Rob Nicolson M.D., F.R.C.P.(C.)

Associate Professor


Med School: University of Western Ontario
Residency: University of Toronto
Additional Traiing: Visiting Scientist, Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health
Clinical area of expertise: Autism, Intellectual Disability
Phone: 519.685.8427
Administrative Partner: Judy McLarty
Developmental Disabilities Website:


Dr. Nicolson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Chair of the Developmental Disabilities Program at Western University. Dr. Nicolson completed medical school at Western University before moving to The University of Toronto to do his residency in psychiatry. He worked as a visiting scientist in the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States before returning to London.

Dr. Nicolson’s research is devoted to the understanding and treatment of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 journal articles and has presented more than 100 abstracts at scientific conferences. As an investigator or co-investigator, he has held grants totaling almost $30 million.

Dr. Nicolson is a child psychiatrist whose practice is largely devoted to children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability. He is a psychiatrist in the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre and in the Autism Spectrum Disorder program at the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London.


  1. Baribeau DA, Dupuis A, Paton TA, Hammill C, Scherer SW, Schachar RJ, Arnold PD, Szatmari P, Nicolson R, Georgiades S, Crosbie J, Brian J, Iaboni A, Kushki A, Lerch JP, Anagnostou E. Structural neuroimaging correlates of social deficits are similar in autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: analysis from the POND Network. Transl Psychiatry 2019;9:72, Coauthor

  2. Baribeau DA, Dupuis A, Paton TA, Scherer SW, Schachar RJ, Arnold PD, Szatmari P, Nicolson R, Georgiadis S, Crosbie J, Brian J, Iaboni A, Lerch J, Anagnostou E. Oxytocin receptor polymorphisms are differentially associated with social abilities across neurodevelopmental disorders. Scientific Reports, 2017;7:11618, Coauthor

  3. Woodbury-Smith M, Nicolson R, Zarrei M, Yuen RKC, Walker S, Howe J, Uddin M, Hoang N, Chrysler C, Thompson A, Szatmari P, Scherer SW. Variable phenotype expression in a family segregating microdeletions of the NRXN1 and MBD5 autism spectrum disorder susceptibility genes. npj Genomic Medicine 2017;2:7, Coauthor

  4. Yuen RKC, Merico D, Bookman M, Howe JL, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Patel R,Whitney J, Deflaux N, Wang Z, Pellecchia G, Buchanan J, Walker S, Marshall CR, Uddin M, Zarrei M, Deneault E, D’Abate L, Chan AJS, Koyanagi S, Paton T, Pereira S, Hoang N, Engchuan W, Higginbotham T, Ho K, Lamoureux S, Li L, MacDonald J, Nalpathamkalam T, Sung W, Tsoi F, Wei J, Xu L, Tasse AM, Kirby E, Van Etten W, Twigger S, Roberts W, Drmic I, Jilderda S, MacKinnon B, Kellam B, Szego M, Cytrynbaum C, Weksberg R, Zwaigenbaum L, Woodbury-Smith M, Brian J, Senman L, Iaboni A, Doyle-Thomas K, Thompson A, Chrysler C, Leef J, Savion-Lemieux T, Smith I, Liu X, Nicolson R, Seifer V, Fedele A, Amaral D, Cook EH, Dager S, Estes A, Gallagher L, Malow BA, Parr J, Spence S, Tager-Flusberg H, Vorstman J, Frey BJ, Strug L, Fernandez BA, Elsabbagh M, Carter MT, Hallmayer J, Knoppers BM, Anagnostou E, Szatmari P, Ring RH, Glazer D, Pletcher M, Scherer SW. Whole genome sequencing resource identifies 18 new candidate genes for autism spectrum disorder. Nature Neuroscience 2017;20:602-606, Citations: 1, Coauthor

  5. Lowther C, Speevak M, Armour CM, Goh ES, Graham GE, Li C, Zeesman S, Nowaczyk MJ, Schultz LA, Morra A, Nicolson R, Bikangaga P, Samdup D, Zaazou M, Boyd K, Jung JH, Siu V, Rajguru M, Goobie S, Tarnopolsky MA, Prasad C, Dick PT, Hussain AS, Walinga M, Reijenga RG, Gazzellone M, Lionel AC, Marshall CR, Scherer SW, Stavropoulos DJ, McCready E, Bassett AS. Molecular characterization of NRXN1 deletions from 19,263 clinical microarray cases identifies exons important for neurodevelopmental disease expression. Genetics in Medicine 2017;19:53-61, Citations: 1, Coauthor

  6. Baribeau DA, Doyle-Thomas KA, Dupuis A, Iaboni A, Crosbie J, McGinn H, Arnold PD, Brian J, Kushki A, Nicolson R, Schachar RJ, Soreni N, Szatmari P, Anagnostou E. Examining and comparing affect recognition in patients with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2015;54:479-486. Citations: 10, Coauthor

