Professor, Departments of Paediatrics,Community Health Sciences; Director, Behavioural Research Unit, Alberta Children's Hospital
ACHRI Neurodevelopment, Child & Youth Mental Health
The Child Development Centre
2830 - 24th Avenue NW Third 3rd Floor
2888 Shaganappi Trail NW
Calgary, AB T3B 2X9
Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Community Health Sciences; Director, Behavioural Research Unit, Alberta Children's Hospital
I am Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. I received my doctoral training at the University of Calgary. From 2001 through 2005, I was funded as a CIHR Health Career Investigator, and have served as the Director of the Behavioural Research Unit since 2006. I am the co-lead on the Alberta Pregnancy and Nutrition (APrON) study, a longitudinal pregnancy cohort study of ~2200 families in Alberta Canada. In 2012, I received the Department of Paediatrics Academic Leadership Award, and in 2013 I was awarded the Global Health Champion Award from the Cumming School of Medicine.
Neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders constitute the fastest growing health sector worldwide. An estimated 20% of school-aged children suffer from diagnosable disorders such as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), depression and anxiety.
Neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders often co-occur. My research focuses on the neurobiology and genetics of co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders, and the role that the prenatal environment plays in children’s physical health and neurodevelopmental. My research program is examining:
- brain structure and function in typically developing children and children with neurodevelopmental disorders including developmental coordiation disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autsim spectrum disorder.
- the genetic basis genes of developmental coordination disorder and co-occurring disorders including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
- the effects of prenatal and early childood exposures (i.e., neurotoxicants, maternal nutrition, maternal mental health, maternal HIV) on children’s brains, cognitive development, behaviour and mental health in Canada and Tanzania.
- the role of prenatal and perinatal events such as being born too early on neurodevelopment and brain structure and function.
I also collaborate with colleagues on research examining: a) the effect of caffeine for apnea of prematurity on outcomes of children born preterm; b) language, motor and structural brain development in preschool children; c) melatonin treatment for post-concussive syndrome, and d) psychosocial adjustment in pediatric cancer survivors and children with type 1 diabetes.