About Sickkids
About SickKids

Donald Mabbott, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Associate Chief, Academic and Professional Practice
Professional Practice

Member of Paediatric Brain Tumour Program

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Neurosciences & Mental Health

University of Toronto
Associate Professor

Phone: 416-813-8875
Fax: 416- 813-8024
e-mail: donald.mabbott@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Mabbott Lab

Brief Biography

I received my PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Alberta in 1998, and then completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Paediatric Neuropsychology at The Hospital for Sick Children.  I am a psychologist with the Paediatric Brain Tumour Program in the Division of Haematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children, a senior scientist in the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children, and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. I provide clinical neuropsychology services to children with brain tumours and their families and I have a research program in developmental neuropsychology.

Research Interests

  • Developmental neuropsychology
  • Neuro-cognitive late effects of paediatric brain tumours.
  • Multi-modal neuro-imaging
  • Brain repair

Research Activities

My research uses innovative brain imaging techniques (i.e., Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Magnetoencephalography) and psychological tests to study the impact of brain injury on how the brain grows and develops in childhood.   Specifically, I examine the impact of treatment for paediatric brain tumours on the structure and function of the brain. 

Although many children with brain tumours are cured, survival does not come without a cost. Survivors have higher rates of academic difficulties, and lower rates of high-school graduation and employment relative to their peers. The overall goal of my research is to reduce the burden of brain tumours and their treatment to improve the quality of life for children.  My work has been instrumental in documenting the thinking and learning difficulties children treated for brain tumours experience and the underlying damage to brain structure and function that cause these problems.  

I have recently begun exciting new work to find ways to foster brain repair following radiation injury in children treated for brain tumours, including using physical exercise and drugs that stimulate the growth of new brain cells. My work has been funded through the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, and Genome Canada.

External Funding

  1. Exercise intervention in children treated with radiation for brain tumors.  Mabbott DJ, Timmons B, Bartels U, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Piscione J, Scantlebury N, Scheinemann K.  Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. (2012 - 2014)
  2. Genetic predictors of intellectual outcome and white matter injury following treatment with cranial radiation for paediatric brain tumours.  Mabbott DJ, Malkin D, Taylor MJ, Bouffet E, Scantlebury N, Beyne J.  Garron Family Cancer Centre Small Grant Competition, The Hospital for Sick Children. (2012 – 2014).
  3. Placebo controlled double blind crossover trial of Metformin for brain repair in children with brain tumours. Mabbott DJ, Miller FD, and Bouffet E.  Stem Cell Network (April 2013 – March 2015).
  4. Recruitment of endogenous neural stem cells to promote repair following acquired brain injury in children.  Miller FD, Mabbott DJ, Frankland W, Morshead CM, Bouffet E.  The W. Garfield Weston Foundation - Brain Canada Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI). (2013 – 2016).
  5. Recruitment of endogenous neural stem cells to promote repair following acquired brain injury in children.  Mabbott DJ, Miller FD, Frankland PW, Morshead CM, Bouffet E.  Garron Family Cancer Centre Matching Funds, the Hospital for Sick Children (March 2013 – February, 2016).
  6. KEYS to succeed: cognitive and academic intervention program for children and adolescents surviving cancer.  Mabbott DJ, Guger S, Bouffet E, Bartels U, Cunningham T, Janzen L, Solomon T, Dockstader C.  Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (May 2014 – April 2017).
  7. Examining the relationship between white matter Integrity and the speed of neuronal processing in children with brain tumours. Mabbott DJ, Bouffet E, Dockstader C, Doesburg S, Gaetz W, Laughlin S, Tabori U.  Canadian Institute for Health Research. (October 2012 – September 2017).


Liu F, Scantlebury N, Tabori U, Bouffet E, Montour-Proulx I, Keene D, Briere ME, Strother D, McConnell D, Hukin J, Fryer C, Wang F, Mabbott DJ: White matter insult predicts poor neuro-cognitive outcome in survivors of pediatric low grade glioma.  Neuro-Oncology.  2014 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print].

