William Panenka

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry

Phone: 604 822-7549 
Web pages: Department Page



  • FRCPC Neurology - UBC
  • FRCPC Psychiatry - UBC
  • M.D. – Calgary
  • M.Sc. – Calgary


  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neuroimaging
  • Addictions
  • Psychosis
  • Homeless

Overall Research Goals

  • To further understand the determinants of outcome from concussion and more serious brain injuries
  • To advance brain imaging in psychiatric and neurological disorders
  • To better understand the factors leading to social decline and homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside population

Primary Research Techniques

  • Advanced neuroimaging, primarily cutting edge MRI techniques
  • Neurocognitive and psychiatric assessments, both manual and computerized


As a clinical researcher my main goals over the next five years are to continue my work with the homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, and set up a mild traumatic brain injury research program at the University of British Columbia.

Vancouver’s downtown eastside is home to our most vulnerable population, characterized by a mixture of primary psychiatric illness and refractory addictions. As part of a large team led by Dr. Bill Honer (Head of Psychiatry) we recruit individuals housed in single room occupancy hotels who then undergo detailed medical and psychiatric testing, including brain MRI. This is a longitudinal study that follows approximately 500 individuals for up to 5 years. The data generated is important to policy makers and to science. There are a multitude of opportunities to explore psychiatric and neurological illness from many angels within this study.

My lab is concurrently engaged in the study of traumatic brain injury. We are building a strong team that includes multiple researchers from multiple disciplines here at UBC and abroad. Under the umbrella of the BC Neuropsychiatry program we have recently started the “Neuropsychiatry Concussion Clinic” for those individuals with symptoms that do are not resolving following head trauma. This clinic and others serve as recruitment sites for research studies that focus on the development of biomarkers in concussion, which simply put means finding cognitive, imaging, and blood markers that may predict outcome and response to treatment in those with brain injuries.

Selected Publications

1. Lange RT, Panenka WJ, Shewchuk JR, Heran MK, Brubacher JR, Bioux S, Eckbo R, Shenton ME, Iverson GL. Diffusion Tensor Imaging Findings and Postconcussion Symptom Reporting Six WeeksFollowing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2014 Nov 21. pii: acu060. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Gicas KM, Vila-Rodriguez F, Paquet K, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, Lang DJ, Smith GN, BaitzHA, Giesbrecht CJ, Montaner JS, Krajden M, Krausz M, MacEwan GW, Panenka WJ, Honer WG, Thornton AE. Neurocognitive profiles of marginally housed persons with comorbid substance dependence, viral infection, and psychiatric illness. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2014 Nov 7:1-14. [Epub ahead of print]

3. Silverberg N, Gardner AJ, Brubacher J, Panenka W, Li JJ, Iverson GL. Systematic review of multivariable prognostic models for mild traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Sep 15. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Procyshyn RM, Su J, Elbe D, Liu AY, Panenka WJ, Davidson J, Honer WG, Barr AM. Prevalence and patterns of antipsychotic use in youth at the time of admission and discharge from an inpatient psychiatric facility. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Feb;34(1):17-22. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e3182a607dd.

5. Jones AA, Vila-Rodriguez F, Panenka WJ, Leonova O, Strehlau V, Lang DJ, Thornton AE, Wong H, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, Smith GN, Buchanan T, Krajden M,Krausz M, Montaner JS, Macewan GW, Nutt DJ, Honer WG. Personalized risk assessment of drug-related harm is associated with health outcomes. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 6;8(11):e79754. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079754. eCollection 2013.

6. Namjoshi DR, Good C, Cheng WH, Panenka W, Richards D, Cripton PA, Wellington CL. Towards clinical management of traumatic brain injury: a review of models and mechanisms from a biomechanical perspective. Dis Model Mech. 2013 Nov;6(6):1325-38. doi: 10.1242/dmm.011320. Epub 2013 Sep 12. Review.

7. Vila-Rodriguez F, Panenka WJ, Lang DJ, Thornton AE, Vertinsky T, Wong H, Barr AM, Procyshyn RM, Sidhu JJ, Smith GN, Buchanan T, Krajden M, Krausz M, Montaner JS,MacEwan GW, Honer WG. The hotel study: multimorbidity in a community sample living in marginal housing. Am J Psychiatry. 2013 Dec;170(12):1413-22. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12111439.

8. Panenka WJ, Procyshyn RM, Lecomte T, MacEwan GW, Flynn SW, Honer WG, Barr AM. Methamphetamine use: a comprehensive review of molecular, preclinical and clinical findings. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 May 1;129(3):167-79. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.11.016. Epub 2012 Dec 27. Review.

9. Barr AM, Panenka WJ, Honer WG, Khara S, Procyshyn RM. Excessive antipsychotic dosing in a Canadian outpatient population. Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Jun;62(6):682-3. doi: 10.1176/ No abstract available.

10. Panenka WJ, Khorram B, Barr AM, Smith GN, Lang DJ, Kopala LC, Vandorpe RA, Honer WG. A longitudinal study on the effects of typical versus atypical antipsychotic drugs on hippocampal volume in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2007 Aug;94(1-3):288-92. Epub 2007 Jun 13.