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Steven Miller

Title: Adjunct Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health
Designations: MDCM, MAS, FRCPC
U of T Positions: Professor (Status Only), Department of Paediatrics

Research Positions

Adjunct Scientist

Neurosciences and Mental Health


Dr. Miller is a Professor of Paediatrics (Status only) at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Scientist in the Neuroscience & Mental Health Program at the Research Institute of SickKids. 

As a physician scientist, the focus of his research program is improving the clinical care of newborns at high-risk of brain injury including newborns born with congenital heart disease or born preterm. The use of advanced brain imaging offers tremendous potential to understand the mechanisms and timing of brain injury in high-risk newborns and fetuses. Findings from his research program inform new strategies to promote optimal brain development and neurodevelopmental outcome. Most recently, he co-directs Child-Bright, an innovative pan-Canadian network that aims to improve outcomes for children with brain-based developmental disabilities and their families through Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). 

Dr. Miller served as President of the Society for Pediatric Research (2013-14) and is passionate about supporting child health researchers early in their career trajectories.


The focus of Dr. Miller's research career has been on improving the clinical care of newborns at high-risk of brain injury including newborns with congenital heart disease and those born preterm. The use of advanced brain imaging offers tremendous potential to understand the mechanisms and timing of brain injury in high-risk newborns and fetuses. Findings from his research program will ultimately inform the design and implementation of new strategies to promote optimal brain development and neurodevelopmental outcome. Dr. Miller uses multimodal magnetic resonance brain imaging (e.g. MRI, diffusion tensor imaging spectroscopic imaging) to study clinical factors associated with brain injury and neurodevelopmental outcomes among various fetal and neonatal populations (fetuses & newborns with congenital heart disease; babies born preterm). He is actively involved with numerous prospective, longitudinal studies including those with colleagues in Canada and internationally.

Education and experience

  • 1991–1995:  MDCM Medicine. McGill University, Montreal
  • 1995–2000:  Residency Neurology (Paediatric), McGill University, Montreal
  • 2000–2002: FellowshipNeonatal Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2003–2005: M.A.S.Clinical Research, University of California, San Francisco


  • 2018/9: CIHR – Institute Advisory Board, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Vice-Chair, Member
  • 2019/6: CanMEDS Excellence Award, Division of Neurology, The Hospital for Sick Children
  • 2016/6: The Newburger-Bellinger Award, 5th Annual Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Symposium
  • 2014/5: John Stobo Prichard Award, The International Child Neurology Association
  • 2013–2014: President, Society for Pediatric Research
  • 2012: Bloorview Children's Hospital Chair in Paediatric Neuroscience
  • 2012/5: Teacher of the Year Award, Awarded by the Pediatric Residents, UBC
  • 2010/8: Medal in Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada


  1. Lim JM, Porayette P, Marini D, Chau V, Au-Young SH, Saini A, Ly LG, Blaser S, Shroff M, Branson HM, Sananes R, Hickey EJ, Gaynor JW, Van Arsdell G, Miller SP, Seed M.Associations Between Age at Arterial Switch Operation, Brain Growth, and Development in Infants With Transposition of the Great Arteries. Circulation.2019 Jun 11;139(24):2728-2738.
  2. Benavente-Fernández I, Synnes A, Grunau RE, Chau V, Ramraj C, Glass T, Cayam-Rand D, Siddiqi A, Miller SP.Association of Socioeconomic Status and Brain Injury With Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Very Preterm Children. JAMA Netw Open.2019 May 3;2(5):e192914.
  3. Bierstone D, Wagenaar N, Gano DL, Guo T, Georgio G, Groenendaal F, de Vries LS, Varghese J, Glass HC, Chung C, Terry J, Rijpert M, Grunau RE, Synnes A, Barkovich AJ, Ferriero DM, Benders M, Chau V, Miller SP.Association of Histologic Chorioamnionitis With Perinatal Brain Injury and Early Childhood Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Among Preterm Neonates.JAMA Pediatr.2018 Jun 1;172(6):534-541.
  4. Duerden EG, Grunau RE, Guo T, Foong J, Pearson A, Au-Young S, Lavoie R, Chakravarty MM, Chau V, Synnes A, Miller SP.Early Procedural Pain Is Associated with Regionally-Specific Alterations in Thalamic Development in Preterm Neonates.Neurosci.2018 Jan 24;38(4):878-886.
  5. Duerden EG, Guo T, Dodbiba L, Chakravarty MM, Chau V, Poskitt KJ, Synnes A, Grunau RE, Miller SP. Midazolam dose correlates with abnormal hippocampal growth and neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants. Ann Neurol. 2016 Apr;79(4):548-59. 

