Annual Symposium

Information on CAN’s annual research symposium
2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

Symposium 2018

October 18-19, 2018

Edmonton, Alberta

October 18-19, 2018

Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel
Edmonton, Alberta
  • Joint 1st Place:  Melissa Giddy and Aubrey Demchuk, both from the University of Lethbridge

Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s 7th annual symposium took place on October 18-19, 2018 in Edmonton.  This year’s theme was Translating Neuroscience from Idea to Impact.  This symposium explored translational pathways using examples of Alberta neuroscience and mental health innovations. Researchers, people with lived experience, government, industry and not-for-profit representatives presented on the research processes, the entrepreneurial realities, regulatory avenues and more in research and translation. Attendees will take away a greater understanding of what it takes to make use of research ideas to create impact.

Panel Topics covered a wide variety of areas including:

  • Driving Innovation Through User Feedback – Neuroprotheses Development
  • Reaching Out using Telehealth – Text4Mood for Improved Mental Health
  • Advancing Technology for Better Health – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Functional Electrical Stimulation
  • Taking Pharmaceuticals from Bench to Bedside and Back – Multiple Sclerosis Research in Alberta

Let’s Talk About Brains: A public showcase of Alberta’s neuroscience and mental health research.

A public reception and poster session concluded the first day, Thursday, October 18. This 2 hour session allowed the public to view poster presentations from Alberta’s neuroscience and mental health trainees, neuroscience start ups and partner organizations including community groups, research support organizations, university groups, not-for-profit organizations and more. This reception was an exceptional and unique opportunity to network and connect.

Symposium Planning Committee

  • Mischa Bandet, University of Alberta
  • Trevor Barss, University of Alberta
  • Brandon Craig, University of Calgary
  • Ashley Dalrymple, University of Alberta
  • Erik Fraunberger, University of Calgary
  • Sean Lacoursiere, University of Lethbridge
  • Vivian Mushawar, University of Alberta (Faculty Adviser)
  • Laimons Plumite, Government of Alberta
  • Surjeet Singh, University of Lethbridge

Symposium 2017

October 26-27, 2017

Calgary, Alberta

October 26-27, 2017

Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire
Calgary, Alberta
  • 1st Place: Cynthia Kahl, University of Calgary
  • 2nd Place: Cecilia Badenhorst, University of Lethbridge
  • 3rd Place: Biruk Negash, University of Alberta

In October 2017, CAN hosted its 6th annual symposium, Neurotechnology for Discovery and Translation, in Calgary. The symposium showcased the latest tools and technologies that drive the continuum of discovery to translation and impact in neuroscience and mental health, including machine learning, neuroimaging, computational approaches and robotics. Over 200 delegates attended, including researchers, trainees, people with lived experience, community members, government and industry representatives and more.

Randy McIntosh (Director of the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, University of Toronto) opened the symposium with a keynote presentation on how computer models can help us understand healthy brain function and disease. Over the course of two days, over 15 invited speakers took to the stage to discuss topics from motor control and rehabilitation to increasing dialogue between people with lived experience and researchers to assessing brain health with new technologies. Trainees also presented posters and took part in the 3-Minute Thesis Session, providing rapid but informative overview of their research projects.

The symposium also left plenty of time for delegates to connect and learn from each other. “There were so many perspectives,” said Shrushrita Sharma, who recently completed her MSc at the University of Calgary. “If a person wants to learn about brain disease, there are so many perspectives we can learn from. Every individual person brings so much variation to their study, which is really cool.” If you missed the symposium or would like to take another look at one of the talks, speakers’ slides will be made available on this web page.

Scientific Program Committee

Main Symposium:

  • Katherine Aitchison, University of Alberta
  • Nikita Burke, University of Calgary
  • Craig Chapman, University of Alberta
  • Grant Gordon, University of Calgary
  • Aaron Gruber, University of Lethbridge

Depression and Lived Experience Sessions:

  • Glen Baker, University of Alberta
  • Andrew Bulloch, University of Calgary
  • Terezia Farkas, Lived Experience Lead, Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network, Alberta Hub
  • Andrew Greenshaw, University of Alberta
  • Kaj Korvela, Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders Society
  • Brad Necyk, University of Alberta
  • Scott B. Patten , University of Calgary

Symposium 2016

October 20-21, 2016

Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel

Edmonton, Alberta

Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s 5th Annual Symposium – Neuroscience Innovation for Improving Brain Health – showcased the latest discoveries and innovations in neuroscience and mental health in Alberta. More than 200 researchers, trainees, government and community group representatives and people with lived experience gathered in Edmonton for the two-day program focused on five collaborative research areas: Depression, Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Nervous System Injury and Neuroimaging. The Symposium opened with a keynote address by Dr. Regina Sullivan, New York University, who provided an engaging presentation on using neuroscience approaches to understanding infant attachment, trauma and psychological health. The sessions that followed focused on research progress from a variety of perspectives, featuring presentations by top Alberta researchers, community group representatives and people with lived experience. The result was an informative, enlightening and inspiring program that included ample opportunity for networking and connection. CAN looks forward to welcoming the Alberta neuroscience and mental health community to the 6th Annual Symposium in Calgary in Fall 2017.
Congratulations to the Poster Presentation Winners!
1st Place: Wendy Salvisberg, University of Alberta
2nd Place: Jyote Boora, University of Lethbridge
3rd Place: Zach Wanner, University of Lethbridge

