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Ryan Van Lieshout


Dr. Van Lieshout is the Canada Research Chair in the Perinatal Programming of Mental Disorders, the Albert Einstein/Irving Zucker Chair in Neuroscience at McMaster, Interim Director of the Graduate Program in Neurosciences at McMaster, and a psychiatrist at the Women's Health Concerns Clinic at SJHH where he sees women struggling with mental health problems during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

His primary research interests are in the developmental origins of adult disease and in particular the perinatal programming of psychiatric disorders. To date, this has focused on examining links between maternal pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity and mental health in offspring, as well as associations between being born at extremely low birth weight and later psychopathology.

He is also interested in the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology during pregnancy and the early postpartum period, and the impact these disorders and their treatments have on neurodevelopmental outcomes (including psychiatric risk) in offspring.

Featured Publications

Mathewson KJ, Chow CHT, Dobson KG, Pope EI, Schmidt LA, Van Lieshout RJ. Mental health of extremely low birth weight survivors: systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. 2017 Feb 13. Doi: 10.1037/bul0000091. 

Van Lieshout RJ, Yang L, Haber E, Ferro MA. Evaluating the effectiveness of a brief cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for perinatal depression. Archives of Women's Mental Health. 2017.20: 225-228.

Van Lieshout RJ, Krzeczkowski J. Just DO(HaD) It! Testing the Clinical Potential of the Prenatal Programming and DOHaD Hypotheses Using Experimental Study Designs. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 2016; 7(6): 565-573.

MacQueen G, Frey BN, Ismail Z, Jaworska N, Steiner M, Van Lieshout RJ, Kennedy SH, Lam RW, Milev R, Parkih SV, Ravindran AV; CANMAT 2016 Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder. Special Populations: Youth, Women, and the Elderly. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2016; 61: 588-603.

Van Lieshout RJ, Boyle MH, Saigal S, Morrison KM, Schmidt LA. Mental Health of Extremely Low Birth Weight Survivors in their 30s. Pediatrics. 2015; 135: 452-459.

Van Lieshout RJ. Role of Maternal Adiposity Prior to and During Pregnancy and Cognitive and Psychiatric Problems in Offspring. Nutrition Reviews. 2013: 71 Suppl 1: S95-S101.

Van Lieshout RJ, Robinson M, Boyle MH. Maternal Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass Index and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems in Offspring During Childhood and Adolescence.  Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 2013; 58: 151-159.

Van Lieshout RJ, Taylor VH, Boyle MH. Pregnancy and Pre-Pregnancy Obesity and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Offspring: A Systematic Review. Obesity Reviews. 2011; 12: e548-e559.


Clinical and Research Interests

  • Impact of Public Health Nurse Delivered Group CBT for Postpartum Depression (with Niagara Region Public Health)


  • PhD, Health Research Methodology Program, McMaster University, 2012
  • F.R.C.P.C. (Clinician-Investigator Program), McMaster University, 2012
  • F.R.C.P.(C). (Psychiatry),Psychiatry Residency Training Program, McMaster University, 2009
  • M.D., Doctorate in Medicine, University of Ottawa, 2004
  • B.Sc (Hons), Honours Biology and Psychology, McMaster University, 2000



Research Areas

  • Prenatal programming of psychiatric disorders (e.g., by maternal adiposity, maternal depression & anxiety, and extremely low birth weight)
  • Etiology and treatment of perinatal depression and anxiety disorders
  • obesity, pregnancy effects on babies’ development
  • extreme low birth weight and subsequent health effects
  • risk of psychiatric disorders in late pregnancy and early postpartum period

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