Research Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jibran Khokhar

Dr. Khokhar completed his undergraduate training at Queen’s University, and his Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto and CAMH, under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Tyndale. During this time, Dr. Khokhar was awarded a CIHR Tobacco Use in Special Populations Fellowship, as well as a publication award for "Best Publication in Neuropsychopharmacology." He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth College with Dr. Alan Green. In addition to numerous travel and poster award, Dr. Khokhar held a CIHR Post-doctoral Fellowship as well as NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. Khokhar was recently hired as an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department at the University of Guelph.

Lab Manager

Dr. Hakan Kayir

Dr. Kayir completed his undergraduate training at Gulhane Military Medical Academy (GATA) in Turkey, and his Ph.D. in the Department of Medical Pharmacology, under the supervision of Prof. Tayfun Uzbay. His dissertation was on the relationship and co-morbidity between addiction and schizophrenia. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California at San Diego with Prof. Athina Markou. He worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology in GATA, and as a researcher and in Commat Ltd. and Norosaglik Inc. in Turkey. Dr.Kayir is the Lab Manager and Research Associate at Khokhar Lab in the Biomedical Sciences Department at the University of Guelph.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Richard Quansah Amissah

Richard has a BSc. Engineering (Biomedical) degree from the University of Ghana and an MSc. Neuroscience degree from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He completed his PhD Neuroscience degree at Laval University in 2020 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Khokhar Lab. During his PhD, he focused on the reward system and its role in eating disorders. Richard is particularly interested in addiction, how it develops, the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms that maintain addiction, and how it can be treated.

Current Graduate Students

Jude Frie, PhD Student

Before joining the Khokhar lab, Jude studied electrical engineering at UBC. Jude is interested in bringing novel technologies to the forefront of biology, especially in the application of mental health diagnoses and treatment. He is also interested in studying the functional role of the endocannabinoid system in reward behaviour and addiction, especially during critical periods of development, such as childhood and adolescence, using electrophysiology and instrumental conditioning.

Bryan Jenkins, PhD Student

Bryan is currently a PhD Candidate in the Neurobiology of Dual Disorders Lab at the Ontario Veterinary College and the University of Guelph in Canada. He holds an MSc degree from The University of Edinburgh and a BSc(hons) from the University of Western Ontario. Bryan is also the Community Manager for the Canadian chapters of NeuroTechX, an international, non-profit organization creating innovations in the burgeoning field of neurotechnology. He aims to leverage his specialized knowledge and broad connections in neurotechnology, addictions neuroscience, and mental health research to create innovative solutions for individuals with lived experience of substance use and mental illness.

Hayley Thorpe, PhD Student

Hayley completed her undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Neuroscience in 2015 and completed her honours thesis project in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. She then went on to receive her M.Sc. in 2018 through the University of Guelph's Molecular and Cellular Biology Department. She joined the Khokhar lab as a Ph.D. student in early 2019 with the goal of uncovering the behavioural and molecular relationships between cannabis use and the development of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.

Judy Chen, MSc Student

Judy Chen obtained an Honour’s in Bachelor of Science with a major in Biomedical Sciences at The University of Guelph and is currently a Master’s student in the Khokhar lab in Biomedical Science with a collaborative specialization in Neuroscience. During her undergraduate degree, she developed a particular interest in neuroscience research and wanted to explore that passion further. Judy is particularly interested in the endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB2 receptor, and its effects on reward behaviour. She is also interested in studying its potential as a therapeutic target for substance abuse, dependence, and withdrawal.

Jessica Ruffolo, MSc Student

Jessica is currently a Master’s student in the Khokhar Lab. She obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Biological Sciences and completed her honours thesis in Neuroscience. There she explored the impact uncontrollable stress has on comorbid depression and anxiety, which went on to spark her interest in dual disorders. Her overall research interest is being able to understand and elucidate the molecular mechanisms and biological pathways responsible for the manifestation and amelioration of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. She hopes to one day use her knowledge to contribute to a non-invasive treatment approach in order to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Current Undergraduate Students

Bryana Hallam

Karling Luciani

Cara Suggett

Asfandyaar Talhat

Jacob Underhill

Ahmad Hassan

Jaiden Smith

Wall of Fame

Abanoub Aziz Rizk

M.D. Candidate, University of Ottawa

Claudia Lutelmowski

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto

Danna Ellner Yerushalmi

Farah Wahbeh

M.D. Candidate, Cornell University

Katie Frankiewicz

Shahnaza Hamidullah

M.D. /Ph.D. Candidate, Western University

Shoaib Muhammad

Yasmine Al-Sabagh