At the core of the CHILD Study’s governance and administration structure are a Director, Co-Director and an Executive Committee comprising the site leaders and research theme leaders.

The decisions of the Executive Committee are informed by input from a Scientific Advisory Committee, and its work complemented by that of various Scientific Working Groups and Sub-Committees.

On-the-ground implementation of the Study is undertaken by teams at each of the four study sites, under the coordination of a National Coordinating Centre–within which Study data and biological samples are centralized and managed.

CHILD Study Organizational Chart

CHILD Org Chart: 2008-2017

CHILD Study Directors


Dr. Padmaja Subbarao

Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, McMaster University
Scientist, Physiology & Experimental Medicine, Sick Kids Research Institute
Staff Respirologist, Respiratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Subbarao‘s primary research interest is in the early determinants and development of asthma. Specifically, she is studying changes in infant lung function and biomarkers of inflammation in infants, to elucidate the effect of environment and especially viruses on the development of early disease. Dr. Subbarao served as Deputy Director of the CHILD Study from 2007, became Co-Director in 2014, and then assumed the role of Director in July 2017.

Responsibilities: Among other things, the Director is responsible for the broad scope of conduct of the study, including the maintenance of scientific and ethical standards, the well-being of CHILD participants, and the overall co-ordination of studies and personnel.

Dr. Stuart Turvey


Dr. Stuart Turvey

Professor, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
Aubrey J. Tingle Professor of Pediatric Immunology
Director, Clinical Research, and Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital

Dr.Turvey‘s research program is translational, interdisciplinary and unique in its focus on understanding the role of innate immunity in infectious and inflammatory diseases of childhood. Starting with a population of children with a defined infectious or inflammatory disease phenotype, he aims to determine the underlying cellular, molecular and genetic abnormalities responsible for the disease through detailed immunological, genomic and proteomic analysis. Dr. Turvey became Co-Director of the CHILD Study in July 2017.

Responsibilities: The Co-Director assists the Director in carrying out her responsibilities, including the formulation of policy and the day-to-day management of the Study.

Dr. Malcolm Sears

Founding Director

Dr. Malcolm Sears

Professor, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, McMaster University
AstraZeneca Endowed Chair in Respiratory Epidemiology
Researcher, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Allergy and Asthma Research Lead, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study
Chair, Publications Committee, CHILD Study

Dr. Sears has been involved in many studies investigating the epidemiology and natural history of asthma with particular focus on its frequency, risk factors and characteristics in large populations. He has been involved in the Dunedin Study for more than 30 years. Other of his research interests include assessment of asthma therapies, and the effects of indoor allergens, viral infections, air pollutants, smoking and hormones in respiratory disease.

Responsibilities: The Founding Director led the planning for the CHILD Study from initial discussions in 2004, was heavily involved in the development of the AllerGen Network for Centres for Excellence in 2005, and served as Director of the study from its inception in 2007 through to July 2017. He remains involved in the Study, especially in the reviewing and editing of publications, and maintains an advisory role as an ex officio member of the Executive Committee.


CHILD Study Site Leaders

The study site leaders are co-PIs, and core members of the Executive Committee. They work with the Director and Deputy Director or Co-Director to implement the CHILD study at each of the study locations. Among other things, the site leaders are responsible for the conduct of the study at their sites, including the maintenance of scientific standards, and fulfillment of ethical obligations.

Vancouver site leader

Dr. Stuart Turvey

Dr. Stuart Turvey

Professor, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
Aubrey J. Tingle Professor of Pediatric Immunology
Director, Clinical Research, and Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital

Edmonton site leader

Dr. Piush Mandhane

Dr. Piush Mandhane

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta
Director, Division of Pediatric Respirology, Pulmonary & Asthma, University of Alberta
Pediatric Respirologist

Manitoba site co-leaders

Dr. Allan Becker

Dr. Allan Becker

Professor and Head, Section of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health, University of Manitoba
Consultant Allergist, Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg
Researcher, the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba

Dr. Meghan Azad

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics & Child Health, University of Manitoba
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
Population Health Pillar co-Lead, Manitoba Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network (DEVOTION)

Toronto site leader

Dr. Theo Moraes

Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto
Scientist-Track Investigator, Translational Medicine, Sick Kids Research Institute
Staff Respirologist, Respiratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children


Executive Committee

The Executive Committee comprises the Study Co-Directors, the site leaders and research theme leaders. It meets regularly, at the call of the Director. Among other things, the Executive Committee is responsible for determining how the primary CHILD Study is conducted, who is involved and how it is funded. Decision making is a shared responsibility of the Executive.

