Clinical Practice

Autism Care



“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician


MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.


MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.


“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University


The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.


“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences


Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

Clinical practice refers to the activities carried out in a medical setting with practitioners’ patients. Some of these are based on guidelines that specify how diagnosis and treatment should be carried out in a particular condition. Clear and strict guidelines around diagnosing a condition, such as ASD, ensures the proper treatment is prescribed.

Dr. Julia Frei

Dr. Julia Frei is a Developmental Pediatrician and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University.  Her clinical and research interests include dual diagnosis and disadvantaged populations.  She is the Site Qualified Investigator for an international multi-site randomized controlled trial of Arbaclofen for treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Lorraine Hoult

Lorraine Hoult is a Clinical Psychometrist at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program.  Her clinical and research interests include genetics of autism, predictors of treatment response and outcome, risks of premature birth, provincial and federal policies, ASD program development and evaluation.  

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi is a Developmental Pediatrician & Assistant Professor at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre at McMaster University. His primary area of clinical work is with children and youth with autism. His research focus is on understanding how elements related to a patient’s cultural context are incorporated into clinical reasoning within health professionals' education, and how we can best teach about and support critical reflection around such issues.

Dr. Irene Drmic

Dr. Irene Drmic is a Psychologist at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Program and Child and Youth Mental Health Program. Her clinical and research interests include mental health in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, phenotypic and genetic overlap of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, predictors of treatment response and outcome, and program development and evaluation.

Dr. Ronit Mesterman

Dr. Ronit Mesterman is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University and the Division Head of Developmental Pediatrics. She is certified in pediatric neurology and developmental pediatrics.Besides her active clinical and educational contributions, Dr. Mesterman is the Medical Director of Developmental Pediatric Rehabilitation and Autism Spectrum Disorders Services.

Dr. Stephanie Lavoie

Dr. Stephanie Lavoie is a Neuropsychologist with the Pediatric Neurology Program and the Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Stephanie’s clinical and research interests focus on mental health and neurological underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Dr. Peter Szatmari

Dr. Peter Szatmari is a clinician-scientist and an international ASD expert. He has made significant contributions to the field in many areas including diagnosis, measurement, and longitudinal development – all of which led to significant changes in our understanding of ASD as well as the classification of ASD in both the DSM-IV and DSM-5. He was a co-leader of the Autism Genome Project and leads the national Pathways in ASD study. He is the founding Director of the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network, a patient-oriented research network in early intervention in ASD.

Dr. Noam Soreni

Dr. Noam Soreni’s clinical and research work focuses on the cognition and neurobiology of pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). As a member of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Center, he leads the pediatric OCD consultation team. The current foci of research are perfectionism, hoarding, and brain imaging of pediatric OCD. He is a co-investigator of the POND study.