Keynote Speakers

Tarun Dua

Medical Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse,
World Health Organization


John Hardy

Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease, Reta Lila Weston Institute – University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology


Dr. Tarun Dua is a medical officer working on the Program for Neurological Diseases and Neuroscience, Management of Mental and Brain Disorders in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization. She is currently the technical focal point responsible for all activities concerning neurology within the organization.

Dr. Dua is leading the WHO’s work on dementia, including the WHO/ADI report on dementia in 2012 “Dementia: public health priority”, organization of First WHO Ministerial Conference on  Global Action Against Dementia, March 2015, development of Global Dementia Observatory and now coordinating the implementation of the global action plan on public health response to dementia.

She has been involved in the development of the mhGAP Intervention Guide on mental, neurological and substance use disorders (including dementia) and the latest edition of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries’ volume on mental, neurological and substance use disorders (including dementia).

Prof. John Hardy is a geneticist and molecular biologist whose research interests focus on neurological disease. Dr. Hardy received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of Leeds, UK (1976) and his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London, UK where he studied dopamine and amino acid neuropharmacology.

He was Head of the Neurogenetics Section, National Institute of Ageing, Bethesda, USA and in 2007 took up the Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology. He won the MetLife, the Allied Signal and the Potamkin Prize for his work in describing the first genetic mutations, in the amyloid gene in Alzheimer’s disease, in 1991. In recognition of his exceptional contributions to science, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Breakthrough Prize.

Invited Session Speakers

France Légaré, Université Laval
Teresa Liu-Ambrose, University of British Columbia
Mario Masellis, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto
G. Peggy McFallUniversity of Alberta
Michele Mulder, Alzheimer Society of Canada
Oury Monchi, University of Calgary
Yael Reijmer, University Medical Centre Utrecht
Stephen Strother, University of Toronto
Rebecca Sudore, University of California - San Francisco
Madhav Thambisetty, National Institutes of Health
Joel Watts, University of Toronto

Karen Ashe, University of Minnesota
Jill Barnes, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sylvie Belleville, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal
Carol Brayne, University of Cambridge
Brad Dickerson, Harvard Medical School
Kirk Erickson, University of Pittsburgh
Zahra Goodarzi, University of Calgary
Julie Kosteniuk, University of Saskatchewan
Gabor Kovacs, Medical University of Vienna
David Hogan, Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging, University of Calgary
Frank LaFerla, University of California Irvine


Karen Ashe


Karen Hsiao Ashe, University of Minnesota faculty member since 1992, received her A.B. from Harvard University in 1975, her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, and her M.D. from Harvard University in 1982.  She holds the Edmund Wallace and Anne Marie Tulloch Chairs in Neurology and Neuroscience, and directs the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care.  Her contributions to the genetics of human prion diseases resolved the paradox of how prion diseases could be both infectious and inherited.  Her transgenic mouse models of prion and Alzheimer's diseases have been useful for validating genetic linkage studies, for understanding disease pathogenesis, for seeking markers of early disease processes, and for testing candidate therapies.  She used the Tg2576 model to identify two classes of Abeta oligomers and the rTg4510 model to show that neurofibrillary tangles do not cause memory deficits, and that a caspase-2 cleavage product of tau that resists fibrillation reversibly impairs memory.  For these and other accomplishments, she has received numerous awards and honors, including the MetLife Award in 2005, the Potamkin Prize in 2006, and induction into the National Academy of Medicine in 2009.  

Jill Barnes

Dr. Barnes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Affiliate Faculty Member in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan while working with Dr. Jeffrey Horowitz, and her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Texas at Austin under the mentorship of Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka.  Dr. Barnes then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Human Integrative Physiology at Mayo Clinic with Dr. Michael Joyner. Her research interests include the regulation of blood flow and blood pressure in humans, and how this changes with aging and exercise. Dr. Barnes has published over 50 peer-review articles on these topics.  She has received New Investigator awards from the American Physiological Society and Mayo Clinic. Dr. Barnes also serves on the editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology: Heart & Circulatory Physiology, American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Experimental Physiology, and Frontiers in Exercise Physiology.  Her recent projects are supported by the National Institute of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association and investigate the regulation of brain blood flow and how this relates to the changes in cognition with advancing age.



