Lena Palaniyappan



Why I Became a Scientist

Training as a psychiatrist, I was struck by how little we know about the human brain and the mental phenomenon that is produced by it. This led me to conversations with some eminent scholars in neuroscience, psychology and mental health, who inspired me further into the study of the brain. At some point, I became convinced that I could make a career out of asking questions.

Research Summary

An impressively wide range of tools are available to observe and measure the human brain. It is now possible to study the finer aspects of the brain’s architecture – its curvatures, connections and chemistry – without causing much discomfort to patients. This readily available information can be harnessed to change our understanding of mental illnesses and the way we treat psychiatric ailments. Our group’s work is focused on utilizing neuroscience to the benefit of patients and clinicians fighting mental illnesses.

Research Questions

Developing tools to predict outcome after first-episode psychosis.

Understanding the brain mechanism behind mental states, such as depression, mania and hallucinations.

Developing non-invasive treatment approaches to reduce the severity of psychiatric disorders.

Psychiatric disorders such as psychosis and depression are one of the largest contributors to human suffering across the globe. This large burden is attributed to two vicious aspects of many psychiatric disorders: (1) they start at a young age and (2) they are recurrent in nature.  My group utilizes state-of-art neuroimaging facilities available in London at Robarts Research Institute to enhance the clinical benefits achieved via early intervention.


  • M.D., Stanley Medical College
  • MMedSci, Clinical Psychiatry
  • Ph.D., University of Nottingham


  • Psychiatry Residency Program, Royal College of Psychiatrists 
  • Academic Clinical Fellow, Newcastle University


View all PubMed publications

Contact Info

Robarts Research Institute
1151 Richmond Street Nth.
London, ON N6A 5B7, Canada
Room 3208
Phone: 519-931-5777 ext. 24398
Email: lpalaniy@uwo.ca