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Eszter Szekely

Eszter Szekely, PhD

Psychosocial aspects of disease

ADHD, Anxiety, Brain development, Child psychopathology, Cognitive neuroscience, Cross-cohort data harmonization, Depression, Epidemiology, Perinatal mental health, Psychiatric genetics
  • Principal Investigator, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Contact details

(514) 340-8222 ext. 27647

Assistant contact details

  • Kathelijne Keeren,
    Research Coordinator
    (514) 340-8222 ext. 27647


Eszter Szekely, PhD is the Principal Investigator of the Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Lab. Her research lab is focusing on improving families’ mental health during the perinatal period (from pregnancy through the baby’s first year of life) using observational, clinical, genomic, and neuroimaging research methods.

She is the Director of the Perinatal Multisite Databank, an ongoing clinical cohort of patients receiving perinatal mental health services at one of seven participating hospital sites in Quebec. The aim of the databank is to improve patient care and promote evidence-based practice in perinatal psychiatry.

She is also an integral member of the DREAM BIG research consortium that harmonizes key measures across seven longitudinal birth cohorts to explore the early life origins of major psychiatric disorders in childhood. Within DREAM BIG, her work explores how the prenatal environment, genomic variability, and the early parental care affect child mental health, particularly the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Major Research Activities

The specific research areas in the laboratory include:

  • The role of adult attachment in perinatal mental health
  • Perinatal mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Negative/traumatic child birth experience and mother-infant bonding
  • The effect of prenatal stress on child development
  • Parenting and parent-child interventions
  • Mother-infant neural synchrony
  • The neurobiological basis of childhood mental disorders, and
  • Brain development in ADHD

Recent Publications and References