Sylvie Belleville

Dr. Belleville is Full professor at the Psychology Department of University of Montreal and Director of the Research Center of the institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal. She is well known for her studies on the neuropsychology of memory in aging and dementia and has contributed to a better understanding of the neuropsychological deficits found in persons with very early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (or mild cognitive impairment). She has also developed an important research program related to cognitive training in healthy aging and mild cognitive impairment and to processes of compensation and plasticity in older adults with or without cognitive deficit. She has more than 180 peer-reviewed publications. Her research is supported by grants from all major Quebec and Canadian grant agencies including the prestigious Foundation grant from CIHR. She has been co-president of the Advisory board of Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute of Aging and is head of the Québec Consortium Québécois for early identification of Alzheimer’s disease (CIMA- Q). She is leading the national team "Cognitive intervention and brain plasticity" for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.


Carol Brayne

Dr. Brayne is a Professor of Public Health Medicine and Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in the University of Cambridge.  She is a medically qualified epidemiologist and public health academic. Her main research has been longitudinal studies of older people following changes over time with a public health perspective and a focus on the brain. She is lead principal investigator in the MRC CFA Studies and other population based studies and has played a lead role in teaching and training in epidemiology and public health at Cambridge University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a NIHR Senior Investigator and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours this summer.

Brad Dickerson

Dr. Dickerson is the Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders Unit and Neuroimaging Lab in Boston. He holds the Tom Rickles Chair in Progressive Aphasia Research and is a staff behavioral neurologist in the MGH Memory Disorders Unit and co-investigator on the Neuroimaging Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Dickerson runs a busy weekly clinic caring for patients with various forms of cognitive impairment and dementia, as well as providing training for clinical and research fellows. His research employs quantitative structural, functional, and molecular neuroimaging techniques, in addition to quantitative behavioral assessments, to investigate dementias as well as normal aging. He has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as many book chapters, and has edited two books on dementia. He has won a number of awards, including the American Academy of Neurology’s Norman Geschwind Award in Behavioral Neurology.


Kirk Erickson

Dr. Erickson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Faculty Member for the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been awarded several NIH grants for his work including a Phase III randomized clinical trial to examine the effects of exercise on cognitive and brain outcomes in older adults. He has received numerous awards including the Neil Miller Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 2013, the Senior Beckman Institute Fellowship in 2014, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. He was named as a Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 2016.  He is also currently serving as the Chair of the Brain Health Subcommittee for the 2018 Federal Physical Activity Guidelines Committee.



Zahra Goodarzi

Dr. Goodarzi is an Clinical Assistant Professor in the Section of Geriatrics within the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the intersection of mental illness and neurological diseases that affect older adults. Her major research interests involve knowledge translation and qualitative methods to improve the lives of these older adults. Her specific methodological expertise is in knowledge synthesis and qualitative methods. Her work has focused on depression and anxiety in those experiencing dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Her current research is focused on how we identify anxiety in neurological disorders as well as how we can effectively implement best practices clinically.


Julie Kosteniuk

Dr. Kosteniuk is a Research Associate at the University of Saskatchewan, in the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety within the College of Medicine. She is a member of the Rural Dementia Action Research (RaDAR) team led by Debra Morgan, as well as an investigator member with the “Issues in Dementia Care for Rural and Indigenous Populations” team within the national Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging. She is also a program expert on a CIHR Foundation grant to design and evaluate an adaptable rural primary health care model for individuals with dementia. Her academic background includes a PhD in Psychiatry, CIHR training fellowships in rural health and primary health care, and postdoctoral training in rural dementia care.

Gabor Kovacs

After receiving MD degree in Budapest, Hungary, Dr. Kovacs obtained qualification in neurology (1998) and neuropathology (2003) and PhD in Neuroscience (2002). Between 2004 and 2007 he was the Head of the Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Budapest, Hungary. Since 2007 he works at the Medical University of Vienna where he habilitated in 2010. He is the leader of the Neurodegenerative disease research group at the Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, the Hungarian (2004) and the Austrian (2011) Reference Center for Human Prion diseases. His achievements include characterization and pathogenic elucidation of peculiar types of neurological diseases, like frontotemporal dementia with tau-positive globular glial inclusions, a tauopathy affecting elderly individuals and studies on human prion diseases. He coordinated an international consensus on ageing-related tau-astrogliopathy (ARTAG). He coordinated an FP7 EU Project (DEVELAGE) examining brain ageing and brain development. His scientific oeuvre includes 237 Publications in Web of Science and H-Index of 45; he edited two books on Neuropathology and contributed chapters to 9 further books. He is in the Editorial Board of Acta Neuropathologica, Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, and Basal Ganglia. His group focuses on molecular pathological patterns (particularly tau) and genotypes associated with clinical syndromes; body-fluid biomarkers; and comparative studies of brain ageing and development.


