A Neuroengineering Lens into Treatment of Youth Mental Health and Addiction
With Dr. Faranak Farzan
It is estimated that one in every five North American youths is affected by a mental illness. Surpassed only by injuries, mental illness in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada. Unfortunately, current treatments are not as effective or cause side effects in a large minority, particularly in youth. Furthermore, across all age groups, treatment prescription is too often a trial-and-error process leading to years of untreated conditions, such as depression, before an effective therapy is identified. To tackle these challenges, in this talk, Dr. Farzan will describe how her team is combining engineering and neuroscience disciplines to study the human brain as a circuit. She will then review how by doing so, her team has begun developing novel diagnostic and treatment solutions for debilitating mental illnesses such as youth depression and addiction.
Dr. Farzan is the Chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health at the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering at SFU. Dr. Farzan is the founder and Scientific Director of Centre for Engineering-Led Brain Research at SFU. She has obtained her Bachelor in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering from McMaster University, her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Medical Science from University of Toronto, and her Postdoctoral training in Cognitive Neurology from Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining SFU, she was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Toronto, and Independent Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Dr. Farzan leads a unique research program at the cross section of Engineering and Neuroscience. The program is aimed at development and practical implementation of neurotechnology and computational approaches for studying human brain health and function, and for diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Farzan has authored over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, and her work has received funding from prestigious agencies such as CIHR, NSERC, CFI, CIHR, NIMH, NARSAD, Brain Canada, Kids Brain Health Network, and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.