Psychostimulants (Biphentin®, Concerta®) are the first-line pharmacological treatments for children and adolescents (6-17 years old) with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but experiences with these treatments vary from child-to-child. Despite helping many children and adolescents, some who use psychostimulants experience minimal to no benefit, while others experience intolerable side effects. If a personalized prescribing strategy were available to improve the use of psychostimulants, we could prevent a lot of suffering and negative outcomes. Unlike other pharmacological treatments (e.g., antidepressants) that have genomic markers to guide prescribing, we have limited evidence to facilitate similar personalized prescribing of psychostimulants. The PGx-STaR study aims to address this gap in knowledge by identifying genomic markers associated with psychostimulant response and side effects that could be used to optimize prescribing and shorten the path to wellness for 400 children and adolescents with ADHD.


To identify genomic profiles associated with psychostimulant treatment response and tolerability in children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Overview of PGx-STaR study design and analysis plan. (1) Assess for associations between genetic variation and methylphenidate efficacy and tolerability; (2) Assess for associations between genetic variation and methylphenidate and ritalinic acid blood levels; (3) Assess for associations between methylphenidate/ritalinic acid blood levels and methylphenidate efficacy and tolerability.


Principal Investigator

Dr. Chad Bousman, MPH, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, University of Calgary 


Dr. Kara Murias, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Pediatric Neurologist and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Cummuing School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr. Paul Arnold, MD, PhD, FRCPC,  Director, Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education; Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) Translational Health Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health; Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics 

Study Coordinators

Madison Heintz, MSW, RSW

Weng-Sam Siu, MSPT

Laboratory Team

Sarker M Shaheen, MSc, MBA, PM

Ryden McCloud-Trenchard, BS


University of Calgary

Owerko Centre

Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education

Alberta Precision Laboratories

Funding Partner