Symposium 2015

Neuroscience. Depression. Innovation.
Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s 2015 Symposium was its largest event to date, with nearly 250 participants from across Alberta gathering in Calgary for the three-day program. The unique, multi-focus event brought together experts in depression research and translation as well as those in the general neurosciences for collaborative, multi-disciplinary presentations and discussion. The events were linked by a keynote address from Dr. Pierre Blier, who provided an engaging presentation on how advances in neuroscience have been critical to treating depression. The neuroscience-focused program included keynote addresses by prominent researchers from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary and Lethbridge and a closing keynote by Dr. Igor Timofeev, all of whom provided an overview of the importance of integrative techniques and technologies for expediting discoveries in neuroscience. Feedback from Symposium participants was overwhelmingly positive, and CAN looks forward to welcoming the Alberta neuroscience community to the 5th Annual Symposium in Edmonton in October 2016.

Congratulations to the 3-Minute Thesis Competition Winners!

1st place: LeAnna Kalvi, University of Lethbridge
2nd place: Churmy Fan, University of Calgary
3rd place: Sydney Candy, University of Calgary

Symposium 2014

Nervous System Injury: The Road to Rehab and Beyond
Nearly 250 researchers, trainees, and stakeholders from across Alberta gathered in Edmonton to discuss new and innovate approaches to understanding, treating and preventing nervous system injuries. The Symposium included presentations by top Alberta researchers and a keynote address by world-renowned researcher Grégoire Courtine, whose research focuses on the development of innovative interventions to restore sensorimotor function following nervous system injury.



  • Full Program
  • Keynote Speaker and Richard B. Stein Annual Lecturer: Grégoire Courtine

Symposium 2013

Exploring Neural Systems and Behavior with Light and Optogenetics
170 researchers, trainees and stakeholders gathered in Calgary to discuss the development and use of optogenetics as a tool for examining neural systems and behaviour. Optogenetics pioneers, local investigators and trainees shared insights on advancing and using this rapidly developing technology.


  • Yidan Ding, University of Alberta
  • Michael Juhas, University of Alberta
  • Jake Ormond, University of Lethbridge
  • Dominic Mudiayi, University of Lethbridge
  • Ranjan Kumar, University of Calgary
  • Michael Juhas, University of Alberta
  • Hang Zhou, University of Alberta
  • Aaron Wilber, University of Lethbridge
  • Ahmed Abdelfattah, University of Alberta


Photos courtesy of Anna Nesterova

Keynote session

Poster presentation

Dr. Grant Gordon, University of Calgary

Dr. Michael Lin presenting

Poster board

Refreshment break


Antoine Adamantidis


Research interests: functional wiring and dynamics of neural circuits controlling sleep and wake states.

Michael Lin


Research interests: protein-based tools for molecular imaging and gene therapy.

Yves de Koninck


Research interests: Neurophotonics, chemical mechanisms associated with the integration of sensorial signals in the spinal cord.

Anatol Kreitzer


Session Title: Probing Mechanisms of Motor Control with Optogenetics

Research interests: Neurophotonics, chemical mechanisms associated with the integration of sensorial signals in the spinal cord.


Ahmed Abdelfattah

University of Alberta

Session Title: All optical electrophysiology with voltage indicators based on a red fluorescent protein

Tamás Füzesi

University of Calgary

Session Title: Hypothalamic CRH neurons as integrative hubs for adaptive and visceral responses to stress

Grant Gordon

University of Calgary

Session Title: Tonic, activity independent, blood flow control by astrocytes

Maurice Needham

University of Lethbridge

Session Title: Enlightening activity dependent pattern formation in the somatosensory cortex

Silvia Pagliardini

University of Alberta

Session Title: Optogenetic Control of Ventilation


Symposium 2012

The inaugural CAN symposium highlighted some of the great science being conducted in Alberta and brought together the Alberta neuroscience community with leading national and international researchers. It was an ideas exchange and networking event for researchers and trainees and industry, government and health delivery professionals.


  • Dr. Howard Chertkow, McGill University
    Keynote Address: “Biomarkers and the future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease”
  • Dr. Jean Chen, University of Toronto
    “Resting-State fMRI Changes in Aging: Looking Under the Hood”
  • Dr. Roger Dixon, University of Alberta
    “Tracking trajectories and transitions in neurocognitive aging: normal aging, super aging, cognitive impairment, dementia”
  • Dr. Cheryl Grady, University of Toronto
    “Neural mechanisms of cognitive aging: functional connectivity and brain ‘noise'”
  • Dr. Bruce McNaughton, University of Lethbridge
    “Memory impairment in normal aging: insights from neuronal ensemble recording in animals
  • Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein, Johns Hopkins University
    “The role of excitotoxicity in neurodegeneration: lessons from ALS”
  • Dr. Eric Smith, University of Calgary
    “Sweating the small stuff: cerebral small vessel disease and dementia”