Featured Presenters


Pre-conference: Let’s Talk: Evidence, Experience and the Wisdom In the Room

Scott Parnell

PhD, Assistant Professor, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

The Synergistic Effects of Cannabinoids and Alcohol on Birth Defects in Mice and Zebrafish

Dr. Parnell received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University. He stayed at Texas A&M to complete his Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. James West. He then went on to a post-doctoral fellowhip at the University of North Carolina in the laboratory of Dr. Kathy Sulik. Following his post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Parnell took a faculty position at UNC where his laboratory continues to study the mechanisms and genetic susceptibilities underlying the effects of prenatal drug exposure.

Main Conference

Sara Jo Nixon

PhD, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology; Co-Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Co-Director, Center for Addiction Research and Education; Co-Director, NIDA T32; Chief, Division of Addiction Research; Director, Neurocognitive Laboratory; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Understanding How “Executive Function” IS “Everyday Function”

Dr. Sara Jo Nixon is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida where she also serves as a Co-Vice Chair (Research) and Chief, Division of Addiction Research. She and her team have long history of conducting programmatic clinical research regarding the neurobehavioral and psychosocial concomitants of substance use/misuse using methods ranging from individual and group interviews to neurocognitive tests to neuroimaging methods. She and her team have a continuing interest in individual differences including family history, race/ethnicity, age, sex/gender, and comorbid conditions. Much of her work is directed to understanding the component processes underlying higher cognitive or executive function/processes and encouraging study of functional efficiency rather than limiting study to clinical impairment. Dr. Nixon is widely published and has received funding from a host of federal, state and private foundations including substantive current funding from the NIAAA and NIDA. Dr. Nixon is a past-president of the Research Society on Alcoholism as well as the Society of Addiction Psychologists (APA Div. 50). She is Chair of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Scientific Affairs and serves on several additional scientific advisory boards including the Collaborative Initiative for FASD.

Will Diagnostic Systems for FASD in Children Work in Adults?

Jonathan Down

MB, BS, MHSc, DCH, FRCPC, Developmental Paediatrician, Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, Victoria, BC, Canada

Dr. Jonathan Down is the Developmental Paediatrician for Island Health Authority based in Victoria, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, UBC. He graduated from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, University of London. After several years in general paediatrics, sub-specialty training was completed at BC Children’s Hospital. Special interests include children, adolescents and recently adults with a history of prenatal alcohol exposure and other risk factors. He is President of Whitecrow Village FASD Society.

DOHAD: Metabolic Symposium – Updates in Animal and Human Research

Karen Moritz

PhD, Professor, Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences and Child Health Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Metabolic Disease in Adulthood: Evidence From Animal Models

Professor Karen Moritz is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Child Health Research Centre at the University of Queensland. The aim of her work is to understand how prenatal perturbations contribute to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular, renal and metabolic disease in adulthood. Over the last 5-7 years, her research has focused on determining how prenatal alcohol can result in “developmental programming” of adult disease. Her research has identified critical windows of susceptibility to alcohol including the period prior to implantation. In addition, her work has identified the placenta as playing a key role in the sex specific outcomes seen following maternal perturbations

Jeff Wozniak

PhD, Associate Professor, Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Research Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Associations Between Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, Behavior, Diet, and Obesity

Dr. Wozniak is an Associate Professor, a Pediatric Neuropsychologist, and the director of the University of Minnesota’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders research program. He works clinically with children and adolescents with a range of neurodevelopmental disorders. For the past 12 years, he has conducted research on FASD including MRI studies examining the neural correlates of FASD as well as treatment trials testing nutritional and neuromodulation interventions in FASD. Dr. Wozniak also oversees one of the clinical sites in the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD).

Olivia Weeks

PhD Candidate, Developmental and Regenerative Biology Program, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA; Goessling Laboratory, Department of Genetics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

FASD in Adulthood: Insights on Metabolic Syndrome Risk from Zebrafish Models

Olivia is a graduate student in Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard Medical School. She received her B.A. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 2013 after completing a senior thesis on alligator tooth development in the laboratory of Dr. Arkhat Abzhanov. In 2014, she joined Dr. Wolfram Goessling group where she studies liver development and the impact of fetal alcohol exposure on chronic adult disease.

Community Based Research Starts with the Community: On Effective and Ethical Practices for “Patient-Oriented” and Collaborative Research with Families and Individuals with FASD

Dorothy Reid

MA, Co-chair, Family Advisory Committee, CanFASD Research Network, Abbotsford, BC, Canada

Dorothy Reid is the owner of Reid Wellness Consulting, and is also the Co-Chair for the Family Advisory Committee with CanFASD. Dorothy worked in mental health service development and delivery in the Correctional System. She has professional experience working with individuals with FASD and other mental health concerns. After obtaining an FASD diagnosis for their two sons, Dorothy and her husband have been involved in developing support groups for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities.

Lisa Brownstone

BScOT, MSc, Parent, Community Health and Epidemiology; Board Member, CanFASD Research Network, Regina, SK, Canada

Lisa Brownstone is a retired Occupational Therapist with a Master’s degree in Community Health and Epidemiology. She has a long history working with people with FASD. She is a parent and caregiver to family members with FASD. She has been involved in assessments and interventions for people with concurrent disorders including FASD, intellectual disability, childhood trauma and mental health illnesses. She has also authored studies, developed and evaluated mentoring and support programs focused on FASD.

Michelle Stewart

PhD, Associate Professor, Justice Studies, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada

Dr. Michelle Stewart is an Associate Professor of Justice Studies at the University of Regina. Her work focuses on FASD and social justice. Michelle is the Strategic Research Lead for Justice Interventions with Canada FASD Research Network. She is involved in a number of patient-oriented and community-based research projects and mentored faculty members and students about different approaches and methods for community-engagement. She is an applied social scientist with projects in Canada, N. Ireland and Australia.

Niall Schofield

Research Team Member, Public Speaker with Lived Experience, Martensville, SK, Canada

Niall has known he lives with FASD his whole life. After years of struggling with his disability, Niall has accepted the fact that he lives on the spectrum and is now taking action to help others. By sharing his personal experiences at conferences and events across Canada. Niall is motivated to empower other individuals living with FASD to find hope and strength within their disability.