Research Management Committee
Kids Brain Health Network’s Research Management Committee is a standing advisory committee to the Board of Directors responsible for providing oversight and direction on the execution and progress of Network research programs and projects.
Jacob A. (Jake) Burack holds a PhD, MPhil, and MSc from Yale University and a BA from Columbia University. He is Professor of School/Applied Child Psychology and Human Development in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University, and founder and Director of the McGill Youth Study Team (MYST). He and his students are engaged primarily in two areas of study. One is the development of attention and cognition among typically developing children, persons with autism spectrum disorder, and persons with Down syndrome. The other area of research is the study of cultural identity and other predictors of academic success, social adaptation, and emotional well-being among First Nations adolescents from northern communities. In addition to this empirical work, Jake and his students contribute conceptual pieces primarily about the interface of typical and atypical development, and the contributions of developmental theory and methodology to the study of persons whose development is at-risk.
Dr. Friedman’s research bridges clinical genetics and basic science. Our work is focused in three major areas. The first area involves application of advanced genomic technology to identifying the causes of mental retardation. The second area uses genetic epidemiology – statistical analysis of large collections of clinical and genetic data and various other methods – to understand the disease processes in people with neurofibromatosis, a common genetic condition that leads to the development of benign and malignant tumours, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. The third area examines development and dissemination of authoritative information on human teratogenic risks (risks to embryonic or fetal development) resulting from maternal treatment with various medications during pregnancy.
A graduate of University of Guelph and University of Toronto, Professional Home Economist and former teacher, Mary worked in Health Canada and Public Health Agency in diverse positions since 1980. Since 1987, Mary applied her skills to research and knowledge development for promotion of health for children (0 to 18). From 1997 until 2002 as Senior Research Analyst, Division of Childhood and Adolescence she was noted for innovation in translating and disseminating research findings to transform policy, program and practice. Since 2002, Mary managed the FASD Initiative within the PHAC. The focus has been on prevention of future alcohol affected births, improvement of outcomes for those affected and development of prevalence and cost data for Canada.
Désirée Maltais, PhD PT, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation at Université Laval and a researcher at Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, in Québec City, Canada. Her research focuses on outcome measures related to mobility in children with CP and on the determinants and effects of physical activity in individuals with motor impairment. She is a licensed physical therapist with 20 years of clinical experience in pediatric rehabilitation. She is the past chair of the Adapted Sports and Recreation Committee of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
Dr. Osborne received her PhD from The University of London, England (1993) and completed post-doctoral training in human genetics with Prof. Lap-Chee Tsui at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. She was appointed at the University of Toronto in 1999 and is currently a Professor in the departments of Medicine and Molecular Genetics. The major focus of Dr. Osborne’s research is chromosome rearrangements of human chromosome 7q11.23, with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of the resulting neurodevelopmental disorders. Her lab is at the forefront of research into the deletion disorder Williams syndrome, as well as it’s reciprocal duplication disorder, and has helped elucidate the range of complex chromosomal rearrangements associated with this part of chromosome 7. Her team are currently using both human participants and animal models to probe the molecular and cellular bases of cognitive and behavioural aspects of these syndromes with the long term goal of developing targeted therapeutic options. Dr. Osborne is currently chair of the Kids Brain Health Network Research Training Committee.
Dr. James Reynolds is a graduate of Queen’s University (B.Sc., 1982, Ph.D, 1987). His thesis research investigated the neurochemical mechanisms underlying heavy metal toxicity. Subsequently, he completed postdoctoral training at the Addiction Research Foundation and the University of Toronto. Dr. Reynolds’ first faculty position was at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He returned to Queen’s in 1995, where his research program has grown to encompass both basic and clinical investigations. Dr. Reynolds is a Full Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, at Queen’s University. His research interests over the past 20 years have centred around studies on the effects of alcohol on brain function. In particular, his current research program is focused on understanding the mechanisms of brain injury, and the resulting behavioural and cognitive deficits, that are induced by prenatal exposure to alcohol. The long term goal is to understand how prenatal exposure to alcohol alters brain neurochemistry and structure, and thus brain function, in offspring. Dr. Reynolds has been funded by CIHR for interdisciplinary basic and clinical investigations into the cellular mechanisms and neurobehavioural consequences of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). He led a 7-member CIHR-funded New Emerging Team in FASD research, and is the Interim Chief Scientific Officer and Project Lead for the FASD Demonstration Project with Kids Brain Health Network.
Vivien is a graduate of Queen’s University where she completed her B.A./B.P.H.E before carrying on to study in the MSC program at Dalhousie University. Vivien was a faculty member both at Queen’s U and Dalhousie U where she was responsible for the gymnastics courses. Vivien minored in Adapted Physical Education and has worked extensively on developing motor skill acquisition programs for children of all abilities. She has 45 plus years of gymnastics coaching experience and 30 years experience as a gymnastics business owner founding and operating Club Aviva Recreation Ltd. Club Aviva is a large community-based gymnastics centre which offers a wide range of recreational, competitive and specialized programs. In 2002 she founded the Empowering Steps Movement Therapy Program (ESMT) which now treats over 130 children with a wide range of neurodevelopmental disabilities per week. The program is based upon 15 years of research and practical knowledge reflecting her philosophy of promoting optimal motor, social and emotional development for all children and youth, regardless of their level of ability or disability.