The hidden costs of COVID-19 on children

September 22, 2020
12:30 PM EST (30 min)

Virtual Meeting




Even if they avoid the worst direct effects of the virus, children may be particularly sensitive to the longer-term stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the economic downturn and social distancing policies. Join CIFAR Fellows Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba), Michael Kobor (University of British Columbia), and Candice Odgers (University of California, Irvine), three members of a project team supported by the Manulife CIFAR Population Health & Well-being Grant Program, as they investigate how the pandemic will affect children’s brains, immune systems, and ability to thrive.


Meghan Azad is focused on the role of infant nutrition and the microbiome in child growth, development, and resilience. She is a Fellow in CIFAR’s Humans & the Microbiome program.

She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease and co-directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre MILC. She also co-leads the Manitoba site of the CHILD Cohort Study, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health to promote or protect against asthma, allergies and obesity.

Michael Kobor is a medical geneticist at the University of British Columbia whose research focuses on the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and genome function. He places particular emphasis on understanding the mechanistic nature of these processes and their modulation by environmental exposures. He is a Fellow in CIFAR’s Child & Brain Development program, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, and the principal investigator of the University of British Columbia’s Social Exposome Research Cluster.

Candice Odgers works in public policy, psychology and neuroscience. Her research focuses on how social inequalities and early adversity influence children’s future health and well-being. She is particularly interested in how new technologies, including mobile phones and web-based tools, can be used to understand and improve the lives of young people. She is Co-Director of CIFAR’s Child & Brain Development program.