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Developmental Path and Interventions

Resource Platform


Develomental path

The research activities of the Fraser Mustard Institute benefit from one of the most comprehensive long-term studies in the world: the Ontario Family Health Study (OFHS).

The overall aim of the Ontario Family Health Study is to develop a platform for research on pregnancy complications, maternal and infant health, and to assemble a cohort for future studies on the developmental trajectories of health, learning and social function.

The OFHS will be one of the largest, most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated pregnancy and early childhood cohorts in the world and will serve to support ongoing research into the mechanisms underlying pregnancy complication (preterm birth, preeclampsia etc.) as well as supporting intervention studies.  Through linkage to resources for infants and children the longer-term goal is to follow the children though infancy and childhood so as to investigate the gene-environment interactions that establish developmental trajectories to health, learning and social functioning.

We will use advanced technologies to predict sub-optimal human potential and expose early causal pathways and relationships in the first 4 years of life. This will allow researchers to develop interventions that can be applied to children early in life to take advantage of the plasticity of a child’s developmental systems. Early intervention is key to ensuring that a child is set on positive and optimal trajectory for life, which is of benefit to all – a child that is healthy, physically, emotionally and socially, will reach a higher level of school achievement, be less likely to commit a crime, suffer from mental health problems or abuse, and will become a strong and active asset to his or her society.

Ontario Birth Study TARGetKids


Theme Leaders


If you would like to get involved, please contact the leaders of this research theme:

Dr. Alan Bocking

E-mail  |  Website

Dr. Alan Bocking is the past Chair of the University of Toronto department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mount Sinai Hospital.  He has chaired the Steering Committee for the Ontario Birth Study since its inception.  He Co-leads the Developmental Paths and Interventions Theme of the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development with Dr. Jonathon Maguire. He is a Clinician Scientist trained in maternal-Fetal Medicine and Fetal Physiology and his current research interests and expertise is in the diagnosis and prediction of Spontaneous Preterm Labour with a specific focus on the role of the vaginal microbiome in modulating local and systemic inflammation. Dr. Bocking has extensive experience in leading multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral groups of Clinicians, researchers, policy makers and educators. 

Dr. Jonathon Maguire 

E-mail  |  Website

Dr. Jonathon Maguire is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto, a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital and a staff pediatrician in the Department of Pediatrics at St. Michael’s Hospital with an active pediatric hospitalist and outpatient clinical practice.   His research interests focus on the early life prevention of chronic illness and the creation of clinical tools to facilitate evidence informed practice.  Since 2009 he has been a lead investigator in the only Canadian practice based research network for children called TARGet Kids!.  He is leading a number of large studies through TARGet Kids! which, with 7000 children involved, has become one of the largest cohorts of children in North America. He is the Medical Director of the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program which is supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada and co-lead (with Dr. Alan Bocking) of the Developmental Paths and Interventions Theme of the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development at the University of Toronto. 




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