Joanne Rovet

Professor Emerita


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • The role of thyroid hormone in fetal and neonatal brain development.
  • Structural and functional neuroimaging studies of children with fetal/neonatal thyroid hormone insufficiencies.
  • Structural and functional neuroimaging studies of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • Thyroid hormone and visual development.
  • Hypothyroxinemia of prematurity and child outcome.
  • Social and behavioural consequences of fetal alcohol exposure
  • Neuroanatomic characteristics of atypical pubertal development

A primary focus of Rovet's research program is studying children who were exposed to insufficient levels of thyroid hormone during fetal life and early infant development. This includes studies of children with congenital hypothyroidism, offspring of women with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism during pregnancy, and children born preterm whose early neonatal thyroid hormone levels are also evaluated. These children are studies for memory, and visual processing deficits using classical neuropsychological and laboratory-based tasks with special emphasis on memory systems. In addition, children with congenital hypothyroidism or maternal hypothyroidism are undergoing MRI studies to measure structural abnormalities of selective brain regions as well as magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) diffusion tensor imaging, voxel-based morphometry, and functional neuroimaging. 

Studies of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders include defining the neurobehavioural phenotype, developing a screening instrument to diagnose FASD, and structural and functional neuroimaging studies. The latter serves to elucidate brain abnormalities in memory systems and the processing of social information.


Dr. Joanne Rovet is a senior scientist emeritus in Neurosciences & Mental Health  at The Hospital for Sick Children and a professor of paediatrics and psychology at the University of Toronto. She is also appointed to the Graduate Faculty in Psychology at the University of Toronto and York University.

Rovet has a PhD from the University of Toronto and has completed a postdoctoral fellowship in paediatric neuropsychology at SickKids. Rovet is a registered psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Rovet was a founding member of the Turner Syndrome Society of Canada. She is a member of the advisory committee of the Neurosciences & Mental Health research program and a member of the Staff Review Committee of the Research Institute at SickKids. She was the past chair of RESTRACOMP.