  7. Brun CC, Nicolson R, Leporé N, Chou YY, Vidal CN, DeVito TJ, Drost DJ, Williamson PC, Rajakumar N, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Mapping brain abnormalities in boys with autism. Human Brain Mapping 2009;30:3887-3900. Trainee Publication, Citations: 25, Coauthor

  8. Vidal CN, Nicolson R, Boire JY, Barra V, DeVito TJ, Hayashi KM, Geaga JA, Drost DJ, Williamson PC, Rajakumar N, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Three-dimensional mapping of the lateral ventricles in autism. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 2008;163:106-115. Trainee Publication, Citations: 14, Coauthor

  9. Marshall CR, Noor A, Vincent JB, Lionel AC, Feuk L, Skaug J, Shago M, Moessner R, Pinto D, Ren Y, Thiruvahindrapduram B, Fiebig A, Schreiber S, Friedman J, Ketelaars CE, Vos YJ, Ficicioglu C, Kirkpatrick S, Nicolson R, Sloman L, Summers A, Gibbons CA, Teebi A, Chitayat D, Weksberg R, Thompson A, Vardy C, Crosbie V, Luscombe S, Baatjes R, Zwaigenbaum L, Roberts W, Fernandez B, Szatmari P, Scherer SW. Structural variation of chromosomes in autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Human Genetics 2008;82:477-488. Citations: 979, Coauthor

  10. DeVito TJ, Drost DJ, Neufeld RWJ, Rajakumar N, Pavlosky W, Williamson PC, Nicolson R. Evidence for cortical dysfunction in autism: a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging study. Biological Psychiatry 2007;61:465-473. Trainee Publication, Citations: 71, Senior Responsible Author

  11. Nicolson R, Craven-Thuss B, Smith J. A prospective, open-label trial of galantamine in autistic disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2006;16:621-629. Citations: 36, Principal Author

  12. Nicolson R, DeVito TJ, Vidal CN, Sui Y, Hayashi KM, Drost DJ, Williamson PC, Rajakumar N, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Detection and mapping of hippocampal abnormalities in autism. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 2006;148:11-21. Trainee Publication, Citations: 54, Principal Author

  13. Vidal CN, Nicolson R, DeVito TJ, Hayashi KM, Geaga JA, Drost DJ, Williamson PC, Rajakumar N, Sui Y, Dutton RA, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Mapping corpus callosum deficits in autism: an index of aberrant cortical connectivity. Biological Psychiatry 2006;60:218-225. Trainee Publication, Citations: 140, Coauthor

  14. Hendry J, DeVito T, Gelman N, Densmore M, Rajakumar N, Pavlosky W, Williamson PC, Thompson PM, Drost DJ, Nicolson R. Tissue abnormalities in autism detected through transverse relaxation time imaging. NeuroImage 2006;29:1049-1057. Trainee Publication, Citations: 47, Senior Responsible Author

  15. Vidal CN, Rapoport JL, Hayashi KM, Geaga JA, Sui Y, McLemore LE, Alaghband Y, Giedd JN, Gochman P, Blumenthal J, Gogtay N, Nicolson R, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Dynamically spreading frontal and cingulate deficits mapped in adolescents with schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry 2006;63:25-34. Citations: 107, Coauthor

  16. DeVito TJ, Drost DJ, Pavlosky W, Neufeld RW, Rajakumar N, McKinlay BD, Williamson PC, Nicolson R. Brain magnetic resonance spectroscopy in Tourette’s disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2005;44:1301-1308. Trainee Publication, Citations: 14, Senior Responsible Author

  17. Couturier JL, Speechley KN, Steele M, Norman R, Stringer B, Nicolson R. Parental perception of sleep problems in children of normal intelligence with pervasive developmental disorders: prevalence, severity, and pattern. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2005;44:815-822. Trainee Publication, Citations: 86, Senior Responsible Author

  18. Nicolson R, Craven-Thuss B, Smith J, McKinlay BD, Castellanos FX. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of metoclopramide for the treatment of Tourette’s disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2005;44:640-646. Citations: 25, Principal Author

  19. Sporn A, Greenstein D, Gogtay N, Sailer F, Hommer DW, Rawlings R, Nicolson R, Egan MF, Lenane M, Gochman P, Weinberger DR, Rapoport JL. Childhood onset schizophrenia: smooth pursuit eye-tracking dysfunction in family members. Schizophrenia Research 2005;73:243-252. Citations: 18, Coauthor

