Research on Children's Neurodevelopment

Our 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 neurodevelopment

Dr. Deborah Dewey, PhD, R. Psych, Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Community Health Sciences; Director, Behavioural Research Unit, Alberta Children's Hospital

Kayla Ten Eckye, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Elias Nyanza, Vanier Scholar and Graduate Student

Maede Ejaredar, Graduate Student

Melody Grohs, Graduate Student

Eveline Konje, Graduate Student

Nadia Barnieh, Research Coordinator

Laura Henley, Research Assistant

Serena Berno, Research Assistant

Kailyn Jones, Research Assistant

Andrea Stelnicki, Research Assistant

Ashley Marsh, Research Assistant

Siobahn Thornton, Research Assistant

Lyndell Foltinek, Administrative Assistant

Collaborators

Francois Bernier, M.D., FCCMG, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Department Of Medical Genetic, University of Calgary, Director, Clinical Genetics Unit, Alberta Children's Hospital

Nicole Letourneau, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary

Catherine Field, PhD, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta

Bonnie Kaplan, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary

Catherine Lebel, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Calgary

Signe Bray, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Calgary

Carly McMorris, PhD, Assistant Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Karen Barlow, MB ChB, MSc, Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary

Adam Kirton, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Director, Calgary Paediatric Stroke Program

Daniele Pacaud, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary

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. Our 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. Our research program is attempting to answer these questions:

  • How do children’s brains grow and change in the preschool period and is this related to changes in their behavior? 
  • Are the brains of typically developing children different from those of children with neurodevelopmental disorders like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder?
  •  What is the genetic basis of these neurodevelopmental disorders?
  • What are the effects of prenatal exposures  (i.e., neurotoxicants, maternal nutrition, maternal mental health, maternal HIV) on children’s brains and behaviour in Canada and Tanzania?
  • How does being born too early affect brains and behaviour?
  • What can we do to can we improve the quality of life and outcome for pediatric cancer survivors and children with type 1 diabetes?

If you'd like more information on current studies seeking participants, please contact Deborah Dewey at dmdewey@ucalgary.ca