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Schachar Lab


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Dr. Russell Schachar, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Russell Schachar trained in medicine at the University of Toronto and in psychiatry at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Following this, he completed post-doctoral training during a fellowship at the University of London, England under the supervision of Professor Sir Michael Rutter. Motivated by a desire to advance the understanding of mental illness in youth, Schachar returned to SickKids where he initiated an acclaimed clinical research program in Neuropsychiatry and set up a productive research laboratory.

During an active career spanning 30 years, his contributions to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism research have had significant and far-reaching international impact. He is a leader in the field of child psychopathology, advancing our understanding of brain structure and brain function in mental disorders, traumatic brain injury and individuals treated for cancer. He is also the founding scientific director of PEGASYS, a candidate Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence focusing on common mental illnesses. For more information, please see Dr. Schachar's staff profile.

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Dr. Jennifer Crosbie, PhD, C. Psych.

Dr. Jennifer Crosbie completed her master’s degree and PhD in clinical child psychology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Crosbie is a clinical psychologist on the Neuropsychiatry Team within the Department of Psychiatry at SickKids, Associate Scientist and Team Investigator within the SickKids Research Institute, and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.

Crosbie’s research and clinical work is focused on understanding the neurobiological determinants of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders, with a particular focus on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An overarching objective of her work involves investigating the behavioural, cognitive and genetic architecture of ADHD and related neuropsychiatric disorders. Crosbie currently holds numerous externally funded grants and a New Investigator Fellowship from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation.

Research Team

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Christie Burton, PhD

Dr. Christie Burton joined the Schachar team in 2012 as a post-doctoral fellow and is presently a Research Associate. Burton received her PhD in psychology and neuroscience from the University of Toronto in 2012. Her previous research focused on characterizing and understanding neurobiology of behaviours relevant to drug addiction (e.g. impulsivity) in adolescent animals under the supervision of Dr. Paul Fletcher.

Currently, Burton is studying the genomic underpinnings of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in collaboration with the Schachar team and Dr. Paul Arnold at the University of Calgary. In addition, she also studies the clinical, cognitive and genetic correlates of hoarding in children and adolescents with Dr. Jennifer Crosbie (SickKids), Dr. Paul Arnold and Dr. Noam Soreni (McMaster University). 

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Annie Dupuis, PhD

Annie Dupuis completed her PhD in biostatistics at the University of Toronto in November 2001, and pursued her post-doctoral training under the supervision of Dr. Mary Corey at SickKids working in cystic fibrosis research. She has been with the Biostatistics: Design and Analysis Unit since 2004 and joined the Schachar Lab in 2010. Dupuis has developed expertise in attention hyperactive disorders, autism spectrum disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, and learning disabilities. She has extensive experience in the analysis of large databases, questionnaire design and validation, longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, the development of diagnostic rules and measurement norms, latent class analysis, and graphical methods.

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Tara Goodale, M.Sc.

Tara Goodale joined the team as a Clinical Research Project Coordinator in December 2007 and became a Clinical Research Project Manager in January 2012. Goodale earned an undergraduate (honours) degree in child and youth studies, and went on to complete a master’s degree in family relations and human development, with a specialization in child and adolescent development. Using qualitative research methods, her thesis work examined the effects on family members when a child has anorexia nervosa and how women describe recovery from anorexia nervosa in online postings. Goodale has had a longstanding interest in mental health and enjoys being a part of the outstanding child mental health research taking place at SickKids.

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Avalon Henry, MA

Avalon Henry joined the Schachar Lab in March 2015 as a Clinical Research Project Assistant and became a Clinical Research Project Manager in July 2016. She completed her bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology at Bishop’s University, and her master’s degree in developmental psychology at Pace University in New York, under the supervision of Dr. Thalia Goldstein. Her thesis and research interests focused on the relationship between inhibitory control, pretend play, affective disposition and cognition in children. Additionally, she worked with Dr. Martine Flament at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre conducting genetic research on a longitudinal study investigating anxiety and eating disorders in youth.

