Zahinoor Ismail

Associate Professor

Community Health Sciences


Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)


Contact information


Office: 403.210.6900

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Dementia & Cognitive Disorders
  • Mental Health
  • neuropsychiatry
  • depression

Research activities

Dr. Ismail’s lab in the Ron and Rene Ward Centre for Healthy Brain Aging Research, where he is a Principal Investigator and collaborator in several areas of research including: 1) neuroimaging and biomarkers of neuropsychiatric symptoms as early presymptomatic indicators of neurodegenerative disease and dementia; 2) biomarkers of neurological mimics of psychiatric disease; 3) linked database research of adverse drug reactions with psychiatric and neurological medications; 4) clinical psychopharmacology and clinical trials in cognitive and neurodegenerative diseases; and 5) systematic reviews and meta-analyses of neuropsychiatric symptom prevalence.

Dr. Ismail lead the team in the development of the ISTAART-AA provisional research criteria for Mild Behavioral Impairment (MBI), which describes mid and late life onset of sustained and impactful neuropsychiatric symptoms as an “at risk” state for cognitive decline and dementia. He has developed a rating scale based on the criteria, the MBI checklist, for which there are multiple ongoing translation and validation studies ( Dr. Ismail is also a contributor to the Canadian Network of Mood and Anxiety Disorders depression treatment guidelines and the Canadian Psychiatric Association Clinical Practice Guidelines for schizophrenia. Dr. Ismail’s work has been funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, The Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network, The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, The Alzheimer Society of Calgary via the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Brain Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration and Aging.


Dr. Ismail is a clinician scientist in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Dr. Ismail attended both medical school and residency in Alberta finishing in 1999 and completed a fellowship in Geriatric Neuropsychiatry at the University of Toronto in 2006. His clinical work stems the breadth of neuropsychiatry, with a focus on the interface between neurological and psychiatric disorders.


United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties