Clinical Research

Autism Care

Research
Education
Community
Policy

Research

“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician

 

MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.

Education

MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.

Community

“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University

 

The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.

Policy

“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences

 

Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

Clinical research determines whether or not medications, devices, or diagnostic methods are effective and safe for humans.  This includes research being carried out by MacART members who are testing medications to relieve core ASD symptoms that interfere with everyday life.

Dr. Irene Drmic

Dr. Irene Drmic is a Psychologist at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program and Child and Youth Mental Health Program. Her clinical and research interests include mental health in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, phenotypic and genetic overlap of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, predictors of treatment response and outcome, and program development and evaluation.

Navita Dyal

Navita Dyal is a recent graduate of the Masters of Engineering & Design program at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice & Technology. Her interest is in ways to strengthen the intersection between technology and medicine. She is currently working on pilot testing the WADE (Walking Analyzing Device) she developed as fun, child-centred monkey that wraps around one’s ankles. This device analyzes a child’s gait patterns and is the first empirical method of screening for ASD characteristics. 

Grace Teskey

Grace Teskey is a Master's student in the Department of Health Sciences, working in Dr. Dawn Bowdish's lab. Her Master's project will be identifying abnormalities in immune cells as well as soluble immune markers in children with ASD. 

Dr. Stephen Gentles

Dr. Stephen Gentles is a postdoctoral fellow at the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. Working with Briano DiRezze and Peter Rosenbaum, he is expanding the development and implementation of the Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC). He is also continuing work from his doctoral research, a study of the social psychological needs and responses of parents of children with autism as they navigate intervention.

Dr. Vickie Galea

Dr. Vickie Galea is an Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science and the Education Program in anatomy (Health Sciences). Her background is in sensory/motor neuroscience with a focus on sensory/motor development. She has extensive experience in pediatric motor control using neurophysiological assessments as a window into typical and altered motor behaviour. Her current research concerns the modeling of spontaneous movements in infants born full-term and those of premature birth.

 

Dr. Stephanie Lavoie

Dr. Stephanie Lavoie is a Neuropsychologist with the Pediatric Neurology Program and the Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Stephanie’s clinical and research interests focus on mental health and neurological underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Dr. Noam Soreni

Dr. Noam Soreni’s clinical and research work focuses on the cognition and neurobiology of pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). As a member of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Center, he leads the pediatric OCD consultation team. The current foci of research are perfectionism, hoarding, and brain imaging of pediatric OCD. He is a co-investigator of the POND study.

Dr. Peter Rosenbaum

Dr. Peter Rosenbaum is a developmental pediatrician and health services researcher, author of over 300 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and involved in research on childhood disability. He has worked with more than 50 graduate students and is currently a Professorial Fellow in Melbourne, Australia. His primary focus is creating and validating an ASD function classification system, similar to the several world-recognized classifications in cerebral palsy developed by his group.

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo has a strong interest in interprofessional education and knowledge transfer and is the director for Continuous Medical Education (CME) in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. His research interests focus on the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and its application to a variety of developmental disabilities, including ASD.