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N-PhenoGENICS

Team Bios

Dr. Shinya Ito, MD, FRCPC
Division head of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Department of Paediatrics
Senior Scientist, Translational Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Shinya Ito is the nominated Principal Investigator of the N-PhenoGENICS project. He is a clinician-scientist at SickKids and an attending physician in the paediatric drug consultation service, Motherisk clinic and the DART (Drug Allergy Reaction & Toxicology) clinic. Dr. Ito’s research is mainly focused on mechanisms of drug transport in breast milk and long-term side effects of drug on children including how genes influence drug responses (Pharmacogenetics). Dr. Ito will offer pharmacogenetics expertise to the project and is overseeing the operation of the project. View scientific profile

Dr. Sharon Guger, PhD
Psychologist, Department of Psychology, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Sharon Guger is a neuropsychologist on the SickKids Oncology Aftercare Team.  Her role on this project is to support the neuropsychological assessment component of N-PhenoGENICS in order to define the TRANCE phenotype. Along with Spiegler, she developed the neuropsychological assessment battery to measure concentration, attention and problem-solving skills. Guger and Spiegler will maintain oversight of recruitment, neuropsychological assessment and evaluation of participants’ performance. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss their assessment results with either Spiegler or Guger at their request. View Department of Psychology

Dr. Johann Hitzler, MD, FRCP(C), FAAP
Staff Haematologist, Division of Haematology/Oncology, Section Leukemia Lymphoma

Senior Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Hitzler is a both a clinical oncologist and researcher in the field of childhood leukemia. He brings expertise with the diagnosis and treatment of childhood leukemia and lymphoma to the study team. Hitzler will oversee participant recruitment and the treatment-related data extraction. These data will be used to analyze relationships between specific leukemia treatments and late effects experienced by survivors of childhood leukemia. View scientific profile

Dr. Deborah O'Connor, PhD, RD
Senior Associate Scientist, Research Institute Clinical Dietetics
Senior Associate Scientist, Translational Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children
View scientific profile

Dr. Russell Schachar, MD, FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Senior Scientist, Psychiatry and Neurosciences & Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Schachar contributes to the N-PhenogGENICS research on the effects of chemotherapy and genetic risk factors on brain development. Dr. Schachar is a leader in cognitive and genetic studies of child psychopathology, with a focus on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His widely cited research in response inhibition stimulated the development of new models of inhibitory control, SST model, which will be used as part of neuropsychological assessment for the N-PhenoGENICS study. View scientific profile

Dr. Brenda Spiegler, PhD
Director of Psychology, Psychologist, Department of Psychology, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Brenda Spiegler is the Director of Psychology at SickKids and a paediatric neuropsychologist in the Oncology Program.  She has over 20 years of experience providing clinical neuropsychological services to children with cancer and her research has addressed neurocognitive late effects of treatment for childhood cancer.  Her role on this project is to support the neuropsychological assessment component of N-PhenoGENICS in order to define the TRANCE phenotype. Along with Dr. Sharon Guger, she developed the neuropsychological assessment battery to measure concentration, attention and problem-solving skills. Guger and Spiegler will maintain oversight of recruitment, neuropsychological assessment and evaluation of participants’ performance. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss their assessment results with either Spiegler or Guger at their request. View Department of Psychology

Dr. Rosanna Weksberg, MD, DRCPC, PhD
Geneticist, Clinical and Metabolic Genetics
Co-director and Staff Geneticist, Cancer Genetics, Senior Scientist, Genetics & Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children
View lab website

Dr. Darci Butcher, PhD
Research Fellow, Genetics & Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Darci Butcher will be working along with Dr. Rosanna Weksberg on the Epigenomic component of N-PhenoGENICS study. With a wide-ranging experience in the field of epigenetics, Butcher will deliver the epigenetics expertise to the study.

Dr. Ellen Van der Plas, PhD
Research Fellow, Psychiatry Research, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Van der Plas has completed her PhD training in cognitive neuroscience and her previous work focused on brain development in teenagers who were born with cleft lip and palate. Using neuroimaging she examined the differences in brain structure between teenagers who were born with clefts and healthy controls. She also examined how brain structure was related to social function in these groups. Along with Schachar, she will be working on a neuroimaging project examining the effects of chemotherapy on brain development. She will also examine whether certain genes have an effect on outcomes after chemotherapy exposure. In particular genes that control biological pathways that are targeted by chemotherapy. 

Dr. Susanne Aufreiter, PhD
Research Associate, Clinical Dietetics, Translational Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children

Laura Hopf, M.A.
Clinical Research Project Coordinator, Department of Psychology, SickKids 

Laura Hopf joined the team in the summer of 2016 as the Psychometrist/Research Coordinator. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at McGill University, followed by her master’s degree in developmental psychology at New York University. Laura is responsible for data collection process, including the administering of participant neuropsychological tests to measure their performance in a variety of areas including behaviour, attention and problem-solving abilities. Laura also plays a key role in participant recruitment. Children/youth and their families will spend most of their study visit day with Laura. She makes sure participants successfully complete the various research components. Laura can answer any questions you may have about participating in the quality of life study.

Patrick Te, Hons B.Sc 
Research Assistant

Patrick Te completed his undergraduate degree in psychology and neuroscience at McMaster University. He is the research assistant on the team who manages study logistics, data collection and database organization, along with Laura Hopf. Patrick is mainly responsible for participant recruitment, sample collection and ensuring that study visits run smoothly.