David Hogan

Born in Baie Comeau QC, David attended universities in Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Ontario.  A specialist in internal medicine and sub-specialist in geriatric medicine, he joined the University of Calgary in 1990 where he held the Brenda Strafford Foundation Chair in Geriatric Medicine for 25-years and is now the Academic Lead of the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging (O’Brien Institute for Public Health). He served as Chair of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Specialty Committee in Geriatric Medicine, President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society, and editor of the Canadian Geriatrics Journal.  David has authored over 550 abstracts, articles, and book chapters including 275 peer-reviewed publications.  He is a member of the leadership team on the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, serving as co-lead of theme 1, director of the training & capacity building program, and member of the Research Executive Committee. David is the PI of the CLSA Calgary Data Collection Site and a member of the Dementia and Cognitive Disorders NeuroTeam (Hotchkiss Brain Institute).


Frank LaFerla


Dr. LaFerla is the Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean of Biological Sciences and a Chancellor’s Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior.  He joined the faculty of UC Irvine in 1995 and has served in several administrative roles including as the founding director of the campus-wide neuroscience graduate program, chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, and director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND). In addition to his duties as dean, he is also the director of the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, a national center of excellence for dementia and also co-directs a U54 NIH grant to develop the next generation of animal models for Alzheimer’s disease.

For the majority of his academic career, his research has focused on understanding the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.  His scholarly work has had a global influence on the field, He has published over 200 original peer-reviewed articles and has been listed among the top 1% cited researchers in his field.  


France Légaré

Dr.  Légaré trained first as an architect (1980-1084 Université Laval) and then as a family physician (1984-1990 Université Laval), Dr. Légaré is full professor with the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Université Laval.  A family physician at the Family Medicine Teaching Site of Hôpital Saint-François d’Assise in Québec City since 1990, Dr. Légaré obtained a PhD in population health from the University of Ottawa. She has held a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Implementation of Shared Decision Making in Primary Care from 2005-2016. As of June 1st 2016, she now holds the title of Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Shared Decision Making and Knowledge Translation.

With colleagues, Dr. Légaré is leading two large trials that will assess the impact of training home care teams in shared decision making so these teams can support older Canadians and their loved ones make informed value congruent decisions regarding their location of care.


Teresa Liu-Ambrose

Dr. Liu-Ambrose is a physical therapist and a Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy. She directs one of Canada’s leading research programs in aging ( Dr. Liu-Ambrose is known internationally for her work in randomized controlled trials (RCT) of exercise with cognitive and mobility outcomes in older adults. Her research addresses compelling questions regarding the efficacy of exercise in promoting healthy aging – notably, resistance training (RT). Her work has received international attention and has been featured widely by the media, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal.

Mario Masellis

Dr.  Masellis obtained his Masters of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto in 1997, completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 2001 and obtained his FRCP(C) in Neurology since 2006. He has completed a clinical research fellowship in Cognitive & Movement Disorders Neurology in 2008 and obtained a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences in 2012. He is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Scientist within the Departments of Medicine (Neurology) and Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. He is a neurologist in the Division of Neurology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto treating a variety of cognitive and movement disorders. His clinical expertise is in the diagnosis and management of non-Alzheimer dementias, including Lewy body disorders, frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal syndrome. His research focuses on how genomic factors impact neuroimaging and cognitive phenotypes, and response to drugs in neurodegenerative diseases. He co-leads the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative and serves as a member of the International Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Society Neuroimaging Study Group, International Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) Consortium, and GENFI. He has received several awards for his work including the Maud Menten Institute of Genetics New Investigator Prize from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science.

Mario Masellis.png

G. Peggy McFall


Dr. McFall is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Alberta and Assistant Director of the NIH-funded Victoria Longitudinal Study.  She uses contemporary quantitative modeling techniques to investigate the dynamic interactions among Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in multiple domains (e.g., genetic, health, vascular, metabolic, lifestyle), studying how they predict differential long-term trajectories of cognitive change. McFall is particularly interested in determining how “modifiable” risk factors (such as events, actions, exposures or choices that affect brain health) can lead to increased vulnerability to neurological disease and dementia in later life. Correspondingly, she is also interested in how modifiable protective factors can promote exceptional and resilient brain and cognitive aging, with potential implications for dementia prevention. Her recent work has appeared in journals such as Neurobiology of Aging and Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Michele Mulder

Mulder (1).png

Michele joined the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in August 2015 as their Chief Executive Officer.
During her time with the organization, Michele has built new and strengthened existing partnerships in the health and research fields and has implemented strategic initiatives focused on the organization’s mission and vision to better serve people with dementia and their care partners.
A strong supporter of research to find a cause and cure for dementia, and to promote innovations for those diagnosed with dementia who reside in care, Michele has been working with the Board of Directors to introduce a more strategic approach to supporting both bio-medical and pyscho-social research efforts in Alberta.

