May 4 gala dinner keynote



Deborah Saucier, PhD

Deborah Saucier is currently the provost and vice-president, academic at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), a position she had held since 2013. She was recently named president of MacEwan University, a role which will commence July 1. 


Prior to serving as provost, she was dean of the Faculty of Science at UOIT. She came to UOIT from the University of Lethbridge in 2011, where she was chair of the Department of Neuroscience and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Neuroscience. She received her PhD in psychology from Western University in London, Ont., followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology in 1995. Saucier spent three years as a faculty member in psychology at the University of Regina, and in 1999 she accepted a position at the University of Saskatchewan where she was an associate professor in psychology.


She joined the University of Lethbridge in 2006 and progressed from associate professor to professor and department chair in 2009. During that time, she was appointed director of the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience and also served as a member of the Canada Research Chair Secretariat’s Taskforce for Diversity and Equity.

May 5 external keynote



Lisa Saksida, PhD

Lisa Saksida completed an interdisciplinary PhD at the Centre for the Neural Basis of Cognition and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. She then held a Fogarty Fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health, followed by a Pinsent Darwin Research Associateship at the University of Cambridge. She started as faculty in the Cambridge Department of Psychology, and as a Fellow of Newnham College, in 2001. She was recruited back to Western University in her native Canada in 2016, and is currently full professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, a scientist in the Robarts Research Institute, and a principal investigator in the Brain and Mind Institute. She is also scientific director of BrainsCAN—Western’s $66M Canada First Research Excellence Fund program in cognitive neuroscience—and a senior fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.


Lisa’s overarching research goal for the past 20 years has been to understand brain circuits and mechanisms underlying cognition in the healthy brain and in disease. The circuits she focuses on are those most often implicated in a range of disorders that are of immense relevance to society today, including Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. Her work involves theoretically rigorous, mechanistic studies of cognition in rodent models, using pharmacological, genetic and molecular manipulations along with sophisticated analysis of behaviour. Using these methods, she investigates fundamental questions about the neurobiological underpinnings of cognition, and how the answers to these questions can best be translated to humans and, eventually, to the clinic.

May 5 internal keynote



Kishor Wasan, PhD

Kishor Wasan as appointed dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan in August 2014.


He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and 240 abstracts in the area of lipid-based drug delivery and lipoprotein-drug interactions. Wasan completed his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin and his PhD at the University of Texas Medical Center's MD Anderson Cancer Center in cellular and molecular pharmacology. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology at the Cleveland Clinic, Wasan joined the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC until 2014.


Wasan was one of the recipients of the 1993 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Graduate Student Awards for Excellence in Graduate Research in Drug Delivery, the 2001 AAPS New Investigator Award in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutics Technologies, the 2002 Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada New Investigator Research Award and was named an AAPS fellow in 2006. In addition, he was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) University-Industry Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Development (2003-2008), was named a University Distinguished Scholar in April 2004, received the 2007 AAPS Award for Outstanding Research in Lipid-Based Drug Delivery, and the 2008 AFPC-Pfizer Research Career Award. In 2009, Wasan was named CIHR/iCo Therapeutics Research Chair in Drug Delivery for Neglected Global Diseases and in 2010, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He received the Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences Leadership award for outstanding contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences in Canada in 2011.