  • 2020–2024: (Principal Investigator) CIHR. Healthy brain growth in preterm children for optimal function: do males and females differ? Principal Investigator(s): Miller, Steven P; Grunau, Ruth E Co-Investigators: Branson H, Brant RF; Brudno M, Chau V; Guo T, Kelly EN; Ly LG; Synnes AR; William T
  • 2019–2021: (Co-Investigator) New Frontiers in Research Fund (Application ID: NFRFE-2018-01610)– Exploration Intranasal Human Milk as Stem Cell Therapy in Preterm Infants with Intraventricular Hemorrhage, PI Hoban R, Co Investigators: Ly L, Currie C, Wilson D, Banihani R, Miller S, Unger S, El Shahed A, Whyte H, Finelli M, Church P, Librach C.
  • 2018–2022: (Co-Principal Investigator) CIHR Stress, Brain and Neurodevelopment in Children Born Preterm (Nominated PI – Grunau R), Co investigators: Bjornson B, Brant R, Petrie J, Synnes A, Weinberg J.
  • 2018–2023: (Executive Committee & Co-Investigator) Childhood Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network “CP-NET” Phase 3. Ontario Brain Institute. Integrated Discovery Program. Scientific Executive:  D Fehlings (Scientific lead), R Wintle (Scientific Co-lead), J W Gorter, A McCormick, S Miller.  Co-Investigators: Biddiss E, Dlamini N, Fehlings M, Hunt C, Kawamura A, Kim M, Mesterman R, Morshead C, Paterson A, Rosenbaum P, Scherer S, Van Der Kooy D An integrated neuroscience discovery network aimed at neuroscience discovery to impact individuals with cerebral palsy and their families.
  • 2018–2021: (Co-Investigator) HRC 18/407 The Research Council of New Zealand. Nutrition and Brain Development in Moderate and Late Preterm Babies  Principal Investigator:  Professor Jane Harding. Co-Investigators: Miller S Perry D, Bloomfield F, Poppe T, Alsweiler J, Meyr M, Jiang Y. 
  • 2017–2021: (Principal Investigator) PG16817  Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance. POEM: Pain, Outcomes and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Cerebral Palsy. Principal Investigator; Miller, SP: Co-Investigators: Kobor M, Chau V, Linh L, Glass T Duerden E.
  • 2016–2023:  (Co-Investigator) “Pediatric Heart Network – The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto”, Principal investigators-Steven Schwartz, Seema Mital. Funded by the NIH NHLBI.
  • 2015–2021: (Co-Principal Investigator) CIHR -SPOR Networks in Chronic Disease. CHILD-BRIGHT: Child Health Initiatives Limiting Disability- Brain Research Improving Growth and Health Trajectories. Principal Investigator(s): Majnemer A, Miller SP, Goldowitz D, Kirton CA,  Cohen E, et al. Co-Investigators: Thomson D, Gavin F, Florence D, Major-Cook N, et al.
  • 2015–2021: (Principal Investigator) CIHR. Cardiovascular Physiology and Brain Development in Newborns with Congenital Heart Disease.  Principal Investigator(s): Miller, Steven P; Seed, Mike Co-Investigators: Blaser, SI; Brant, RF; Chau, V; Hickey, EJ; Kingdom, JC; Ly, LG; MacGowan, CK; Schwartz, SM; Sled, JG. 
  • 2015–2020: (Co-Investigator) CIHR Foundation Scheme Grant (201409).  Using Brain Imaging to Determine Predictors of Developmental Coordination Disorder and Response to Intervention PI: Zwicker J. Co-I’s:  Bjornson BH, Brant RF; Brown-Lum M, Giaschi DE, Glegg SMN, Grunau RE, Mackay M, Miller SP, Montgomery IE, Oberlander TFA, Synnes AR.
  • 2014–2020: (Principal Investigator) CIHR. Analgesia and Sedation in the Preterm Neonate: Brain Development and Outcome. Principal Investigator(s): Miller, Steven P; Grunau, Ruth E;     Taylor, Margot J Co-Investigators: Brant, Rollin F; Chau, Vann; Kelly, Edmond N; Ly, Linh G; Poskitt, Kenneth J; Sled, John G; Synnes, Anne R; Whyte, Hilary E.

Related pages

Neonatal Neuroscience (NeoNs) Lab

The Neonatal Neuroscience team at SickKids aims to improve the assessment and treatment of critically ill newborns, giving them the best chance at a healthy life.

Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain and Mental Health

Driving innovation in neurosciences and mental health disciplines, programs and services.

Research co-led by SickKids shows premature babies may be more susceptible to effects of pain from lifesaving care, harming brain development

Co-principal investigator Dr. Steven Miller, Head of Neurology and Senior Scientist in Neurosciences & Mental Health at SickKids, and lead author Dr. Emma Duerden, Senior Research Associate in Neurology discuss their research on the memory of pain in early brain development.

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Brain scans of preterm babies could improve feeding strategies to boost brain development

New study explores the value of brain scans of preterm babies to improve feeding strategies and overall health. Researchers believe that optimizing how and what preterm babies are fed in those critical first days or weeks could prevent diseases later in life and help intellectual development.

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Socioeconomic status associated with impact of brain injury on preterm babies

A SickKids and BC Children’s Hospital study shows cognitive scores for preterm children with higher socioeconomic status are similar regardless of whether they had a brain injury.

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