Core members

Director, Co-Director, and site leaders

Adjunct members

Dr. Sonia Anand
Dr. Dean Befus
Dr. Jeffrey R. Brook
Dr. Michael Kobor
Dr. Wendy Lou

Ex-officio members

Dr. Malcolm Sears
Others invited as needed


The work of the Executive Committee is complemented by the supporting efforts of the following sub-committees.

Biological Samples Committee

The Biological Samples Committee (BSC) advises the Executive Committee on releasing CHILD samples for analysis. The BSC mandate is to ensure that proposed studies align with the goals and priorities of the CHILD Study and that samples are analysed efficiently by rigorous state-of-the-art methods, to maximise outcomes and minimise sample wastage.

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Leadership Committee

The KMb Leadership Committee provides strategic direction and leadership to the CHILD Study’s knowledge mobilization activities. The Leadership Committee’s primary role is to identify, evaluate and prioritize knowledge mobilization, societal outreach, and commercialization opportunities relevant to CHILD Study findings.

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Stakeholder Advisory Committee

The KMb Stakeholder Advisory Committee is a multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral advisory committee that provides strategic implementation advice and feedback to the CHILD Study’s KMb Leadership Committee, toward mobilizing data and information arising from CHILD Study research results.

Publications Committee

The Publications Committee is comprised of the Director, Co-Director, two site leaders, two other Executive members and three elected investigators who serve a three-year term. The Publications Committee reviews and approves publication proposals submitted by investigators, reviews all abstracts and full papers prior to submission, and maintains a listing of all presentations of the CHILD Study. Currently the committee is chaired by the Founding Director, Dr. Malcolm Sears.

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is comprised of the Director, Co-Director, site leaders, and the Research Administrative Manager at the National Coordinating Centre. The Committee reviews the financial situation, cash flow, budgets, grant applications, and anticipated and extraordinary expenses of the Study.


Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) informs Study planning and decision-making by the Executive Committee.

Chair: Dr. Paul O’Byrne, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dr. John Henderson, University of Bristol, UK
Dr. Fernando Martinez, Tucson Arizona, USA
Dr. Terrie Moffitt, Duke University, North Carolina, USA
Dr. Erika von Mutius, Munich, Germany
Dr. Peter Sly, Brisbane, Australia
Dr. Mark Raizenne, Ottawa
Dr. Felix Ratjen, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Scientific Working Groups

To facilitate its many areas of specialized investigation, CHILD has developed various Working Groups consisting of researchers from related disciplines to develop the assessments, questionnaires and tools fundamental to meeting the objectives of the CHILD study. These groups work in conjunction with the National Coordinating Centre to develop standard operating procedures for tests, biological sample collection and training for recommendation to, and approval by, the Executive Committee.

Scientific Working Groups: 2017 onward

Asthma, Allergy and Lung Function

Leads: Padmaja Subbarao, Dean Befus, Stuart Turvey

Core Members: To be established

Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

Lead: Wendy Lou

Core Members: Michael Brudno, Anna Goldenberg

Cardiometabolic Studies

Lead: Sonia Anand

Core Members: Russell de Souza

Environmental and Exposome

Lead: Jeffrey R. Brook

Core Members: To be established


Lead: Michael Kobor

Core Members: Michael Brudno, Stephan Scherer, Ryan Yuen


Lead: Thomas Eiwegger

Core Members: To be established



Core Members: To be established



Core Members: To be established

Neurodevelopment Studies

Lead: Peter Szatmari

Core Members: Daphne Korczak, Stephan Scherer, Ryan Yuen


Leads: Meghan Azad, Russell de Souza

Core Members: To be established

Physical Activity


Core Members: To be established


Lead: Piush Mandhane

Core Members: Indra Narang

Scientific Working Groups: 2008-17

Genetics Working Group

Chair: Andrew Sandford

Core Members: Denise Daley, Scott Tebbutt, Greg Miller, Ryan Allen, Jeremy Scott, Tobias Kolliman, Michael Brauer, Stuart Turvey, Catherine Laprise, Padmaja Subbarao, Sonia Anand

The genetics working group advises on sample collection, storage and analysis of genetic material from parents and children from the CHILD Study.

Immunology Working Group

Chair: Dean Befus

Core Members: Padmaja Subbarao, Theo Moraes, Kent HayGlass, Bruce Ritchie, Tobias Kollmann, Greg Miller, Stuart Turvey, Edgardo Fortuno III, Judah Denburg, Mark Larché, Diana Lefebvre, Jean Marshall, John Gordon, Lynelle Watt

The Immunology working group works with the National Coordinating Centre to develop standard operating procedures for collecting, processing and quality control of blood samples. Blood components from cord blood and child’s blood will be processed to provide RNA, DNA, serum, plasma, cord blood mononucleocytes, and peripheral blood mononucleocytes. Immunology investigations will focus on a comprehensive analysis of genetic, epigenetic, gene expression, innate and adaptive immunity and toll-like receptor profiles of children to understand the biological basis of allergic disease.

