CAN2024 Final Program

Saturday, May 18, 2024


11AM – 4:00 PMSatellite event:
Hands-on, Neural, Behavioural and Histological Data Analysis Workshop
2:30 – 4:30 PM

2024 CAN Public lectures: Cannabis and Psychedelics: Hype or hope for addictions, brain diseases, and mental health

Speakers: Catharine Winstanley, Matt Hill and Leah Mayo Host: Mark Cembrowski
Location: Science Theatre at Science World
Registration required – View details


Day 1: Sunday, May 19, 2024

9:00 AM – 4:00 PMCAN Satellite symposia

5:00 – 5:15 PMWelcome and Opening Remarks by

Adriana Di Polo, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

5:15 – 6:15Presidential Lecture

Detecting covert decision dynamics from neural population recordings in primate motor cortex

William Newsome, Stanford University

6:15 – 8:00Opening Reception

Day 2: Monday, May 20

8:30 – 10:15 AMPlenary symposium 1

Psychedelics as novel therapeutics: What do we know and where do we go from here?

Chair: Leah Mayo, University of Calgary


  • Melissa A. Herman, U of North Carolina
    Multi-Region Effects of Psychedelic drugs on Neuronal Activity and Threat Responding Behavior
  • Boris Dov Heifets, Stanford U
    Deconstructing the psychedelic experience: insights across species
  • Rosemary C. Bagot, McGill U
    In search of mechanism: exploring the therapeutic potential of psilocybin in preclinical models
10:15 – 10:30

Update on Brain Canada initiatives

Viviane Poupon, President and CEO, Brain Canada

10:30 – 10:45Coffee break Posters/exhibits
10:45 – 11:00Brain Star Award winner talk

Hovy Ho-Wai Wong | McGill University

Local translation in axons sustains synapse-specific neurotransmission

11:00 – 12:00Featured Plenary speaker

Bita Moghaddam – Oregon Health and Science University

Challenges of designing animal models to test the therapeutic effects of psychedelics

12:00 – 1:30

Advocacy lunch: Taking advocacy to new heights using the power of storytelling

1:30 – 3:00Parallel Symposium 01

Bridging the Gap: Animal and Human Models in Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research


  • Guang Yang | University of Calgary & Yang Zhou | McGill University


  • Deborah Kurrasch | University of Calgary
    Zebrafish recapitulate human phenotypes and enable the study of developmental epileptic encephalopathies
  • Yun Li | Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
    Investigating mTOR hyperactivation related neurodevelopmental disorders in human brain cells and organoids
  • Guang Yang | University of Calgary
    Deciphering rare neurodevelopmental disorders: insights from human cell and mouse models
  • Yang Zhou | McGill University
    A Role of ASD-associated Gene CHD8 in Reactive Gliosis in the Adult Mouse and Marmoset Brains


Parallel Symposium 02

New insights into immediate early genes (IEGs) in neural circuit plasticity during development and learning

Chair: Simon Chen | University of Ottawa


  • Yingxi Lin | University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    Early Cellular Memories Reveal the Sequence and Mechanisms of Circuit Maturation During Early Development
  • Jason Shephard | University of Utah
    Virus-like intercellular synaptic plasticity
  • Simon Chen | University of Ottawa
    Distinct NPAS4-expressing SST-IN Inhibitory Engrams Critical for Different Movement Acquisition
  • Jun Ding | Standford University
    Motor learning induced transcriptomic changes in motor engram neurons


Parallel Symposium 03

Sculpting Brain and Behaviour: The Profound Impact of Early Life Adversities


Derya Sargin | University of Calgary


  • Samuel Richer | McGill University
    Benefits and Costs: Resilience to Social Stress in Adolescence
  • Maya Opendak | John Hopkins University
    Neurobehavioral signature of early adversity models in infant rats
  • Christoph Anacker | Columbia University
    Early Life Adversity and Fear Generalization – A Role for Serotonin in the Dentate Gyrus
  • Derya Sargin | University of Calgary
    Unraveling the impact of early life stress on neural circuits


Parallel Symposium 04

Brain circuits controlling the formation, modification, and prevention of memory


  • Jesse Jackson | University of Alberta


  • Bénédicte Amilhon | Université de Montréal – Centre de recherche Azrieli du CHU Sainte-Justine
    Subcortical modulation of memory-related hippocampus rhythms
  • Erik Bloss | The Jackson Lab
    Divergent forms of synaptic plasticity in cortical extinction circuits
  • Jiannis Taxidis | Hospital for Sick Children / University of Toronto
    The role of inhibition in shaping memory-encoding hippocampal spiking sequences
  • Arjun Bharioke | Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    The cortical circuits underlying unconsciousness.

