Trainees and Awards

The Owerko Centre supports the training of students at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels.


Summer Student Workshop Series and Symposium 2020

This summer, the Owerko Centre, in partnership with ACHRI and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute offered a series of workshops for our summer students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the workshops were presented in an online format which, we are pleased to say, was a great success! We are looking forward to offering the workshops again in 2021 so keep checking our site and social media for more details. As a recap the workshops that were offered this year were:

  • How to prepare a literature review 

  • How to effectively design an experiment  

  • What you need to know about biostatistics  

  • How to create an academic abstract  

  • Effective verbal academic communications  

  • Effective visual academic communications 

As is customary, we finished off our workshops with a final "hurrah" in the form of the Owerko Centre/ACHRI/HBI Summer Student Symposium. A great write up of that can be found here:

At the symposium, a number of awards were given out to summer student across a number of competitions held online. The winners were...

Basic Science Research
Lauren Coulombe, supervised by Dr. Tuan Trang, PhD
A Mechanistic Explanation for the Benefits of Exercise in Chronic Neuropathic Pain

Clinical Research
Riley Bohach, supervised by Drs. Gillian R. Currie, PhD, and Deborah Marshall, PhD
A Characterization of the Literature on the Socioeconomic Burden of Rare Diseases: Preliminary Results From a Scoping Review

Translational Research
Jessica Ritchie, supervised by Dr. Jeff F. Dunn, PhD
Head-Mounted Accelerometer Detects Decreased Postural Stability in Self-Reported Concussion

Computational Methodology/Bioinformatics/Genetics
Raziq Kassam, supervised by Dr. Adam Kirton, MD
Utilizing Brain Computer Interface (BCI) for Robotic Painting

Pediatrics/Development and developmental disorders
Rylen Williamson, supervised by Dr. Carolyn Emery, PhD
Evaluating the Zero Tolerance for Head Contact & Policy Change on the Incidence of Head Contacts, Penalties Assessed and Player Behaviour in 13-14 Year Old Ice Hockey Players

CNS injury/Neurodegeneration/Mental health
Ayden Hansen, supervised by Dr. Jeff F. Dunn, PhD
Increased NIRS Light Scattering in the MS Population - Possible Physiological Insight into the MS Brain

Population and community health/Epidemiology
Julianna Park, supervised by Dr. Sheri Madigan, PhD
Prevalence of Multiple Forms of Sexting Behavior Among Youth: A Meta-Analysis

Cellular, molecular and microbial biology/Immunology and inflammation
Julia Casorso, supervised by Dr. Amanda Melin, PhD
Assessing natural sources of ethanol in wild primate foods: testing key predictions of the dietary exposure hypothesis

To learn more about the the annual Summer Student Symposium, click here:

If you have any questions about this year's event, or future events, you can also get in touch with us at


Thank you to all who submitted an application for the 2019/2020 Owerko Centre Trainee Awards. After a very competitive selection process, we were able to determine winners in the three award categories listed below.

Owerko Centre Trainee Development Award

This award provides an opportunity for Owerko Centre graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to receive further training in new methods and techniques that will enhance their research skills and projects. The award winners will pursue additional training opportunities in the areas listed below their names.

Elizabeth Baker, PhD

Elizabeth Baker, PhD

Improving Child and Youth Health Outcomes Through Translational Research


Supervisor: Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens

Gillian England-Mason, PhD

Gillian England-Mason, PhD

Advanced Statistical Training in Structural Equation Modelling (SEM)


Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Dewey

Narae Ju

Narae Ju

Advanced Statistical Techniques for Eye-Tracking Research


Supervisor: Dr. Susan Graham

Jelena Komanchuk

Jelena Komanchuk

Training on the Simple Interactions Tool to Improve Parent-Child Interaction Assessments for Children Exposed to Early Adversity


Supervisor: Dr. Nicole Letourneau

Daphne Nakhid

Daphne Nakhid

Internalizing Behaviours and Iron Accumulation in Youth with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure


Supervisors: Dr. Catherine Lebel & Dr. Carly McMorris

Owerko Centre Knowledge Dissemination and Engagement Award

This award recognizes individuals or groups who have developed community-oriented projects that showcase The Owerko Centre’s commitment to studying neurodevelopmental disorders and child mental health, in a creative and impactful way. This award encourages trainees and fellows to engage with the surrounding community and foster the broader public’s understanding of scientific research.

Preeti Kar

Preeti Kar

Project title: Knowledge-to-Action: Translating Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Calgary


Supervisor: Dr. Catherine Lebel

Nicole Racine, PhD

Nicole Racine, PhD

Project title: Study of Adversity and Resilience (SOAR) Project


Supervisors: Dr. Sheri Madigan & Dr. Suzanne Tough

Owerko Centre Trainee Publication Award

This award recognizes trainees who have first authored papers focused on neurodevelopment and child mental health over a given year in an impactful and creative way.

Dennis Dimond

Dennis Dimond

Paper title: "Reduced white matter fiber density in Autism Spectrum Disorder"


Supervisor: Dr. Signe Bray

Rochelle Hentges, PhD

Rochelle Hentges, PhD

Paper title: "Heterogeneous trajectories of delayed communicative development from 12 to 36 months: Predictors and consequences"


Supervisors: Dr. Susan Graham & Dr. Sheri Madigan