Environmental Working Group

Chair: Jeffrey R. Brook

Core Members: Tim Takaro, James Scott, Diana Lefebvre, Michael Brauer, Anita Kozyrskyj, Sharon Dell, Amanda Wheeler, Tedd Konya

The CHILD Study is particularily interested in exposures relating to the indoor and outdoor environments which will be assessed using multiple tools, including questionnaires, home visit assessments, and home dust sampling for multiple allergens and pollutants. The Environmental Working group works with the National Coordinating Centre and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to develop standard operating procedures for assessments and home dust sampling procedures to support the CHILD study objective of understanding environmental factors involved in allergic diease. Questions related to the child’s and families’ activity will be included in follow-up, gathering information such as time spent in transit, mode of transport, frequency/duration of visits to indoor pools, exposure to wood smoke, etc. Home Dust samples will processed at the Gage Occupational & Environmental Health Unit, Toronto, Ontario and will subsequently be analyzed for endotoxins, allergens, other environmental TLR ligands and Beta (1,3)-d-glucans. Environmental Tobacco Smoke exposure, and outdoor air pollution will be assessed and traffic pollutants estimated by modelling.

Psychosocial Working Group

Chair: Greg Miller

Core Members: Edith Chen, Anita Kozyrskyj, Susan Elliott, Diana Lefebvre

The CHILD Study is interested in exploring psychosocial factors including the mental and physical health of families making the transition to parenthood. The goal is to better understand the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that families have during this period, and how they come to influence the well-being and health status of their child. The psychosocial working group will recommend validated psychosocial questionnaires and conduct interviews to meet the objective of understanding why some family experiences might allow some people to remain healthy while others develop a disease, such as asthma or allergies.

Lung Function and Allergy Working Group

Chair: Padamaja Subbarao

Core Members: Allan Becker, Malcolm Sears, Diana Lefebvre

Assessments of lung function and allergies is an important measure in the CHILD study to meet the primary objective of understanding allergic disease in children. This working group will recommend to the National Coordinating centre the times during child development when lung function and allergy skin tests should be performed to assess children’s health status of asthma and allergy. Procedures used for lung function tests will include exhaled nitric oxide to examine lung inflamation, Infant lung function tests at 3 months and 1 year (in Toronto only), child lung function tests at 3 and 5 years of age in all children, allergy skin prick testing at 1, 3 and 5 years of age, and a methocholine challenge testing at 5 years of age.

Infection Working Group

Chair: Padmaja Subbarao

Core Members: Richard Hegele, Theo Moraes, Stuart Turvey, Diana Lefebvre

A primary focus of this working group is the detailed examination of respiratory infections particularly in the first year of life. All children will have nasal swabs examined at three months and one year, while a sub-cohort in Toronto will be offered more frequent review at the time of developing symptoms suggesting infection.

Nutrition and Endocrine Working Group

Chair: Allan Becker

Core Members: Malcolm Sears, Piush Mandhane, Anita Kozyrskyj, Sonia Anand, Diana Lefebvre

Information about mother’s diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is important in assessing baby’s nutrition, as well as what the child eats. The nutrition working group will work in conjunction with the National Coordinating Centre to develop assessment tools and implement food frequency questionnaires for the collection of nutritional information in mothers and children. Breast milk will be collected for subsequent hormone analyses.

Epidemiology and Statistics Working Group

Chair: Wendy Lou

Core Members: Malcolm Sears, Allan Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Piush Mandhane, Stuart Turvey

Recruitment data, data collection and management, and subsequent data analysis are complex issues under continuing development and review by this Working Group in liaison with all recruitment sites and investigators.



National Coordinating Centre

The National Coordinating Centre (NCC) for the CHILD Study is the overall guardian of all data collected as part of the CHILD study, regardless of the source of funding, including data collected through “add-on” studies. NCC staff also manage all the biological samples collected by the Study, maintain the online database containing all questionnaire responses, process all requests for data/biological samples/research resources, keep a record of media reports, track information requests and dissemination, support the frontline coordinators and researchers who work directly with families enrolled in the Study, coordinate ethics approvals, administer Study finances, and help with grant applications and report writing.

The NCC is hosted by the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario.

Research Manager

Dr. Diana Lefebvre

Read the profile of Dr. Lefebvre in AllerGen Success Stories (Summer 2017)

Contact information