Zachary Kaminsky , PhD

Dr. Zachary Kaminsky is the DIFD Mach-Gaensslen Chair in Suicide Prevention Research at The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2008 and trained in one of the first labs studying epigenetics in psychiatry. In 2010, as psychiatry faculty at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Kaminsky developed a research program using genome-wide DNA methylation microarrays to study CNS and peripheral samples in postpartum depression (PPD), suicide, and PTSD, generating some of the first and most widely replicating epigenetic biomarkers in psychiatry.

Dr. Kaminsky’s laboratory studies animal models of psychiatric conditions, side-by-side with human populations, in attempts to better understand the molecular epigenetic underpinnings of psychiatric phenotypes, and to enable the generation of true “bench to bedside” translational findings. A specific focus of the lab is the development of disease predictive biomarkers utilizing DNA methylation marks in peripheral tissues to diagnose the risk to a future mental illness. Dr. Kaminsky is actively studying epigenetic marks in relation to suicide and postpartum depression.

New directions for his research involve the pairing of peripheral epigenetic biomarkers with prospective neuroimaging studies and the development and integration of machine learning techniques to determine mental health risk from social media data.