Research Programs


Dr. Sakina Rizvi is a Scientist and Psychotherapist in the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg (ASR) Suicide and Depression Studies Program at St. Michael’s Hospital, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Her research program aims to characterize the neurobiology of suicide risk and treatment resistant depression (TRD), primarily through the use of fMRI and PET neuroimaging. Within her biomarker research, she is evaluating brain reward and pain processing as markers to stratify depression and suicide risk, as well as treatment outcome. In addition to neuroimaging research, Dr. Rizvi develops and tests novel psychotherapies for suicide risk and depression. She also conducts patient-engagement research to create community-based suicide prevention strategies. Dr. Rizvi is actively involved in outreach and advocacy projects with an emphasis on providing mental health education to the community through the creative arts. She led the Storybook Project, a lived experience short story collection on the impact of suicide published in September 2021 as “What it Takes to Make it Through: Stories of Suicide Loss and Resilience”.

Recent Publications

  1. Nogovitsyn, N, Ballester, P, Lasby, M, Dunlop, K, Ceniti, AK, Squires, S et al.. An empirical analysis of structural neuroimaging profiles in a staging model of depression. J Affect Disord. 2024;351 :631-640. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2024.01.246. PubMed PMID:38290583 .
  2. Vaccarino, SR, Wang, S, Rizvi, SJ, Lou, W, Hassel, S, MacQueen, GM et al.. Functional neuroimaging biomarkers of anhedonia response to escitalopram plus adjunct aripiprazole treatment for major depressive disorder. BJPsych Open. 2024;10 (1):e18. doi: 10.1192/bjo.2023.588. PubMed PMID:38179598 PubMed Central PMC10790221.
  3. Gorostowicz, A, Rizvi, SJ, Kennedy, SH, Chrobak, AA, Dudek, D, Cyranka, K et al.. Polish adaptation of the Dimensional Anhedonia Rating Scale (DARS) - validation in the clinical sample. Front Psychiatry. 2023;14 :1268290. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1268290. PubMed PMID:37817828 PubMed Central PMC10561247.
  4. Dimick, MK, Sultan, AA, Kennedy, KG, Rizvi, SJ, Forbes, EE, Sinyor, M et al.. Risk-Sensitive Decision-Making and Self-Harm in Youth Bipolar Disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2023;84 (5):. doi: 10.4088/JCP.22m14693. PubMed PMID:37672015 .
  5. Wang, S, Kennedy, SH, Salomons, TV, Ceniti, AK, McInerney, SJ, Bergmans, Y et al.. Resting-state neural mechanisms of capability for suicide and their interaction with pain - A CAN-BIND-05 Study. J Affect Disord. 2023;330 :139-147. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2023.02.147. PubMed PMID:36878406 .
  6. Harkness, KL, Chakrabarty, T, Rizvi, SJ, Mazurka, R, Quilty, L, Uher, R et al.. The Differential Relation of Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Abuse Histories to Antidepressant Treatment Remission and Persistence of Anhedonia in Major Depression: A CAN-BIND-1 Report. Can J Psychiatry. 2023;68 (8):586-595. doi: 10.1177/07067437231156255. PubMed PMID:36785892 PubMed Central PMC10411366.
  7. Hatcher, S, Heisel, MJ, Ayonrinde, O, Corsi, D, Edgar, NE, Kennedy, SH et al.. The BEACON study: an update to the protocol for a cohort study as part of an evaluation of the effectiveness of smartphone-assisted problem-solving therapy in men who present with intentional self-harm to emergency departments in Ontario. Trials. 2022;23 (1):849. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06788-7. PubMed PMID:36199120 PubMed Central PMC9532822.
  8. Lin, J, Su, Y, Rizvi, SJ, Jagoda, J, Li, J, Wu, Y et al.. Define and characterize the anhedonia in major depressive disorder: An explorative study. J Affect Disord. 2022;313 :235-242. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.06.082. PubMed PMID:35788366 .
  9. Wang, S, Leri, F, Rizvi, SJ. Clinical and Preclinical Assessments of Anhedonia in Psychiatric Disorders. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2022;58 :3-21. doi: 10.1007/7854_2022_318. PubMed PMID:35435647 .
  10. Arrua-Duarte, E, Migoya-Borja, M, Barahona, I, Quilty, LC, Rizvi, SJ, Kennedy, SH et al.. Comparative study of the pencil-and-paper and digital formats of the Spanish DARS scale. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2022;34 (5):253-259. doi: 10.1017/neu.2021.45. PubMed PMID:34939915 .
Search PubMed

Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, University of Toronto
  • Scientific Associate, Department of Psychiatry, University Health Network