Research Management Committee (RMC)



Richard HawkesChairBio
Dr. Hawkes' research focuses on spatially repeated patterns in developing organisms, such as the mammalian cerebellum. Zebrins are expressed in the adult mouse cerebellum in an array of stripes, which correlates closely with the pattern of axons bringing information into the cerebellum. We explore how zebrin bands are generated, how the different ingrowing axons recognize their appropriate targets, what the modular structure of the cerebellum is and how cerebellar modules function in motor control. Dr. Hawkes uses cell and molecular biology techniques including monoclonal antibodies to zebrins, cloning zebrin genes and constructing zebrin transgenic mice, immunocytochemistry, and in situ hybridization, surgical and pharmacological interventions, and culture of cerebellar slices and dissociated neurons.
Mark BiedaMemberBio
Dr. Bieda's overall research areas are in bioinformatics and epigenetics. He is particularly interested in roles of epigenetic modifications in controlling processes in neuroscience and cancer. Here, Dr. Bieda uses epigenetics in the “modern” sense (some would say incorrect sense) to refer to modifications of DNA and histones to control gene expression. He’d add in transcription factors here, too, with the risk of diluting epigenetic to just mean “transcriptional regulation”.
Jacob BurackMemberBio
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.
Jan FriedmanMemberBio
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.
Daniel GoldowitzMemberBio
Dan Goldowitz received his PhD in Psychobiology at the University of California at Irvine with a thesis that focused on the plasticity of the adult central nervous in response to lesions. His subsequent postdoctoral work at Harvard Children’s Hospital in Boston, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City was in the development of the nervous system. His first position was as an assistant professorship at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. Using approaches that were relatively novel to the study of the brain he pioneered approaches to ascertain the function of genes in brain and behaviour. He moved to the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre (UTHSC) in Memphis and was a leading force in organizing researchers across the State of Tennessee in forming a collaborative to use the mouse as a model organism to identify the function of the genes that were just being uncovered with the human genome project. The Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium was the result of these efforts and this collaborative won one of three US National Institute’s of Health (NIH) awards (amounting to about US$13,000,000 over 5years with D. Goldowitz as the Principal Investigator) to understand the role of genes in the function of the brain. This success led the University of Tennessee system to create a US$6,000,000 in a program to fund a Centre of Excellence in Genomics and Bioinformatics proposed by Goldowitz. He also worked with other individuals at UTHSC to obtain NIH funding for projects to bring science education to the K-12 grades. He was awarded an endowed chair of Neurosciences at UTHSC. These efforts have resulted in national and international collaborations that Dan brought to Canada (the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Children and Family Research Inst at UBC). He currently holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. He maintains strong NIH- , CIHR- and foundation-funded research programs in the genetics of brain development and function. After a bit more than one year in Canada the call for proposals from the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) was published. A survey of the research landscape indicated that Canada had some incredible strength in brain development, both clinically and in the basic sciences, but that they were not united in a way that could bring a synergy that seemed possible. From this as a vantage point, and with a focus of creating a marriage between the clinical and basic sciences, Goldowitz led a successful application to be one of the federally funded NCEs, NeuroDevNet [recently rebranded as Kids Brain Health (KBHN) Network], currently in its second funding cycle with Goldowitz as the Scientific Director (funded at $4M/yr). More recently, Goldowitz was part of a successful application to CIHR under Canada’s Strategies for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) with a mandate to establish a clinical trials network that deals with chronic diseases focusing on neurodevelopmental disabilities. CHILD-BRIGHT (Child Health Innovations Limiting Disability-Brain Research Improving Growth Health Trajectories) is a national network that aims to improve life outcomes for children with brain-based developmental disabilities and their families (funding for 5 years at $25M with half coming from CIHR and half from not-for-profits). Within this Network, Goldowitz sits on the Executive Committee and leads the Training Core which is tasked with developing the training program for multiple stakeholder groups (patients/families, health care providers, researchers, and policy makers).
Mary JohnstonMemberBio
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 MaltaisMemberBio
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.
Lucy OsborneMember, Ex-OfficioBio
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.
James ReynoldsMember, Ex-OfficioBio
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 Project Lead for the FASD Demonstration Project with Kids Brain Health Network.
Vivien SymingtonMemberBio
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.
Laura WilliamsMemberBio

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