  20. Leow A, Yu CL, Lee SJ, Huang SC, Protas H, Nicolson R, Hayashi KM, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Brain structural mapping using a novel hybrid implicit/explicit framework based on the level-set method. Neuroimage 2005;24:910-927. Citations: 46, Coauthor

  21. Thompson PM, Sowell ER, Gogtay N, Giedd JN, Vidal CN, Hayashi KM, Leow A, Nicolson R, Rapoport JL, Toga AW. Structural MRI and brain development. International Review of Neurobiology 2005;67:285-323. Citations: 49, Coauthor

  22. Gochman PA, Greenstein D, Sporn A, Gogtay N, Nicolson R, Keller A, Lenane M, Brookner F, Rapoport JL. Childhood onset schizophrenia: familial neurocognitive measures. Schizophrenia Research 2004;71:43-47. Citations: 22, Coauthor

  23. Gogtay N, Sporn A, Clasen LS, Nugent TF, Greenstein D, Nicolson R, Giedd JN, Lenane M, Gochman P, Evans A, Rapoport JL. Comparison of progressive cortical gray matter loss in childhood-onset schizophrenia with that in childhood-onset atypical psychoses. Archives of General Psychiatry 2004;61:17-22. Citations: 93, Coauthor

  24. Nicolson R, Szatmari P. Genetic and neurodevelopmental influences in autistic disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2003;48:526-537. Citations: 32, Principal Author

  25. Craven-Thuss B, Nicolson R. Amoxapine treatment of interfering behaviours in autistic disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2003;42:515-516. Citations: 2, Senior Responsible Author

  26. Nicolson R, Brookner FB, Lenane M, Gochman P, Ingraham LJ, Egan MF, Kendler KS, Pickar D, Weinberger DR, Rapoport JL. Parental schizophrenia spectrum disorders in childhood-onset and adult-onset schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 2003;160:490-495. Citations: 65, Principal Author

  27. Couturier JL, Nicolson R. A retrospective assessment of citalopram in children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2002;12:243-248. Trainee Publication, Citations: 37, Senior Responsible Author

  28. Alfaro CL, Wudarsky M, Nicolson R, Gochman P, Sporn A, Lenane M, Rapoport JL. Correlation of antipsychotic and prolactin concentrations in children and adolescents acutely treated with haloperidol, clozapine, or olanzapine. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2002;12:83-91. Citations: 41, Coauthor

  29. Ghatavi K, Nicolson R, MacDonald C, Osher S, Levitt A. Defining guilt in depression: a comparison of subjects with major depression, chronic medical illness and healthy controls. Journal of Affective Disorders 2002;68:307-315. Citations: 1, Coauthor

  30. Calderoni D, Wudarsky M, Bhangoo R, Dell ML, Nicolson R, Hamburger SD, Gochman P, Lenane M, Rapoport JL, Leibenluft E. Differentiating childhood-onset schizophrenia from psychotic mood disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2001:40;1190-1196. Citations: 30, Coauthor

  31. Thompson PM, Vidal C, Giedd JN, Gochman P, Blumenthal J, Nicolson R, Toga AW, Rapoport JL. Mapping adolescent brain change reveals dynamic wave of accelerated gray matter loss in very early-onset schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2001;98:11650-11655. Citations: 499, Coauthor

  32. Kumra S, Sporn A, Hommer DW, Nicolson R, Thaker G, Israel E, Lenane M, Bedwell J, Jacobsen LK, Gochman P, Rapoport JL. Smooth pursuit eye-tracking impairment in childhood-onset psychotic disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 2001;158:1291-1298. Citations: 20, Coauthor

  33. Nicolson R, Lenane M, Brookner F, Gochman P, Kumra S, Spechler L, Giedd JN, Thaker GK, Wudarsky M, Rapoport JL. Children and adolescents with psychotic disorder not otherwise specified: a 2- to 8-year follow-up study. Comprehensive Psychiatry 2001;42:319-325. Citations: 31, Principal Author

  34. Yan WL, Guan XY, Green ED, Nicolson R, Yap TK, Zhang J, Jacobsen LK, Krasnewich DM, Kumra S, Lenane MC, Gochman P, Damschroder-Williams PJ, Esterling LE, Long RT, Martin BM, Sidransky E, Rapoport JL, Ginns EI. Childhood-onset schizophrenia/autistic disorder and t(1;7) reciprocal translocation: identification of a BAC contig spanning the translocation breakpoint at 7q21. American Journal of Medical Genetics 2000;96:749-753. Citations: 34, Coauthor

  35. Nicolson R, Swedo SE, Lenane M, Bedwell J, Wudarsky M, Gochman P, Hamburger SD, Rapoport JL. An open trial of plasma exchange in childhood-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder without poststreptococcal exacerbations. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2000;1313-1315. Citations: 36, Principal Author

