Our Team

Dr. Igor Yakovenko


Dr. Igor Yakovenko is an Associate Professor and a licensed clinical psychologist in the Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Calgary, a clinical residency at Yale University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the associated features and determinants of substance use, behavioural addictions including disordered gambling and video gaming, and co-morbidity of addiction and other psychiatric disorders. A major goal of his research is to account for real-world conditions of mental health treatment delivery, such as frequent co-morbidity, in order to generate clinical guidelines and recommendations for integrated care of addiction and mental health. Dr. Yakovenko is also an active member of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM), where his recent work has been invested in developing evidence-based public health interventions for cannabis use disorder including implementation of online platforms to increase access to substance abuse treatment.

Graduate Students

Jan Slattery

Ph.D. Student

Jan completed his masters in counselling psychology at McGill University and is currently completing his Ph.D. here at Dalhousie. His chief clinical and research interest involves understanding the pathology of disordered video gaming behaviours. Specifically, determining the profile of a healthy gamer, as what constitutes healthy gaming and unhealthy gaming is unclear. In a past life, Jan has worked in the engineering consulting world for eight years. His past experiences vary from yoga, drafting and designing principles in architecture and engineering to flying aircraft and helping map the fruit fly brain.

Jenna Bissonnette

Ph.D. Student

Jenna completed her B.Sc. at Mount Saint Vincent University and recently obtained her M.Sc. in psychiatric research at Dalhousie University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Dalhousie. Her research interests include using electroencephalography (EEG) to identify potential biomarkers for psychosis as well as working towards a better understanding of the relationships between addiction, trauma, and psychosis. Outside of work Jenna likes to crochet, read, and spend time with her family.

Kitti Bessenyei

Ph.D. Student

Kitti Bessenyei has completed an M.Ba. as well as her M.A. in Psychology in Hungary, where she is originally from. As a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology, her current research interests broadly focus on the mind-body connection, modern technology’s impact on mental health and she is passionate about using technological advancements to improve healthcare. Her interests outside of psychology include dance and traveling.

Elijah Otis

Ph.D. Student

Eli completed his B.A. in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he wrote his undergraduate thesis on effort exertion in pursuit of rewards in bipolar and hypomanic individuals under the supervision of Dr. Luke Clark at the UBC Centre for Gambling Research. He has also worked as a research assistant with Dr. Lena Quilty at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health investigating personality differences across the spectrum of gambling involvement. Eli’s research interests lie in the role played by cognitive distortions in the etiology and maintenance of addictive disorders such as Gambling Disorder, as well as identifying the factors that contribute to high comorbidity between anxiety disorders and addictive disorders.

Karen Tang

Ph.D. Student

Karen will be completing her clinical psychology residency in Regina for the 2024-25 year. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Karen graduated in 2019 with a B.A. Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Karen previously completed a 3-month research internship in Germany and her honours thesis on Video Game Addiction. These experiences have shaped her current research interests in addictive disorders (both substance and behavioural). She is primarily interested in examining comorbid psychiatric conditions, and social factors (stigma, culture). Her interests outside of psychology include traveling and painting.

Honours Students

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Research Assistants

Jacob Belliveau

Lab Coordinator

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Jacob graduated in 2020 with a B.Sc. Honours degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University. Jacob completed his honours thesis on classroom behaviour management strategies. He hopes to continue onto graduate studies, with the end goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. Outside of psychology, Jacob’s main interests include gardening, drawing, and computers.

Emma Bishop

Lab Coordinator

Emma recently graduated with a B.Sc. Honours degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University. She completed her honours thesis on risk communication within the Canadian Justice System in the Forensic Psychology and Personality Lab. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology. Outside of psychology, Emma spends her spare time playing hockey, going on hikes, and spending time with friends and family.

Ross Fraleigh


Ross Fraleigh graduated with a double major in biology and neuroscience and will be attending medical school in the fall. His research interests revolve around the effects of drug abuse in psychiatrically effected populations. Besides this, Ross enjoys helping out with any task in the lab. Outside of school he can be found rock climbing, cycling, and playing pool.

Grace O'Connor


Grace is in her 4th year of neuroscience and biology at Dalhousie University. Grace has previously done research with MINDS of London Middlesex to develop a peer support guidebook for youth experiencing mental health, as well as discussion-based support groups. Grace is interested in researching the intersection of addiction and mental health. Outside of academia, Grace enjoys playing pickleball, tennis and spending time with friends. 

Meghan MacLennan


Meghan is a recent graduate from Dalhousie University, holding a B.Sc. Honours degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology. They completed their honours thesis on the interactions between gender, motives for video gaming, and adverse gaming outcomes. She aims to continue on to graduate studies with the end goal of being a clinical psychologist. Outside of academia, Meghan's main interests include drawing, playing music, and video gaming.

Anahí Montalvo


Anahí is a fourth-year psychology student with a minor in sociology at Dalhousie University. She will pursue her honors degree with the Child and Language Psychopathology Lab. She is planning to continue her studies in graduate school to become a clinical psychologist. Her main interests outside academia are reading, playing sports, and doing outdoor activities.

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