Academic Staff

Dr. Chan









Dr Meanne C.M. Chan

BA Hons. (Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, minor in Commerce), University of British Columbia
MA (Health Psychology, minor in Quantitative Methods), University of British Columbia
PhD (Health Psychology), Northwestern University
Postdoctoral Fellowship (Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre/University of Toronto



Membership Committee of American Psychosomatic Society
Member of International Society of Behavioral Medicine
Member of American Psychological Association (APA Div. 38)

Keywords:
Stress biology
Social health disparities
Inflammatory activation and psychopathology
Early intervention for developmental psychopathology

Bio:

Dr Chan is a Health Psychologist by training, and has developed an inter-disciplinary three-prong research program rooted in social health disparities and stress biology. Prior to doctoral training at Northwestern University, Meanne completed undergraduate and Masters studies at the University of British Columbia, majoring in Health Psychology with a minor in Quantitative Methods. She completed doctoral training in Health Psychology at Northwestern University, which also included policy training with The Center on Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research, and neurobiology training in the Department of Medical Social Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She then completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a research hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. She was a Lecturer at the University of Toronto prior to joining the Department of Psychiatry in 2017. American Psychosomatic Society named Meanne as one of 25 Young Investigator Colloquium Scholars in 2016, an award granted for promising early career research.

Research Interests:

The overarching theme is to characterize how differential exposure to adversity instantiates risk for health conditions across the lifespan. A mixed-methods approach has been adopted to examine how social factors at the neighborhood, family, and individual levels interact to confer risk for psychopathology and chronic diseases. In particular, to better understand how various stressors provoke vulnerability to conditions that manifest in different life stages, dysregulation across the domains of social-cognition, emotion processing, health behaviors, cardiovascular reactivity, inflammatory activation, and molecular changes, are investigated together with the biological state of the developing brain. 

Current mechanistic results suggest that adversity during critical stages of development mobilizes a psychobiological cascade: sensitizes threat vigilance and response systems, activates an inflammatory phenotype, enables high-risk health behaviors, and interacts with genetic predispositions to forecast neuroanatomical changes in frontolimbic regions. However, not all individuals exposed to stressors follow the same risky trajectory – some children and adults display resilience. Taken together, these findings help unmask how social risk factors are psychologically and biologically embedded, and reveals viable targets for prevention and early intervention.

As such, Dr Chan also recently launched several early intervention projects to target social and health risk factors in developing populations and their families. In Toronto, Dr Chan led the Youth Impact Summit to revamp civic engagement and mental health in today’s youth. In Hong Kong, Dr Chan runs multi-level interventions for key stakeholders relevant to the early years of life -- young children, parents, teachers, and community organizations. These holistic interventions involve programs to build resilience, form networks, and enhance readiness to overcome social and health risk factors that can have long-arm implications on development. For example, the mobilization of social capital via mentorship programs or culturally adapted methods of community engagement may help buffer against risky trajectories in disadvantaged subgroups.

Finally, Dr Chan has interests in model building using large-scale datasets, geomapping and mobile health, as well as AI approaches to optimize the representation of risky trajectories. In collaboration with NGO partners and community startups, Dr Chan has developed EdTech and HealthTech platforms to improve ecological and time-series data collection, deliver contextualized care, and target a wider and more remote sample.

Selected Publications:

 

Wong, W. C., Yuen, W. W., Chen, W., Tang, C. S., Leung, P. W., Chan, M., & Ip, P. (forthcoming). Physical and psychological child maltreatment in China: The role of social support and social development. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health.

 

Ho, F. K. W., Louie, L. H. T., Wong, W. H., Chan, K. L., Tiwari, A., Chow, C. B., Ho, W., Wong, W., Chan, M. et al. (in press). Positive youth development-based sports intervention improves mental well-being and physical fitness of adolescents: A randomised controlled trial. Pediatrics.

 

Hostinar, C. E., Ross, K. M., Chan, M., Chen, E., & Miller, G. E. (in press). Threat vigilance and socioeconomic disparities in metabolic health. Development and Psychopathology, Special Issue on Biological And Behavioral Effects of Early Adversity on Multiple Levels of Development.

 

Human, L. J., Chan, M., Ifthikhar, R., *Williams, D., DeLongis, A., & Chen, E. (2016). Accuracy and bias in adolescent perceptions of parent behavior: Links with adolescent psychological and inflammatory functioning. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(8), 796-805.

 

Chan, M., Miller, G. E., & Chen, E. (2016). Early-life socioeconomic status and metabolic outcomes in adolescents: The role of implicit affect about one’s family. Health Psychology, Special Issue on Disparities in Cardiovascular Health: Examining the Contributions of Social and Behavioral Factors, 35(4), 387-396.