Melissa Woodward

Postdoctoral Fellow


My primary research interests involve the interaction between brain health and physical health for individuals impacted by mental health, substance use, and homelessness. My doctoral work focused on the impact of exercise and antipsychotic medication on neuroplasticity and symptom severity for individuals with schizophrenia using structural MRI in people with chronic schizophrenia, and early psychosis, and animal models. My postdoctoral work focuses on longitudinal brain imaging of individuals experiencing homelessness or precarious housing in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. I am involved in a number of projects looking at how the brain and the cerebrovascular system may change overtime and how it may be impacted by substance use. My work also utilizes retinal imaging to assess for early indicators of microvascular hypoxic damage associated with non-fatal overdose. I am particuarly interested in women who have experience non-fatal overdose as they have been undersampled in neuroimaging studies and may be more susceptible to opioid-associated hypoxic damage due to a number of biological and social factors.



Research Classification

Research Interests

Substance Use
cerebral small vessel disease
retinal imaging

Research Methodology

structural MRI
retinal imaging
clinical assessments
Longitudinal Data Analysis

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.



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