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Assistant Professor

          Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professor in Workplace Mental Health

          Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

          Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

          Member, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute

          Faculty Researcher, Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Principal Investigator


Dr. Behdin Nowrouzi-kia 
OT Reg. (Ont.), PhD, FRSA

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Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, where he also holds the inaugural Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professorship in Workplace Mental Health. Through an occupational lens, his research program is a systematic study of occupations in the areas of work disability prevention, return to work, and disability management. This approach is designed to produce results directly applicable to identify and assess risk and to develop interventions for preventing or improving high-risk behaviours in the workplace. Dr. Nowrouzi-Kia’s work is motivated by efforts in the field of work disability prevention that extends beyond the efforts to prevent or cure diseases from a purely physical perspective, towards more holistic approaches.

The Team

Meet our established team of Research Professionals passionate to identify and assess risk and develop occupation-based interventions for preventing high-risk behaviours and improving mental and physical health in the workplace. 

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Dr. Ali Bani-Fatemi

Research Associate

Dr. Ali Bani-Fatemi is Postdoctoral Fellow at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, and the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the UofT. His research focuses on evaluating influences of genetic and epigenetic alterations as potential risk factors for suicidal behaviour. Using a biopsychosocial approach, he investigates the sociocultural and clinical variables that may be related to suicidality. Dr. Bani-Fatemi has published 17 peer-reviewed papers as first author and 17 as co-author. He holds the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Innovation Grant and 2018 Discovery Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has expertise in conducting rigorous research, and has strong methodological experience in review studies, quantitative methods, and analyses.


Dr. Vijay Kumar Chattu

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Vijay Kumar Chattu is a Senior Research Scientist and prior to this he worked as a post-doctoral fellow (Global Occupational Health) for a year in the Department of OS & OT based at ReSTORE lab. He is a medical doctor (MBBS) and did a Residency (MD) in Community Medicine from India, holds an MPH in Health Policy from Belgium, MPhil in Global Health Governance from Stellenbosch University and PhD in International Relations. Besides, he specialized in Global Mental Health from Harvard University in 2014 and in Refugee Mental Health from University of Toronto & CAMH in 2017. Dr. Chattu joined the University of Toronto as a Research Fellow in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry in 2019 and later, he completed a 2-year Research Fellowship in Occupational Medicine (Digital Health) from Department of Medicine, University of Toronto based at St. Michael’s Hospital in 2021. He has published over 350 research articles to his credit and is consistently rated among the world's top 2% Scientists in Medicine and Public Health by Stanford University Rankings since 2021. Dr Chattu is also an Adjunct Professor at University of Alberta, Guest faculty at McGill University, University of Ottawa, Ghent University and a Visiting Research Fellow at United Nations University-CRIS, Belgium. Dr Chattu is also the Founder and CEO of Global Health Research and Innovations Canada (GHRIC) based in Toronto with global operations.

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Aaron Howe

Research Analyst

Aaron is a graduate student at Columbia University, where he is completing his studies in Clinical Psychology. He has previously worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on various projects related to investigating epigenetic and genetic mechanisms of suicidal behaviour in adult schizophrenia spectrum patients. Aaron has a passion for studying the intersection between psychoneuroendocrinology and evidence-based mental health treatments for children and adolescents. He joined the ReSTORE Lab in March 2022 to contribute to mental health-related projects


Maryam Shahzad

Doctoral Student

Maryam is a clinical occupational therapist and doctoral student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. Maryam has experience in qualitative and knowledge synthesis studies in the areas of resiliency and brain injury and health behaviours of Indigenous and immigrant populations. She is interested in studying occupational disability and rehabilitation in diverse populations. She has clinical experience supporting the return to work and community integration of individuals with brain injury.


