PIA Executive Committee:

Neuropsychiatric Syndromes


 Co-Chair: Zahinoor Ismail

Dr Zahinoor Ismail is a Clinician Scientist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and O’Brien Institute for Public Health, at the University of Calgary. He has certification in Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry, and Geriatric Psychiatry, and his dementia research includes: i) rating scale development and measurement-based care; ii) non-cognitive markers of dementia; iii) neuroimaging and biomarker studies; iv) clinical trials; and iv) systematic reviews and meta-analyses focusing on neuropsychiatric symptoms. He is funded by Brain Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.
Dr Ismail has been an ISTAART member since 2011 and an active participant in the NPS PIA since then. He led the development of the neurobehavioural syndrome Mild Behavioural Impairment (MBI), and the MBI Checklist, and more recently co-led development of the new research criteria for biomarker and phenotypic classification of psychosis in AD and related dementias, all of which have grown from ISTAART NPS PIA collaborations. Dr. Ismail is Chair of the Canadian Conference on Dementia, and Co-Chair of the Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia, which generates dementia guidelines, the most recent iteration of which are published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia (2020).

 Co-Chair: Cedric O'Gorman, MD, MBA
Cedric O’Gorman MD, MBA is senior vice president of clinical development and medical affairs of Axsome Therapeutics, a New York City-based, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for the management of central nervous system (CNS) disorders for which there are limited treatment options. Current research programs include the clinical development of AXS-05 (dextromethorphan/bupropion) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease agitation.

Dr. O'Gorman received his medical degree from the National University of Galway in his native Ireland, trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, at the Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) in London, England, and completed his business degree at the New York University Stern School of Business. Prior to Axsome, Dr. O’Gorman was the vice president of medical affairs at Intra-Cellular Therapies since December 2014. Dr. O’Gorman has over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Intra-Cellular Therapies, he was the US medical lead for psychiatry at Genentech/Roche, where he oversaw the clinical development program of bitopertin for schizophrenia. Before that he spent 5 years at Pfizer representing medical affairs on several branded neuroscience products including Geodon for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and Pristiq for major depressive disorder. He also serves as co-chair for the agitation in Alzheimer’s disease working group of the International Society for CNS Trials and Methodology (ISCTM) and is a member of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP). 

 Vice Chair: Moyra Mortby, PhD, MSc, BSc
Dr Moyra Mortby is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. She holds a conjoint appointment with Neuroscience Research Australia and is an Associate Investigator of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute. Dr Mortby was awarded her PhD in Psychology with Laudatio Magna Cum Laude from the University of Zurich, Switzerland (2012). During her post-doctoral research, she retrained in advanced neuroimaging techniques to complement her research skills in psychology.
Dr Mortby’s research interests are focused on neuropsychiatric symptoms across the cognitive spectrum. Her research program focuses on identifying dementia risk factors to develop approaches to 1) reduce/delay severe symptomatology and disease progression; 2) alleviate the impact of dementia/ neuropsychiatric symptoms on carer wellbeing; and 3) inform opinion, practice and policy of mitigation strategies.
Dr Mortby is the recipient of the 2015 ISTAART NPS PIA New Investigator Award and has been the current Chair of the ISTAART NPS PIA Apathy Working Group.

Programs Chair: Janne M. Papma 

Janne Papma is an assistant professor at the Alzheimer Center Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her background is in Neuropsychology and Neuroscience. At the moment Janne supervises multiple large research projects within a research line that focuses on the improvement of personalized dementia diagnostics and post-diagnostic care. One of these projects aims to specifically improve the recognition and subsequent treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at the memory clinic. Early interventions into NPS in AD conceivably improve the profound negative consequences of NPS in AD, such as quality of life or caregiver burden. She received two prestigious national grants (ZonMw) to perform this research into NPS in AD.  

Communications Chair: Jennifer R. Gatchel, PhD, MD

Jennifer Gatchel is a Geriatric Psychiatrist physician scientist and an Assistant Psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. Her research interests are focused on understanding the relationships among Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)-associated proteins amyloid and tau, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive decline in the preclinical and prodromal stages of AD and related dementias. She is utilizing a combination of neuroimaging and cognitive assessments towards developing better prevention and treatment strategies for individuals at risk for AD.  She is also interested in neuromodulation in the treatment of mood and cognitive disorders.  Her body of work has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health, the BrightFocus Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association.  Jennifer’s innovative research program is complemented by her leadership roles advocating for patients with dementia, promoting healthy brain aging, and training the next generation of Geriatric Psychiatrists.

 Member-in-Training: Willem S. Eikelboom, MSc.

