Dr. Catherine Lebel

Theme Lead: Dr. Catherine Lebel, PhD

Behaviour and the Developing Brain

The Behaviour and the Developing Brain Theme’s goal is to generate new knowledge and translate it into improved physical and mental health outcomes for children and youth affected by, or at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. This theme includes investigators from many different departments and faculties focused on characterizing typical brain development, understanding brain-related disorders, and/or improving interventions and treatment strategies.

Our three main areas of focus are Acquired Pediatric Brain Injury (includes traumatic brain injury, perinatal and pediatric stroke, and neuro-inflammation), Pediatric Epilepsy, and Neurodevelopment (encompassing typical development, neurodevelopmental disorders and child mental health). Behaviour and the Developing Brain research spans the full range of translation from bench to backyard, including cutting-edge molecular, genetic, neuroimaging, assessment and intervention techniques, and including model organism and human research.

Genes, Development and Health

The Genes, Development and Health (GDH) theme drives a research program that applies advanced genetic, epigenetic and genomic technologies to decipher the molecular and cellular basis of both normal development and childhood genetic disorders. Our program is aimed at bridging clinical and basic science approaches in an intercalated research pipeline. Building on the diverse expertise of its members, the overall aim of the GDH theme is to become a centre of excellence in the application of precision medicine to the genetic diseases of childhood. This is achieved by cutting edge research using model organisms, advanced cell culture methods that recapitulate key steps in early development, high-level imaging techniques and bioinformatics approaches, with the aim to also incorporate cutting edge methods such as artificial intelligence. The theme has established several significant, linked initiatives - notably KidOmics at the Alberta Children's Hospital (ACH) and Model Organism Research for Pediatric Health (MORPH) at the Foothills Medical Campus site – using the discovery potential of fundamental basic research to advance progress across the rare disease spectrum by the rapid translation of laboratory findings to clinical care.

The Theme’s overarching goals are:

  • To discover the causes of childhood diseases through high-level research into fundamental principles of gene regulation and function.
  • To integrate new insights from clinical and biomedical research in personalized medicine approaches to improve child health.
Dr. Myriam Hemberger

Theme Lead: Dr. Myriam Hemberger, PhD

Dr. Amy Metcalfe

Theme Lead: Dr. Amy Metcalfe, PhD

Healthy Outcomes

The Healthy Outcomes Theme’s broad goal is to improve clinical practice in acute and chronic child health care through research. The Theme promotes the creation of research teams with a diversity of talented members who share a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of children and families They focus on excellence in child and family-centred outcomes research and translate new knowledge into practice.  The Theme believes in creating strong partnerships and promoting collaborations to achieve a greater impact. Researchers in this group have strong connections to members of other ACHRI themes, and many of its research initiatives cut across the themes.

The Theme’s overarching goals are:

  • To create new knowledge in high priority areas across the continuum of health and illness from conception to adulthood through translational research programs.
  • To integrate new knowledge into clinical practice through the creation of new, evidence-based clinical pathways, the shaping of health policy and the integration of quality improvement into pediatric care.