Scientific Review Panel

If Branch Out is a brain, these people are like Pre-Frontal Cortex Neurons, deciding which research projects have the best "Return on Impact" for your donations


Ty McKinney, MS

Co- SRP Chair, Research Director

[email protected]


Ty "the NeuroGuy" helps coordinate Branch Out's various research activities, including grant applications, the Scientific Review Panel, NeuroCAM Connect, and Knowledge Translation workshops. While originally an Alberta boy, Ty is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Utah, developing new ways of assessing the psychological benefits of mind-body modalities in the brain. When not actively doing science, you can find Ty cooking weird but tasty food, having a love-hate relationship with learning web development, hiking in the mountains, camping in the desert, or chatting about science for fun. Ty loves talking about neuroscience so much; he even started a brain health blog so that you don't need a degree to learn about neuroCAM.


Catherine Greene, MS

Co-SRP Chair, Neuron Night Commitee

Katie is actively involved with Branch Out's Neuron Night as part of the organizing committee and is the Co-Chair of the SRP. Katie is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary, studying how the first responders of the immune system recognize danger to trigger inflammation. After completing her MSc. in University College Cork Ireland in 2015, Katie made the big move to Calgary to pursue her PhD and fell in love with the mountains.


Connect with Catherine: LinkedIn

Sean Maw, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan

I'm the Huff Chair in Innovative Teaching, in the College of Engineering, at the University of Saskatchewan. I completed my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Alberta, in neuromuscular physiology under the supervision of Richard B. Stein. My thesis was on artificial muscle fibers for advanced prostheses. I've since done work on helmet design in the interests of reducing the incidence of concussions in sports. Lately, my "neuro" interests have focused on the nature of creativity, and how we effectively learn skills and knowledge. Related to the latter point, I am getting more involved in Virtual Reality education software design, and the kinesthetic interfaces for such systems.


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Alison Oates, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Alison studies sensorimotor integration as it relates to balance control. As co-director of the Biomechanics of Balance And Movement (BBAM) Lab in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan, she studies how humans maintain, lose, and improve balance during standing and walking. Her research spans the lifespan from children to older adults and also focuses on neurological conditions with balance impairments including people with a spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.


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Kieran Cooley, ND

Associate Professor, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine


Currently writing up a rad bio


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Lindsay Naef, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Calgary


Currently writing up a rad bio


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Kendra Furber, PhD

Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Saskatchewan


Currently writing up a rad bio


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Katie Birnie, PhD

Psychologist, Alberta Children’s Hospital

Katie is a registered psychologist and has an active research program primarily investigating psychosocial factors and treatment in pediatric acute and chronic pain. Katie's research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) among others, and has been featured in The Globe and Mailand Radio Canada International. As someone who also lives with a chronic health condition herself, Katie is a strong advocate for patient engagement in health research. She actively partners with patients and their families as experts and collaborative members of her research team, and strives to build capacity for greater patient engagement with other health researchers, patients, and families. Katie has worked clinically with children, adolescents, adults, and their families dealing with chronic medical conditions at hospitals across Canada, including the Alberta Children’s Hospital (Calgary, AB), the IWK Health Centre (Halifax, NS), The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, ON), and Toronto General and Toronto Westerns hospitals (Toronto, ON).


Connect with Katie: Google Scholar Citations LinkedIn

Jon Doan, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Lethbridge


Currently writing up a rad bio


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Trevor Hamilton, PhD

Associate Professor, MacEwan University


The Hamilton lab investigates the effects of pharmacological compounds and environmental toxins on the brain and behaviour of fish.


Connect with Trevor: Lab Website Faculty Webpage

Kyle Flannigan, PhD

Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Calgary

Kyle is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Calgary where he studies how the trillions of bacteria living in our guts (intestinal microbiome) influence our health. He is currently interested in how these microbes regulate the metabolism of different commonly used drugs which may influence why certain drugs work better for some people than others. He also studies how these microbes shape the immune responses underlying diseases such a Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.