Oury Monchi

Dr. Monchi obtained his Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience at King’s College London, University of London, UK. He then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the Montreal Neurological Institute and at the Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal in neuroimaging and cognitive neuroscience applied to Parkinson’s disease.

Until the summer of 2014 he was Associate Professor of Radiology at the Université de Montréal and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the CRIUGM. He is also the founding director of the Quebec Parkinson’s Network.

Dr. Monchi is Professor and director for clinical research at the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary. He is also the Movement Diosrders Neuroteam leader at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. He holds the Canadian Research Chair (Tier 1) in non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and the Tourmaline Oil Chair in Parkinson's disease. He was the founding director of the Quebec Parkinson Network. Dr. Monchi's
lab has been a pioneer in using different neuroimaging techniques to study the origins and evolution
of cognitive deficits in Parkinson's disease with the ultimate goal of early prediction of dementia in the disease.
Dr. Monchi's lab is currently funded by CIHR, NSERC, the Tourmaline Chair in Parkinson's disease, CCNA,
Parkinson Canada, and the Canadian Fund for Innovation.



Yael Reijmer

Dr. Reijmer currently works as a senior researcher in the lab of Prof. G.J. Biessels at the department of Neurology, University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Her specialization is the application of complex network analysis to examine brain connectivity in patients with small vessel disease (SVD) and Alzheimer’s disease. She obtained her PhD on vascular cognitive impairment in 2012. Between 2013 and 2016 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. S.M. Greenberg at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA. There she studied brain connectivity loss in patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). Her work has provided novel insights in the relationship between SVD, brain connectivity loss, and cognitive impairment, by integrating various brain imaging techniques, including diffusion tensor MRI, structural- and functional MRI, and amyloid PET. She has published over 40 papers, 16 first-authored papers, several in high-impact journals, and has been awarded personal fellowships from the American Heart Association and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Stephen C. Strother

Dr. Strother received a PhD in Electrical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal in 1986, for developing early Positron Emission Tomography (PET) techniques at the Montreal Neurological Institute. After a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, in 1989 he joined the VA Medical Center, Minneapolis as senior PET Physicist, and Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Minnesota where he became Professor of Radiology in 2002. In 2004 he moved to Toronto as a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute (RRI), Baycrest, and Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. His research interests include neuro-informatics and high-performance computing with a focus on optimization of PET, fMRI/MRI and EEG neuroimaging pipelines using statistical and machine-learning techniques. He applies these pipelines to studies of aging, and through leadership roles in the Brain-CODE data repository and multi-site neurodegeneraton and depression research programs funded by the Ontario Brain Institute. He is a cofounder of Predictek, Inc., and ADMdx in Chicago, medical analysis and diagnostics companies, and an Associate Editor for Human Brain Mapping and Frontiers in Neuroscience: Brain Imaging Methods.



Rebecca Sudore

Dr. Sudore is a geriatrician, palliative medicine physician, and clinician investigator. She also directs the Innovation Center for Action-oriented REsearch (I-CARE) in Aging & Palliative Care and the Vulnerable Populations for Aging Research Core of the NIA-funded Pepper Center.
Dr. Sudore conducts research to improve advance care planning and medical decision making for diverse, vulnerable older adults. To this end, she has designed, tested and disseminated innovative, patient centered tools including easy-to-read advance directive in over 10 languages ( and an interactive, advance care planning website called PREPARE (

Madhav Thambisetty


Dr. Thambisetty is a Board-certified neurologist with sub-specialty training in cognitive/behavioral neurology and sleep disorders. He completed both residency and fellowship training in the Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Prior to training in Neurology, he was awarded a PhD (DPhil) in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Oxford where he pursued doctoral studies on a Felix scholarship. His PhD thesis examined the role of synaptic remodeling in the actions of anti-depressant treatments. In 2004, he was awarded a research fellowship by the Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom to pursue research into ‘Blood biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease’ at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. He was elected to the Emanoel Lee medical research fellowship at St. Cross College, Oxford in 2004. In 2016, he was awarded the Norman Geschwind prize in Behavioral Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). He is currently also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Joel Watts

Dr. Watts obtained his PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology from the University of Toronto and then conducted postdoctoral research in the lab of Stanley Prusiner at the University of California San Francisco. He is currently a Principal Investigator at the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CRND) and an Assistant Professor within the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. At the Tanz CRND, Dr. Watts leads the animal modeling efforts amongst a cross-disciplinary team of scientists. His research interests include studying the role of self-propagating, prion-like protein aggregates in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as exploiting the unique properties of the bank vole prion protein to develop superior animal and cellular models of the prion disorders.


For a list of speakers from the 2016 International Conference, click the button below.