Venkat Bhat



Research Programs


Dr. Bhat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is currently a staff psychiatrist based at two Depression Centres: The Centre for Depression and Suicide Studies at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Poul Hansen Depression Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. At St. Michael’s Hospital, he is the Director of the Interventional Psychiatry Program which offers novel psychopharmacological (e.g. IV ketamine/other anesthetic agents), neurostimulation (e.g. rTMS, ECT, emerging neurostimulation modalities) and digital therapeutic (mobile-based monitoring and interventions) interventions for Mood and other Disorders. At Toronto Western Hospital, he has a focus on invasive neurostimulation (Deep Brain Stimulation and Invasive Brain Mapping) and is currently leading a study comparing ECT to IV Ketamine for Treatment-resistant Depression. Dr. Bhat collaborates closely with anesthesia, imaging, informatics, neurology and neurosurgery to offer emerging and procedural interventions for psychiatric disorders, his research program aims to understand treatment-response with these emerging interventions.

Recent Publications

  1. Islam, F, Magarbeh, L, Elsheikh, SSM, Kloiber, S, Espinola, CW, Bhat, V et al.. Influence of CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and ABCB1 Gene Variants and Serum Levels of Escitalopram and Aripiprazole on Treatment-Emergent Sexual Dysfunction: A Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression 1 (CAN-BIND 1) Study. Can J Psychiatry. 2023; :7067437231203433. doi: 10.1177/07067437231203433. PubMed PMID:37796764 .
  2. Rezaei, MR, Jeoung, H, Gharamani, A, Saha, U, Bhat, V, Popovic, MR et al.. Inferring cognitive state underlying conflict choices in verbal Stroop task using heterogeneous input discriminative-generative decoder model. J Neural Eng. 2023;20 (5):. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/ace932. PubMed PMID:37473753 .
  3. Nguyen, B, Torres, A, Espinola, CW, Sim, W, Kenny, D, Campbell, DM et al.. Development of a data-driven digital phenotype profile of distress experience of healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2023;240 :107645. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2023.107645. PubMed PMID:37352806 PubMed Central PMC10258128.
  4. Demchenko, I, Desai, N, Iwasa, SN, Gholamali Nezhad, F, Zariffa, J, Kennedy, SH et al.. Manipulating facial musculature with functional electrical stimulation as an intervention for major depressive disorder: a focused search of literature for a proposal. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2023;20 (1):64. doi: 10.1186/s12984-023-01187-8. PubMed PMID:37193985 PubMed Central PMC10190013.
  5. Demchenko, I, Tassone, VK, Dunnett, S, Balachandar, A, Li, S, Anderson, M et al.. Impact of COVID-19 on electroconvulsive therapy practice across Canadian provinces during the first wave of the pandemic. BMC Psychiatry. 2023;23 (1):327. doi: 10.1186/s12888-023-04832-7. PubMed PMID:37165333 PubMed Central PMC10170445.
  6. Dama, M, Wu, M, Tassone, VK, Demchenko, I, Frey, BN, Milev, RV et al.. The course of insomnia symptoms during the acute treatment of major depressive disorder: A CAN-BIND-1 report. Psychiatry Res. 2023;325 :115222. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2023.115222. PubMed PMID:37163883 .
  7. Sussman, D, Tassone, VK, Gholamali Nezhad, F, Wu, M, Adamsahib, F, Mattina, GF et al.. Local Injection for Treating Mood Disorders (LIFT-MOOD): A Pilot Feasibility RCT of Stellate Ganglion Block for Treatment-Resistant Depression. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2023;7 :24705470231160315. doi: 10.1177/24705470231160315. PubMed PMID:36895443 PubMed Central PMC9989395.
  8. Sivanathan, M, Espinola, CW, Uribe Quevedo, A, Kapralos, B, Krishnan, S, Bhat, V et al.. Development of Content for a Virtual Reality Simulation to Understand and Mitigate Moral Distress in Healthcare Workers. Cureus. 2022;14 (11):e31240. doi: 10.7759/cureus.31240. PubMed PMID:36505119 PubMed Central PMC9731177.
  9. Balachandran, A, Tassone, VK, Adamsahib, F, Di Passa, AM, Kuburi, S, Demchenko, I et al.. Efficacy of ketamine for comorbid depression and acute or chronic pain: A systematic review. Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2022;3 :1022767. doi: 10.3389/fpain.2022.1022767. PubMed PMID:36353699 PubMed Central PMC9638121.
  10. Nguyen, B, Ivanov, M, Bhat, V, Krishnan, S. Digital phenotyping for classification of anxiety severity during COVID-19. Front Digit Health. 2022;4 :877762. doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2022.877762. PubMed PMID:36310921 PubMed Central PMC9612961.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Associate Scientist, LKSKI & KRCBS (core affiliation)
  • Director, Interventional Psychiatry Program, St. Michael’s Hospital (other affiliation)
  • Clinician Investigator, Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network (other affiliation)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto (other affiliation)