 Dr. Akbota Tleuberdinova

Graduate Student

Dr. Akbota is a first-year masters student at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. She joined the ReSTORE Lab in January 2023. She is a medical doctor and graduated from Astana Medical University, Kazakhstan. Her research focuses on the occupational health and safety of skilled trade workers in Ontario. She is participating in the Ontario Electrical League project and working on qualitative analysis with other researchers. Also, she is interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices for women and underrepresented groups in skilled trades careers.

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Joyce Lo

Research Trainee

Joyce is a research assistant at the ReSTORE lab. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mental Health Studies from the University of Toronto. At the lab, Joyce has worked on projects that focus on topics such as gender-based violence in the workplace, return to work, and psychosocial factors at work. Her research interests include occupational and mental health. 

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Simrat Ubhi

Co-op Student

Simrat is a fourth-year student in the psychology specialist program at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Simrat is excited to use her mental health and psychological background to contribute to the ReSTORE Lab projects. She is looking forward to gaining research and data analysis skills with the lab and relevant experience as a research assistant. Simrat is passionate about psychology and the mental health field and hopes to attend graduate school to eventually work in a clinical setting in the future. 


Chantal Atikian

Co-op Student

Chantal is a third-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, specializing in Mental Health Studies. She joined the ReSTORE Lab as a research assistant in 2023 to learn more about the field of occupational therapy and develop her research skills. Chantal is passionate about clinical psychology and psychoeducation. Moving forward, Chantal looks forward to contributing to the ReSTORE Lab and continuing to work on ongoing projects. 


Kathy Zhou

Co-op Student

Kathy is a third-year undergraduate student from the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in Psychology and minoring in Statistics. She joined ReSTORE Lab as a Co-op Student in May of 2023. Kathy is passionate about neurodevelopmental disorders and hopes to expand her views on mental health outcomes in an occupational setting. She looks forward to gaining valuable research experience and developing her analytical skills at the lab.

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Shane Avila

Co-op Student

Shane is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, specializing in Psychology. Shane joined the ReSTORE Lab as a co-op research assistant in May 2023. With an interest in occupational health, he hopes to apply his knowledge in psychology to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to the research he contributes to. Shane is currently contributing in projects related occupational health and burnout.

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Sharada Nandan

Co-op Student

Sharada is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in psychology. With her experience in qualitative research and conducting thematic analysis, she is excited and eager to contribute to the projects at ReSTORE Lab. She hopes to further her understanding of laboratory research while also learning new skills along the way

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Alexia Haritos

Co-op Student

Alexia is a third-year student from the University of Toronto Scarborough specializing in Psychology. She joined the ReSTORE Lab in September of 2023 to gain a deeper understanding of psychological outcomes and patterns in the workplace through an occupational lens. She is passionate about cognitive and clinical psychology, with current hopes to attend graduate school. Alexia is looking forward to contributing to the ReSTORE Lab to advance both analytical and data analysis skills, as well as gain valuable lab experience. 


Harseerat Saini

Coop Student

 I am a third-year student at the University of Toronto St. George campus, specializing in Health and Disease and minoring in Immunology. With a passion for mental health and community development, I have joined the ReSTORE lab to not only enhance my research skills, but also to further my knowledge of the occupational health field. I am excited to contribute to the lab's ongoing projects and make a meaningful impact in this important area.

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Chika Nwodika 

Research Trainee

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Yazan Adnan Saleh


Yazan Adnan Saleh is a first-year undergraduate student at Queen's University, undergoing his Bachelors in Health Sciences. He is currently a volunteer at the ReSTORE lab, where he first joined the team in May 2022. Yazan is passionate about research, and his areas of interest include mental health, occupational, and neurology research. He is currently working on projects pertaining to workplace mental health and its relationship to suicide across diverse occupational groups. He is keen to continue employing his skills and is looking forward to contributing to future projects and developing valuable research skills.


