Peter Szatmari


Contact via Hospital for Sick Children


Key Research Areas
Associated Researchers
Associated Organizations

Recent Research Projects

TRajectories Of healthy life using Public Health and primary care Interventions in Canada: The TROPHIC Trial

2017/18-2019/20 • $4,800,000 • PI,CO,Other
The "Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)" hypothesis suggests that a healthy growth and development in pregnancy and early childhood is critical for optimal health and lifetime wellbeing. Yet, Canada's children are falling behind. Nearly 1 in 3 Canadian children are overweight or...

Pathways to Better Developmental Health in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Phase III

2015/16-2019/20 • $4,532,436 • PI,Other
The Pathways in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) study aims to describe and ultimately to optimize the processes that predict variations in the developmental health (DH) of children with ASD. In Phases I (2004-2009) and II (2009-2014), we employed a multi-method, multi-informant design across 5...

SPOR Evidence Alliance

2017/18-2019/20 • $2,748,120 • PI,CO,Other
Our vision is to strengthen the Canadian healthcare system by making sure people have the right information at the right time to make a health decision. Our network (called Reach) includes 176 members, including patients, healthcare providers, policy-makers, and teams of researchers across a...

Genomes to Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorders

2015/16-2019/20 • $1,873,570 • PI,Other
Autism is a highly variable condition that affects 1% of the population. The collective term, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), encompasses individuals with core features – impairments in social-communication functioning, repetitive behaviours and restricted interests – that are disabling to a...

A Foundation Grant to Improve Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder

2015/16-2019/20 • $1,346,046 • PI,Other
Our overarching goal is to detect autism spectrum disorder (ASD) earlier and establish effective interventions that can be implemented in infancy. We will extend our CIHR-supported research to address three main objectives:1) To map developmental pathways to ASD during infancy, hypothesizing...

TARGet Kids!: Optimizing Human Potential

2015/16-2019/20 • $1,329,781 • PI,Other
Canada is failing its children. One in four are overweight or obese, mental health disorders have increased by 15% and 27% of preschool children are not developmentally ready to start school. These problems result in diminished health, wellbeing, educational achievement and lifetime...

How the early environment interacts with prenatal adversity and genetic susceptibility to moderate the risk for anxious and depressive disorders from infancy to early adolescence - the moderating effect of maternal care and the mediating effect of temperament

2016/17-2019/20 • $1,224,456 • PI,CO,Other
The precocious and chronic course of depression makes it the disease with the leading cause of disability, an effect marked by a 2-fold difference in the rate for girls and women as of early adolescence. The pace of reduction in the prevalence of anxious and depressive disorders has failed to...

The gender specific effects of prenatal adversity on the development of anxious and depressive psychopathology in early adolescence - the moderating effect of genes and early maternal care

2016/17-2019/20 • $920,268 • PI,CO
The precocious and chronic course of depression makes it the disease with the leading cause of disability, an effect marked by a 2-fold difference in the rate for girls and women as of early adolescence. The pace of reduction in the prevalence of anxious and depressive disorders has failed to...

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxious and Depressed Youth: Improving Outcomes through Mobile Technology

2015/16-2019/20 • $728,345 • PI,CO,Other
Our objective is to test out an evidence-based usable and acceptable mobile device software application (app) for the practice component of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for youth in treatment for anxiety and/or depression. Although CBT is an effective treatment for anxious or depressed...

In-vivo Imaging of Neuroinflammation in Autism Spectrum Disorder

2015/16-2019/20 • $609,299 • PI,CO
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) afflicts one in 50-150 children. Despite this striking statistic, we still do not understand the chemical changes present in ASD brains nor do we have effective treatments for the core symptoms of this disorder. Several studies have shown increased inflammatory...

Longitudinal Youth in Transition Study (LYiTS)

2017/18-2019/20 • $603,585 • PI,CO
Although transition between health services is widely recognized as a problematic health systems hurdle, the factors necessary for successful transition from child to adult mental health services are poorly understood. Further, fragmentation and non-uniformity among mental health organizations...

The enduring reach of childhood bullying: Longitudinal links to adult mental health, academic achievement, and functional outcomes

2016/17-2019/20 • $561,908 • PI,CO
Fifteen percent of Canadian youth have serious mental health problems, a leading cause of health-related burden for youth, and the leading cause of disability for adults worldwide. Most adult mental health problems begin in childhood and thus reducing the burden of illness in childhood should...

