Owerko Centre Conference

Owerko Centre Conference - Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Theme: Neurodiversity and Intersectionality

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Conference: 9 am - 3:45 pm 
Reception: 3:45 - 4:45 pm
Health Sciences Centre, Foothills Campus, UCalgary 


Abstract deadline: May 1

Registration deadline: May 22

An annual conference focused on research

The Owerko Centre conference is an annual event hosted by the Owerko Centre at The Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute. Each conference is aligned with the mission statement of the Owerko Centre: To optimize brain and mental health for children and families through research, education, and community engagement.

However, each conference has it's own distinct theme, or focus area, in a given year. The themes, agenda, and invited guests are carefully selected and curated by an internal conference organizing committee that meets regularly through the year.  

Previous Owerko Centre Conferences


Dr. Stelios Georgiades, PhD  McMaster Children’s Hospital Chair in Autism and Neurodevelopment, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences

Autism Chronogeneity: What does it mean for Research, Policy, and Practice?

Dr. Lucy Lach, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Arts; Associate Member, Departments of Paediatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

Dr. David Nicholas, PhD, Professor, Associate Dean, Research and Partnerships, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

Considering Social Determinants of Health When Navigating Access to Services and Supports: Implications for ALL Stakeholders

Internal Speakers:

Dr. Carolyn Emery, PhD  Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, Chair Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre; Professor, Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and Dr. Brianne Redquest, Postdoctoral Associate, Werklund School of Education

Evidence-informed Adapted Physical Activity Programs for Youth with Disabilities: Calgary Adapted Hub Research Opportunities

Child Development Centre Community Panel:

  • Karen Orser, CEO, Luna Child and Youth Advocacy Centre
  • Tanya McLeod, President, The Sinneave Family Foundation
  • Nicki Wilson, Associate E.D, Renfrew Educational Services

Trainee Collaborative Translational Research Presentation

Anything you can do, I can do better! Comparing and contrasting questions asked by model organism research and human neuroimaging studies to better understand the developing brain.

  • Dr. Kathyrn Manning, PhD, Human imaging researcher
  • Dr. Gillian England-Mason, PhD, Child neurodevelopmental researcher
  • Dr. Deepika Dogra, PhD, Zebrafish/human organoid researcher
  • Dr. Jing Zheng, PhD, Mouse/human imaging researcher

3-minute Trainee Flash Talks

  • Kaylan Burns, Supervisor: Dr. Guang Yang, Dept. of  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Solving the mystery of a rare neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Dr. Parisa Moazen, Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Kurrasch, Dept. of Medical Genetics: Battle of the sexes for vasopressin development
  • Christiane Roth, Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Zwicker, School of Public Policy: Measure what matters -  identifying key indicators to align policy and service delivery with child health and well-being
  • Sarah Williams, Supervisor: Dr. Kelly Schwartz, Werklund School of Education: Changes in student mental health and adaptive functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic: does age matter?
  • Dr. Elnaz Vaghef Mehrabani, Supervisor: Dr. Gerry Giesbrecht, Dept. of Paediatrics: The association between maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and child behavior: The role of inflammation
  • Rayyan Zuberi, Supervisor: Dr. Chad Bousman, Dept. of Medical Genetics: Impact of cannabinoid use on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor efficacy and tolerability in adolescents 


Dr. Russell Schachar, MD, FRCP, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

"Genetics of ADHD: Scientific Progress and Clinical Implications."

Dr. Yona Lunsky, PhD, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto

"Family Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: Challenges and Innovations."


Internal Speakers:

Dr. Catherine Lebel, PhD, University of Calgary

"Altered Brain Development in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure."

Dr. Carly McMorris, PhD, RPsych, University of Calgary

"Anxiety in Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Effectiveness of Facing Your Fears."


Dr. John F. Cryan, PhD, University College Cork, Ireland 

"A Gut Feeling About the Brain - Microbiome as a Key Regulator of Neurodevelopment and Behaviour."

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, MD, Bloorview Research Institute, Toronto

"Thinking Differently About Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Lumping vs Splitting."


Internal Speakers:

Dr. Jane Shearer, PhD, University of Calgary

"Dietary Modulation in Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Translational Perspective."

Dr. Gerald Giesbrecht, PhD, University of Calgary

"‘Sins of the fathers’ and the Psychobiology of Stress: How Good Triumphs over Adversity in the Intergenerational Transmission of Stress."


Dr. Erik Willcut PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Neuropsychological and Neurobiological Studies of ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and Their Comorbidity: Implications for Clinical Diagnosis and Translational Research."

Dr. Jonathan Weiss, PhD, York University, Toronto

"Thinking Differently About Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Lumping vs Splitting."


Internal Speakers:

Dr. Richelle Mychasiuk PhD , University of Calgary

Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, MD, FRCPC, Alberta Children's Hospital