Druphadi Sen


Druphadi Sen is an undergraduate student studying molecular biology and immunology at the University of Toronto - St. George. Her varied academic fields contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to her study of occupational health at the Restore lab. Her research interests include occupational therapy, accessibility, neuropathology and biotechnology-based therapeutics. She looks forward to contributing to upcoming projects with the Restore Lab.


Anson Li

Volunteer (Research Analyst)

Anson is a Manager at Ernst & Young LLP (EY) within their Tech Consulting practice and has worked with companies across different industries to improve their business processes through technology. Prior to consulting, Anson has been involved in research and academia. He has 7 research publications (including 5 that were published with Dr. Nowrouzi-Kia at the ReSTORE Lab) across various disciplines, including occupational health, genetics, ophthalmology, and gastroenterology. Anson is looking forward to working with the ReSTORE Lab and contributing to research projects related to digital health.


Beatrice Yuen


Beatrice is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto’s St George campus and is completing her undergraduate degree specializing in Global Health. Beatrice is passionate about global health and hopes to combine her research interest in occupational science and mental health to improve the quality of life within the community. Beatrice joined the ReSTORE Lab as a research trainee to learn more about occupational science and gain research skills


Sharan Jaswal


Sharan is in her third year at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she is in the progress of completing a Specialist Program for Psychological and health sciences. Sharan has a passion for research science, and is interested in occupational therapy and science and hopes to grow within the field. She recently has joined the ReSTORE Lab as a Research Assistant and is looking forward to contributing to the upcoming projects.

Collaborating Investigators



Ana Júlia de Azevedo

Mitacs student

Ana Júlia de Azevedo is a third-year student at the State University of Northern Paraná in Brazil, she is majoring in physical therapy and intends to specialize in neurofunctional physical therapy. She is passionate about neuroscience, human anatomy and human physiology. She joined the ReSTORE lab in January 2023 and she is excited to join the team and begin research on Functional Profile of Upper Limb Spasticity after Stroke. She is always looking to learn new things and how to improve her skills to efficiently contribute to the projects she is involved in.

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Natalia Saade

Mitacs Research Student

Natalia Saade is a passionate medical student from Colombia and currently in her final semester of studies. Throughout her academic journey, she has developed a profound interest in public health and epidemiology, recognizing their crucial role in improving the well-being of communities. Investigation has become an important part of her learning process, allowing her to dive deeper into medical challenges and find innovative solutions. In the lab she will be joining us for data analysis, writing and construction of projects. She is happy to be part of the lab and learn more about investigation and the diverse approaches from the multidisciplinary team that collectively contribute to improving healthcare.


Connie Chan

Mitacs Globalink Research Intern

I am an enthusiastic and driven second-year undergraduate nursing student at the University of Hong Kong. With a passion for public health and a commitment to providing the highest standard of patient care, I have recently embarked on an exciting research opportunity as a Mitacs Globalink Research Intern at the ReSTORE Lab, starting in June 2023. Recognizing the collaborative nature of healthcare, I am dedicated to working harmoniously with multidisciplinary teams and other healthcare professionals. With an unwavering dedication to evidence-based practice, I am committed to conducting rigorous research and employing innovative strategies to address pressing public health challenges. By combining my nursing background with research methodologies, I aspire to generate meaningful insights that can inform policy decisions and improve healthcare practices.

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Abigaile Beamish

Research Trainee

Abigaile is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo and is in her fourth year of Health Studies with a minor in chemistry. She joined the ReSTORE lab in June 2022 through the Institute of Medical Science Summer Undergraduate Research Program (IMS SURP) at the University of Toronto and was able to return in June 2023 through the same program. Abigaile has a passion for science and public health and mental wellness. She is excited to combine her passions by learning about biological precursors to mental health and burnout. Abigaile plans to continue developing her passion for public health and science as she hopes to pursue a career in medicine.

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Mitchel Morrison

Co-op Student

Mitchel is a mathematics and physics student currently studying at the University of Waterloo. Mitchel is working primarily on data analysis and interpretation of projects relating to occupational mental health. With a passion for statistical applications, he hopes to contribute greatly to and gather valuable experience with quantitative data analysis at the ReSTORE lab.