The Family Navigator: A global partnership to expand access to care for autism and related conditions

2016/17-2019/20 • $400,000 • PI,CO
Advances in brain science point to multiple risk factors for many childhood developmental disorders. These disorders have major impact both on children affected and on family well-being. Caregivers experience considerable stress and reduced self-efficacy through their child’s condition. They...

Capacity building in innovative clinical trials to optimize children's physical, mental and educational wellbeing

2016/17-2019/20 • $353,333 • PI,CO
Canada is failing its children. One in four are overweight or obese, one in six have a mental health problem and one in four are not ready to start school at the right time. Intervening early can improve children's physical, mental and educational well-being. Yet there are major gaps in...

Development, validation and implementation of a reporting guideline for the selection and measurement of outcomes in clinical trials.

2016/17-2019/20 • $344,025 • PI,CO
From birth to old age, patients, families and healthcare providers rely on health research studies to decide which treatments will work best. When we conduct research studies, we collect information on patient outcomes to determine the effects of one treatment versus another. Without complete...

Facilitating Effective Mental Health Care Transitions for Youth: Evaluation of the Transition Support Worker Model

2019/20 • $198,534 • PI,CO,Other
Transitions out of hospital child and adolescent acute mental health services (CAMHS) to the community or adult mental health services (AMHS) remain a serious health system issue in Canada. We know that about half of youth drop out of care during this critical developmental and service...

Measuring cardiovascular Outcomes of Depression in reFerred Youth (MODIFY)

2019/20 • $182,835 • PI,CO
Depression is a serious and recurrent chronic disorder that affects 5-8% of children. Individuals with depression are at increased risk of experiencing heart disease (heart attack and stroke). Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people suffering from depression. Research has shown...

Community-based integrated collaborative care teams to enhance service delivery to youth with mental health and substance use challenges: A multi-site pragmatic randomized-controlled trial

2019/20 • $177,863 • PI,CO
Some 20% of youth have mental health/addiction (MHA) disorders, and adolescence is an optimal time to intervene. Yet, youth are challenged to access effective services in a timely way. Provincial, national and international efforts are under way to build community-based, integrated service hubs...

Early relapse detection in youth depression: development of secondary prevention methods by multiplex digital phenotyping

2019/20 • $158,737 • PI,CO
Background and Importance: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in youth (MDD-Y) is a common and recurrent mood disorder, affecting 7-18% of young people. MDD-Y has severe impacts on psychosocial development, family and school functioning, long-term health outcomes, and increases risk of death by...

Early prediction of developmental outcomes: a prospective study of infants with high-impact genetic risk variants

2019/20 • $137,700 • PI,CO
Identifying the genetic cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sufficiently early in life can be beneficial in several ways; e.g., early interventions may improve outcomes and allow a timely start of appropriate educational supports. The problem is that a genetic cause is virtually always...

Listening to Children's Voices - Promoting Indigenous Mental Wellness (I aM Well)

2019/20 • $100,000 • PI,CO,Other
Indigenous children face serious health inequities in Canada. Suicide rates among youth, a marker of the devastating impact of intergenerational trauma, are higher in rural and remote communities where access to treatment is limited, and children are reluctant to seek help. There is currently an...

TRUSTY: A Knowledge Dissemination Tool to Strengthen Practice Guideline Literacy and Promote their Use in Child and Youth Mental Health Care Decision-making.

2019/20 • $20,000 • PI,CO
High-quality practice guidelines (PGs) about child and youth mental health (CYMH) problems summarize the best available research evidence into recommendations about how to assess, prevent and treat them. If clinicians, health service planners and policy makers, caregivers and youth used PGs more...

Ontario Child Health Study Sequel

2012/13-2017/18 • $5,312,446 • PI,CO
Mental health, the ability to regulate our emotions and behaviour and to cope with stress, is essential to development and life quality for all children. Yet very little is known today about the mental health of Canadian children. Since the last major study of childhood mental health, the...