Henrich N, Marra C, Mabbott DJ, Malkin D, Fryer C, Bouffet E, Taylor M, Hukin J, Scantlebury N, Gastonguay L, Lynd L: De-escalation of therapy for pediatric medulloblastoma: trade-offs between quality of life and survival.  Pediatric Blood and Cancer, 2014 Jul;61(7):1300-4.

Dockstader C, Wang F, Bouffet E, Mabbott DJ: Gamma rhythms as a neural signature of cognitive effort in children.  Journal of Neuroscience, 2014 Jun 25;34(26):8813-24.

Moxon-Emre I, Bouffet E, Taylor MD,  Malkin D, Laperriere N, Scantlebury N,  Law N,  Spiegler BJ, Janzen L, Mabbott DJ: The impact of CSR dose, boost volume and medical complications on intellectual outcome in patients with medulloblastoma.  Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014 Jun 10;32(17):1760-8.

Riggs L, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Laperriere N, Liu F, Skocic J, Scantlebury N, Wang F, Schoenhoff NJ, Strother D, Hukin J, Fryer C, McConnell D, Mabbott DJ:  Changes to memory structures in children with medulloblastoma.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 2014 Feb;20(2):168-80.

Scantlebury N, Gaetz W, Dockstader C, Rockel C, Laughlin S, Dickson J, Mabbott DJ:  White matter tract maturation and age related changes in information processing speed in childhood. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 2014 Jan;20(1):99-112.

Scantlebury N, Gaetz W, Widjaja E, Rutka J, Bouffet E, Rockel C, Mabbott DJ:  Functional re-organization of the cortico-spinal tract in a paediatric patient with an arteriovenous malformation.  Neuro Report  2014 Jan 8; 25(1):55-9.

Piscione PJ, Bouffet E, Mabbott DJ, Shams I, Kulkarni AV: Physical functioning in pediatric survivors of childhood posterior fossa brain tumors.Neuro-Oncology 2014 Jan;16(1):147-55.

Dockstader C, Gaetz W, Bouffet E, Tabori U, Wang F, Bostan S. Laughlin S, Mabbott DJ: Neural correlates of delayed visual-motor performance in children treated for brain tumours. Cortex 2013: 49(8): pp 2140 -2150.     

Law N, Greenberg M, Bouffet E, Taylor M, Laughlin S, Strother D, Fryer C, McConnell D, Hukin J, Kaise C, Wang F, Mabbott DJ:  Clinical and neuroanatomical predictors of cerebellar mutism syndrome.  Neuro-Oncology 2012: 14(10): pp 1294-1303

Dockstader C, Gaetz W, Rockel C, Mabbott DJ: White matter maturation in visual and motor areas predicts the latency of visual activation in children.  Human Brain Mapping 2012: 33(1): pp 179-91.

Mabbott DJ, Monsalves E, Spiegler BJ, Bartels U, Janzen L, Guger S, Laperriere N, Andrews N, Bouffet E. Longitudinal evaluation of neurocognitive function after treatment for central nervous system germ cell tumors in childhood. Cancer 2011: 117(23): pp 5402-11.

Law N, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Laperriere N, Brière ME, Strother D, McConnell D, Hukin J, Fryer C, Rockel C, Dickson J, Mabbott DJ:  Cerebello-thalamo-cerebral connections in pediatric brain tumor patients: impact on working memory. NeuroImage 2011:  56(4): pp 2238-2248-168.  

Scantlebury N, Mabbott DJ, Janzen L, Rockel C, Widjaja E, Jones G, Kirby M, Odame I: White matter integrity and core cognitive function in children diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology 2011: 33(3): pp 163-71.

Gaetz W, Scantlebury N, Widjaja E, Rutka J, Bouffet E, Rockel C, Dockstader C, Mabbott DJ: Mapping of the cortical spinal tracts using magnetoencephalography and diffusion tensor tractography in paediatric brain tumor patients.  Child’s Nervous System 2010: 26(11): pp 1639-45.