCormick)



RESEARCH TITLE: Advancing the Science on Quality of Life in Mood Disorders: A Synergistic, Multi-Method Program of Research

Emma’s work investigates the growing evidence that people can have a good quality of life despite the symptoms they experience from mood disorders. She will look at large-scale data sets that have been collected through various UBC studies to determine how quality of life relates to other variables and how it responds to treatments.
A smartphone app will be created to enable people with bipolar disorder track their quality of life, and all of this data, along with other information such as screen time and physical activity will be analyzed using machine learning, which is a type of artificial intelligence that studies data to build mathematical models and make predictions. These will be used to direct people to strategies which might help improve their quality of life.


2014/2 - 2018/8 PhD, Clinical Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Doctoral Dissertation: Advancing the study of quality of life in bipolar disorder - A multimethod approach
(Supervisor: Dr. Greg Murray)



RESEARCH TITLE: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial of Cognitive Control Training for Major Depressive Disorder

Katerina’s work looks at how cognitive control—the brain’s ability to control the contents of its awareness at a given time—is involved in the onset of an episode of depression. People suffering from this illness have cognitive control biases, where they become stuck in a feedback loop of negative information. Katerina aims to create a novel cognitive control program to train depressed patients to inhibit this negative information and regulate their emotions. This training program will be something that is easily disseminated to clinicians, and even patients; they will be able to access it online, meaning that it has the potential to reach people in rural communities who don’t have access to care. It also has potential for patients who may not wish to use medication, such as pregnant women.


2014-2019 PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Western Ontario
Doctoral Dissertation: Baseline and Stress-Induced Cognitive Control Deficits & Pro-
Inflammatory Cytokines in Currently, Remitted, and Never Depressed Individuals
2012-2014 MSc, Clinical Psychology, University of Western Ontario


RESEARCH TITLE: Assessing Brain Synaptic Density in Bipolar Disorder: A Positron Emission Tomography study with 11C-UCB-J

We know that there is a change in the function and structure of the brains in bipolar suffers, but the information we have acquired is from post mortem studies. We do not know the distribution and density of synapses in the living brain, nor do we know the precise neurochemical and mechanisms behind bipolar disorder.

Gayatri’s work will leverage recent technological advances in positron emission tomography (PET) scans to reveal these secrets and track the progression of the disease over time. There are no previous studies in bipolar disorder that have looked at the density of synapses, so she hopes to gain a greater insight into what happens in the brain tissue of people living with the disease and leverage this knowledge into innovative clinical treatments.


2014/7 Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India
2013/4 MD, Psychiatry
National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India
2009/2 MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Government Medical College, India



RESEARCH TITLE: The Age of Fentanyl – Overdose, Hypoxia and Microvascular Damage

Melissa is researching the innovative use of existing technology: eye scans. Her project will use retinal imaging similar to what an eye doctor would use. These high-resolution images give a more detailed picture of the retina and blood vessels, however. Any changes in them may indicate changes in the brain—there is lots of evidence that people with schizophrenia show differences in their retinas—and point to possible cardiovascular issues too.
Her doctoral work was about the impact of exercise on people with psychosis. People get overwhelmed by mental illness, and exercise is something that can greatly improve quality of life. Figuring out who needs early cardiovascular care in a cheap, effective way has significant clinical implications and can reduce the strain on healthcare budgets by allowing us to reduce the number of people undergoing MRI scans.


2014/12 - 2019/12 PhD, Neuroscience, UBC
Doctoral Dissertation: Exercise, Symptom Severity, and Neuroplasticity in Schizophrenia (Supervisor: Dr. Donna Lang)




Quantification of Volumetric Brain Changes in Bipolar Disorder Patients following First Episode Mania: A Prospective Study


Preclinical Study of d-govadine and its Effects on Corticostriatal Mechanisms of Amphetamine Addiction


Microglia as Targets of Estradiol-Mediated Stress Resilience


Comparing the Cognitive Effects of Outdoor Versus Indoor Walking among Community-Dwelling Older Adults


High Throughput Platform to Assess and Manipulate Cortical Circuits in Mouse Models of Depression


Examining Mental Health Differences Among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: A Mixed Method Approach


Toward a Precision Treatment for Addiction: Focus on Dopamine Circuits and Sex


Sex Differences in Stress Habituation and Serotonin 1A Receptor Function


The Impact of Motherhood and APOE Genotype on the Aging Brain


Effects of Maternal Postpartum Corticosterone and SSRI Exposure on Cytokine Profile and Microbiome in Dams and Offspring


The Neural Basis of Low-Dose versus Normal-Dose Psychostimulants on Executive Functions in Youth with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomised Controlled Trial


Characterizing the Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on the Mental Health and Brain Structure of Homeless and marginally House Individuals in a Community-Based Study


Neural and Behavioral Substrates of THC-Induced Impairments in Decision Making


Identifying the Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Suicidal Behaviours in Emerging Adults


Mental Health Service Provision with Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Interpretive Description Study


We are pleased announce the call for applications for the UBC Institute of Mental Health (IMH) – Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program in Mental Health for 2020-2021.

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) established the Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program in Mental Health to support the training of young investigators in translational research in order to create research capacity in mental health.

The Institute of Mental Health, in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry, is now inviting applications from qualified candidates for Scholar and Fellow awards which will be supported by the Marshall Scholars and Fellows Program in Mental Health. The program will fund stipends of $75,000 per year for each Fellow and $25,000 per year for each Scholar. The program is expected to fund up to 4 fellows and 15 scholars each year. The duration of funding is for 1 year only. Fellows may have an opportunity to apply for extension of funding for another year.

We encourage all qualified applicants to apply and I would like to ask that this information be circulated widely. Please click here to view the Application Guidelines.

Please submit your application via: by May 15, 2020 no later than 4:30 pm, Pacific Time).

If you have questions or require further information regarding these awards, please contact Vicky Yau, Director of Administration, at