Yusra Fayyaz

Work Study Student

Yusra is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Economics, Statistics and Computer Science at the University of Toronto - St. George. She is currently a work-study student at the ReSTORE lab as of May 2022. Yusra is passionate about applying her statistical skills towards research related to psychology and mental health. She is currently working on the statistical analysis of a number of projects related to workplace mental health. In the future, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in data analysis, and she looks forward to the further development of her skills and experience at the ReSTORE lab.

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Amanda Illeperuma

Research Assistant

Amanda is a third year student at Western University in the Medical Sciences program. She is passionate about the fields of public health and data sciences and hopes to explore its intersectionality through health informatics. She has joined ReSTORE Lab through the Summer Undergraduate Data Science (SUDS) Research Program from the Data Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity ReSTORE Lab is giving her to learn about the field of data science.


Dr. Fatin Akeela


Fatin is highly experienced as a general physician in different countries outside Canada and has a post-graduate diploma in clinical research. She is currently a volunteer at ReSTORE lab, where she first joined the team as a research assistant in January 2022. She has solid knowledge of clinical research methodology and documentation. She is passionate about helping others, and that is why she works in rural areas to survey living standards, provide counselling, health and sanitation education, vaccinations and various cancer screenings, volunteer for charity and interpretation to help people with their language barriers.


Christy Tam

Research Assistant

Christy is a third year co-op student at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, where she is studying under a specialist program in cognitive neuroscience. She is passionate about using scientific research to inform quality efforts in healthcare. Her research interests include physical and mental rehabilitation, including therapy for individuals with sensorimotor diseases. Christy joined the ReSTORE lab as a Research Assistant in fall of 2022, and has assisted the lab with its various project branches. She is grateful for being provided with ample opportunities at the ReSTORE lab to enhance her abilities in organizing and analyzing scientific research.


Genavieve Joncic

Research Assistant

Genavieve is a third-year co-op student specializing in neuroscience and minoring in biology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is interested in research in neuroscience, psychology, and occupational health and aims to expand her knowledge in a workplace setting. Genavieve works as a Research Assistant at ReSTORE Lab as of May 2022 and is excited to bring her passion for science into the projects with this team.

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Mahika Jain

Research Assistant

Mahika is a third-year co-op student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, specializing in Neuroscience and minoring in Applied Statistics. She is passionate about research and helping others. Her research interests include occupational, clinical and mental health research. She has become a part of the ReSTORE Lab as a Research Assistant, starting May 2022. Mahika has contributed to various projects and has gained valuable research skills from the ReSTORE lab.


Molly Borritt

Research Trainee

Molly is a second year student at McGill University studying International Management, with a focus on health and analytics. She is interested in research that considers the intersection of health, analytics, and business. Molly joined the ReSTORE lab in May 2022 as a Research Trainee through the inaugural year of the Summer Undergraduate Data Science program, run by U of T’s Data Science Institute. She is grateful for the opportunities that this program and the lab have provided to learn more about the importance of research as a catalyst for change.


Jeremy Tan

Placement Student

Jeremy is a fourth-year undergraduate student enrolled in Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto St. George campus. Having experienced working in skilled trades in his family's contracting business, he is interested in providing research-informed interventions toward workplace health through ergonomics and occupational health. Being exposed to such multidisciplinary approaches within Kinesiology, he has developed a great interest in holistic views of health and the various lenses and methods to achieve them. He recently joined the ReSTORE Lab in September 2022 as a Research Assistant and part of his Faculty's Professional Placement Program, where he is excited to contribute to the research projects that help people in similar working careers.


