Our Team

Dr. Igor Yakovenko


Dr. Igor Yakovenko is an Assistant 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

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

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-months research internship in Germany and her honours thesis on Video Game Addiction. These experiences have shaped her current research interests on addictive disorders (both substance and behavioral). She is primarily interested in examining co-morbid addictive disorders, as well as transdiagnostic approaches to treatment. Her interests outside of psychology include traveling and painting.

Honours Students

Krystal Soucy

Honours Student

Krystal is currently an Honours student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Her honours project will examine video gaming and its relationship to meaning in life, as well as with co-morbid mental health issues. Krystal previously completed both undergraduate and graduate studies in the Department of Kinesiology. Her aim is to pursue graduate studies in psychology, and to ultimately combine her background in kinesiology and psychology.

Ainsley Lloyd

Honours Student

Ainsley Llloyd is a 4th year Honours student in the Psychology & Neuroscience program at Dalhousie University. Ainsley’s research interests include social development and addiction. Her honours project will explore the sociocultural factors that influence vaping and if one's living situation influences this relationship. Outside of school, Ainsley enjoys music, cooking, and spending time outdoors. After her undergraduate degree, Ainsley aspires to continue her education and pursue a career in mental health.

Chloe Sypes

Honours Student

Chloe Sypes is a 4th year Honours student in the Psychology & Neuroscience program at Dalhousie University. Her research interests include personality and mental health in the workplace. Chloe’s Honours project examines the social and cultural influences of vaping among a university population. Chloe’s goal is to continue her education with a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

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.

Joshua Dort


Joshua Dort graduated from Dalhousie University in 2020 with a B.A. Honours degree in psychology and a certificate in animal behaviour. His undergraduate research focused on the development of a novel training method for sniffer dogs under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. After graduating, he joined the Transdiagnostic Addictions Lab to assist with their exciting research projects. Josh hopes to further his education by becoming a graduate student in psychology, where he intends to combine his interests in mental health, personality and attachment, and the history of psychology. Beyond academics, Josh can be found gaming, being outdoors, relaxing with friends or practicing his hobbies.

Madison Burbidge


Madison Burbidge is a 4th year student in the Psychology & Neuroscience program at Dalhousie University. Her research interests include mental health and addiction. Madison Hopes to continue her education in psychology beyond an undergraduate level. Outside of school, you can find Madison cooking, spending time with friends, and going for walks.

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