Alexandre Dumais, MD PhD FRCPC, is a psychiatrist and researcher at the Research Center of the l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal. He earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences during his residency in psychiatry, and pursued 2 post-doctorates on magnetic resonance imaging and virtual reality (VR). As of 2015, he holds the status Junior Clinical Research scholar 1 from the FRQS. His expertise in violence risk assessment and in the neurobiology of violence has gained him international recognition. He has published more than 50 articles in high impact scientific journals such as the American Journal of Psychiatry and Schizophrenia Research. Moreover, due to his unique expertise in violence and virtual reality therapies, he has had close to 50 media appearances, both locally and internationally. Dr. Dumais is an expert in the development and testing of innovative psychosocial interventions using VR for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. He is the principal investigator on the Avatar project. He thus oversees the VR procedures, the training of therapists who will give Avatar Therapy as well as treatment integrity.   

Stéphane Potvin, Ph.D., holds the Eli Lilly Chair in Schizophrenia Research and has published over 160 manuscripts in leading scientific journals, including the American Journal of Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry. He is the coordinator of the Neurobiology and Cognition Axis of the Research Center of the Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal. Dr. Potvin is currently studying the harmful effects of cannabis and alcohol on brain structures in patients with schizophrenia, with an emphasis on the reward system. He is interested in the treatment of emotions in this population and uses functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques. He is co-principal investigator on the Avatar project. Dr. Potvin uses the facilities and resources provided by the Chair to facilitate recruitment, student training, scientific publications and knowledge dissemination.

Kieron O’Connor, Ph.D. M.Phil C.Psychol, FSCPA, is recognized for his expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for several psychiatric disorders, including psychosis. He has over 120 publications in leading scientific journals, and has led 5 clinical studies funded by the CIHR. He was one of the first to have integrated a dialogical approach in the treatment of refractory auditory hallucinations internationally. He has also developed an innovative therapy using virtual reality for hoarding disorders. Dr. O’Connor adapted Birchwood and Chadwick’s CBT for the current study. He is a co-investigator on the Avatar project, and is in charge of training therapists who will offer CBT, and oversees treatment integrity.

 Emmanuel Stip, MD, Msc, FRCPC, is a psychiatrist from the JAP clinic at the CHUM as of 2017. He is also involved in clinical research at the CHUM. He is a professor in the department of psychiatry and addictology at the Université de Montréal, and was the director of the department for 8 years as of 2009. He has held the Eli Lilly Canada Schizophrenia Research Chair for 10 years and has been a research clinician for the Fonds de Recherche du Québec. He completed a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the Université de Montréal and worked at the University of British Columbia with Peter Liddle, one of the pioneers in brain imaging for psychosis. He completed his medical, philosophy and psychiatry degrees at the Université d’Angers in France as well as at the Université de Montréal. As a clinician, he worked in Abitibi and at the IUSSM with Pierre Lalonde in the Young Psychotics Program. His research interests revolve around neuropsychology and cognition, brain imaging, psychopharmacology and cognitive remediation, as well as the use of new technologies related to mental health. In 2017, he received the AMPQ Heinz Lehmann Award for Excellence in Psychiatry. He is a member of the Board of Les Impatiens and of the Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal. Dr. Stip is a co-investigator on the Avatar project. He oversees the methodological procedures of the study, and the training of the evaluators in charge of administering the psychiatric questionnaires.

Marie-Hélène Goulet, Inf. Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the Université de Montréal where she teaches mental health interventions. For over 10 years, she has been involved in research related to the prevention of aggressive behavior and control measures. As a CIHR Fellow, she completed a PhD in Nursing at the Université de Montréal, for which she received the 2018 Jean-Marie-Van-der-Maren Award of Excellence for the best doctoral thesis in qualitative research. She has also been a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University’s Faculty of Law and at the Institut Philippe-Pinel in Montreal. She is co-investigator on the Avatar project, where she is responsible for the qualitative components.