Think Big: The Life of Your Brain

Throughout your life, your brain will go through more changes than any other part of your body. Host Jay Ingram and experts from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute will take you on a journey through the life of your brain, from infancy to later life.

Friday, November 16, 2018
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Central Library (800 3 St SE)

RSVP online or call 403.260.2620 to register.

This event is FREE (but seating is limited).


Dr. Zahra Goodarzi

Dr. Zahra Goodarzi is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Her research focuses on non-memory and non-movement aspects of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia or Parkinson's disease. The goal of her research is to identify how we can better diagnose and manage these conditions to improve outcomes for patients.

Dr. Goodarzi completed her medical school, internal medicine and geriatric medicine training at UCalgary. Her master’s degree was focused on understanding depression and anxiety in those with dementia or Parkinson's disease through the Department of Community Health Sciences in Calgary.

Dr. Hedwich Kuipers

Dr. Kuipers, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Cell Biology & Anatomy at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Her general research interests are in neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and trying to understand the interaction between immune cells entering the central nervous system (CNS) and its resident cells.

Dr. Kuipers is particularly interested in astrocytes, a cell type in the CNS whose role in neuroinflammatory diseases is much overlooked. She has shown that these cells, which are highly abundant in the brain, can release factors that help immune cells infiltrate into CNS tissue. She currently investigates how astrocytes interact with these infiltrating immune cells and how these interactions shape the way both immune cells and astrocytes act. To do this, she uses various molecular and cell biology approaches, as well as animal models of MS, ultimately aiming to find new therapeutic options that will stop MS in its tracks.

Dr. Deborah Kurrasch

Dr. Deborah Kurrasch, PhD, is an associate professor and Deputy Head for the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Her research is focused on characterizing the genetic programs that govern fetal brain development and how exposure to gestational challenges (for example, environmental chemicals, maternal stress, etc.) changes these programs, using both mice and zebrafish as model organisms.

Dr. Kurrasch received her PhD in Molecular Pharmacology from Purdue University and conducted two postdoctoral fellowships, one at the University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and one at the University of California – San Francisco. Dr. Kurrasch joined the UCalgary faculty in 2009 and has received various awards for her scholarly work and supervision of graduate students, most recently receiving UCalgary’s Peak Scholars Award for excellence in entrepreneurship, innovation and engagement in 2018.

Dr. Keith Yeates

Dr. Keith Owen Yeates, PhD, is the Ronald and Irene Ward Chair in Pediatric Brain Injury, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts, and is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. He also leads the university’s Integrated Concussion Research Program.

Dr. Yeates is one of the world’s leading scientists studying traumatic brain injury and concussion in childhood. He has a 30 year track record of grant funding for his research, and has published over 245 peer-reviewed journal articles, 40 book chapters, and five edited or co-authored books. He has served as President of the Society of Clinical Neuropsychology of the American Psychological Association, and is currently President of the International Neuropsychological Society.


Jay Ingram

Jay Ingram has hosted two national science programs in Canada, Quirks and Quarks on CBC radio and Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. He has written 16 books, which have been translated into 15 languages, has six honorary degrees, is a member of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. From 2005-2015, he was Chair of the Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre. He is also co-founder and chair of the arts and engineering smashup called Beakerhead, which began in September 2013 in Calgary.


Avnish Mehta, Calgary Public Library Board Member

Avnish believes that libraries are the great equalizer because, as he says, “By their very nature, libraries remove barriers and allow for anyone and everyone to find information of any topic they want to explore. Once you bring the Library into someone's life, it can only get better and better.” Born and raised Calgary, Avnish sees that that our city is becoming the city that so many dreamed it could be. “Right now, we are the most diverse we have ever been. We are the most progressive we have ever been. Our arts sector and scene are the strongest they have ever been. And Calgary Public Library is creating the best library system in the world — the system that Calgarians deserve; a system that will challenge Calgarians to strive even further, as well as support them with the resources that they need to meet those goals. We want a system that is embedded in one's life, so that no matter where a person is at, they can always find value in the Library and the Library can bring value to them. That’s why I’m so committed to bringing the Library into the lives of more and more Calgarians.”