Donald Mabbott, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Psychologist, Psychology

Associate Chief, Academic and Professional Practice
Professional Practice

Member of Paediatric Brain Tumour Program

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Neurosciences & Mental Health

University of Toronto
Associate Professor






Brief Biography

I received my PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Alberta in 1998, and then completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Paediatric Neuropsychology at The Hospital for Sick Children.  I am a psychologist with the Paediatric Brain Tumour Program in the Division of Haematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children, a senior scientist in the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children, and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. I provide clinical neuropsychology services to children with brain tumours and their families and I have a research program in developmental neuropsychology.

Research Interests

  • Developmental neuropsychology

  • Neuro-cognitive late effects of paediatric brain tumours.

  • Multi-modal neuro-imaging

  • Brain repair

Research Activities

My research uses innovative brain imaging techniques (i.e., Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Magnetoencephalography) and psychological tests to study the impact of brain injury on how the brain grows and develops in childhood.   Specifically, I examine the impact of treatment for paediatric brain tumours on the structure and function of the brain.

Although many children with brain tumours are cured, survival does not come without a cost. Survivors have higher rates of academic difficulties, and lower rates of high-school graduation and employment relative to their peers. The overall goal of my research is to reduce the burden of brain tumours and their treatment to improve the quality of life for children.  My work has been instrumental in documenting the thinking and learning difficulties children treated for brain tumours experience and the underlying damage to brain structure and function that cause these problems.

I have recently begun exciting new work to find ways to foster brain repair following radiation injury in children treated for brain tumours, including using physical exercise and drugs that stimulate the growth of new brain cells. My work has been funded through the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, and Genome Canada.

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.

Robert Nesta Marley


Children at participating schools contribute to fundraising efforts through a variety of events


Monies raised by Pedal for Hope are going directly to pediatric cancer research.


Teaching kids about other kids who are just like them but who are  living with cancer.


Pedal for Hope helps children with cancer know that they are not alone in their fight.


Pedal For Hope is a three week cycling tour delivering a message about kids living with cancer and supporting Pediatric Cancer Research.

In 2005, the Peterborough Chapter of Cops for Cancer took on a new identity. The Pedal for Hope Cycling Team was born and local children fighting cancer had a new support team behind them! Local police personnel, a retired N.H.L. hockey player and a great crew of support personnel have been dedicating time to this worthy cause. Starting in late April, the Pedal for Hope team cycles throughout Central Ontario visiting approximately 50 local schools delivering a message about kids living with cancer and raises funds for pediatric cancer research. As of now, Pedal for Hope has raised over $4 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.



As long as there are kids with cancer, none of us can truly rest. Change a child’s life today by

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