Neonatal Neuroscience Team

Photo of Dr. Steven Miller

Steven Miller, MDCM MAS

Hudson Family Hospital Chair in Pediatric Medicine, James & Annabel McCreary Chair in Pediatrics, Professor and Head, Dept Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, UBC, Chief Pediatric Medicine, BC Children’s Hospital & Sunny Hill Health Centre.

Affiliate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Adjunct Senior Scientist, SickKids Research Institute.


Dr. Steven Miller is Professor and Head, Dept of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Chief Pediatric Medicine at BC Children’s Hospital & Sunny Hill Health Centre.  He is an Affiliate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto and Adjunct Senior Scientist at SickKids Research Institute.  Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, Dr. Miller’s research program focuses on better understanding brain injury and development in the newborn. He and his team use advanced brain imaging and detailed long-term follow-up to help children who were born early or with conditions that put them at risk of neurological and developmental deficits. He has contributed to our understanding of brain abnormalities caused directly by premature birth, perinatal asphyxia or indirectly by congenital heart disease.

Photo of Dr. Vann Chau

Vann Chau, MD

Neurologist, Clinical Director of the Neonatal Neurology Program


Dr. Vann Chau is a Paediatric Neurologist at The Hospital for Sick Children. He is the Principle Investigator of the Paediatric Cardiac and Neurological Registry study currently ongoing. His research interest are studying brain injury and its effect on long term outcome in both premature infants and neonates with congenital heart disease.

Photo of Dr. Emily Tam

Emily Tam, MDCM MAS

Neurologist, Director of the Neonatal Neurology Fellowship Program


Dr. Emily Tam is a Paediatric Neurologist, Associate Scientist in Neurosciences & Mental Health and the Director of the Neonatal Neurology Fellowship Program at The Hospital for Sick Children.  She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, Dr. Tam’s research program focuses on better understanding reversible and nutritional risk factors for brain injury in term and preterm newborns, especially cerebellar development. Current research studies investigate the impact of glucose on brain injury in term neonatal encephalopathy and the impact of fatty acid and cholesterol levels on preterm brain injury and development.

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Mike Seed, MBBS

Head – Division of Cardiology, Cardiac Radiologist


Dr. Mike Seed was appointed as a Paediatric Cardiologist and Radiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 2011. He is an assistant professor of Pediatrics, Medical Imaging and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto. He is an Associate Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute and an Associate Member of the Institute of Medical Science. Mike is from England and went to medical school at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, where he also undertook his basic specialist training in paediatrics. He moved to Leeds for his residency in Radiology and then completed fellowships in cardiac MRI and pediatric cardiology in Toronto. Mike’s clinical role at SickKids involves a combination of general inpatient and outpatient cardiology and cardiac imaging. In partnership with his colleagues in Neurology and Neonatology, he co-founded the Cardiac Neurodevelopment Program in 2015. His research has focused on the relationship between fetal and neonatal cardiovascular physiology and brain development. Mike lives in Mississauga with his wife Nina, who is a paediatric radiologist at MacMaster, and their two boys, Sam and Nick.

Linh Ly, MD

Neonatologist, Medical Director of the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow Up Clinic


Dr. Linh Ly is a staff neonatologist and Medical Director of the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Clinic at The Hospital for Sick Children. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.  Her research focus is in neurodevelopmental outcomes of high risk neonates with acquired brain injury, congenital heart disease or born extremely preterm.

Amr El Shahed, MD, PhD, DHPE

Neonatologist, Co-Director Neonatal Neocritical Care Unit and Neonatal Neurology Fellowship Program


Dr. Amr El Shahed has special interest in brain health, follow-up, and neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants and neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Dr. El Shahed works on enhancing brain monitoring in newborns at risk for brain injury and optimizing developmental assessment and support in the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental follow up Clinic. His research is focused on studying: hemodynamics and cerebral oxygenation in neonates with HIE, pattern of brain injury and evaluation of different prognostic utilities in HIE. Dr. El Shahed studies the changes in cerebral oxygenation and cardiac function during hypothermia and rewarming in neonates with HIE. He is studying the association between cardiovascular biomarkers and inotropic drugs and outcome in neonates with HIE aiming to establish optimum hemodynamic targets in this population. He is planning to study the effect of postnatal steroids on cerebral and splanchnic oxygenation in preterm infants.

Tricia Williams, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist


Using a patient-oriented research approach, Dr. Williams’s research program examines child neuropsychological outcomes and parent experiences following early brain injury. Dr. Williams and her team are currently evaluating an innovative eHealth parent intervention program targeting mental health needs reported by families.

