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Our Research

The Owerko Centre plays an important role in meeting the research objectives positioned in the University of Calgary's Child Health and Wellness Strategy.


The Owerko Centre promotes a multidisciplinary and bio-psychological research agenda that strives to:

  • Advance our understanding of biological and psychosocial development of children and improve health outcomes through translational research
  • Determine prenatal and early childhood socio-environmental predictors of neurodevelopmental and behavioural disorders
  • Identify mechanisms (e.g., neural, endocrine, genetic, metabolic) underlying the relationships among antecedents, predictors and neurodevelopmental and behavioural disorders
  • Improve the early identification and diagnosis of child neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders using imaging, genomics, and metabolomic approaches; and
  • Evaluate and improve clinical, supportive and rehabilitative treatments for children and families at risk for, and affected by neurodevelopmental and behavioural disorders.

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Owerko Research Catalyst Grants

Owerko Research Catalyst Grants help advance new research and bring together principal investigators to create new collaborations. Projects should be comprised of researchers who have never worked together before or have sufficient justification as to why the project is outside previous collaboration. Please note that all principal investigators applying for an Owerko Research Catalyst Grant must be ACHRI members.

Past Catalyst Grant Award Winners

  1. Dr. Deborah Dewey & Dr. Nils Forkert

    Using Machine Learning to Predict the Effects of Maternal and Early Childhood Exposure to Neurotoxic Chemical Elements and Essential Nutrients on Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

  2. Dr. Davide Martino & Dr. Laura Sycuro

    Cross-disorder approach to the study of gut microbiome in neurodevelopmental disorders

  3. Dr. Ray Turner & Dr. David Schriemer

    Restoring Protein Translation in Fragile X Syndrome

  4. Dr. Deborah Kurrasch, Dr. Myriam Hemberger & Dr. Sarah McFarlane

    The Effects of Maternal Infection on Placenta and Developing Brains

  5. Dr. Gerald Giesbrecht, Dr. Melanie Noel & Dr. Alfred Yeung

    Fibre for Thought: Reducing Pain and Anxiety by Gut-Brain Axis Modulation

Dr. Kathryn Birnie, Dr. Melanie Noel, Dr. Sheri Madigan, Dr. Serena Orr, Dr. Sheila McDonald & Dr. Suzanne Tough

  1. Drs Kathryn Birnie, Melanie Noel, Sheri Madigan, Serena Orr, Sheila McDonald, Suzanne Tough

    Dr. Kathryn Birnie, Dr. Melanie Noel, Dr. Sheri Madigan, Dr. Serena Orr, Dr. Sheila McDonald & Dr. Suzanne Tough

  2. Dr. Signe Bray & Dr. Emma Towlson

    Heterogeneity in brain networks in children born preterm and the relation to risk of behavioral and mental disorder