About Us

Information on The CAN Story, our Steering Committee, The CANdex, and our Staff

The CAN Story

The brain holds the great mysteries of our time.
Neuroscientists devote their lives to improving brain health, because nothing is more destructive and frightening than brain disease. Its emotional and financial costs affect every Albertan.

Thanks to timely and strategic investments, and some of the best researchers in the world, Alberta has three strong university centres for neuroscience: Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Edmonton’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, and Lethbridge’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience.

In 2009, scientists from each school agreed “strong” wasn’t good enough. No single university or institute alone could truly tackle brain disease.

But if 250 researchers from three universities worked together, from the ground up, they could accomplish something extraordinary.

They launched Campus Alberta Neuroscience, a catalyst and connector, a way to bring basic researchers, applied scientists and clinicians together. They created a single community, a neuroscience superhighway between Lethbridge, Calgary, and Edmonton.

Working together, Campus Alberta Neuroscience will ask the right questions and seek bold answers to some of our greatest problems. Our work will be more powerful, more effective, more precise.


Our collaborative teams are already advancing the science and searching for new ways to prevent and delay dementia. Campus Alberta Neuroscience currently works in the areas of Depression, Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Nervous System Injury and Neuroimaging to increase research capacity in the province and ultimately improve the brain health of Albertans.

Our network will help accelerate new research advances, both of pure discovery and those with the potential for translation into new products and protocols. We will help create in Alberta the world’s best destination for brain scientists. And we will push for new and more ways for students and researchers to work and learn and discover — together.

With the help of partners and government and interested Albertans, new solutions, treatments, products, and companies will be born. We will not only help Albertans who suffer from brain diseases, but help Albertans understand the connections between brain science and the way they live and thrive.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is made up of:

Chair: Dr. Samuel Weiss



Dr. Weiss is Professor and Alberta Innovates- Health Solutions (AIHS) scientist in the Departments of Cell Biology & Anatomy and Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. He is the inaugural Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, whose mission is to translate innovative research and education into advances in neurological and mental health care. In 1978, Dr. Weiss received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry at McGill University and in 1983 completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry (Specialization: Neurobiology) at the University of Calgary. Following post‑doctoral fellowships (1983-1988), funded by AHFMR and the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC), at the Centre de Pharmacologie-Endocrinologie, Montpellier, France, and at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont. Dr. Weiss was appointed Assistant Professor and MRC Scholar at The University of Calgary in 1988.

Dr. Andrew Bulloch



Dr. Bulloch is Deputy Director of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge and a PhD is neuroscience from the University of North Wales. His research interests are in psychiatric epidemiology and pharmacoepidemiology. On the one hand he is researching the risk factors for major depression and bipolar disorder, while also seeking ways to accurately chart the natural history of these disorders in real time. On the other hand he documents drug recommendations for these disorders in an effort to understand if they truly are under-treated as is so dogmatically believed. Much of this research involves analysis of data from health surveys by Statistics Canada. My teaching interests are in mental disorders and their biopsychosocial causes, and in the history of neuroscience and psychiatry.

Teren Clarke



Ms. Clarke is the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, formerly the Canadian Paraplegic Association.  She has been focused on chronic health and disability issues for the past 30 years.  She has an appointment to The Alberta Paraplegic Foundation as Executive Director and participates in two national advisory committees related to the care and services provided to people with Spinal Cord Injury and other physical disabilities.

Dr. Aaron Gruber



Dr. Gruber received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, writing his dissertation on computational models of brain function. He then studied machine learning and electrophysiology as a post-doctoral fellow, and joined the faculty in the department of neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge in 2009. Dr. Gruber’s laboratory utilizes a wide array of computational and experimental techniques to study how the brain uses past experience to make good choices. The lab’s overarching aim is to synthesize a coherent theory for role of the neuromodulator dopamine in learning, attention, and memory formation, and how dysfunction of these processes contribute to mental illnesses such as addiction and schizophrenia. The lab’s current focus is to use modern technologies for recording and manipulating large-scale neural activity to study how molecular actions of dopamine receptors affect brain dynamics to influence behaviour.