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Davide Marini, MD, PhD (Consultant)

Cardiologist, University Hospital Southampton, UK


Dr. Davide Marini is Paediatric Cardiologist who joined the team in 2016. He studies the impact of congenital heart diseases on brain development in fetuses and newborns by using the MR technology. He completed his medical and pediatric training at the University of Verona, in Italy, where he also obtained a PhD in Multimodal Imaging. He has worked as pediatric radiologist and cardiologist in Paris, France at the Hôpital Necker Enfantes Malades, in Rome, at the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù and in Turin at the Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita, both in Italy.

Photo of Dr. Jessie Guo

Jessie Guo, PhD

Senior Research Associate


Jessie is a Research Associate specialized in brain imaging and image analysis. She obtained her PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from Western University and conducted her postdoctoral training at SicKids. Jessie develops quantitative image analysis methods to allow our team to study the development of the brain in several high-risk neonatal populations. Her current research work focuses on quantitative mapping of brain injury to predict brain development and neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature infants and infants with congenital heart disease.

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Stephanie Au-Young, PhD, PGDip, CCRP

Clinical Research Project Manager


Stephanie completed her PhD studies in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. After completing her Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute she obtained her degree to become a Clinical Research Associate. In the NeoNs lab, she coordinates the neurodevelopmental research studies in Cardiology and Neonatology, which includes managing neonatal follow-up, research ethics and study recruitment. Her current research interests are focused on improving neurodevelopmental outcomes through clinical care in the cardiac population.

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Daphne Kamino, M.Sc., CCRP, PMP

Clinical Research Project Manager


Daphne completed her Honours BSc (Biochemistry and Psychology double major) from the University of Toronto, MSc degree (Neuroscience) from the University of Ottawa and holds a Certified Clinical Research Professional designation.  Daphne has been working in clinical and basic research since 2004, in fields including neuroscience, psychology, biology, and chemistry, employing humans and various model organisms (rodents and drosophila).  Since January 2013, Daphne has been working with Dr. Tam on various multi-centred studies that investigate modifiable risk factors for brain injury and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm and term neonates.

Liqun Sun, MD, PhD

Research Program Manager


My main research is the first to develop an award-winning, non-invasive technique for quantification fetal oxygen delivery and consumption, which has used to characterize human fetal circulation and cardiovascular physiology in the setting of congenital heart disease and placental insufficiency. I mainly  focus on novel approaches that address the technical challenges of imaging the fetus and explore new ways to assess and manage diseases that affect the fetal heart and placenta, and follow up the brain development in these different diseases.

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Alan Cooper, PhD

Clinical Research Project Manager


Alan is the research core coordinator for CHILD-BRIGHT, a pan-Canadian patient-oriented research network studying brain-based developmental disorders. Alan is interested in the fundamental mechanisms of nervous system development and research administration. He obtained his PhD (Neuroscience) under the supervision of Deda Gillespie at McMaster University, where he studied the refinement of inhibitory circuitry in the developing auditory brainstem.

Vanna Kazazian, MN, NP

Nurse Practitioner


Vanna is a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiac Neurodevelopment and Neonatal Neurology Programs at SickKids. She completed her master’s degree and Nurse Practitioner certificate at the University of Toronto. Her research interests focus on improving neurodevelopmental outcomes in patients with congenital heart disease.

Mark LePine, RRT, M.Sc.

Clinical Research Project Manager


Mark is a Clinical Research Project Manager in the NeoNs Lab and is currently working on studies involving premature infants.  His roles in these studies include screening and recruitment, coordinating study MRI scans and comprehensive medical record review and data collection.  Mark is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and completed a Masters Degree in Respiratory Science from Charles Sturt University, as well as completing the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.  Mark is also  a member of the Acute Care Transport Services (ACTS) Team at Sick Kids; a specialized team that provides advice, stabilization and the safe transport of critically ill newborn babies and young children to tertiary care centers such as Sick Kids, Sunnybrook and Mount Sinai, as well as to other provincial, national and international destinations.

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Amandeep Saini, RN

Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator


Amandeep is a Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator for studies of term born infants with congenital heart disease. She is responsible to organize and prepare infants for pre- and post-cardiac surgery and follow-up MRI scans as well as transportation and monitoring of the babies during the scan. She also conducts comprehensive chart review and data collection. She has a BScN from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India where she also was a bedside nurse in the NICU, paediatrics ward and an OR nurse for 13 years. Amandeep has been working at SickKids since 2003 in roles including a bedside nurse in the Cardiac Unit and a Vascular Access Nurse.

