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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Donald Mabbott, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Member of Paediatric Brain Tumour Program

Research Institute
Program Head and Senior Scientist
Neurosciences & Mental Health

University of Toronto

Phone: 416-813-8875
Fax: 416- 813-8024
Email: 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, program head and senior scientist in the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children, and a 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. 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. (2012 – 2017).
  2. 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).
  3. 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 (2013 – 2016).
  4. 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 (2014 – 2017).
  5. CHILD-BRIGHT: Child Health Initiatives Limiting Disability- Brain Research Improving Growth and Health Trajectories. Majnemer A; Miller SP;
    Goldowitz D, Kirton CA,  Cohen E, Gorter, JW, Kirton CA, Lach LM, Lucyna M, Marelli A, Mcgrath PJ, Thomson D, Gavin F, Florence D, Major-Cook N, Tracy L, O’Donnell M, Mabbott DJ.  
    CIHR -SPOR Networks in Chronic Disease  (2015 - 2021).
  6. Pharmacological recruitment of endogenous neural precursors to promote pediatric white matter repair.  Miller FD, Mabbott DJ, Frankland W, Kaplan D, Morshead CM, Munoz D, Wang J, and Yeh A.  
    Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (2015 – 2016).
  7. Cognitive Dysfunction in MS: Using altered brain oscillations to link molecular mechanisms with clinical outcomes. Mabbott DJ, Yeh A, Prescott S, Lefebvre.
    Centre for Brain & Mental Health: Chase-an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience Catalyst Grant Competition. (2016 – 2017).


Moxon-Emre I, Taylor MD,  Bouffet E, Hardy K, Campen C, Malkin D, Hawkins C, Laperriere N, Ramaswamy V, Scantlebury N,  Spiegler BJ, Janzen L, Law N, Walsh K, Mabbott DJ. Intellectual outcome in molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2016 Aug 9. pii: JCO669077. [Epub ahead of print].

Riggs L, Piscione PJ, Laughlin S, Cunningham T, Timmons B, Courneya K, Szulc K, Bartels U, Skocic J, DeMedeiros C, Liu F, Persadie N, Scheinemann K, Scantlebury N, Bouffet E, Mabbott DJ.  Exercise training for neural recovery in a restricted sample of pediatric brain tumor survivors: a controlled clinical trial with crossover of training versus no training Neuro-Oncology 2016; Aug 23. pii: now177. [Epub ahead of print]

Moxon-Emre I, Bouffet E, Taylor MD,  Laperriere N, Sharpe MB, Laughlin S, BartelsU, Scantlebury N,  Law N,  Malkin D, Skocic J, Richard L,  Mabbott DJ. Vulnerability of white matter to insult during childhood: evidence from patients treated with medulloblastoma. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2016 Jul: 18(1): 29-40.

Scantlebury N, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Strother D, McConnell D, Hukin J, Fryer C, Laperriere N, Montour-Proulx I, Keene D, Fleming A, Jabado N, Liu F, Riggs L, Law N, Mabbott DJ. White matter and information processing speed following treatment with cranial-spinal radiation for pediatric brain tumor. Neuropsychology. 2016 May: 30(4): 425-438.

Thompson E, Hielscher T, Bouffet E, Remke M, Luu B, Gururangan S, McLendon RE, Bigner D, Lipp ES, Perreault S, Cho Y-J, Grant G, Kim S-K, Lee J-Y, Rao AN, Giannini C, Li KK, Ng H-K, Yao Y, Kumabe T, Tominaga T, Grajkowska WA, Perek-Polnik M, Low DC, Seow WT, Chang K, Mora J, Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Leary S, Ermoian RP, Moore A, Ingram W, Hallahan AR, Jouvet A, Fevre-Montange M, Vasiljevic A, Cecile Faure-Conter; Tomoko Shofuda; Kagawa N, Hashimoto N, Jabado N, Weil AG, Gayden T, Wataya T, Shalaby T, Grotzer M, Zitterbart K, Sterba J, Kren L, Tibor Hortobagyi T, Klekner A, Laszlo B, Pocza T, Hauser P, Schulle U, Jung S, Jang W-Y, French PJ, Kros JM, van Veelen M-L,  Massimi L, Leonard JR, Rubin JB, Vibhakar R, Chambless LB, Cooper MK, Thompson RC, Faria CC, Carvalho A, Nunes S, Pimentel J, Fan X, Muraszko K, Lopez-Aguilar E, Garzia L, Shih D, Kijima N, Schneider C, Adamski J, Northcott PA, Kool M, Jones DT, Chan JA, Nikolic A, Garre ML, Van Meir EG, Osuka S, Olson JJ, Jahangiri A, Gupta N, Weiss WA, Moxon-Emre I, Mabbott DJ, Lassaletta A, Hawkins CE, Tabori U, Drake J, Kulkarni A, Dirks P, Rutka JT, Korshunov A, Pfister SM, Packer RJ, Ramaswamy V, Taylor MD. Prognostic value of medulloblastoma extent of resection after accounting for molecular subgroup: an integrated clinical and molecular analysis. Lancet Oncology. 2016 April: 17(4): 484-495

