Dr. Susan Potter
Associate Professor & Clinical Psychologist
Lab Supervisor, Head Researcher
Tel.: (902) 585-1220
Dr. Susan Potter is a faculty member at Acadia University. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from McGill University in 1997. Her research focuses on the gut-brain axis, the two-way communication system between the gut and the brain. A great deal of research has now demonstrated that the bacteria in the gut (the gut microbiome) influence brain functioning, for better or worse. Disturbances in the gut microbiome are associated with anxiety, depression and increased reactivity to stress. Animal research has shown that when the balance in the gut microbiome is restored, behavioural signs of anxiety and stress decrease and preliminary evidence suggests that this is also the case with humans. Potter's research focuses on probiotics in the treatment of mental health problems.
Natasa Mitrovic, BA(H)
Natasa is enrolled in a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology at Acadia University and is researching the effects of probiotics on anxiety, mood, and other mental health symptoms in adults. She believes this research is very important because anxiolytic medications have the potential for abuse and addiction and antidepressants have undesirable side-effects; therefore, if probiotics are shown to be beneficial for treating anxiety and depression, it would allow people to choose a safe and natural option to improve mental health.
As a fourth year honours student in psychology, Nicole Morley is excited to be working in the Acadia University Probiotics and Mental Health Lab. Her research will focus on the effect of probiotics on anxiety in children will contribute to the search for an alternative and natural treatment option for these children.
Billy Toulany is currently enrolled in the Honours Psychology program at Acadia University with a focus on Neuroscience. He has been working on the Probiotic studies since January of 2015 as a volunteer but recently transitioned to a research assistant. Billy is looking into the effects of probiotics on the memory and processing abilities of adults affected by anxiety and/or mood symptoms. Recent studies on rats have shown that probiotics positively effect memory and anxiety; however, the potential benefits on humans are not yet well understood.
Patrick Bazinet is enrolled in the Master of Science program in Clinical Psychology at Acadia University and is researching the effects of a probiotic supplement on anxiety, attention, and memory in children. He has a long-standing interest in the role nutrition and exercise can play in improving physical and mental health. After completing his degree, he plans to work as a clinical psychologist in the Annapolis Valley.
Amanda is enrolled in the Master of Science program in Clinical Psychology at Acadia University and is investigating how probiotics may positively impact symptoms of ADHD and anxiety in children between 6-17 years of age. Amanda recently completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Dalhousie University and has several years experience conducting research with children. She is excited to transfer these skills to a clinical setting! Upon completion of her degree, Amanda plans to work as a clinical psychologist in the Maritimes and to continue to be involved with research.
Emilie is currently enrolled in the Honours Psychology program at Acadia University. She is extremely excited to be a part of the research team. Her research will focus on the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a phenomenon that occurs when an individual experiences symptom relief when exposed to a biologically inactive substance. This area of research is important because when the placebo effect is present, it becomes difficult to determine the effectiveness of the product under study. After graduating from Acadia, Emilie hopes to continue her studies and research in the field of natural medicine.