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Queen's University



Sylvia Magrys    

BSc University or Toronto (2007)

MSc Queen’s University (2010)

Area of research: My broad research interest centres on understanding the role of individual differences in the development of drug addiction. Previous research has linked traits such as impulsivity and stress reactivity to substance abuse, but the causal nature of the relationship remains unclear.  My research focuses on maladaptive drinking and drug use in undergraduate students, attempting to explain how individual differences in cognitive and physiological factors predict these behavioural patterns. 


My current research program has explored how (1) stress-reduction alcohol expectancy, a known risk factor for substance abuse, moderates the relationship between alcohol intoxication and subjective stress, and (2) whether acute stress increases consumption of alcohol.  Using a large-scale online study, I seek to examine whether pre-existing trait or behavioural measures predict changes in drinking and drug use during university and into early adulthood.


Megan Mahoney  

BSc, University of Ottawa (2007)

M.A. Candidate in Behavioural Neuroscience

Area of research: My interests lie in understanding the neural processes mediating drug seeking behaviour and addiction, mainly stress and impulsivity. As of yet, little research has examined the effects of the interaction between stress and impulsivity. I am examining how acute physical stress alters impulsivity using behavioural measures of both cognitive and motor impulsivity. Furthermore, the potential role of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) to alter prefrontal cortex functions in relation to impulsivity is unknown. In future studies, I would like to examine these potential changes. Specifically, I would like to determine how CRF mediates the effects of impulsivity, and determine if CRF differentially alters dopamine and serotonin systems in stressed versus non-stressed rats, as a function of impulsivity. Lastly, I would like to examine how stress and impulsivity interact to alter drug seeking behaviour. 



Amanda Maracle

Amanda Maracle

BAH Queens University (2010)

MSc Queens University (2012)

PhD candidate in Behavioral Neuroscience


Area of research: I am broadly interested in understanding the parallels in behavioural, neurophysiological, and pharmacological mechanisms that underlie the development of drug addiction. Currently, I am focusing on the relationship between compulsive responding for drugs and food, specifically sucrose.  Specifically, I am using an animal model of sucrose bingeing to study the neurophysiological correlates of compulsive responding.  I have confirmed that rats given intermittent access to a sucrose solution develop compulsive intake, and have shown that these changes are accompanied by concurrent changes to DA-modulated GABA transmission in the oval bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). My future research goals include further investigation of the role of the BNST, as well as other related brain areas, in the development of addiction. I addition, I would like to expand my research to include other factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction.


Bonnie Purcell  

BSc, University of Toronto (2001)
MSc, University of Toronto (2003)

Area of research:  My primary area of interest is in alcohol misuse (or alcohol-related problems) among seniors. Current assessments are seldom sensitive to the physiological, social, emotional, and cognitive changes that accompany aging and may provoke strong defense mechanisms in seniors, such as denial and defensiveness. At the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, under the supervision of Dr. Usoa Busto and Margaret Flower, I developed and validated a brief screening tool to detect alcohol problems in seniors, the Senior Alcohol Misuse Indicator, or SAMI. The SAMI was developed as the first senior-specific screening tool that uses sensitive language in helping health care professionals to better elicit alcohol-related information in a professional and compassionate manner. I am continuing this line of work in my dissertation by further investigating the effectiveness of the SAMI by conducting a cross-validation study of the SAMI with two other brief alcohol screening tools, the CAGE and SMAST-G, and testing the feasibility of these tools with geriatric psychiatry outreach teams. The use of psychiatry outreach populations will provide insight into the unique working environment of these health care providers; in particular, the primary focus of their work is to establish and maintain rapport with clients in order to remain welcome in their client ’s home. This research will demonstrate which screening tool provides the most sensitive assessment of alcohol-related problems in seniors, is the easiest to incorporate into an already existing assessment, and may be welcomed by these health care workers.




Ashley Vanstone  

co-supervision Professor Lola Cuddy
BMus, Brandon University (2001)
BA, York University (2004)
MA, Queen's University (2006)

Area of research:







Scott Hayton
MSc (2007), PhD (2011)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Psychiatry
Stanford University
San Francisco CA USA
Iris Balodis
MA (2003), PhD (2007)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven CT USA
Jay Paquette
MA (2002), PhD (2007)
Research Scientist
Pharmacology and Drug Development
Neuromed Pharmaceuticals
Vancouver BC Canada
Stephanie Hancock
MA (2003) PhD (2008: MUN)
Assistant Professor
Dept. Psychology
Medicine Hat College
Medicine Hat AB Canada
Tracie A. Paine
MA (2001), PhD (2004)
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Neuroscience
Oberlin College
Oberlin OH USA
Kim G. C. Hellemans
MA (2000), PhD (2003)
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Psychology
Carleton University
Ottawa ON Canada



Apostolia Petropoulou (MSc 2010)

Joanna Pohl (MA 2006)

Lisa Bradford (MA 2004)

Catherine Ortner (MA 2001)


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000