Peter “Furious Pete” Czerwinski
Dr. Jeff Daskalakis
Dr. Brandon Walters
Dr. John Cunningham
Dr. Colin Hawco
Emma Chow (Branksome Hall Student)
Peter Czerwinski, better known by his stage name 'Furious Pete', is a competitive Canadian speed eater and fitness athlete. Czerwinski holds multiple Guinness World Records in eating, hosts a TV show in Europe, owns his own supplement company, and has a YouTube channel with over 4 million subscribers. It has been an uphill battle for Pete, but dedication has been at the forefront of every goal he has achieved. After stumbling upon a talent he didn't know he had during a powerful and emotional encounter with anorexia, Furious Pete has gone on to gather many Guinness World Records including fastest time to eat a whole raw onion (43.53 seconds), consuming 17 Jaffa cakes in 60 seconds, and fastest time to eat a 12" pizza (32 seconds), to name a few. He has since used his popularity in eating as a platform for many other amazing achievements, including documenting his successful 'Road to 700lb Deadlift', and his battle with Testicular Cancer in 2014. He now proudly runs many successful businesses including his YouTube channel with over 4 million subscribers, his supplement company, Furious Formulations, and his fitness apparel company, Furious Apparel.
As an expert on the neurophysiology of severe psychiatric disorders, Dr. Daskalakis leads the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention. This centre uses magnetic brain stimulation to study the role of cortical inhibition and plasticity as potential pathophysiological mechanisms in schizophrenia, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Dr. Daskalakis also conducts treatment studies using repetitive transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (rTMS) for refractory symptoms in these disorders. He has been a NARSAD Lieber Young Investigator (2004, 2006) a NARSAD Independent Investigator (2008) and holds CIHR , Brain Canada and OMHF operating grants. He has also been awarded the Samarthji Lal Award in Mental Health Research from the Graham Boeckh Foundation. Dr. Daskalakis has over 200 peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial board for Biological Psychiatry.
Dr. Brandon Walters graduated from Purdue University with a B.Sc. in genetics and moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he completed a masters in Forensic Science followed by a Ph.D. in Neurobiology. Brandon completed his Ph.D. under the dual mentorship of Drs. Scott Wilson and Lynn Dobrunz, examining the interplay between protein degradation and synaptic function. He expanded his training by moving outside of the brain and pursuing a prestigious post-doctoral opportunity at St. Jude Children’s research hospital in Memphis TN, where he studied hearing regeneration. During his time there, Brandon created novel stem cell lines, and high throughput drug screens designed to aid in hearing regeneration of children post-chemotherapy. Brandon then moved up to Toronto to finish his training by re-focusing on learning and memory research in Dr. Sheena Josselyn’s lab at the Hospital for Sick Children. In the Josselyin lab, Brandon’s work helped to establish the new field of neuroepitranscriptomics, or the study of RNA modifications and how they influence learning and memory. Specifically, his work focuses on the role of RNA methylation in learning and memory, whereby he utilizes advanced gene editing techniques in combination with molecular biology and behavioural testing.
Professor John Cunningham (Ph.D., experimental psychology, University of Toronto, 1995) works in the intersection between clinical and population health. His research is driven by the question, “how do people change from addictive behaviours?” To answer this question, John has combined population research methods with clinical and other research traditions. The findings from these studies have been translated into a series of brief interventions for people with hazardous alcohol use, or other addictions concerns, that can be applied in treatment or community settings. John currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Addictions, is a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and a Professor at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Hawco is a cognitive neuroscientist working in neuroimaging and brain stimulation at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from McGill in 2012. Dr. Hawco’s work focuses on using neuroimaging, specifically functional magnetic resonance imaging, to examine the neurobiology of mental illnesses. He also works on brain stimulation, both as a way to probe brain function and as a treatment for mental illness. Most recently, he has focused on novel approaches to examine individual variability, as well as working towards identifying biologically derived sub-types of schizophrenia and depression. At present, diagnostic categories of mental health are based on symptoms; but the symptoms are not the underlying cause of these disorders, merely the expression. In order to advance mental health treatment, we need to understand the underlying biology behind these illnesses at a group level, but at the level of the individual.
Emma Chow is a grade 12 student at Branksome Hall. Having past experience struggling with mental health, Emma is discussing the strategies she used during her recovery, and her own experience dealing with mental health.