The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) serves individuals through hospital and ambulatory care services both in Toronto and across Ontario. It is the largest health care facility in Canada that is dedicated to treating, preventing, and understanding mental illness and addiction.

Our Research Department is among the top five such programs in the world. The criteria for research at CAMH includes excellence in science, relevance to CAMH mission, and integration across the research domains. Our scientists are committed to working together through and across disciplines — “from neurons to neighbourhoods.” We aim for research that catalyzes change in how people receive care.

The CAMH Research Department has about 100 research scientists and approximately 400 staff, plus approximately 45 trainees, 40 post-doctoral students and 105 graduate students. We work closely with the independent CAMH Research Ethics Board.

Most CAMH research is funded externally through top-tier competitive grant awards. Our funders include Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, NARSAD, and the Government of Ontario.

Through the CAMH Foundation, donors and philanthropists are valued partners in supporting scientists and research projects. Additionally, we partner with industry in selected clinical trials and other projects.

In 2010 CAMH began a multi-year renovation of its research facilities, which will expand its capacity in imaging, genetics, and other research platforms. This renovation is supported by several grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation worth $20 million and two grants from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation worth $5 million.

Scope of Research

The CAMH Research Department brings together internationally recognized scientists, state-of-the-art facilities, a range of professional training opportunities for doctoral and post-doctoral students, and a province-wide network of clinical and program staff. Our departments include Neuroscience Research; Clinical Research; Social, Prevention and Health Policy Research; and the PET Centre (positron emission tomography).

The PET Centre
CAMH has the only imaging facility worldwide dedicated to the application of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to the investigation of mental disorders, including addiction, and their treatment. The CAMH PET Centre radiochemistry team is an international leader in the development of novel PET imaging agents. These radiolabeled molecules have been used for basic research and for pre-clinical and Phase I studies for new drug development in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. The facility has a cyclotron and radiochemistry laboratory for on-site production of the short-lived PET radiotracers. It has two state-of-the-art high resolution PET scanners: a brain imaging research tomography and a whole body PET/CT scanner.

CAMH is currently expanding its imaging facility with the acquisition of a second cyclotron and a 3 Tesla MRI scanner. The expansion also includes a new radiochemistry laboratory to enhance its capacity to develop and apply new PET radiotracers. CAMH imaging research integrates basic and clinical scientists in a collaborative environment that focuses on maximizing the impact of its research to help those afflicted by mental disorders. Its most recent initiative, neuroIMAGENE, is the first comprehensive research effort to bring together the tools of genetics and medical imaging to tackle the most challenging problems of mental disorders and their treatment.

The Neuroscience Research Department is dedicated to making discoveries in the brain at all levels that in turn relate to mental health, addictions, and their treatments. The department follows three areas of focus: Molecular Medicine, Psychiatric Genetics, and Clinical & Behavioural Neuroscience. Specific laboratories include: 

  • Epigenetics
  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Neuroscience
  • Human Neurochemical Pathology Laboratory
  • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Pathophysiology
  • Molecular Neuropsychiatry and Development Laboratory
  • Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Neurobiology of Alcohol
  • Neurobiology of Schizophrenia
  • Neuroimaging
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Psychiatric Neurogenetics
  • Translational Addiction Research

The Clinical Research Department is involved in research, treatment, and education. It includes clinical research in:

  • Addictions
  • Child, Youth and Family
  • Law and Mental Health
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Centralized Assessment, Triage and Support Program
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Women’s Program
  • Community Support Research Unit

The Social, Prevention and Health Policy Research
Department provides scientific evidence and publications to inform policy decisions, health system redesign, and other interventions. It includes:

  • Health Systems Research & Consulting
  • Ontario Tobacco Research Unit
  • Public Health & Regulatory Policies
  • Social and Community Prevention Research
  • Social, Equity and Health

CAMH Background: CAMH was created in 1998 through the successful merger of the former Addiction Research Foundation, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Donwood Institute, and Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaboration Centre, and is a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.