Hugh McMillan

Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

Dr. McMillan is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics (Division of Pediatric Neurology), Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.  He joined the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) as a Pediatric Neurologist and Neuromuscular Specialist in 2010.

Dr. McMillan’s training includes; medical degree at McMaster University (in 2000) a Pediatric Residency at McMaster University (in 2004); Pediatric Neurology Residency at University of Ottawa (in 2008); Neurophysiology Fellowship in 2009 at Tufts University and a  Neuromuscular Fellowship in 2010 at Harvard University.

Dr. McMillan is the Program Director of the Pediatric Neuromuscular / Electromyography Fellowship Training Program at the University of Ottawa.  He has been an author or co-author of 130 publications in peer-review journals.  He was editor of a Pediatric Electromyography textbook with over 25 international contributors.

Since joining the University of Ottawa, Dr. McMillan has been a national leader in the area of clinical and translational research in pediatric neurology & neuromuscular medicine.  He is a Clinical Investigator at the CHEO Research Institute. He was granted the CHEO RI “Outstanding Investigator Award” for 2018.  He has been the Principal Investigator for over 20 industry or sponsor-initiated clinical trials and two investigator-initiated, regulated clinical trials.  Active and recent clinical trials include for spinal muscular atrophy: gene replacement therapies (Novartis’ SMART trial) for symptomatic children with SMA, as well as for boys and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy; gene replacement therapy (Pfizer); dissociative corticosteroid (ReveraGen); and antisense oligonucleotide treatments (Sarepta  DYNE, PepGen).

Research Projects

  1. Quick, effective screening tasks identify children with medical conditions or disabilities needing physical literacy support.


  2. A randomized, cross-over trial comparing the effect of innovative robotic gait training and functional clinical therapy in children with cerebral palsy; a protocol to test feasibility


  3. A randomized, cross-over trial comparing the effect of innovative robotic gait training and functional clinical therapy in children with cerebral palsy: a protocol to test feasibility


    Additional advantages of robotic devices include improved efficiency, with more precise repetition of exercise being possible in an allotted time and efficient patient preparation for therapy. Typically, set up with more traditional gait training approaches can be cumbersome and time-consuming [8]. Although preliminary pediatric and adult data for large tethered robotic training devices such as the Lokomat© appear promising, these devices limit functional use and exploration within a more natural environment. Mobile robotic gait trainers hold greater promise for practice within hospitals, schools and at home as they enable participation and social integration [13] while practicing high quality gait patterns.

  4. Characterization of physical literacy in children with chronic medical conditions compared to healthy controls: a cross-sectional study.


  5. Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Ontario Testing and Follow-up Recommendations


    The goal is to provide timely access to those SMA infants in need of therapy to optimize motor function and prolong survival.