About Sickkids
About SickKids

James Drake, BSE, MB, BCh, MSc, FRCSC

The Hospital for Sick Children

Research Institute
Senior Associate Scientist
Neurosciences & Mental Health

University of Toronto

Chair Positions

Harold Hoffman Shoppers Drug Mart Chair
Paediatric Neurosurgery

Other Positions

The Hospital for Sick Children
The Centre for Image-Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention

The Hospital for Sick Children
The Centre for Image-Guided Care

Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre
Consultant Neurosurgeon

Phone: 416-813-6125
Fax: 416-813-4975
e-mail: james.drake@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

Born in London, Ontario, and educated at Princeton University (1969-1974), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (1974), University of Toronto (1986-1987), and Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (1987). Training included a research fellowship funded by the Medical Research Council of Canada (1986-1987) in Hydrocephalus. Assumed his appointment in the Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery in 1988, and has been on the surgical staff at The Hospital for Sick Children in the Division of Paediatric Neurosurgery since then.

Dr. Drake’s primary research and clinical interests relate to engineering applications to neurosurgery including hydrocephalus, image guided surgery and robotics. This encompasses the main themes of CIGITI which are broadened to include applications of imaging, robotics and simulation for all paediatric surgical disciplines. Dr. Drake has over 230 peer-reviewed publications and holds major grants from CIHR/NSERC and Brain Canada. His clinical interests relate to the investigation and management of hydrocephalus including the use of endoscopy, image guided surgery for brain tumours and epilepsy, and the management of complex spinal disorders.

Research Interests

  • Clinical research in hydrocephalus and spasticity
  • Basic research in bioengineering and mathematical models
  • Neuroendoscopy
  • Complex shunt problems
  • Computer assisted surgery

Research Activities 

Hydrocephalus is an abnormal accumulation of spinal fluid within the fluid containing spaces of the brain, and is very common in children. It is normally treated with a valved drainage tube called a shunt, which stops working at a rate of 50 per cent in two years.

The hydrocephalus research program is focusing on clinical and basic research into the reasons for shunt failure. This includes randomized trials for new shunt valves and surgical insertion techniques including the use of miniature scopes; prospective studies of shunt failure looking at risk factors for failure; prospective study of shunt infection; and development of clinical outcome measures in children with hydrocephalus. Basic research focuses on developing minimally invasive techniques for unblocking shunts, and development of mathematical models of the hydrocephalic brain for improved shunt valve design and placement.


Hader W, Drake JM, Sparrow O, Johnson ES, Kestle J: Death after late failure of third ventriculostomy in children. Report of three cases. Journal of Neurosurgery: 97(1): pp 211-215, 2002.

Kulkarni AV, Drake JM, Rabin D, Dirks PB, Humphreys RP, Rutka JT: Measuring the health status outcome of children with hydrocephalus. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences: 29(1): pp 18, 2002.

Lo PA, Drake JM, Hedden D, Narotam P, Dirks PB: Avulsion transverse ligament injuries in children: successful treatment with nonoperative management. Report of three cases. Journal of Neurosurgery: 96(3Suppl): pp 338-342, 2002.

Lo P, Drake JM: Shunt malfunctions. Clinical Neurosurgery - Neurosurgery Clinic of North America: 36, No.4: pp 12:695-701, 2001.

Taylor MD, Mainprize TG, Rutka JT, Becker L, Bayani J, Drake JM: Medulloblastoma in a child with Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome: case report and review of the literature. Pediatric Neurosurgery: 35: pp 235-238, 2001.

Sandberg DI, Lamberti-Pasculli M, Drake JM, Humphreys RP, Rutka JT: Spontaneous intraparenchymal hemorrhage in full-term neonates. Neurosurgery: 48: pp 1042-1049, 2001.

Myles LM, Massicotte P, Drake JM: Intracranial hemorrhage in neonates with unrecognized hemophilia A - a persisting problem. Pediatric Neurosurgery: 34/2: pp 94-97, 2001.

Lawless JF, Wigg MB, Tuli S, Drake J, Lamberti-Pasculli M: Analysis of repeated failures or durations, with application to shunt failures for patients with paediatric hydrocephalus. Applied Statistics (2001 Royal Statistical Society): 50, Part 4: pp 449-465, 2001.

Kulkarni AV, Rabin D, Lamberti-Pasculli M, Drake JM: Repeat cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection in children. Pediatric Neurosurgery: 35: pp 66-71, 2001.