Nieman BJ, de Guzman AE, Gazdzinski LM, Lerch JP, Chakravarty MM, Pipitone J, Strother D, Fryer C, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Laperriere N, Riggs L, Skocic J, Mabbott DJ. White and gray matter abnormalities after cranial radiation in children and mice. International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics. 2015 Nov;93(4): 882–891 doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.07.2293

Lassaletta A, Bouffet E, Mabbott DJ, Kulkarni AV. Functional and neuropsychological late outcomes in posterior fossa tumors in children.  Child Nervous System. 2015 Oct;31 (10): 1877-90.

Law N, Smith ML, Greenberg M, Bouffet E, Taylor MD, Laughlin S, Malkin D, Liu F, Moxon-Emre I, Scantlebury N, Mabbott DJ. Executive function in pediatric medulloblastoma: the role of cerebrocerebellar connections. Journal of Neuropsychology. 2015 Aug 4. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12082. [Epub ahead of print].

Law N, Greenberg M, Bouffet E, Laughlin S, Taylor MD, Malkin D, Liu,F, Moxon-Emre I, Scantlebury N, Mabbott DJVisualization and segmentation of reciprocal cerebrocerebellar pathways in the healthy and radiated brainHuman Brain Mapping. 2015 Jul;36(7):2615-28.

Lafay-Cousin L, Fay-McClymont T, Johnston D, Fryer C, Scheinemann K, Fleming A, Hukin J, Janzen L, Guger S, Strother D, Mabbott DJ, Huang A, Bouffet E:  Neurocognitive evaluation of long term survivors of atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT): The Canadian registry ExperiencePediatric Blood & Cancer. 2015 Jul;62(7):1265-1269.

Kulkarni AV, Donnelly R, Mabbott DJ, Widjaja E.  Relationship of ventricle size to white matter injury and neurocognition in children with stable, treated hydrocephalusJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.  2015 Jun 5:1-8.

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 gliomaNeuro-Oncology.  2015 April;17(4):604-13.

Ramaswamy V, Remke M, Adamski J, Bartels U, Tabori U, Huang A, Hawkins C, Mabbott DJ, Laperriere N, Taylor MD, Bouffet, E:  Medulloblastoma subgroups specific outcomes in irradiated children:  who are the true high-risk patients?  Neuro-Oncology. 2015 Mar;129(3):449-57.

Kilday JP, Branson H, Rockel C, Laughlin S, Mabbott DJ, Bouffet E, Bartels U: Tumour volumetric measurements in surgically inaccessible paediatric low grade gliomaJournal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, 2015 Jan;37(1):e31-6.

Schreiber JE, Gurney JG, Palmer SL, Bass JK, Wang M, Chen S, Zhang H, Swain M, Chapieski ML, Bonner MJ, Mabbott DJ, Knight SJ, Armstrong CL, Boyle R, Gajjar A: Examination of risk factors for intellectual and academic outcomes following treatment for pediatric medulloblastomaNeuro-Oncology. 2014 Aug;16(8):1129-36.

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 survivalPediatric Blood and Cancer, 2014 Jul;61(7):1300-4.

Dockstader C, Wang F, Bouffet E, Mabbott DJGamma deficits as a neural signature of cognitive impairment in children treated for brain tumorsJournal of Neuroscience, 2014 Jun 25;34(26):8813-24.

Knight SJ, Conklin HM, Schreiber J, Palmer S, Armstrong CL, Wallace D, Bonner M, Swain MA, Evankovich KD, Mabbott D, Boyle R, Zhangm H, Huang Q, Anderson V Gajjar A: Working memory abilities among children treated for medulloblastoma: parent report and child performance. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 2014 Jun;39(5):501-11.

Hoag J, Kupst MJ, Briere ME, Mabbott DJ, Elkin TD, Trask CL, Isenberg J, Holm S, Ambler C, Strother DR: Feasibility of conducting long-term follow-up of children and infants treated for CNS: tumors on the same cooperative group clinical trial protocol. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 2014 Jun;21(2):136-43. 

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