  36. Nicolson R, Castellanos FX. Commentary: Considerations on the pharmacotherapy of attention deficits and hyperactivity in children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2000;39:461-462. Citations: 6, Principal Author

  37. Usiskin SI, Nicolson R, Lenane M, Rapoport JL. Retreatment with clozapine after erythromycin-induced neutropenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 2000;157:2021, Citations: 11, Coauthor

  38. Alfaro CL, Nicolson R, Lenane M, Rapoport JL. Difficulties in predicting drug-drug interactions: carbamazepine and/or fluvoxamine drug interaction with risperidone in a patient on multiple psychotropic medications. Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2000;34:122-123. Citations: 2, Coauthor

  39. Usiskin SI, Nicolson R, Lenane M, Rapoport JL. Gabapentin prophylaxis of clozapine-induced seizures in a patient with childhood-onset schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 2000;157:482-483. Citations: 21, Coauthor

  40. Nicolson R, Lenane M, Hamburger SD, Fernandez T, Bedwell J, Rapoport JL. Lessons from childhood-onset schizophrenia. Brain Research Reviews 2000;31:147-156. Citations: 51, Principal Author

  41. Nicolson R, Lenane M, Singaracharlu S, Malaspina D, Giedd JN, Hamburger SD, Bedwell J, Thaker GK, Fernandez T, Wudarsky M, Hommer D, Rapoport JL. Premorbid speech and language impairments in childhood-onset schizophrenia: association with risk factors. American Journal of Psychiatry 2000;157:794-800. Citations: 69, Principal Author

  42. Lougee L, Perlmutter S, Nicolson R, Garvey M, Swedo SE. Psychiatric diagnoses in the relatives of patients with PANDAS. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2000;39:1120-1126. Citations: 71, Coauthor

  43. Giedd JN, Jeffries NO, Blumenthal J, Castellanos FX, Vaituzis AC, Fernandez T, Hamburger SD, Liu H, Nelson J, Bedwell J, Tran L, Lenane M, Nicolson R, Rapoport JL. Childhood onset schizophrenia: progressive brain changes during adolescence. Biological Psychiatry 1999;46:892-898. Citations: 152, Coauthor

  44. Nicolson R, Giedd JN, Lenane M, Hamburger S, Singaracharlu S, Bedwell J, Fernandez T, Thaker GK, Rapoport JL. Clinical and neurobiological correlates of cytogenetic abnormalities in childhood-onset schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 1999;156:1575-1579. Citations: 34, Principal Author

  45. Nicolson R, Giedd JN, Malaspina D, Hamburger S, Lenane M, Bedwell J, Bedwell J, Fernandez T, Berman A, Susser E, Rapoport JL. Obstetrical complications in childhood-onset schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 1999;156:1650-1652. Citations: 19, Principal Author

  46. Nicolson R, Rapoport JL. Childhood-onset schizophrenia: rare but worth studying. Biological Psychiatry 1999;46:1418-1428. Citations: 134, Principal Author

  47. Rapoport JL, Giedd JN, Blumenthal J, Hamburger S, Jeffries N, Fernandez T, Nicolson R, Bedwell J, Lenane M, Zijdenbos A, Paus T, Evans A. Progressive cortical change during adolescence in childhood-onset schizophrenia: a longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging study. Archives of General Psychiatry 1999;56:649-654. Citations: 270, Coauthor

  48. Usiskin SI, Nicolson R, Krasnewich DM, Yan W, Lenane M, Wudarsky M, Hamburger SD, Rapoport JL. Velocardiofacial syndrome in childhood-onset schizophrenia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1999;38:1536-1543. Citations: 99, Coauthor

  49. Wudarsky M, Nicolson R, Hamburger SD, Spechler L, Bedwell J, Gochman P, Lenane MC, Rapoport JL. Elevated prolactin levels in pediatric patients on atypical antipsychotics. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 1999;9:239-245. Citations: 95, Coauthor

  50. Nicolson R, Awad G, Sloman L. An open trial of risperidone in young autistic children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1998;37:372-376. Citations: 98, Principal Author

  51. Nicolson R, Bhalerao S, Sloman L. XYY karyotypes and pervasive developmental disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 1998;42:619-622. Citations: 31, Principal Author

  52. Nicolson R, McCurley R. Risperidone-associated priapism. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 1997;17:133-134. Citations: 20, Coauthor

  53. Nicolson R, Feinstein A. Predictors of early psychiatric readmission. Psychiatric Services 47(2):199, Principal Author

  54. Nicolson R, Feinstein A. Conversion, dissociation, and multiple sclerosis. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 1994;182:668-669. Citations: 6, Principal Author