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EriK Fraunberger, BSc

PhD Candidate, Hotchkiss Brain Institute/Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute/University of Calgary

Erik is currently a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Originally from the small town of Stouffville, Ontario, Erik went on to complete his bachelor degree in Biology & Pharmacology a couple hours down the road at McMaster University. Erik now spends most of his time in the lab with his rats trying to figure out how metabolism can program chronic inflammation in the developing brain following TBI. However, Erik is not just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill lab rat! He also treats research as a holistic enterprise, engaging with the stroke and brain injury community through his efforts with the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured (otherwise known as ARBI) as a weekly volunteer and board member. Erik has also been an active Branchy since arriving in Calgary in 2015, presenting his research at neuron night (winning the knowledge translation competition in 2016) and acting as a BranchOut ambassador to the University of Calgary in 2017.


Connect with Erik: LinkedIn Research Gate ICRP ARBI

Aaron Gruber, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Lethbridge


Currently writing up a rad bio


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Jodi Gawryluk, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Victoria

The Gawryluk lab combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, including functional (fMRI) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DTI), and neuropsychological approaches, to study the brain-behavior relationship in patient populations and healthy controls.


Connect with Jodi: Lab Website

Cameron Clark, PhD



Currently writing up a rad bio


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Like how the Pre-Frontal Cortex Neurons are supported by Glial Cells, the SRP got some extra help from these amazing people in 2019


Jeremy Viczko, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Victoria

Jeremy's academic journey has taken him from Alberta (HnBSc Psych; Dr. C. Dickson) to Ontario (MSc Cog and Behav Neurosci; Drs. A.M. Owen and S. Fogel), to British Columbia (completing a PhD in Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology track; Dr. C. Smart). Jeremy is interested in the basic and applied science of different states of conscious. His previous research focused on the role of sleep in learning, memory, and in cognitive health, but after so many sleepless nights spent awake studying the sleep of research participants (a cruel irony of such work) he has shifted his focus into the fascinating realm of contemplative neuroscience: the neuroscientific study of meditation. Jeremy is interested in the the cognitive, behavioural, and neural changes associated with various meditative practices. He is also interested in how practiced meditation can enhance clinical outcomes, as well as the role of technology in studying and enhancing therapeutic gains thereof. In his spare time, he is involved with scientific advocacy and helping out great organizations like BONF! In his other spare time he enjoys his time outdoors, hiking, camping, kayaking and climbing around beautiful Vancouver Island. Of course if the weather isn't great he is happy to settle for beers and board games.

Connect with Jeremy: Research Gate


Haley Vecchiarelli, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Calgary
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Kathleen Scullion, PhD

Strategic Information Analyst, Interior Health
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MacKenzie Bone, BSc

MSc student, University of Saskatchewan
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Serena Jenkins, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Lethbrdige
Connect with Serena: Research Gate


Bryce Geereart, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Calgary
Connect with Bryce: Lab Website Research Gate


Victorita Ivan, BSc

PhD Candidate, University of Lethbrdige

I am a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at the University of Lethbridge. I am using electrophysiology and imaging methods to study the effects of drugs on decision-making and reward processing in rodent models. I’m also employing alternative methods to try to counteract these effects. In my (scarce) spare time I hang out with my friends and read anything unrelated to science.

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Sara LoTemplio, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Utah

I am a third year Ph.D. student in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Utah. I’m particularly interested in the restorative effects of natural environments on attention; both their cognitive benefits and neurological underpinnings. Additionally, I am interested in attention and cognitive control more broadly, particularly error-processing. I use a variety of behavioral measures as well as EEG in my research. In my spare time, I enjoy playing outside (especially on my skis), gardening, and, though it pains me to admit it, programming in R.

Connect with Sara: Sara's Website


Kristen Silveira, MS

PhD Candidate, University of Victoria
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Corey Arnold, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Calgary
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Avital Sternin, MS

PhD Candidate, Western University of Ontario
Connect with Avital: LinkedIn