Investigators and Trainees

View the profiles of our Investigators and Trainees below. For information about our team go to the Research Managers/CoordinatorsAdvisory Committee, and Participating Physicians sections or view our Organizational Chart.

Co-Principal Investigators

Catherine Birken MD, MSc is a general paediatrician in the division of Paediatric Medicine, Professor, University of Toronto (U of T), and a Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute.  Her clinical care activities include attending paediatrician in inpatient paediatrics, and paediatrician in the outpatient SickKids Obesity Management Program for children with complex obesity.  Her research is in prevention of childhood overweight and obesity in early childhood, and is co-leader of TARGet Kids! primary care practice based research network to advance child health research. Dr. Birken is funded by CIHR for the study of obesity and cardiometabolic risk and early childhood development in school, 2 randomized controlled trials in obesity prevention and treatment with public health nurse led parenting and home visiting intervention, and a population evaluation of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge in Ontario.


Dr. Jonathon Maguire, MD, MSc, FRCPC is an Associate Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital and a paediatrician in the Department of Paediatrics at St. Michael's Hospital with an active paediatric hospitalist and outpatient clinical practice. His research interests focus on clinical trials involving nutrition and development in young children as well as the creation of tools to facilitate evidence informed child health practice. Dr. Maguire was the recipient of the 2012 Samuel J. Fomon Young Physician Award from the American Society of Nutrition, the 2013 Canadian Paediatric Society Young Investigator Award, a 2013 Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award, and a 2014 Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Research Award. He is a CIHR Foundation scholar and holds a CIHR SPOR Chair in Innovative Clinical Trials.



Dr. Patricia C. Parkin, MD, FRCPC is a specialist in Paediatric Medicine, a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. Clinically, she is an attending paediatric physician on the Paediatric Medicine Inpatient Unit and in the Paediatric Neurofibromatosis Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children.  She is also a Senior Associate Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, and Research Director of the Division of Paediatric Medicine and the Paediatric Outcomes Research Team (PORT) at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her research focuses on advancing the evidence base in paediatrics with two broad themes: prevention and promotion of children’s health and safety, and hospital paediatric practice. She has utilized a number of research methods including clinical trials, development of health status measures, assessment of diagnostic tests, and observational methods. She currently holds a CIHR operating grant for the Opt-EC program. Dr. Parkin has been involved in the supervision and mentorship of junior faculty, fellows (post MD and FRCPC) in academic general paediatrics, graduate students (Masters and PhD), paediatric residents (post MD), and medical students.  She is the recipient of the 2012 Physician Research Award for Career Excellence at the Hospital for Sick Children, the 2013 Faculty Mentorship Award at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a 2014 POWER Award for excellence in post-graduate teaching at the Hospital for Sick Children.




Dr. Laura N. Anderson (PhD) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University and an Adjunct Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children. She completed a Master's Degree in population epidemiology at the University of Western Ontario and PhD at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Laura's primary research interests include chronic disease prevention, modifiable determinants of health and the developmental origins of health and disease.

Dr. Cornelia (Cory) Borkhoff (PhD) is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, a Clinical Epidemiologist in the Division of Paediatric Medicine of the Hospital for Sick Children, and a Team Investigator in the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute. She is also an Adjunct Scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute. She completed a Master's Degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. With research interests in child health equity and measurement, her research focus is to advance early childhood screening in primary care to inform practice and policy. Dr. Borkhoff is a recipient of a 2018 CIHR Early Career Investigator in Maternal, Reproductive, Child and Youth Health Grant to develop a clinical decision rule to identify young children at risk for iron deficiency.


Dr. Patricia Li (MD, MSc, FRCPC) is Assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Junior Scientist in the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She completed her Master’s in Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. Her research aims to improve the delivery and organization of primary care to children, especially those who are medically and socially vulnerable. She is supported by a CIHR New Investigator Award in Community-Based Primary Health Care.


Dr. Nav Persaud (MD, MSc) is a Family Physician and Associate Scientist at St Michael’s Hospital. He completed his medical training at the University of Toronto and his MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. He is interested in how the behaviours of young children affect their health, and in how clinicians use information to improve patient care.


