Medicine & Dentistry-Pediatrics
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
My research focuses on early development in autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. With the goals of identifying early behavioural and neurobiological markers of autism, my research group is following a high-risk cohort; namely, infant siblings of children with autism. This is helping us identify specific risk markers to aid in earlier diagnosis and study basic processes (e.g., attention, emotion, executive control) that may underlie later symptoms. My colleagues and I are also embarking on a longitudinal MRI study of these high-risk infants to help determine the relationship between abnormalities in brain growth and connectivity, and the onset and progression of behavioural manifestations of autism. Other research includes genetic studies of autism using molecular and genomic strategies, a national longitudinal study of developmental trajectories and outcomes in newly diagnosed preschool children with autism, and a qualitative study of the values, priorities and worldviews of families of children with autism. Other areas of interest include screening/early diagnosis, intervention studies, and epidemiology of autism.