Dr. Keith Sharkey



Dr. Sharkey is the Deputy Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and a Professor and AIHS Medical Scientist in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Sharkey also holds the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada Chair in IBD Research, for his research program investigating the role of nerves in the gastrointestinal tract in intestinal inflammation.

Dr. Simonetta Sipione



Dr. Sipione is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and a member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta. She also holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Huntington’s disease. Dr. Sipione received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Catania (Italy) and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Milano (Italy) and at University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying Huntington’s disease and on the role of brain lipids in neurodegeneration.

Dr. Rob Sutherland



Dr. Sutherland is Professor & Chair of the Department of Neuroscience in the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, where he is also an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist. His current research investigates the neurobiology of learning, memory and amnesia in rodents and humans.

Dr. Kathryn Todd



Dr. Todd is the Senior Vice President Research for Alberta Health Services, responsible for leading Alberta Health Services’ Health Research and Innovation Strategy. She is also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta, where she studies cellular mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, and works to identify neuroprotective and/or rescue compounds.

Dr. Ian Winship



Dr. Winship is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. He is Director of the Neurochemical Research Unit in the Department of Psychiatry, a member of the Steering Committee for the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta, and Chair of the Campus Alberta Neuroscience Education Committee. He has served on scientific review committees with national agencies including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. His research uses advanced imaging and behavioural assays in models of brain disease to identify novel pathophysiology and innovative therapies for these disorders. Ongoing research in Dr. Winship’s laboratory is currently focused on developing novel treatments to improve blood flow and reduce brain damage during stroke, validating therapies to improve recovery from stroke even long after the brain damage has occurred, and identifying the neurobiological mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Dr. Doug Zochodne



Dr. Zochodne joined the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta as Divisional Director in Neurology in July 2014. He is also Co-Director of the Neurosciences and Mental Health Institute. Along with his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Zochodne has an extensive research program that has been transplanted to the U of A. He has held independent, peer-reviewed funding for over 20 years, which includes funding from CIHR, NIH, AHFMR, among others. He has published over 230 peer reviewed papers and was the recipient of the 2011 Wolfe Prize from the American Neurological Association for his neuropathy research.

Dr. Zochodne and his research team have made significant contributions in experimental diabetic neuropathy and peripheral nerve regeneration.

The CANdex

The purpose of membership in Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) is to contribute to and receive the benefits from the work of CAN in achieving its goals. The primary goal is to increase the impact of Alberta neuroscience and mental health research, education, and translation.

Campus Alberta Neuroscience creates value for the community by increasing:

  • Connection through events, information, strategic planning and action
  • Attraction of resources
  • Impact through collaboration and partnerships
Membership provides access to the following benefits:
  • Campus Alberta Neuroscience events, resources and programs
  • Collaborative opportunities and partnerships
  • Discounts at future symposia
  • Current information in Alberta neuroscience and mental health
  • Member profile on the CANdex, a public database of neuroscience and mental health researchers across Alberta.
Membership is automatic for individuals meeting the criteria below:
  • Neuroscience and mental health investigators, trainees and research staff at the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge and other relevant Alberta institutions (subject to Campus Alberta Neuroscience approval), including Alberta Health Services, MacEwan University and Mount Royal University
    • Investigators must have a current, full-time continuing academic (Assistant, Associate or Full professor; Adjunct will be considered) or clinical appointment at one of the affiliated Alberta institutions
    • Eligible trainees include Undergraduate and Graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows registered full-time in an affiliated Alberta institution in a health sciences discipline
    • Research staff must be in neuroscience and/or mental health research/ education under the supervision of a full-time, continuing academic investigator who holds an appointment at one of the affiliated Alberta institutions


Campus Alberta Neuroscience is a province-wide team working across three Alberta campuses – the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge – to support and facilitate collaborative research, education and translation in neuroscience and mental health.  By developing new and more ways for students and researchers to work, learn and discover together, we aim to establish Alberta as the world’s leading destination for brain scientists.
For information and all inquiries: [email protected]403-220-2422

Grant McIntyre, PhD


Based at the University of Alberta

Dr. McIntyre received a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Alberta in 2000. Before becoming the Executive Director of Campus Alberta Neuroscience he spent 12 years with the Government of Alberta in the ministries of Enterprise and Advanced Education, and of Health. Much of his work involved the development and funding of provincial research strategies.

