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Brain Kids Lab Projects

To see our other studies of neurodevelopment, please visit our Research Studies page. 

To keep up to date with our lab's activity, please follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

DNA

A Prospective Natural History Study of Angelman Syndrome for Therapeutic Development

This study is being done to better understand Angelman Syndrome (AS) over long periods of time. If we understand the different pattern of symptoms that appear in individuals with AS over their lifetime, doctors can help patients with AS better. This information can also help create better tools for assessing the abilities of individuals with AS. This information may also help in the development of future therapeutic trials for AS.
Researchers will look at participants' medical and laboratory records, interview you, and evaluate you in person to collect clinical and historical data. They will then contact you once a year to arrange for a follow-up visit.
This study has been approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (REB19-0324).

Brain Kids Lab Team

Located at the Child Development Centre

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Dr. Kara Murias

Assistant Professor
Department of Paediatrics and Clinical Neuroscience
University of Calgary

Clinical Interests

Dr. Murias' clinical focus is assessing and diagnosing children with developmental or cognitive concerns, including:

  • Attention and executive function deficits

  • Autism

  • Neurodevelopmental genetic conditions

  • Global developmental delay

Research Interests

Dr. Murias' research program focuses on the different trajectories of cognitive development in children with developmental and neurologic conditions, what biologic processes underlie differences in outcomes, and whether we can predict or alter that trajectory.

The ultimate goal of this research program is to contribute new information on the neural mechanisms of atypical development, while advancing knowledge of the risk factors, treatment effects and clinical outcomes of children with neurodevelopmental concerns.

Graduate Students

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Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey joined the Brain Kids Lab in the Fall of 2019 after completing her BSc and Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Lethbridge. Kelsey is a Ph.D. candidate in the lab studying the role of Attention, Executive Function, and Functional Connectivity (measured through functional MRI) in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

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Ryan Verbitsky

Ryan completed his BSc degree from MacEwan University in June of 2023, where he is currently pursuing his MDNS degree under the supervision of Dr. Murias. His current work in the Brain Kids laboratory utilizes a novel neuroimaging technique known as neuromelanin MRI. He aims to determine this neuroimaging technique's effectiveness as an accurate ADHD assessment tool. The recovery from brain injuries, when he was a teenager, is his driving force for understanding cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, which encompasses learning and memory, neuroimaging, neuropharmacology, and developmental neuroscience. He aims to earn a graduate degree that would equip him with the education and training to serve in a pediatric neurology career. Outside of school, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, participating in mountain bike races, and skiing.

Amsal Rajan

Amsal received his BSc in Biomechanics (Kinesiology) from the University of Calgary in June 2022. He is now pursuing his MSc in Neuroscience in the Brain Kids Lab, where he is investigating how stimulation of different cortical regions relates to changes in executive functioning in children with ADHD. Amsal’s goal is to better identify these cortical targets based on individual differences in executive functioning deficits, which can lead to personalized treatment. Ultimately, he wants to pursue a career in medicine. Outside of his studies, he enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering, and playing basketball.

Bevin Wiley

Bevin is completing a PhD in Neuroscience focused on transcranial magnetic stimulation for children with Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. 

Undergraduate Students

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Sandra Abdelmalak

Sandra is a second-year BSc student in the Neuroscience program. She is interested in learning about the use of non-invasive brain stimulation as a treatment for neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders in kids. In the Brain Kids lab, she is involved in the Cortical Excitability and Dopamine in ADHD study where she will be a part of cognitive and motor testing. Moving forward, Sandra plans to pursue a career in medicine where she hopes to integrate treatment development research into clinical practice. 

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Sara Alshimari

Sara Alshimari is a third-year biomedical sciences major. Her previous work with children who have disabilities piqued an interest that has pushed her to participate in researching neurological disorders. Outside of school, she is a big coffee and reading enthusiast. She also loves spending time outdoors on simple hikes, appreciating the nature around her.

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Rachel Oskin

Rachel is a third-year student in the Bachelor of Health Science Honours program, majoring in Biomedical Sciences. She is assisting with the TMS-neuromelanin project and is passionate about understanding the underlying mechanisms behind neurodevelopmental disorders. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, going for hikes with her dog and volunteering.

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Yuvraj Agnihotri

Yuvraj is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Yuvraj's research involves ADHD in children and the effects of common co-occurring conditions in kids with epilepsy. Outside of his passion for pediatric research, he enjoys playing soccer, biking, and wood working.

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Hayley Huston

Hayley is in her final year of the BSc Psychology program at the University of Calgary and is working as a research assistant in the Brain Kids lab. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dementia. She is most interested in how neurological concerns affect individuals across the lifespan. Her long-term career goal is to practice as a clinician scientist in the field of clinical psychology, having enjoyed her work in helping roles such as dance instruction and respite care. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

Research Staff

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Fiza Hasan

Fiza joined the Brain Kids Lab in July 2022 after graduating with a BSc (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Currently, Fiza works as a research assistant, while pursuing a Master's degree in Law and Psychology at Simon Fraser University. At this time, she is examining mind wandering and executive function in children with ADHD, while also assisting in other projects in the lab. In her spare time Fiza enjoys reading (almost every genre) and writing poetry and novels, especially mysteries and fantasies.

Hanna Duffy

Past Members

Christian Tsang BSc

Judy Fan BSc, BEd

Ciara Hanly BKin, MD Candidate

Ishita Moghe MSc

Oswald Chen BSc, MD candidate

Elana Sarabin BSc

Fanar Ghanim BSc Honours

Harshil Shah BSc Honours

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Positions Available

Student Positions

Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in the Brain Kids Lab. We are not currently looking for additional lab members.

Please visit this link to view other potential supervisors at the University of Calgary.

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