Photo of Giselle Da Rocha

Giselle Da Rocha, RN

Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator


Giselle is one of the Clinical Research Nurse Coordinators in the NeoNs Lab. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from York University. She has been employed by SickKids since 2008 and has been with the NeoNs Lab since 2014. She also works part-time in the NICU as a bedside RN. Her role in the studies include coordinating and executing safe transport of neonates to and from MRI, and collecting comprehensive patient information from medical records.

Photo of Dr. Ziqi Sun

Ziqi Sun, PhD

Research Analyst


Ziqi received a BSc in Chemistry from Nankai University in 1984 in Tianjin, China, a Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 1996 in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States, and a BSc in Computer Science from York University in 2001 in Toronto, Canada. As a Research Analyst, Ziqi’s work focuses on processing and analyzing MRI and MRS datasets collected on Siemens and GE scanners using ImageJ, Tarquin, and SAGE softwares, evaluating RF coil performance, and optimizing imaging protocols for the Siemens 3T Research Scanner.

Steven Ufkes, M.Sc.



Steven completed his Master’s degree in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto. He splits his time between Dr. Miller’s lab and the Centre for Computational Medicine.

Min Sheng, MD

Research Fellow


Min obtained her medical degree at XiangYa School of Medicine in China and completed her Radiology training in Beijing in 2012. She did two year research fellowship in Dallas, Texas, United State, focusing on functional MRI applications on patients with neurological diseases. Her current research project in SickKids involves using imaging tools to predict neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants.

Mehmet N Cizmeci, MD

Dr. Karen Pape Fellow in Neuroplasticity Neonatal Intensive Care Unit &  Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Clinic


Dr. Mehmet N. Cizmeci is currently the Dr. Karen Pape Fellow in Neuroplasticity at SickKids. To pursue his passion for neonatal neurology, Mehmet started a research fellowship in 2017 at Utrecht University with Dr. Linda de Vries. In 2019, he joined the neonatal neurology team at SickKids as a clinical fellow and was trained by Drs. Steven Miller, Emily Tam and Vann Chau. Following a fruitful fellowship period, Mehmet received the CanMEDS Subspecialty Fellow Excellence Award. Mehmet has a longstanding interest in long-term neurologic outcome prediction, and he joined the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up team at SickKids and is currently working with a multidisciplinary group of professionals led by Dr. Linh Ly. Mehmet’s research interests are neuroplasticity of the newborn brain and hemorrhagic brain injury of the preterm infant.

Ivan Salazar, MD

Neonatal Neurology Fellow


Ivan completed his pediatric neurology residency in The Technical Institute and Superior Studies of Monterrey (ITESM), in Monterrey, Mexico. He started to work as pediatric neurologist staff in a third level hospital since 2014, including teaching for residents in Pediatric Neurology. He also worked as professor in ITESM’s School of Medicine since 2017. His is currently doing his clinical fellowship in Neonatal Neurology at the Hospital for Sick Children. His current research focus is in the study of neonatal seizures in patients with perinatal asphyxia.

Thiviya Selvanathan, MD

Neonatal Neurology Fellow


Thiviya is a Neonatal Neurology Fellow and PhD student at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto. She also completed her pediatric neurology residency training at the University of TorontoThiviya is interested in studying early fetal, neonatal and childhood brain development using advanced neuroimaging techniques. Her research focuses on the application of multimodal neuroimaging techniques and machine learning to study the effects of pain and analgesia on the preterm brain

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Jessie Mei Lim, PhD

Post-doctoral Research Fellow


Jessie is a graduate student who has been with Dr. Mike Seed since 2014. Working on the Cardiac Neurodevelopment program, she is primarily interested in cardiac and brain imaging of newborns with congenital heart disease. Jessie aims to investigate the physiological relationship between the hemodynamics of congenital heart disease and how it affects the developing brain as the two change together throughout fetal and postnatal life, especially after surgery.

Connor Mabbott, M. Sc.

Clinical Research Project Assistant


Connor is completing his graduate degree at the University of Toronto and has joined the team at SickKids as a clinical research project assistant. He is working with Dr Guo to investigate associations between neonatal deep grey matter volumes and neurodevelopment outcomes. Connor is also helping research the effects of brain injury on long term outcome in premature infants and those with congenital heart disease.

Yi Cheng Zhu, B. Sc.

Undergraduate Student


Yi Cheng is an undergraduate student currently studying Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He is currently working with Jessie Guo to develop and apply automated toolkits and pipelines in neuroimaging applications. Yi Cheng aims to apply Computer Science in the medical field, specifically in neuroimaging and signal processing.

Interested in joining our team?