2019 Scientific Program

CAN2019 programDownload the Full program PDF:

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All program information and abstract listings are available now on the CAN-ACN app! Search for CAN-ACN or Canadian Association for Neuroscience in the App Store or Google Play or scan our QR code.

Satellite symposia

May 20-22 and May 26, view listing here

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

6:30 – 8:00PMCanadian Association for Neuroscience 2019 Public Lectures

Location:  SickKids Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning Auditorium

Speaker : Geoffrey Hinton | University of Toronto

Host: Blake Richards | University of Toronto

Does the brain do backpropagation?

More information and free tickets


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

9:00 AM – 4:30 PMCAN Satellite symposia

5:00 – 5:15 PM  

Welcome and Opening Remarks by

Jaideep Bains, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience


5:15 – 5:30 PM  

News from CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

Sam Weiss, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction


5:30 – 5:40 PM  

Working together: Neurological Health Charities Canada and Canadian Brain Health Strategy

Deanna Groetzinger, Manager, Public Affairs & Partnerships, Neurological Health Charities Canada

5:40 – 6:40Keynote Lecture:

Michelle Monje | Stanford University

Myelin plasticity in health and disease

Sponsored by the the SickKids Centre for Brain & Mental Health
the SickKids Neurosciences & Mental Health program 

6:40 – 8:00Opening Reception

Thursday, May 23, 2019

 8:30 – 10:15 AM


Plenary symposium 1: Pain: More than a feeling

Chair: Tuan Trang | University of Calgary


Catherine Cahill | UCLA
Intersection between pain and addiction: implications for kappa receptors

Laura Stone | McGill University
Pain Epigenetics: What is it and why should anyone care?

Loren Martin | University of Toronto
Learning mechanisms of pain and pain relief

10:15 – 10:45Coffee break


10:45 – 11:45Featured Plenary speaker:

Jeffrey Mogil | McGill University

Pain in Mice and Man: Ironic Adventures in Translation

11:45 – 12:00

Advocacy Award presentation
Ottawa Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience

12:00 – 1:30Lunch on own

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion luncheon

Sponsored by BrainsCAN at Western University


1:30 – 3:00

Parallel symposium 1: Peripheral and central mechanisms of sensory information processing.

Chair: Michael Gordon | University of British Columbia

Sponsored by the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health


  • Gautam Awatramani | University of Victoria
    Precise subcellular coordination of excitation and inhibition supports micron-scale dendritic computations
  • Molly Stanley | University of British Columbia
    Unique properties of salt taste coding and state-dependent behavioral output in Drosophila
  • Stuart Trenholm | McGill University
    Flexible feature encoding in visual cortex
  • Maurice Chacron | McGill University
    Mechanisms underlying adaptive optimized coding of natural stimuli


Parallel symposium 2: The neural basis for social decision-making

Chairs:  Toni-Lee Sterley | University of Calgary &  John P. Christianson | Boston College


  • Brian Trainor | UC Davis
    Oxytocin in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis facilitates social anxiety
  • Toni-Lee Sterley | University of Calgary
    The role of corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus in social transmission of stress
  • Morgan Rogers-Carter | Boston College
    Insular cortex projections to nucleus accumbens core mediate social approach
  • Zoe Donaldson | University of Colorado Boulder
    Neuronal signature of monogamous reunion in prairie voles

Parallel symposium 3: Neural stem cells in neural development and repair

Sponsored by the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

Chair:  Soheila Karimi | University of Manitoba


  • Carol Schuurmans | University of Toronto
    Elucidating the molecular control of neural stem cell maintenance in the embryonic neocortex
  • Jeff Biernaskie | University of Calgary
    Clarifying the identity of adult neural stem cells
  • Anastassia Voronova | University of Alberta
    Role of interneuron-secreted signals in neural stem cell-mediated oligodendrocyte genesis in the developing and adult brain
  • Soheila Karimi | University of Manitoba
    Novel mechanisms of neural stem cell regulation in spinal cord injury

Parallel symposium 4: Circuit and synaptic approaches to study stress | depression and antidepressants