Jennifer Kamps, PhD


Based at the University of Calgary

Dr. Jennifer Kamps (née Milne) is the Project Manager for Campus Alberta Neuroscience and oversees CAN’s many research and education initiatives, including committee facilitation, strategy development, funding programs, communications, workshops, retreats and symposia. Jen received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Mel Goodale.  Using both functional neuroimaging and behavioural psychophysics, her research focused on the remarkable ability of some blind humans to use echolocation to perceive and navigate their surroundings.

Clint Westgard, MA


Based at the University of Calgary

As Partnership Coordinator for Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN), Clint works to identify and build strategic collaborations and partnerships for CAN in the areas of neuroscience and mental health research, education and translation. In particular, his role involves facilitating the development of the Alberta Neuroscience Partnership: Multiple Sclerosis Pilot Project. Clint received an MA in History from the University of British Columbia. Before joining CAN, he spent a number of years working in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary as a practicum coordinator, helping to develop and support placements for educational psychology students across Alberta.

Shannon Wowk


In partnership with the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN)
Based at the University of Alberta

Shannon is the Depression Research Coordinator  working with the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network and Campus Alberta Neuroscience to develop a province wide depression research and intervention strategy. She is currently completing her PhD with Dr. Fred Colbourne at the University of Alberta, studying treatments for stroke. Specifically, she is interested in how therapeutic hypothermia influences mechanisms of secondary degeneration after hemorrhagic stroke as well as any potential side effects.

James Benoit


Based at the University of Alberta

James is working on creating databases for Campus Alberta Neuroscience towards improving communication and collaboration between members. James is a fourth year PhD student who joined the U of A’s Psychiatry graduate program in 2012, and is supervised by Dr. Andy Greenshaw and Dr. Serdar Dursun. He received a BSc in 2009 and MA in 2011 from UBC, before taking a year to work in sustainability research at Simon Fraser University, and start a tech consulting company. James’s research interests center on predicting treatment response to psychiatric medications using machine learning.

Lucy Challis


Based at the University of Calgary

As Administrative Coordinator, Lucy supports Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s core administrative duties, assists with event coordination and plays a critical role in facilitating network activity.  Originally from the UK, Lucy has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Central England.  In her spare time, Lucy enjoys travelling, snowboarding and biking.

Renee Dumas


In partnership with the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN)
Based at the University of Lethbridge

Renée provides administrative support to Campus Alberta Neuroscience out of the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge. Her role supports CAN’s mandate to increase the scope, scale, success, and impact of neuroscience and mental health education in Alberta. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge in 2015. Her academic interests include the neurodevelopmental pathways to atypical behaviour in children, the neuropsychological effects of brain injury, and the processes of healing in the brain.

Emily Lennon


In partnership with the University of Alberta
Based at the University of Alberta

Emily is a Communications Intern for Campus Alberta Neuroscience. Emily is working to convey Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s work to a diverse audience through numerous communications channels, such as newsletters, announcements, social media, website, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in honours anthropology from McGill University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in public health at the University of Alberta. Emily is interested in access to healthcare such as mental health and culturally appropriate services.

Pourya Karimian


In partnership with the University of Alberta
Based at the University of Alberta

Pourya is an international student enrolled in the University of Alberta’s Master’s program in electrical and computer engineering who is helping to improve technology-driven accessibility to Alberta-based neuroscience research. He’s helping with the continuing refinement of CANdex by developing novel methods for quickly and accurately linking researchers with their PubMed publication list — by pressing a single button on their CANdex researcher profile.


Symposium Coordinator Internship

Campus Alberta Neuroscience is looking for a University of Calgary graduate student to join the team as a Symposium Coordinator Intern.
Click here for more information.