Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior


In my path to becoming a physician-scientist, I have been deeply interested on the impact of genetic variation on brain disorders, and how to use discoveries in the field to enhance patient care. I have pursued clinical training in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry, and research training in genetics and neuroscience, which has given me a unique perspective to blend insights from these diverse but complementary fields.

My research has focused on the genetic underpinnings of autism and other neuropsychiatric conditions, specifically on the role of rare genetic variants as risk factors for developmental brain disorders. Together with my collaborators, we identified the 17q12 deletion as a risk factor for autism and schizophrenia by pulling together genetic data from over 70,000 people worldwide, and we have expanded our work on this and other rare genetic variants. This work has propelled my drive to focus the next stage of my career in developing the scientific support and infrastructure required to bring research discoveries to clinical practice with a focus on genomically-informed interventions and precision medicine.

Throughout this path, I have had the opportunity to work closely with trainees at different levels, including psychiatry residents and child and adolescent psychiatry fellows who I supervise as they deliver healthcare in our genomic psychiatry consultation service, the clinical arm of our research efforts, and who are now starting their path into academic clinical medicine.

Most importantly, I work closely and jointly with the community of people with rare genetic changes and those on the autism spectrum or developmental disorders to ensure that their voices and insights are front and center, keeping our efforts grounded. Together, we achieve this by a strong focus on outreach and media strategies that can share our research discoveries, our clinical efforts, and our educational opportunities in a clear, accesible way in several languages.

I have now moved from Brown University to become the inaugural CASA Research Chair at the University of Alberta, CASA Mental Health, and Alberta Health Services, where our team will continue expanding on our work on precision medicine for autism and neurodevelopmental conditions.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

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