Sponsored by the CERVO Brain Research Centre

Chair:  Argel Aguilar Valles | Carleton University


  • Wataru Inoue | University of Western Ontario
    Intrinsic plasticity as a neural correlates for stress habituation
  • Mary Kay Lobo | University of Maryland
    Molecular mediators of dendritic atrophy regulate stress susceptibility
  • Anita Autry | Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Impact of stress on parental behavior: potential insights for Post-partum mental illness
  • Argel Aguilar Valles | Carleton University
    Translational control of the antidepressant effect of ketamine and its metabolite hydroxynorketamine
 3:00 – 3:30Coffee break
 3:30 – 5:30PMPoster session 1 & Exhibits

Sponsored by the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

 5:30 – 7:00Brain Prize lecture:

The Molecular basis of Hebb synapses

Speaker: Graham Collingridge | University of Toronto | Winner of the 2016 Brain Prize

Introduction by Kim Krogsgaard, Director of The Brain Prize at Lundbeck Foundation

Sponsored by the Lundbeck Foundation

 7:30 – 9:30CAN Student Social

Sponsored by Neurolabware

Friday, May 24, 2019

 8:30 – 10:15 AM


Plenary symposium 2: Underlying Principles of Animal Behaviors

Sponsored by the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

Chair: Mei Zhen | University of Toronto


Marla Sokolowski | University of Toronto
Unravelling Gene-Environment Interplay on Behaviour

Simon Chen | University of Ottawa
Dissecting Neural Circuits Underlying Delayed Motor Learning in the 16p11.2 Deletion Mouse Model of Autism

Sarah Woolley | McGill University
Plasticity of acoustic preferences in female songbirds

10:15 – 10:45Coffee break


Sponsored by the University of Ottawa

10:45 – 11:45Featured Plenary speaker:

Florian Engert | Harvard University

Neural correlates of perceptual decision-making in larval zebrafish

11:45 – 12:00

Advocacy Award presentation
SINAPSE (Service and Outreach Initiatives for Progressive and Positive Neuroscience)

12:00 – 1:30Lunch on own

 1:30 – 3:00

Parallel symposium 5: Emotions and behavioural responses in normal and pathological states

Sponsored by Tucker-Davis Technologies

Chair:  Christophe Proulx | Université Laval


  • Christophe Proulx | Université Laval
    Role of lateral hypothalamus neural outputs in behavioural responses
  • Erin Calipari | Friedman Brain Institute
    Neural circuit control of sex-differences in valence-based decision making
  • Bo Li | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    Ventral pallidal neurons in reward seeking and punishment avoidance
  • Stephan Lammel | UC Berkeley
    Anatomical, molecular and functional heterogeneity of the lateral habenula defines a distinctive depression subtype

Parallel symposium 6: Novel approaches to understanding genetic underpinnings of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sponsored by the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

Chair:  Catharine Rankin | University of British Columbia


  • Melanie Woodin | University of Toronto
    Regulation of KCC2 as a target for treatment of Autism
  • Karun Singh | McMaster University
    Using integrative proteomics to identify Autism spectrum disorder signaling networks in mammalian models
  • Catharine Rankin | University of British Columbia
    Systematic phenomics analysis of ASD-associated genes defines novel shared and unique functions and identifies parallel genetic networks underlying hypersensitivity and impaired habituation
  • Kurt Haas | University of British Columbia
    A multi-model system approach to functional variomics of ASD-associated missense mutations of PTEN

Parallel symposium 7: Atypical roles for NMDA receptors in physiology and disease

Sponsored by the CERVO Brain Research Centre

Chair:  Roger Thompson | University of Calgary


  • Per Jesper Sjöström | McGill University
    Unorthodox NMDA receptor signalling in neocortical plasticity
  • Kim Dore | UC San Diego
    Metabotropic NMDA receptor signaling underlies synaptic depression and dysfunction
  • Robert Bonin | University of Toronto
    Non-canonical NMDA signaling in pain plasticity and reconsolidation
  • Laura Palmer | University of Calgary
    A surprising neuroprotective role for amyloid beta during ischemia

Parallel symposium 8: Multi-species approaches to the mammalian social brain

Chair:  Nathan Insel | University of Montana


  • Annaliese Beery | Smith College
    Life in groups: selectivity and reward in vole relationships
  • Melissa Holmes | University of Toronto
    Social influences on development in naked mole-rats
  • Nathan Insel | University of Montana
    Investigating social learning in degus
  • Michael Yartsev | UC Berkeley
    Neurobiological investigation of vocal production in the social mammalian brain
 3:00 – 3:30Coffee break
 3:30 – 5:30Posters session 2 and Exhibits

Sponsored by the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute

 5:30 – 6:00Young investigator award lecture

Sponsored by The Neuro

 6:00 – 7:00Presidential Lecture:

Sponsored by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Robert Malenka | Stanford University

Neural mechanisms of social reward



Saturday, May 25, 2019

 8:30 – 10:15 A.M.

