2019 Gairdner International Symposium

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Libin Theatre and HRIC Atrium


08:15 – 08:30 | Registration - Libin Theatre

08:30 – 08:40 | Welcome remarks by ACHRI Director, CSM Dean and
                            Bren Gairdner

08:40 – 09:40 | Lecture by Dr. Dan Kastner, National Institutes of Health
                            The Systemic Autoinflammatory Diseases: Decoding
                            Innate Immunity One Patient at a Time

09:40 – 10:10 | Lecture by Dr. Susan Samuel, University of Calgary:
                           Childhood Nephrotic Syndrome: A Perfect Opportunity
                           for Precision Medicine to Make a Big Impact

10:10 – 10:30 | Break 

10:30 – 11:30 | Lecture by Dr. Lawrence Steinman, Stanford University: 
                         Avoid Thinking Inside or Outside the Box, Just Follow
                         the Data: A Regulatory Receptor on Immune Cells
                         Binding Amyloid Structures

11:30 – 12:00 | Lecture by Dr. Scott Patten, University of Calgary:
                          Can Precision Public Health Help to Reduce the Burden
                          of Mental Illness in Children and Youth?

12:00 – 12:45 | Lunch - HRIC Atrium

12:45 – 13:45 | Lecture by Dr. Anne Griffiths, Hospital for Sick Children:
                          Toward Precision Medicine in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

13:45 – 14:15 | Lecture by Dr. Stephen Freedman, University of Calgary:
                          From Generic Syndrome to Individualized Care Using
                          Advanced Approaches - the Acute Gastroenteritis Example

14:15 – 14:30 | Closing remarks

14:30 – 15:30 | Reception - HRIC Atrium

International Speakers

Dr. Dan Kastner, MD, PhD

Dr. Dan Kastner, MD, PhD

Dr. Dan Kastner obtained his A.B. summa cum laude in philosophy from Princeton University in 1973 and a Ph.D. and M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine by 1982. After completing Internal Medicine residency and chief residency at Baylor, Dr. Kastner moved to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1985. He is currently the Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Throughout his career at the NIH Dr. Kastner's research has focused on using genetic and genomic strategies to understand inherited disorders of inflammation, often stimulated by patients with relatively rare disorders seen at the NIH Clinical Center hospital. This work has provided detailed molecular explanations for these illnesses, has provided the conceptual basis for highly effective targeted therapies, and has informed our understanding of more common illnesses. Dr. Kastner’s group also proposed the now widely accepted overarching concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote disorders of the evolutionarily ancient innate branch of the human immune system. Dr. Kastner has won a number of awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the National Academy of Medicine in 2012, and recognition as Federal Employee of the Year in 2018.

Dr. Lawrence Steinman, MD

Dr. Lawrence Steinman, MD

Dr. Lawrence Steinman is a professor of Neurology, Neurological Sciences and Pediatrics at Stanford University and Chair of the Stanford Program in Immunology from 2001 to 2011. His research focuses on what provokes relapses and remissions in multiple sclerosis, and on the quest for antigen specific therapy in type 1 diabetes, neuromyelitis optica and myasthenia gravis. He is taking forward a pivotal clinical trial with antigen specific tolerization therapy for type 1 diabetes.

Steinman was senior author on the 1992 Nature article that led to the drug Tysabri, approved for MS and Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Steinman graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude in Physics. His MD is from Harvard Medical School.  He was a post-doctoral fellow in chemical immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science. After neurology residency he remained on the faculty in 1980.  He has received numerous honors, including the John M. Dystel Prize in 2004, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NINDS twice, the Charcot Prize in MS research, and the Cerami Prize in Translational Medicine. Steinman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Steinman cofounded several biotech companies, including Neurocrine, Atreca, Katexco, and Tolerion. He was a Director of Centocor from 1988 until its sale to Johnson and Johnson. 

Dr. Anne Griffiths, MD, FRCP(C)

Dr. Anne Griffiths, MD, FRCP(C)

Dr. Anne Griffiths is a University of Toronto medical graduate who trained in Paediatrics and Paediatric Gastroenterology at The Hospital for Sick Children and in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. Under her leadership, the SickKids IBD program has played an important role in IBD genetic research since 1996, when efforts to understand the basis of genetic susceptibility first began. She has collaborated in the North American and International Paediatric and Adult IBD Genetics Consortia, which have been successfully identified genes influencing the development of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. She is Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Gene-Environment-Microbe (GEM) study, which prospectively recruits healthy siblings and offspring of Crohn’s disease patients in an effort to identify microbial and other environmental triggers of disease in genetically at-risk hosts.

She is the Principal investigator for the Canadian Children Inflammatory Bowel Disease Network, a pan-Canadian multicentre research network funded by the Ch.I.L.D. Foundation based in Vancouver, British Columbia and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She has authored over 300 peer reviewed publications, and has lectured widely on pediatric IBD. Several of her publications in Nature Genetics and the top journals in the field of gastroenterology are paving the way for personalized medicine in IBD. For her career-long scientific and educational contributions, Dr. Griffiths has been recognized with the 2019 Shwachman award of the North American Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition. 

Dr. Patten

Dr. Scott Patten, MD, PhD

Dr. Scott Patten’s research focuses on the longitudinal epidemiology of mood disorders, and in particular the emergence of these conditions, typically during adolescence and young adulthood. He currently holds the Cutherbertson and Fischer Chair in Pediatric Mental Health.

Methodologically, Dr. Patten has expertise in the analysis and interpretation of cross-sectional and longitudinal data, including administrative data, national survey data and systematic reviews as well as experience with issues related to sampling, measurement and control of confounding variables.

He is a collaborator with the Global Burden of Disease Project and a participant in recent Canadian studies of disease burden. Dr. Patten is a professor in the departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.



Dr. Samuel

Dr. Susan Samuel, MD

Dr. Susan Samuel is an Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is a pediatric nephrologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She received her undergraduate medical degree from the University of British Columbia, and completed postgraduate medical training in pediatrics and nephrology at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. She completed an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Her research goal is to improve care and outcomes of children with chronic disease, in particular those with kidney disease and kidney failure. She leads the Canadian Childhood Nephrotic Syndrome Project, a national initiative designed to evaluate the impact of care variation on patient outcomes and to conduct registry based clinical trials. She also leads the Transition Navigator Trial research team, a multi-disciplinary group evaluating effectiveness of interventions to improve transition to adult care. Her work is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, various foundations and agencies. 

She is passionate about mentoring and guiding clinicians towards academic and scientific careers and is currently serving as the Director of the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program. She is committed to global health issues, and works with colleagues in Ibadan, Nigeria to build research capacity through a sister renal centre partnership.

She has received awards for research and community contributions, including the University of Calgary Petro Canada Community Innovator Award, Top 40 under 40 Award from Avenue Magazine in Calgary, and BMO Endowed Research Award from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute.


Stephen Freedman

Dr. Stephen Freedman, MD

Dr. Stephen Freedman, MDCM is a member of the Sections of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Gastroenterology at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. He completed his residency at The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto) in 2000 and a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship in 2003 at Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago). He obtained a Master’s of Science in Clinical Investigation at Northwestern University. In 2016 he assumed the role of Chair, Pediatric Emergency Research Canada and was appointed the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Professor in Child Health and Wellness.

His research focus is on applying clinical research to improve outcomes in children seeking emergency department care. His focus is on the use of innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to solve complex problems. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is the principal investigator on numerous multicentre clinical trials with funding support from CIHR, the NIH, and Alberta Innovates.  Most recently he has completed two large, multicenter probiotic RCTs in children with acute gastroenteritis.