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Nina Di Pietro

Position: Instructor
Department: Psychology/Social Science
Faculty: Humanities and Social Sciences
Office: DL A3057
Office Phone: (604) 777-6274

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D, Neuroscience, Boston University
  • M.A., Psychology, Boston University
  • B.A., Psychology, Concordia University

Academic and Professional Profile

Nina Di Pietro, Ph.D., is a full-time faculty member at Douglas College in the Department of Psychology. In addition to teaching, she conducts research on the unique ethical and social challenges faced by stakeholders who are affected by neurological conditions. Her work has led to high impact publications, press coverage in the media, and a book with Elsevier Inc. where reviewers have described her as “a rising force in the field of neuroethics and developmental neuroscience”. Her current research interests focus on drugs and behavior including the social/ethical challenges related to off-label prescribing practices for children and youth, harm reduction initiatives, and stigma related to drug use.


  • PSYC 1100
  • PSYC 2300
  • PSYC 2301

Research/Clinical Activities

Dr Di Pietro combines her passion for addiction research and ethics by examining the social and ethical implications of drug use. She supervises research projects related to these topics for students enrolled in the Psychology Honours Program.

Open to Supervising Honours Students for 2020-21: NO

Professional Affiliations and Community Service

2016 - present, Member, Canadian Society for Bioethics
2012-2015, Member, American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
2007-2015, Member, Canadian Association for Neuroscience
2004-2015, Member, Society for Neuroscience
2013 - present, Journal Reviewer:
European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Autism Research
Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics

Hobbies and Interests

Running and hiking while pondering on the miracle of consciousness

Selected Refereed Publications:

  1. Di Pietro, N., De Vries, J., Paolozza, A., Reid, D., Reynolds, J.N., Salmon, A., Wilson, M., Stein, D.J., Illes, J. (2016). Ethical challenges in contemporary FASD research and practice: A global health perspective. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 25(4), 726–732.

  2. Di Pietro NC, Illes J. (2014). Rising antipsychotic drug prescriptions for Canadian children and youth: cross-sectoral solutions for a multimodal problem. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 186(9): 653-654.

  3. Di Pietro NC, Illes J. (2014). Disparities in Canadian indigenous health research on neurodevelopmental disorders. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 35(1): 74-81.

  4. Di Pietro NC, Whiteley L, Mizgalewicz A, Illes J. (2012). Treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders: evidence, advocacy, and the Internet. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 43(1): 122-33.

  5. Di Pietro NC, Whiteley L, Mizgalewicz A, Illes J. (2011). Treatments and services for neurodevelopmental disorders on advocacy websites: information or evaluation? Neuroethics, 5(2): 197-209.

  6. Di Pietro NC, Seamans JK. (2010). Interactive dopamine and serotonin modulation of prefrontal cortex neurons in vitro. Biological Psychiatry, 69 (12): 1204–1211.

  7. Di Pietro NC, Mashhoon Y, Heaney CF, Yager LM, Kantak KM. (2008). The role of dopamine D1 receptors in the dorsal agranular insular area of the prefrontal cortex in mediating cocaine self-administration in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 200 (1): 81-91.

  8. Di Pietro NC, Seamans JK. (2007). Dopamine and serotonin interactions in the prefrontal cortex: insights on antipsychotic drugs and their mechanism of action. Pharmacopsychiatry; 40: 1-7. Review.

  1. Di Pietro NC, Illes J (Eds). (2015). Science and Ethics of Antipsychotic Use in Children. Waltham MA, Academic Press.