Plenary symposium 3: Stem cells and Organoids: developmental mechanisms, aging and disease modeling

Sponsored by the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

Chair: Armen Saghatelyan | Université Laval

Speakers :

  • Armen Saghatelyan | Université Laval
    Division of stem cells in freely behaving mice: dynamic and regulatory mechanisms
  • David Kaplan | SickKids Hospital
    Growth factor regulation of neural stem cells in normal and pathological conditions
  • Yun Li | SickKids Hospital
    Modeling neural development and disorders in human neurons and brain organoids
 10:15 – 10:45Posters/exhibits

Coffee break

10:45 – 11:45Featured Plenary speaker:

Guo-Li Ming | University of Pennsylvania

Modeling human brain development and developmental diseases using hiPSCs

12:00 – 12:30 PMCAN-ACN Annual General Meeting of members
12:30 – 1:30 PMLunch on own
 1:30 – 3:30


Posters session 3 & Exhibits
3:30 – 5:00

Parallel symposium 9: Heterogeneous mechanisms underlying hippocampal synaptic plasticity

Sponsored by the CERVO Brain Research Centre

Chair:  Timothy Kennedy | The Neuro | McGill University


  • Anne McKinney | McGill University
    Lysosomal inhibition rescues hippocampal neuronal plasticity impaired by a Christianson Syndrome mutation in SLC9A6
  • Elizabeth Chan | Brain Research Centre | University of British Columbia
    The role of netrin 1-DCC signaling in regulating GABAAR homeostatic plasticity
  • Stephen Glasgow | The Neuro | McGill University
    Guiding synaptic plasticity: a novel role for netrin-1 in the adult hippocampus
  • Jean-Claude Beique | University of Ottawa
    Homeostatic control of plasticity rules at CA1 synapses

Parallel symposium 10: Growing Up High: Neurobiological Consequences of Adolescent Cannabis Use

Sponsored by the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

Chair:  Jibran Khokhar | University of Guelph


  • Patricia Conrod | Université de Montréal
    Longitudinal relationship between adolescent cannabis use and cognitive development
  • Steven Laviolette | University of Western Ontario
    Adolescent THC Exposure Induces Molecular and Neuronal Neuropsychiatric Endophenotypes in the Mesocorticolimbic Circuitry
  • Iris Balodis | McMaster University
    The neurobiology of effort-based decision-making in cannabis use disorder
  • Jibran Khokhar | University of Guelph
    Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Cannabinoid Exposure: A Closer Look at Learning and Circuitry

Parallel symposium 11: Novel ventral hippocampus circuits in the control of affective behavior

Chair:  Maithe Arruda Carvalho | University of Toronto Scarborough


  • Christoph Anacker | Columbia University
    Hippocampal neurogenesis and stress resilience
  • Rutsuko Ito | University of Toronto Scarborough
    Ventral hippocampal contributions to learned approach-avoidance conflict processing
  • Mazen Kheirbek | University of California San Francisco
    Encoding of emotionally relevant stimuli in ventral hippocampal circuits
  • Maithe Arruda-Carvalho | University of Toronto Scarborough
    Maturation of brain circuits involved in emotional learning

Parallel symposium 12: Single-cell transcriptomic approaches for dissecting neurological disease and complex behaviours

Chair:  Shreejoy Tripathy | University of Toronto

Sponsored by the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health


  • Vilas Menon | Allen Institute for Brain Science
    Single-cell RNA-seq identifies putative human brain cell types associated with neurodegenerative disease
  • Shreejoy Tripathy | University of Toronto
    Using single-cell transcriptomics to infer multi-modal cellular phenotypes
  • Megan Crow | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    Mapping transcriptomically-similar cell types across datasets, species, and conditions using MetaNeighbor
  • Mark Cembrowski | University of British Columbia
    Subtype-specific predisposition of granule cell participation in hippocampal processing


End of Meeting