Henry completed training with the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy and was awarded an internship with Liana Lowenstein, M.S.W., CPT-C., in which she provided individual play therapy to children with various social, emotional and behavioural problems.

She is highly motivated to attain her career goal of completing a doctorate degree in clinical child psychology in order to continue working with children in a clinical and research capacity.

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Fareha Nishat, B.Sc. Hons.

Fareha Nishat joined the Schachar Lab in October 2016 as a Clinical Research Project Assistant. She completed her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and mental health at the University of Toronto. During her final year she worked on a research project at the Peskin Lab looking into ways in which adolescents with high functioning autism and typically-developing adolescents make sense of fiction. Nishat started her time at SickKids as a Child Life volunteer in 2013 and worked in rheumatology research in 2014. She is excited to start her research career at the Schachar Lab, where she can learn about psychiatry research from a diverse set of clinical research staff. Nishat aspires to complete a master's and doctoral degree in epidemiology researching mental health in minority youth populations. 

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Kira Sklar, B.Sc. Hons.

Kira Sklar has been working as a Clinical Research Project Assistant in the Schachar Lab since she joined in October 2016. Kira recently earned a bachelor of science (honours) degree from Dalhousie University, where she studied psychology, and was very involved in child development research. She volunteered in Dalhousie’s Early Learning Lab and Language and Literacy Development Lab, and in her fourth year, completed an undergraduate thesis on learning to spell. She enjoyed learning about research from a variety of perspectives during her undergraduate years and is eager to continue learning about child development. Sklar has always had a strong interest in mental health, particularly in children’s mental health, and she is thrilled to be part of the excellent and exciting psychiatry research program at SickKids.

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Janet Shan, M.Sc.

Janet Shan moved to Canada in 2001. In 2006, she completed her bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Guelph. After that, Shan returned to her home town of Shanghai and worked at Shanghai Loudon Marketing Consultant Co., Ltd. as a data analyst. During that period, she collected, analyzed and summarized data through SAS, generating statistical and analytical reports and presentations. Shan then returned to Canada to pursue her studies. In 2009, she graduated with an M.Sc. in statistics from the University of Guelph and joined the Schachar Lab. As a data research analyst, she is responsible for maintaining, organizing and analyzing the Ontario Science Centre and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) clinic database and transforming data into actionable and useful information. She prepares descriptive statistics and collaborates with the principal investigators and the senior biostatisticians to develop in-depth statistical analysis. She also enjoys assisting in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate students in statistical analysis.

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Mithula Sriskandarajah, B.Sc. Hons., CCRP

Mithula Sriskandarajah joined the team in April 2012 as a Clinical Research Project Manager. She is a Certified Clinical Research Professional with 10 years of clinical research experience and started her journey at SickKids in 2005. Sriskandarajah has an bachelor of science (honours) degree from the University of Toronto, Clinical Research Associate Certificate from Kriger Research International Training Centre, and Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) certificate from SoCRA. She has been a professional member of SoCRA since 2007.

Prior to joining the Schachar Lab, she was coordinating multiple clinical research studies in type 1 diabetes including Natural History studies, genetic consortium studies, as well as NIH-funded Health Canada approved prevention and intervention trials involving two-armed, multi-centre (national), randomized, double-masked and placebo-controlled clinical trials. Sriskandarajah's passion involves starting up, monitoring,managing multiple clinical trials, and ensuring that strict scientific standards are followed in order to protect patients and to help produce reliable study results.  She finds her current position with the Schachar Lab very rewarding, knowing that the exciting mental health research she is involved with may potentially lead to new findings, better outcomes and treatments.

Graduate Students

  • Mohsen Soltanifar, PhD Candidate

Post-doctoral Research Fellow

  • Elizabeth Corfield, PhD