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Research in the Department of Psychiatry is integral to our clinical services, where scientist-clinicians build new knowledge about the origins and treatment of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. We have strong research links with genetics, population health, neuroimaging and clinical pharmacology at both the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). The rich research environment is interdisciplinary and collaborative and involves graduate students from various University of Toronto programs such as the Institute for Medical Science and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Inter-institutional collaborations with other major centres in Canada and across the world characterize our approach.

We have particular strengths in the study of biological aspects of mental illness and on evidence-based treatments in the clinic and community. Collaborative work currently focuses on behavioural genetics, cognitive science, developmental psychopathology, and the use of brain imaging in psychiatric diagnosis.

Scientists in the Department of Psychiatry participate in several interdisciplinary programs of SickKids Research Institute and of the Hospital:

  • The Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health brings together basic and behavioural neuroscience research to investigate the causes, treatment and consequences of complex childhood disorders. Two notable examples are ongoing studies of the molecular genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reading disability and the application of functional neuroimaging to study cognition and psychopathology.
  • The Program in Genetics & Genome Biology works to advance our understanding of the role genes play in human health and to facilitate development of gene-based diagnostic and prognostic tests and therapies. Program researchers use genetic analyses, genomic information and gene-based technologies to study inherited diseases, the genetic basis of cancer, and genetic susceptibility to disease.
  • The Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program seeks to understand the many factors that determine the health of children and how social and health-care policy can support better health outcomes. For example, one study is investigating the level and patterns of use of mental health care services by Ontario adolescents with psychiatric disorders. The results of this research may have important implications for clinical service delivery, policy and funding.
  • The Centre for Brain & Mental Health strives to globally exceed its reputation as innovators in paediatric neurosciences and mental health care, through the promotion and execution of interdisciplinary and interprofessional activities both at SickKids and within the greater community.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Peter Szatmari 
Interim Director of Research
Department of Psychiatry
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Assistant: Shanique Edwards
Phone: 416-813-7654  ext. 328706
Email: shanique.edwards@sickkids.ca