Sherif Karama, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Sherif Karama, MD, PhD



6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Montréal, QC
H4H 1R3

 Office:J-2115, Reed Pavilion

 Office phone: (514) 761-6131 x3356

Researcher, Douglas Research Centre
Psychiatrist, Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Clinical Research Scholar, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), Junior 2 

Lab name: Genetic and environmental effects on brain development across the lifespan and corollary impacts on cognition

Theme-Based Group: Youth Mental Health and Early Intervention
Division: Human Neuroscience


Research in the lab focuses on gaining a better understanding of the respective impacts that genes, environment, and their interaction have on brain development and the corollary consequences that these impacts can have on cognitive ability differences.

Examples of currently pursued work:

*Examinations of associations between brain structure and cognitive ability
*Examinations of associations between cigarette smoking and brain cortical thickness
*Examinations of association between corticosteroid levels and brain structure
*Examinations of the interplay between genes and early child environment on brain development

Over the years, we developed multiple local and international collaborations that allowed us to conduct research on large datasets. For instance, in collaboration with Edinburgh University, we work on the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936 for which cognitive ability at age 11 and exhaustive genetic, behavioral, physiological, morphometric, and brain imaging data at ages 73 and 77 are available for more than 600 subjects. In collaboration with Dr. Michael Meaney, we have recently set up a new wave of data acquisition on the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) cohort using multimodal brain imaging (i.e. structural, diffusion-weighted, and resting state fMRI).

1998-1999 Invited scholar, Harvard University

2002 MD, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal

2003-2004 Fellowship, Genetics of Executive Functions, Douglas Mental Health
University Institute, McGill University

2002-2008 Postgraduate Psychiatry Residency, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

2008-2012 Postdoctoral Fellowship (i.e. post MD), McConnell Brain Imaging Center,
McGill University

2014 PhD, Neuroscience, Université de Montréal, Characterization of the Neural
Substrate Involved in Processing Emotional Dynamic Visual Stimuli: Study by
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Recent awards:

2012-2016 FRSQ – Chercheur Boursier Clinicien

2015 Prix de jeune chercheur– Collège Canadien de Neuropsychopharmacologie

2009     Karama S., Ad-Dab’bagh Y., Haier R., Deary I., Evans A. and The Brain Development Cooperative Group. Positive association between cognitive ability and cortical thickness in a representative US sample of healthy 6 to 18 year-olds.  INTELLIGENCE,  vol 37 (2), 145-155.

2011            Karama S., Colom R., Johnson W., Deary I.J., Haier R., Waber D.P., Lepage C.,  Ganjavi H., Jung R., Evans A.C., the Brain Development Cooperative Group.  Cortical thickness correlates of specific cognitive performance accounted for by the general factor of intelligence in healthy children aged 6 to 18. NEUROIMAGE, 55(4):1443-1453.

2011         Ducharme S. , Hudziak J. J. , Botteron, K. N., Ganjavi H., Lepage C., Collins L., Albaugh  M. D., Evans A. C., Karama S.*, the Brain Development Cooperative Group.  Right Anterior Cingulate Cortical Thickness and Bilateral Striatal Volume Correlate with CBCL Aggressive Behavior Scores in Healthy Children. BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY, 70(3):283-290

2011              Ganjavi H., Lewis J., Bellec P., MacDonald P., Waber D., Evans A.C., Karama S.*, the Brain Development Cooperative Group.  Negative Association Between Corpus Callosum Midsagittal Area and IQ in a Representative Sample of Healthy Children and Adolescents.  PLoS ONE, 6(5):e19698

2012         Colom R., Quiroga À, Solana A.B., Burgaleta M., Román F. R., , Privado J., Escorial S., Martínez K., Álvarez-Linera J., Alfayate E., García F.,  Lepage C., Hernández-Tamames J.A., Karama S.  Structural changes after videogame practice related to a brain network associated with intelligence. Intelligence, 40(5):479-489.

2013               Nguyen T.-V., McCracken J., Ducharme S., Botteron K.N., Mahabir M., Israël M., Evans A.C., Karama S.*, Brain Development Cooperative Group. Testosterone-related cortical maturation across childhood and adolescence. Cerebral Cortex, 23(6): 1424-1432.

2013                Karama S. and Evans A.C. Neural correlates of ADHD in adulthood. Biological Psychiatry, 74(8):558-9

2013            Nguyen T.-V., McCracken J. T., Ducharme S., Cropp B.F., Botteron K.N.,
Evans A.C, Karama S.*Interactive Effects of DHEA and Testosterone on Cortical Thickness during Early Brain Development. Journal of Neuroscience. 33(26):10840-8.

2014                Ameis S.H., Ducharme S., Albaugh M.D., Hudziak J.J., Botteron K.N., Lepage C., Zhao L., Khundrakpam B., Collins D.L., Lerch J.P., and Wheeler A., Schachar R., Evans A.C., Karama S.* Cortical Thickness, Cortico-Amygdalar Networks, and Externalizing Behaviors in Healthy Children. Biological Psychiatry, 75(1):65-72.

2014                Karama S.,  Bastin M.E., Murray C., Royle N.A., Penke L., Muñoz Maniega S.,Gow A.J., Corley J., del C. Valdés Hernández M., Lewis J.D., Rousseau M.-É., Lepage C., Fonov V., Collins D.L., Booth T., Rioux P., Sherif T., Adalat R., Starr J.M., Evans A.C., Wardlaw J.M., Deary I.J. Childhood cognitive ability accounts for associations between cognitive ability and brain cortical thickness in old age. Molecular Psychiatry, 19: 555-559.

*Reached No1 position in Nature-Molecular Psychiatry list of top ten downloads within the previous 30 days

2014                 Ducharme S., Albaugh M.D., Hudziak J.J., Botteron K.N., NguyenT.-V., Truong C., Evans A.C., Karama S.*Anxious/depressed symptoms are linked to right ventromedial prefrontal cortical thickness maturation in healthy children and young adults. Cerebral Cortex, 24(11):2941-50

2014             Burgaleta M. Johnson W., Waber D., Colom R., Karama S.* Cognitive ability changes and dynamics of cortical thickness development in healthy children and adolescents. NeuroImage, 84:810-819.

In press         Karama S, Ducharme S, Corley J, Starr JM, Wardlaw JM, Bastin ME, Deary IJ.Cigarette Smoking and Thinning of the Brain’s Cortex. Molecular Psychiatry
*Reached No1 position in Nature-Molecular Psychiatry list of top ten downloads within the previous 30 days