My research focuses on the evaluation and treatment of the cognitive and mental health sequelae of chronic pediatric health conditions. Specifically, I have focused on children with epilepsy, of whom 80% experience cognitive, psychiatric, and/or psychosocial impairments. These comorbidities remain undiagnosed and untreated in two thirds of children and have been shown to predict poorer long-term functioning and well-being, even more so than seizures. The long-term goal of my research is to improve the quality of life and quality of healthcare received by children with chronic health conditions and their families. In achieving this goal, I pursue two lines of research: (1) identify the mechanism through which cognitive, psychiatric, and psychosocial impairments manifest among youth with chronic health conditions, and (2) design, evaluate, and implement clinical trials of behavioral interventions to ameliorate these impairments. I have also worked closely with large population-based data, evaluating the impact of health behaviors and health inequalities on health outcomes and adverse events. The application of advanced quantitative methods and methods-development work borne out of methodological challenges are also important aspects of my research program.


For a complete list, download my CV or visit Google Scholar.

Educational Attainment and Lifestyle Risk Factors Associated With All-Cause Mortality in the US. Puka K, Buckley C, Mulia N, …, Probst C (2022). JAMA Health Forum, 3, e220401.

Functional cognitive and language outcomes after cerebral hemispherectomy for hemimegalencephaly. Puka K, Jones M, Mathern GW (2021). Epilepsia, 62, 2932-2940.

Long-term outcomes across multiple cognitive domains among youth with medically resistant epilepsy. Puka K, Smith ML (2021). Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 63, 690-696.

A live-online mindfulness-based intervention for children living with epilepsy and their families: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial of Making Mindfulness Matter. Puka K, Bax K, …, Speechley KN (2021). Trials 21, 922.

Long-term quality of life trajectories among individuals diagnosed with epilepsy in childhood. Puka K, Ferro MA, …, Speechley KN (2020). Epilepsia 61, 1453-1463.

Validation of the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy Questionnaire (QOLCE-55 and QOLCE-16) for use by parents of young adults with childhood-onset epilepsy. Puka K, Goodwin SW, …, Speechley KN (2020). Epilepsy & Behavior 104, 106904.

Social outcomes of adults with childhood-onset epilepsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Puka K, Tavares PT, Speechley KN (2019). Epilepsy & Behavior 92, 297-305.

A systematic review of quality of life in parents of children with epilepsy. Puka K, Tavares PT, Anderson KK, Ferro MA, Speechley KN (2018). Epilepsy & Behavior 82, 35-45.

The impact of family factors on IQ in pediatric medically refractory epilepsy. Puka K, Smith ML, Widjaja E (2017). Neuropsychology 31, 129-136.

Development of intelligence 4 to 11 years after pediatric epilepsy surgery. Puka K, Tavares TP, Smith ML (2017). Journal of Neuropsychology, 11, 161-173.

Health resource utilization varies by comorbidities in children with epilepsy. Puka K, Smith ML, Moineddin R, Snead OC, Widjaja E (2016). Epilepsy & Behavior, 57, 151-154.

The influence of socio-economic status on health resource utilization in pediatric epilepsy in a universal health insurance system. Puka K, Smith ML, Moineddin R, Snead OC, Widjaja E (2016). Epilepsia, 57, 455-463.

Predictors of long-term quality of life after pediatric epilepsy surgery. Puka K, Smith ML (2015). Epilepsia, 56, 873-881.

Book Chapters

For a complete list, download my CV or visit Google Scholar.

Pediatric Neuropsychology: Research, Theory and Practice, 3rd edition. Guilford Press.
Puka K, Smith ML (2022).

Quality of Life of children and families.
Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Volume 174 Neurocognitive development: disorders and disabilities. Elsevier.
Puka K, Conway L, Smith ML (2020).

Postoperative neuropsychological and psychosocial outcome.
Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: Preoperative Assessment and Surgical Treatment, 2nd edition: Thieme.
Puka K, Smith ML (2019).

Neuropsychological conditions across the lifespan. Cambridge University Press.
Janecek J, Puka K, Schulze E, Smith ML (2018).

Aggregating Data.
Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer International Publishing.
Puka K (2017).

Epilepsy and cognition.
Epilepsy and Intellectual Disabilities, 2nd edition, Springer International Publishing.
Smith ML, Puka K (2016).

Quality of life and psychosocial outcomes in children.
Long-term outcomes of epilepsy surgery in adults and children (pp. 193-207). Springer International Publishing.
Smith ML, Puka K (2015).


For a complete list, download my CV or visit Google Scholar.

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Mortality: Decomposing Differential Exposure and Vulnerability to Lifestyle Risk Factors
Research Society on Alcoholism 45th Annual Scientific Meeting, Orlando, FL, USA
June 2022

Long-term sequelae of childhood-onset epilepsy and epilepsy surgery; Psychiatric and psychosocial outcomes
Neuropsychology Special Interests Group,
American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, USA
December 2020

Neuropsychology and epilepsy - what every clinician treating epilepsy should know in 2020
Hot Topics in Epilepsy,
North American Epilepsy Congress, Toronto, ON, Canada
September 2020

Cognitive outcomes of pediatric epilepsy surgery
Canadian League Against Epilepsy Biennial Conference, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
September 2019.

Childhood-onset epilepsy and long-term child and maternal well-being
Paediatric Neuroscience Rounds, Victoria Hospital, London, ON, Canada
August 2019.

Academic achievement and IQ
Functional Impacts of Large Resective or Disconnective Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: Identifying Gaps and Setting Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Priorities,
The Brain Recovery Project, Cleveland, OH, USA
August 2019.

Development and implementation of a long-term population-based study of children with epilepsy
Seminar Series, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW, Australia
November 2018

Is there functional recovery after pediatric epilepsy surgery? Evidence from cognitive and affective outcomes
Epilepsy Surgery Rounds, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada
March 2015

Feeling smarter, feeling calmer - Can youth hope for such improvements in the long-term after epilepsy surgery?
Fellows Talk, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
January 2015