Deborah Dewey



Associate Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

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Research and teaching

Research activities

Neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders often co-occur. My research focuses on the neurobiology and genetics of co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders, and the role that the prenatal environment plays in children’s physical health and neurodevelopment. My research program is examining:

  • brain structure and function in typically developing children and children with neurodevelopmental disorders including developmental coordination disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.
  • the genetic basis genes of developmental coordination disorder and co-occurring disorders including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. 
  • the effects of prenatal and early childhood exposures (i.e., neurotoxicants, maternal nutrition, maternal mental health, maternal HIV) on children’s brains, cognitive development, behaviour and mental health in Canada and Tanzania.
  • the role of prenatal and perinatal events such as maternal depression, place of birth (home versus health facility in Tanzania) and being born too early on children’s health and neurodevelopment.

I also collaborate with colleagues on research examining: a) the effect of caffeine for apnea of prematurity on outcomes of children born preterm;  b) language, motor and structural brain development in preschool children;  c) melatonin treatment for post-concussive syndrome, and d) psychosocial adjustment in pediatric cancer survivors and children with type 1 diabetes.