Willem Eikelboom is a neuropsychologists and works as PhD candidate at the Alzheimer Center of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He obtained his Master Degree in Healthcare Psychology and started his PhD in the beginning of 2018. Since then, most of his research focuses on the early detection and appropriate treatment of neuropsychiatric syndromes in the Alzheimer’s disease. He is one of the researchers involved in the ‘Behavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease, Towards early Identification and Treatment’ (BEAT-IT) project. This multi-center project consists of studies ranging from the neurobiological underlying mechanisms of neuropsychiatric symptoms to the deliverance of non-pharmacological strategies to reduce these symptoms. He is currently coordinating an intervention study that evaluates the use of the DICE method to structure and standardize the assessment and management of neuropsychiatric symptoms in memory clinics in Rotterdam area. He is member of the Dutch Society for Neuropsychology and joined the Neuropsychiatric Syndromes PIA Executive Committee in 2019.

Steering Committee Member: Luis Aguera Ortiz, MD, PhD
Luis F. Agüera-Ortiz is a MD PhD in Medicine and Surgery and a Medical Specialist in Psychiatry. He completed a specific training in Psychogeriatrics at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) where he worked as an Associate Physician in his University Psychogeriatrics Services. On his return to Spain he worked as a consultant for Psychogeriatrics at the Massachusetts Institute of Spain and began working in the Psychiatry Service of the 12 de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid, where he continues today as Section Chief and Head of one of the Community Mental Health Centers pertaining to that hospital.
He has expanded his training at various top-level foreign Universities such as University of Columbia (New York), Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), Standford University (San Francisco), University of Berlin and University of Oxford.
At the Complutense University of Madrid he is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine.
Until recently he has been a Senior Researcher of the Multidisciplinary Unit of the Alzheimer Research Project of the Reina Sofía Foundation / CIEN Foundation. He currently coordinates one of the Neuroscience Research Units of the Research Institute of the 12 de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid.
Regarding scientific activity, he is the author of more than 300 scientific communications in symposia at national and international conferences and chaired numerous symposia. He has published more than 200 scientific articles in national and international magazines, numerous book chapters and more than 10 books as first or only author, mainly in the field of Depression, Geriatric Psychiatry and Dementia.

 Steering Committee Member: Byron Creese

Dr Byron Creese is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter Medical School focusing on understand and treating neuropsychiatric symptoms in older adults with and without dementia. His work encompasses clinical research and genomics, and more recently bioinformatic approaches to understanding side effects of atypical antipsychotics.  He is a key investigator on the University of Exeter’s PROTECT study which tracks the mental and cognitive health of over 25,000 people in the UK and using this data has led the UK’s first studies of Mild Behavioral Impairment. In 2019 he was awarded the Alzheimer’s Association Neuropsychiatric Syndromes New Investigator Award in recognition of his recent contributions to this field. 

Steering Committee Member: Sanjeev Kumar

Dr. Kumar is a geriatric psychiatrist and a clinician scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Toronto. 
Dr. Kumar is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is also Board certified in general psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry by American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He studies the biological mechanisms and novel pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for dementia. Specifically, he is studying the neurophysiology of cognitive disorders using quantitative electroencephalography and brain stimulation techniques such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). He is also conducting research into therapeutic potential of TMS and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to treat cognitive and behavioral symptoms of Dementia.

 Immediate Past Co-Chair: Ross Baker, PhD, MBA 

Director, CNS Global Medical Affairs; Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization

Ross has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with 4 years on the provider side, and 16 years in positions of increasing responsibility in CNS medical affairs groups at Organon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Otsuka. Ross has authored over 60 peer reviewed publications, and more than 200 abstracts and posters presented at scientific congresses. At Otsuka, his primary focus is to support the clinical development programs for brexpiprazole in the treatment of agitation in Alzheimer’s and invisible war wounds (i.e, PTSD).

Ross received his B.S. degree in Biology/Psychology from Muhlenberg College. He earned his PhD degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and his MBA degree in Finance from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. He also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health and as a research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

 Immediate Past Co-Chair: Corinne Fischer, MD

Dr. Fischer is a staff psychiatrist with the Mental Health Service at St. Michael’s Hospital and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is an associate scientist and co-director of Neurodegenerative Research, Division of Neuroscience Research, at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Research, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada. She has an academic appointment as Associate Professor at the University of Toronto in the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and is an associate member of the Institute of Medical Science where she supervises graduate students, research fellows, residents and medical students. She was recently appointed an associate editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and elected academic co-chair of the Neuropsychiatric Symptom Professional Interest Area ISTAART in addition to being a member of several national/international organizations including CAGP, AAGP, IPA and ISTAART.  Dr. Fischer’s main clinical and research focus centres around neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease and their clinical, imaging and pathological correlates. She directs the St. Michael’s Hospital Memory Clinic and is a member of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance as well as the Behavioural Neurology Section at the University of Toronto. She is a principal investigator for a number of peer-reviewed grants as well as a site PI for several large multi-centred grants funded by Brain Canada, the Ontario Brain Institute and the Weston Foundation. She has approximately sixty peer-reviewed publications and has presented her work extensively at national and international meetings.