Pathways in ASD - A Family's Story

2017/18 • $3,000 • PI
The Pathways in ASD Study is a longitudinal study that examines factors associated with developmental health outcomes in children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Explaining its highly technical procedures and findings to a lay audience is a difficult and lengthy process. As part of our...

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS: GENOME to OUTCOMES

2014/15-2016/17 • $2,500,000 • PI,CO
No summary

The Pathways in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) cohort study - Examining how child and youth health, education and community services are integrated to support optimal trajectories of developmental health

2016/17 • $75,000 • PI,CO,Other
With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) becoming more common, it is more urgent than ever to understand how services offered by health practitioners, educators, behavioural therapists and in the community can be combined to provide the best care to children and youth with ASD. The Pathways Study is...

Prioritizing Youth and Caregivers as Experts of Mental Health Care Transitions: A National Delphi Study

2016/17 • $24,977 • PI,CO,Other
Although the transition between health services is widely recognized as a problematic health systems hurdle, the factors necessary for successful transition from child to adult mental health services are poorly understood. There is a need to understand process and outcome indicators of child to...

Disseminating Child and Youth Mental Health Practice Guidelines: The Development of a User-Informed, Social Media Integrated, Mobile Website

2016/17 • $10,000 • PI,CO,Other
Practice guidelines (PG) are recommendations for how to assess, prevent and treat health problems based on the very best research knowledge. In child and youth mental health (CYMH), as in other specialties, it's not easy for clinicians, policymakers, families and youth to find and use...

Intranasal oxytocin for social cognition/function in adults with autism

2011/12-2015/16 • $1,073,417 • PI,CO
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by deficits in social communication and repetitive behaviors / restricted interests. Oxytocin is made in the hypothalamus in the brain and released both into the bloodstream and the central nervous system....

Peer victimization, mental health, and academic achievement: A multi-informant, multi-method longitudinal study

2010/11-2015/16 • $818,462 • PI,CO
Few topics in child and adolescent development have united researchers, parents, teachers, and health professionals in the way that the study of peer victimization has over the past three decades. The motivation of this work is the underlying belief that peer victimization is an extremely...

The Genetic Epidemiology of Autism; Family and Molecular Studies

2013/14-2015/16 • $389,348 • PI,CO
Although there has been remarkable progress in understanding the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)in recent years many unanswered questions. We do not know if all the variants have been discovered and with the advent of newer technologies there remains the possibility that...

CIHR Training Grant in Autism Research

2010/11-2014/15 • $1,625,000 • PI,CO
Autism is a serious and not so rare disorder that affects young children in the first 3 years of life (and 52,000 young Canadians under age 20). It is a lifelong handicap, with no cure yet available. Genetic susceptibility, abnormal patterns of brain growth, and specific neuropsychological...

Understanding Early Developmental Trajectories in Autism: From Infancy to Age 8

2010/11-2014/15 • $625,902 • PI,CO
Autism is a form of disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with other people, and is associated with disabling obsessions and repetitive behaviours. About 1 in 150 individuals have autism, most of who require lifelong supports, achieving only limited independence...

A molecular genetic study of autism and related Phenotypes in extended pedigrees

2011/12-2014/15 • $608,879 • PI,CO
Autism is perhaps the most handicapping disorder of childhood. It is caused largely by genetic factors but few of the many genes that lead to the disorder have been discovered. Most studies investigating the genetic etiology of autism have focused on affected sibpairs or singletons, but these...

Development of the Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication

2011/12-2014/15 • $374,666 • PI,CO
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a huge challenge in the field of childhood developmental disability. The wide 'spectrum' of these conditions means that people's functional capacities and limitations vary enormously. Thus, it makes little sense to talk about ASDs as if they were a single...

Identifying causes of autism spectrum disorder through next-generation sequencing in combination with genetic linkage

2012/13-2014/15 • $280,000 • PI,Other
The principal aim of this proposed research project is to identify susceptibility genes for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a relatively common disorder of childhood development that impairs communication and interaction, and thereby impacts significantly on quality of life and the...

The impact of health service intervention on outcomes for children with ASD in Canada

2012/13-2014/15 • $110,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Every year, many children are diagnosed with autism, currently 1 in 110 children. In Canada, provincial governments have attempted to address the need of this growing population by increasing funding for children with autism to obtain early intervention. Since the challenges in abilities vary...