Dr. Peter Wong (MBBS MPH PhD FRCPC) is an Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and Adjunct Scientist at SickKids Research Institute. He is a community paediatrician and cardiologist and site investigator for Rexdale primary care practice. His research focuses on early life exposures and child health with two grants (PSI Foundation and SickKids Paediatric Consultants). Dr. Wong's advocacy for child health extends on the City of Toronto Board of Health; Board Director Association of Local Public Health Agencies; and Advisory Committees of the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank and SickKids Centre for Healthy Active Kids. He is a recipient of the 2017 OMA Community Service Award, 2017 CPS Award of Merit, and 2015 Glenn Sawyer Award.




Sarah Carsley (MSc, PhD) completed a Bachelor's of Science (Biology) degree from Dalhousie University in 2007, and Master of Science (Epidemiology) degree from McGill University in June 2010. Her previous work included the Rourke Baby Record evidence updates for 2009 and 2011. She worked at the Hospital for Sick Children in the Paediatric Medicine Division as a Clinical Research Project Manager on the TARGet Kids! Study from September 2011 to 2013. In September 2013, Sarah started a PhD at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto in Health Services Research. Her research interests include childhood obesity surveillance, health services, electronic medical records, prevention, and primary care.


Dr. Karen Eny (RD, PhD) is a Research Fellow working with the TARGet Kids! team at the Hospital for Sick Children. Karen completed her PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto as part of the Combined PhD Dietetic Internship Program at St. Michael’s Hospital. Prior to joining TARGet Kids! in 2015, Karen completed her first Fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Paterson at the Hospital for Sick Children. As a Gibney Family Scholar of the Heart and Stroke Foundation she examined genetic and dietary determinants of risk factors for cardiovascular disease complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. Karen’s current research interests include understanding the role of early life risk factors on adiposity growth and cardiometabolic health in young children.

Dr. Theresa Kim (PhD) is a Research Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, under Dr. Catherine Birken. She completed her doctoral degree in epidemiology and psychology at York University, examining maternal and child characteristics of teen, optimal age and advanced age mothers using population datasets from Statistics Canada. Theresa’s research will continue addressing gaps in the literature around first-time advanced age mothers and their children using the TARGet Kids! database, as well as expanding her training on knowledge translation and parent engagement in pediatric research. Part of her fellowship will also include coordinating two of Dr. Birken’s studies on providing group parenting education support and home visits for families in Toronto: STOMP trial (obesity treatment) and PARENT trial (obesity prevention).

Jessica Omand (RD BSc BASc MSc PhD candidate) completed her BSc at the University of Guelph and BASc at Ryerson University. She completed the Combined Master of Science Dietetic Internship Program through St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto. She is currently working on her PhD in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Toronto. She received a CIHR master’s award for nutrition and dietetic research, CIHR PhD award and is enrolled in the Clinician Scientist Training Program through the Hospital for Sick Children. Her research interests focus on paediatric nutrition, epidemiology and micronutrient deficiencies. She is supervised by Dr. Jonathon Maguire and Dr. Deborah O'Connor and supported by Dr. Teresa To and Kevin Thorpe. Jessica has published manuscripts entitled “Non-Western immigrant children have lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D than children from Western families” in Public Health Nutrition and "Evaluating the accuracy of a geographic closed-ended approach to ethnicity measurement, a practical alternative" in Annals of Epidemiology. 


Dr. Julia Sharp (MD) is a Community Paediatrics Fellow at University of Toronto. She completed medical school and a Paediatric Residency at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto. She is interested in child temperament as a predictor of health-related behaviors, including physical activity and outdoor play in young children.

Dr. Meta van den Heuvel (MD, PhD), completed her pediatric subspecialty training at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After she trained in social pediatrics at the University Medical Center Groningen. In 2016, she obtained a PhD in “Developmental and Behavioral Problems in Pediatric Primary Care” at the Institute of Health Research (SHARE), University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on child development and behavior outcomes in relation to nutrition. 

Laura Kinlin (MD, MPH, FRCPC) is an Academic General Paediatrics Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children. She completed an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at Queen's University followed by a Master's degree (Community Health & Epidemiology) at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She is a graduate of Dalhousie Medical School and completed residency training in paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include the growth and nutritional status of children with autism spectrum disorder.

Shelley Vanderhout (MSc, RD) is a registered dietitian and PhD candidate in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. Her research has focused on determining the ideal fat content of cow's milk for children's growth, development and nutrition. Shelley is interested in using patient-oriented innovative clinical trials to determine effective early life preventive interventions for chronic disease. 



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