Raabia Khan

Research Assistant

Raabia is a fourth-year co-op student at the University of Toronto Scarborough, completing a double major in Health Studies (Population Health) and Molecular biology, immunology, and disease. Raabia enjoys conducting scientific research specifically in areas of epidemiology and occupational health. She joined the ReSTORE Lab in September 2022 as a Co-op Research Assistant. Working at the Restore lab was an enriching experience that provided Raabia with the opportunity to conduct literature reviews, prepare grant applications, and write research papers. Most importantly, Raabia learned how to use data analysis software programs such as NVivo and RStudio. Overall, her experience has provided her with valuable skills, knowledge, and practical experience in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research all while learning from the expertise of a highly qualified research team.


Samantha Bestavros

Research Trainee

Samantha was a Student Research Trainee with the ReSTORE Lab through the University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science Summer Undergraduate Research Program from June 2022- August 2022. She is currently in her fourth year of studies toward obtaining an Honors Bachelor of Science with a specialization in biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Samantha has a deep passion for both physiological and mental biology, health, and wellbeing, and has previous research experience regarding attitudes and cognitive diversity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. She continued to work with such interests through her time with the ReSTORE Lab, where she examined the mental health of frontline rehab professionals who worked throughout the pandemic. She won an Honourable Mention Award for her poster presentation regarding the findings of this project at the University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science Summer Undergraduate Research Program Research Day. Through her continuous commitment to critical thinking, problem-solving, and further enhancing her research skills, she hopes to go on to medical school in pursuit of a career as a dermatologist.


Bushra Alam

Research Assistance

Bushra is in her fourth year at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus and is currently majoring in human biology and health studies. Her research interests span across diverse areas including occupational science, public health, clinical research and mental health research. She is always open to acquiring new knowledge and skills. Bushra has joined the ReSTORE Lab as a Research Assistant starting September 2022. Being given the oppurtunity to work at the ReSTORE lab has been a great experience, one for which she is immensely grateful. Throughout here time at the ReSTORE, Bushra has had the opportunity to grow, learn and develop a wide variety of research, administrative and interpersonal skills. She feels privileged to have been a part of such a dynamic and innovative team.


Kevon Jules

Placement Student

Kevon is a fourth year co-op student at the University of Toronto studying Kinesiology with a focus on psychology and mental health rehabilitation. Kevon is extremely grateful for this placement opportunity and seeks to view all projects at the ReSTORE lab through a biopsychosocial lens to consider the opinions and needs of all individuals involved. Kevon hopes to learn how to better analyze qualitative and quantitative data to create a comprehensive picture of challenges individuals face in the real world. In the future, Kevon hopes to work within the field of occupational therapy with a focus on paraplegic equity, representation, and accessibility.


Matthew Yeug


Matthew completed his Bachelors in Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Hong Kong. He joined the Restore Lab on January 4th, 2023 as a volunteer. His research interests are in mental health, occupational health and neurology. Matthew has joined the Restore Lab to help with various research projects in order to garner more experiences and to prepare for his graduate studies. He looks forward to contributing to the Restore Lab's cause.

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Ana Soberanis

Research Trainee

Ana is a fifth-year medical student at the Universidad Latina de México. Due to her interest in research, she joined the ReSTORE lab in March 2022 as a Research Intern through the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship program. Ana is currently contributing in projects related to systemic lupus erythematosus, looking forward to improve the quality of life of patients with lupus, and to acquire strong research skills.


Liu Zhicheng

Work-study Student

Zhicheng is a second year student from the UofT Mississauga campus currently studying Molecular Biology. Zhicheng joined the lab in September 2022. His research interests include decoding genetic passcodes that govern human behaviour. He is also interested in 'how researcher efficiency can be boosted by improving their occupational settings'. During his free time, Zhicheng loves to dive into the music world and enjoys taking adventures and exploring nature. Zhicheng is very thrilled to be a part of this team and is always willing to contribute his best to empower the progress of the ReSTORE lab.

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Muhammad Siddiqui

Research Assistant

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Aditya Peri

Work Study Student

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