CHILD-BRIGHT: Child Health Initiatives Limiting Disability- Brain Research Improving Growth and Health Trajectories

2014/15 • $50,000 • PI,Other
Each year in Canada more than 1 in 10 newborns are born preterm or with heart disease. These conditions lead to chronic disease with life-long impact. These newborns begin their lives in a neonatal intensive care unit followed by life-long interaction with the health-care system for chronic...

Guidelines for Guidelines: What Methodologic Instructions for Practice Guideline Development Should We Be Using?

2014/15 • $10,000 • PI,CO
Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) summarize the best available research knowledge about effective assessment and interventions methods. However, researchers and mental health service providers have identified quality gaps in the CPG available in child and youth mental health. Therefore, we...

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Pathways to Better Outcomes (Phase II)

2010/11-2013/14 • $1,370,200 • PI,CO
The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) include autistic disorder (AD), Asperger syndrome (AS), and PDDNOS and affect roughly 1 in 165 children. Based on prevalence, cost of services, reduced quality of life and outcome, the ASD's represent a major public health problem for Canada and research is...

The Genetic Epidemiology of Autism; Family and Molecular Studies

2010/11-2013/14 • $545,811 • PI,CO
Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by impairments in social-communication and by a preference for repetitive activities. It is one of a group of disorders called the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is perhaps the most handicapping disorder of childhood in terms of...

Examination of Factors that Mediate Effective Treatment of Anxiety in High Functioning Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

2011/12-2013/14 • $110,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a life-long developmental disorder characterized by severe social-emotional and communicative impairments. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly reported concurrent diagnoses in individuals with ASD, and are more prevalent in ASD than in typical peers,...

Developing and Validating a Screen for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Later Life (SALL)

2013/14 • $100,000 • PI,CO
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are one of the most common brain development disorders in childhood. Although ASDs are a lifelong condition, little research exists that examines ASDs in later life, particularly among those aged 50 and over. Our study plans to develop and test a new screening...

YouthCan 2020: A new vision for youth mental health in Canada

2013/14 • $25,000 • PI,Other
The majority of serious mental illnesses and addictions begin during adolescence. It is clear that the effectiveness of early intervention is limited by the barriers that youth face in accessing mental health/addiction services and by the often ineffective delivery of services. This has led to a...

Individual and Contextual Influences on Mental Health in Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Children

2010/11-2012/13 • $449,483 • PI,CO
Children living in immigrant families represent the fastest growing segment of the child population in Canada. Compared to non-immigrant children, immigrant children are far more likely to experience social and economic adversity, and there is growing evidence to suggest that these inequalities...

Classifying Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorder

2010/11-2012/13 • $286,445 • PI,CO
Reliable and valid instruments are needed to classify child and adolescent psychiatric disorder described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In the general population, these instruments are needed to estimate the frequency of disorder to advocate for children's mental health and to help...

Social cognition as a mediator of psychopathology in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders

2010/11-2011/12 • $84,167 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
¿Social cognition¿ refers to the complex thought processes required to interpret the thoughts and intentions of others, and to in turn predict their behaviour. It is essential to learning how to interact with others and has been shown to be particularly deficient in children with autism spectrum...

Developmental Trajectories of Antisocial Behaviours: The Role of Family and Community Protective Factors

2010/11-2011/12 • $75,833 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
The increase in media and public attention on adolescent and young adult criminality draws attention to the need to better understand the pathways that lead from some relatively common early childhood behaviours, such as aggression, to these more serious outcomes, such as vandalism and violence....

The Autism Genome Project

2010/11 • $200,000 • PI
No summary

Early developmental trajectories in autism

2010/11 • $151,666 • PI,CO
This project examines early development in autism by following infants at increased risk of the disorder ¿ siblings of children with autism. We are currently following 218 infant siblings and 94 low-risk infants, and are requesting support to complete our follow-up of this initial cohort, and to...

A molecular genetic study of autism and related Phenotypes in extended pedigrees

2010/11 • $107,448 • PI,CO
Autism is perhaps the most handicapping disorder of childhood. It is caused largely by genetic factors but the actual genes that lead to the disorder have not yet been discovered. Most studies investigating the genetic etiology of autism have focused on affected sibpairs, but this design for...

Patents