Projects

Since 2013, OBS has collaborated with a variety of Prinicpal Investigators (PI) from a range of institutions. Each unique project, a description of its research objectives, as well as the PI and affiliated institution can be found below.

We encourage prospective PIs to review the topics for each OBS-affiliated project. Doing so will enable the prevention of overlapping applications from different investigators, and foster collaboration between similar projects.

2021

Maternal stress in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental trajectory

There is evidence indicating stress during pregnancy can modify neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. This study aims to determine whether maternal stress is capable of leaving an epigenetic signature in maternal and infant blood, and how this signature relates to neurodevelopmental trajectories in children.

Dr. Stephen Matthews
University of Toronto

2019

The association between perinatal exposures and child neurodevelopment

By evaluating mental health metrThe perinatal environment influences child development and later life health. Despite this, many exposures remain poorly characterized in their effects on development. This study was created to analyze the effect of acetaminophen use, folic acid supplementation, and fertility treatments on child neurodevelopment.

Dr. Rayjean Hung
Sinai Health

Identification of early biomarkers for spontaneous preterm labour

Dr. Jens Coorssen
McMaster University

Parental cannabis use in the perinatal period and child outcomes: capturing changes with legalization in the Ontario Birth Study

The primary objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of child exposure to cannabis pre and postnatally in the OBS cohort, as well as trends in prevalence and factors associated with use. This study also aims to generate preliminary data on associated of cannabis exposure with child birth and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Dr. Julia Knight
Sinai Health

Assessing the age of menarche and the risk of preterm birth

Using OBS’ clinical and lifestyle questionnaire data, this study aims to find a relationship between a participant’s first occurrence of menstruation, and their risk of a preterm delivery.

Dr. John Snelgrove
Sinai Health

2018

Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) harmonization using Maelstrom ReACH catalogue

Alcohol is widely used by women of reproductive age in Canada. PAE leads to a continuum of effects known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, a major public health concern in Canada. This is the first Canadian study to look at the correlates of drinking before, during, and after pregnancy to inform FASD prevention strategies.

Dr. Alan Bocking
Sinai Health

2017

Lipidomics: A novel tool to define human placental development and function across pregnancy

This study aims to undertake a large scale longitudinal study to assess lipid profiles in circulating placental exosomes isolated from uncomplicated pregnancies. These assessments will be compared to the lipid profiles of exosomes isolated from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and gestational diabetes.

Dr. Isabella Canniggia
Sinai Health

The relationship between maternal body weight and pregnancy outcomes

By determining and comparing epigenetic signatures for each OBS subject selected, this study aims to examine the role of epigenetics as a mediator of gene-environment interactions underlying the development of obesity and its associated metabolic outcomes.

Dr. Stephen Matthews
Sinai Health

Maternal medication intake during pregnancy and birth outcome

Acetaminophen is frequently recommended for maternal pain and fever management during pregnancy. Despite claims that it is safe for use by pregnant women, there have been increasing reports of its associated with fetal neurodevelopmental dysregulation. This study aims to examine the relationship between acetaminophen intake and birth outcome in OBS participants.

Dr. Rayjean Hung
Sinai Health

The relationship between exposure to antenatal corticosteroids and pregnancy outcomes

Dr. Stephen Matthews
Sinai Health

Risk of adverse events in pregnancy in women with moderate to severe cardiac disease

Dr. Rohan D’Souza
Sinai Health

2016

Peripheral leukocytes as targets for preterm birth prevention

Preterm birth is a leading cause of newborn death worldwide, and is associated with significant cognitive and physiological challenges in later life. Using next generation sequencing, this study aims to characterize the transcriptome in whole blood leukocytes of women undergoing spontaneous preterm labor, compared to women who delivered at full term.

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

Leukocytes as endogenous biosensors to create novel diagnostics for pregnancy complications in asymptomatic women

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

Maternal cytokines in women with preterm birth enrolled in OBS

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

Characterizing the vaginal microbiome and metabolome of pregnant women with and without a history of infection-related preterm delivery

The objective of this study is to characterize the vaginal microbiome and metabolome of pregnant women with a history of infection-related preterm birth compared to those without a history of non-infection related preterm birth.

Dr. Alan Bocking
Sinai Health

2015

Metagenomic characterization of the vaginal microbiome of pregnant women at higher risk of preterm birth

Dr. Alan Bocking
Sinai Health

2014

Stability of telomere length during pregnancy

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal mental health during pregnancy and postpartum

By evaluating mental health metrics from OBS lifestyle questionnaires completed prior to and during the pandemic, this study hopes to observe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of OBS mothers.

Dr. Stephen Matthews
University of Toronto

2018

The Ontario Birth Study: A prospective pregnancy cohort

An analysis of the OBS, its methods, as well as the quality of data and biospecimens available for researchers.

Dr. Laura Anderson
McMaster University

Pregnancy in women with seasonal affective disorder – Main

Reviews report that maternal diet in pregnancy plays a crucial role in fetal brain development. By assessing the prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and diets of OBS cohort members, to study the risk of mothers with SAD engaging in a high carbohydrate intake diet, which has been proven to be detrimental to child development. This study is a continuation of the 2014 pilot study.

Dr. Robert Levitan
Sinai Health

2017

Antenatal gene expression in OBS women who gave birth pre-term

This study observes the physiologic effects of differing exercise intensity on pregnancy. By examining gene expression of pregnant women, this study aims to determine whether their exercise patterns throughout gestation alter maternal genetic profiles to the point where they could significantly increase the risk of spontaneous preterm birth.

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

2016

The role of maternal mental health in predicting spontaneous preterm birth

Dr. Alan Bocking
Sinai Health

Tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use in the Ontario Birth Study

Dr. Kellie Murphy
Sinai Health

Investigation of the effects of in vitro fertilization on the perinatal mental health and birth outcomes of women pregnant through assisted reproductive technologies

This study seeks to compare the pregnancy and postpartum self reported mood and mental health status of women who conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART) with those of women who conceived spontaneously.

Dr. Kellie Murphy
Sinai Health

2015

Effects of physical activity prior to and during pregnancy on fetal outcome

Conflicting reports exist regarding the relationship between maternal physical activity during pregnancy, and fetal health outcomes. This study aims to properly examine the relationship between different PA levels and fetal outcomes by using OBS participant questionnaire and clinical data.

Dr. Stephen Lye
Sinai Health

2014

Pregnancy in women with seasonal affective disorder – pilot

Reviews report that maternal diet in pregnancy plays a crucial role in fetal brain development. By assessing the prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and diets of OBS cohort members, to study the risk of mothers with SAD engaging in a high carbohydrate intake diet, which has been proven to be detrimental to child development.

Dr. Robert Levitan
Sinai Health