3:00 – 3:30PM

Trainee Power Pitch Session

Organisers: J Quinn Lee & Gilberto Rojas Vite

3:30 – 3:45PM

Update on BrightFocus initiatives

Diane Bovenkamp, PhD – Vice President, Scientific Affairs, BrightFocus Foundation

3:45 – 5:15PMCoffee break

Poster session 1 / exhibits

5:15 – 5:45

New investigator award lecture

Caroline Ménard – 2024 winner

Neurovascular adaptations underlying mood disorders vs stress resilience

5:45 – 6:45Brain Prize lecture

Michael Greenberg 2023 winner

How Nature and Nurture Conspire to Regulate Brain Development and Plasticity

7:30 – 9:30CAN Student Social


Day 3: Tuesday, May 21

8:30 – 10:15 AMPlenary symposium 2

Glia -Neuron interactions

Chair: Marie-Eve Tremblay, University of Victoria


  • Marie-Eve Tremblay, University of Victoria
    Microglial remodelling of the extracellular matrix: outcomes on synaptic plasticity and behaviour
  • Ed Ruthazer, McGill University
    Glia regulate network states to modulate processing of sensory information
  • Masha Prager-Khoutorsky, McGill University
    Microglia as modulators of neuro-glial interactions

10:15 – 10:25


Dr. Nina Cluny, Assistant Director

10:30 – 10:45Coffee break


10:45 – 11:00Brain Star Award winner

Masayuki Hata | Kyoto University

Innate immune memory and age-related macular degeneration

11:00 – 12:00Featured Plenary speaker 2

Baljit Khakh– UCLA

Astrocyte-neuron interactions: critical for physiology and disease

12:00 – 1:00

CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee Showdown

Learn more about the Brain Bee here

Lunch on own

1:00 – 2:30Parallel Symposium 05

Regenerating the injured nervous system: emerging cellular and molecular mechanisms


Brett Hilton | The University of British Columbia


  • Soheila Karimi | University of Manitoba
    New targets to optimize neural stem cell-mediated repair in spinal cord injury
  • Faith Brennan | Queens University
    Microglia coordinate cellular interactions during spinal cord repair
  • Alyson Fournier | McGill University
    Promoting CNS axon regeneration through regulation of neuron intrinsic gene expression networks
  • Brett Hilton | The University of British Columbia
    Targeting neuronal maturation to promote axon regeneration following spinal cord injury


Parallel Symposium 06

Lipids and the Nervous System


Shernaz Bamji | University of British Columbia


  • Jeffrey Dason | University of Windsor
    Activity-dependent changes in lipid content of presynaptic terminals regulates synaptic plasticity.
  • Shaun Sanders | University of Guelph
    Regulation of Axonal Transport in Neurons by S-acylation.
  • Elizabeth Rideout | The University of British Columbia
    Regulation of neuronal lipid droplets influences sex differences in energy homeostasis.
  • Thierry Alquier | University of Montreal
    Neuronal lipid droplets in the control of energy homeostasis.


Parallel Symposium 07

Dopaminergic involvement in appetitive and aversive memories


Mihaela Iordanova | Concordia University


  • Mihaela Iordanova | Concordia University
    A role for VTA DA in valence prediction error
  • Erin Calipari | Vanderbilt University
    The role of dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens in the ability to predict aversive outcomes
  • Vincent Breton Provencher | Université Laval
    Dopamine encoding of reinforcement signals in time and space
  • Johannes Felsenberg | Friedrich Miescher Institute
    Creating true and false memories from forgotten information in Drosophila


Parallel Symposium 08

Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disruptions Associated with Autism


Susanne Schmid | University of Western Ontario


  • Susanne Schmid | University of Western Ontario
    Auditory Processing and Sensorimotor Gating disruptions in Cntnap2 knockout rats are malleable during early postnatal development
  • Andreas Frick | INSERM
    Neural alterations in the neocortex underlie tactile perception changes in a mouse model of autism
  • Gonzalo Otazu | New York Institute of Technology
    The effect of odor novelty in odor identification in mouse models of autism
  • Ganna Palagina | Harvard University
    Bistable visual perception in autism: mouse models

2:30 – 3:00PM

Trainee Power Pitch Session

Organisers: J Quinn Lee & Gilberto Rojas Vite

3:00 – 4:30Coffee break in Poster Hall

Poster session 2 & Exhibits

4:45– 5:45Keynote lecture

Singing in the brain

Isabelle Peretz – Université de Montréal

5:45 – 6:45

Sex & Gender in the Neurosciences

Event organized by the CAN Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee

Panelists: Caroline Ménard, Bita Moghaddam, Liisa Galea,  Justin Matheson

Day 4: Wednesday, May 22

8:30 – 10:15 A.M.Plenary symposium 3

Social Neuroscience

Chair: Jaideep Bains, Krembil Research Institute


  • Giovanni Marsicano, INSERM – U Bordeaux
    Olfactory bulb astrocytes determine the cognitive impact of social transmission of stress
  • Ibukun Akinrinade. U Toronto
    Neuropeptide nexus: Decoding oxytocin’s evolutionarily conserved role on social contagion in zebrafish
  • Marie Eikmo – University of Oslo
    Effects of Stress on Opioid Self-Administration and Subjective Experience in the Laboratory and the Operating Room
10:15 – 10:25

Update on the Canadian Brain Research Strategy

Jennie Young, CBRS Executive Director

10:30 – 10:45Posters/exhibits

Coffee break

10:45 – 11:00 PMBrain Star Award winner

Adam Ramsaran | The Hospital for Sick Children – Winner of the Marlene Reimer Brain Star of the Year Award

 A shift in the mechanisms controlling hippocampal engram formation during brain maturation

11:00 – 12:00Featured Plenary speaker

Alon Chen – Weizmann – Max Planck Laboratory

A paradigm shift in mouse phenotyping: The role of social context

12:00 – 1:30 PM

CAN-ACN Annual General Meeting of members

Career Networking event

Lunch on own

1:30 – 2:00PMTrainee Power Pitch Session
Organisers: J Quinn Lee & Gilberto Rojas Vite
2:00 – 3:30Poster session 3 & Exhibits
3:30 – 5:00Parallel Symposium 09

Myelin in neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration


Anastassia Voronova  | University of Alberta & Nobuhiko Ohno | Jichi Medical University


  • Norihisa Bizen | Niigata University
    DEAD box protein Ddx20-mediated regulation of oligodendrocyte development, differentiation, and homeostasis
  • Nobuhiko Ohno | Jicji Medical University
    Novel imaging approaches untangling axonal selectivity of myelination by single oligodendrocytes
  • Shernaz Bamji| University of British Columbia
    Posttranslational palmitoylation in oligodendrocyte development, myelination and disease
  • Anastassia Voronova| University of Alberta
    Mechanisms of myelin formation in the developing and regenerating brain: lessons from CX3CR1 signalling

Parallel Symposium 10

Reframing astrocytes in brain circuits and behaviour, a quest for new questions


Ciaran Murphy-Royal | Université de Montréal


  • Giannina Descalzi | University of Guelph
    Astrocyte-neuronal metabolic coupling in the cingulate cortex promotes chronic pain development in a sex-specific manner
  • Thomas Papouin | Washington University School of Medicine
    Mapping the Contribution of Astrocytes to Brain Computation
  • Xinzhu Yu | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    Astrocytic modulation of prefrontal neural circuits and anxiety-like behavior
  • Jun Nagai | RIKEN Center for Brain Science
    Probing behaviourally consequential astrocyte ensembles


Parallel Symposium 11

Vision Unveiled: Navigating the Intricacies from Eye to Brain to Behavior


Stuart Trenholm | McGill University & Gautam Awatramani | University of Victoria


  • Gautam Awatramani | University of Victoria
    Neural circuits underlying hierarchical computations in the retina
  • Stuart Trenholm | McGill University
    The feature landscape of mouse visual cortex
  • Arbora Resulaj | University of Toronto
    The role of visual cortex in perceptual decisions
  • Manu Madhav | University of British Columbia
    The dynamic role of visual inputs in generating spatial representations


Parallel Symposium 12

Network alterations in psychiatric disorders and novel treatment strategies


Austen Milnerwood | McGill University & Graham Collingridge | University of Toronto & Mount Sinai Hospital


  • Austen Milnerwood | McGill University
    Hyperexcitability & lithium response signatures provide novel phenotype rescue of bipolar disorder patient neurons via AKT & AMPK
  • Evelyn Lambe | University of Toronto
    Multi-scale perspective to decipher and treat NMDA receptor dysfunction in GRIN disorder
  • Jasmin Lalonde | University of Guelph
    Bipolar disorder-iPSC derived neural progenitor cells exhibit dysregulation of store-operated calcium entry and accelerated differentiation
  • James Ellis | SickKids Research Institute, Department of Medical Genetics, University of Toronto
    Calcium-dependent hyperexcitability in Rett syndrome neuronal networks