Canadian Spinal Cord Injury Research

The 2019 biannual Canadian Spinal Cord Injury Research meeting will take place April 8-9 in Vancouver, BC.

This is the continuation of a series initiated in 2006 by Drs. Wolfram Tetzlaff (ICORD / UBC) and Karim Fouad (University of Alberta) and held alternately in Eastern and Western Canada in such locations as Banff, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.

Invited speaker: Dr. Philip J. Horner

Professor of Neuroregeneration, Institute for Academic Medicine; Scientific Director, Center for Neuroregeneration; Houston Methodist, Weill Cornell Medical College



Download the program for April 8 & 9

Download the site map

Special offer for conference attendees:

Bean Around the World Coffees, on the ground floor of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, is offering 10% off all espresso drinks for conference attendees. Just show your conference name tag to claim your discount!

Full Program

Sunday April 7

18:00–21:00 A purely social gathering with dinner

at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, 108- 777 West Broadway. RESERVATION LIST IS NOW CLOSED.

Monday April 8

Scientific sessions

Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, 818 West 10th Ave (click for map & directions)

Coffee & tea will be available from 8:00-8:20am • Scientific talks are 15 minutes long, including time for questions.

08:20–10:00 Basic Science of the normal and injured spinal cord

Lecture Hall

08:20 – Wolfram Tetzlaff and Karim Fouad: Welcome and opening remarks
08:30 – Victor Rafuse: Muscle fibre-type susceptibility in ALS is associated with macrophage-mediated terminal schwann cell pathology
08:45 – Patrick Whelan: Descending neuromodulation of locomotor circuits.
09:00 – Katinka Stecina: Fictive locomotion evoked by DREADDs?
09:15 – Jeremy Chopek: Reticular formation microcircuits in movement selection
09:30 – Jim Fawcett: Understanding the contribution of cerebellar interneurons in controlling gait
09:45 – Ying Zhang: The locomotor task-dependent spinal modular circuits

10:00–10:30 Break

Atrium – refreshments provided

10:30–12:00 Inflammation / Plenary lecture

Lecture Hall

10:30 – Jason Plemel: The microglia response to demyelination
10:45 – Steve Lacroix: The microglial scar: microglia are an important component of the protective scar that forms after SCI
11:00 – Eftekhar Eftekhapour: Targeting excessive lysosomal activity for treatment of oxidative stress

Plenary speaker
11:15 – Phil Horner: Spinal neuromodulation to enhance transplant integration and forelimb recovery

12:00–13:15 Lunch

Atrium – lunch provided

13:15–15:00 Regeneration and repair

Lecture Hall

13:15 – Valerie Verge: Comparing electrical stimulation to acute intermittent hypoxia in promotion of nerve repair
13:30 – Andrea Tedeschi: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of axon growth and regeneration failure
13:45 – Arthur Brown: R & D for small molecule inhibitors of SOX9 for nervous system repair
14:00 – Soheila Karimi: Neuregulin-1, an emerging regulator of spinal cord injury and repair
14:15 – Michael Fehlings: Translational regenerative strategies for cervical spinal cord injury
14:30 – Karim Fouad: Open data commons–SCI

15:00–15:30 Break

Atrium – refreshments provided

15:30 – 16:40 Selected trainee talks

15:30 – Mohammed Khazaei: Rescuing the fate of neural progenitor transplants in the injured spinal cord niche via attenuation of Notch signaling with GDNF.
15:40 – Narjes Shahsavani: Neuregulin-1 fosters immunomodulation and neuroprotection in traumatic SCI
15:50 – Rahul Sachdeva: A non-invasive neuroprosthesis for cardiovascular recovery after SCI
16:00 – Sohrab Manesh: Locomotor recovery following contusive SCI does not require oligodendrocyte remyelination
16:10 – Priscilla Chan: Self-tracing human neural stem cells to map transplant integration
16:20 – Emma Schmidt: Fecal microbiota transplant attenuates dysbiosis and anxiety in a rat model of SCI
16:30 – Navid Khosravi-Hashemi: SCI recovery pattern dependency of functional independence

Lecture Hall

16:45–21:00 Posters, dinner, tours

16:45 to 18:00 formal poster session (with judging)
18:00 to 19:00 buffet dinner
19:00 to 21:00 informal poster presentations, small group tours of the BSCC, networking/socializing (sign up for tours at the registration desk before 18:45)


Tuesday April 9

Scientific sessions

Blusson Spinal Cord Centre

08:30–10:00 Plasticity

Lecture Hall

08:30 – Frederic Bretzner: Control and plasticity of the midbrain after SCI
08:45 – Marina Martinez: Fostering recovery of locomotion with neuroprosthetics after SCI
09:00 – David Magnuson: Inactivity is toxic: setting the trajectory for recovery.
09:15 – David Bennett: Chronic spinal cord hypoxia induced by pericytes after spinal cord injury.
09:30 – Karim Fouad: Preventing microbiome changes prevents anxiety like behavior in rats with SCI
09:45 – Matt Ramer: An AFT3-CreERT2 knock-in mouse for axotomy-induced genetic editing: proof of principle

10:00–10:30 break

Atrium – refreshments provided

10:30–12:00 Rehabilitation

Lecture Hall

10:30 – Kristine Cowley: Using propriospinal circuitry to increase function and decrease musculoskeletal deterioration after SCI.
10:45 – Vivian Mushahwar: The role of the cervico-lumbar spinal network in improving walking after SCI in humans
11:00 – Kristin Musselman: Perturbation-based balance training after SCI: findings from a randomized clinical trial
11:15 – Laurent Bouyer: Using a complex locomotor task to stimulate the corticospinal pathway after SCI
11:30 – Catherine Mercier: Use of robotics and virtual reality to assess and improve upper limbs sensorimotor performance
11:45 – Cathy Craven: Bone health conundrums after SCI

12:00–13:15 lunch

Atrium – lunch provided

13:15–14:00 Rehabilitation, continued

Lecture Hall

13:15 – Jaynie Yang: Retraining walking in the ReWalk exoskeleton after SCI: functional gains and neuroplasticity
13:30 – Krista Best: Influence of a peer-led smartphone-delivered physical activity program for individuals with SCI.
13:45 – Vanessa Noonan: Understanding the needs and priorities following SCI to inform care and improve quality of life

14:00–14:45 Clinical SCI

14:00 – Eve Tsai: Improving the translation of spinal cord therapies from animals to humans
14:15 – Brian Kwon: Acute SCI: translational considerations

14:45–15:15 Poster prizes and closing remarks


Registration is now closed

Vancouver in April

Compared to the rest of Canada, the weather in Vancouver is usually quite mild and pleasant in early April, although you should bring a raincoat or umbrella just to be safe.

The Cherry Blossom Festival starts April 4 and you will see blossoms and spring flowers around the city.

If you like to ski, one of North America’s top ski resorts is a two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver (usually–depending on traffic).




Thank you to these generous sponsors:

Rick Hansen Institute logo