Featured Presenters

Plenary Presentation: Intrauterine Microbes: Missing or the Missing Link?

Tamar Gur

MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Health, Neuroscience, Obstetrics & Gynecology; Associate Director, Medical Scientist Training Program, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Dr. Gur received both her medical degree and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on neurogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Julie Blendy. She completed her residency training in Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she honed her research interests in women’s mental health. Her clinical work at Ohio State focuses on perinatal and postnatal depression and anxiety, which dovetails with her research interest on the effect of maternal mental illness and its treatment on the developing organism. She uses a variety of techniques to investigate the transgenerational transmission of mental illness, including rodent models and translational techniques.


Plenary Presentation: The Genetics of FASD: Accelerating Research Advances

Tatiana Foroud

PhD, Professor, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Tatiana Foroud, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) in Indianapolis, IN.  She has over 20 years of experience conducting genetic research. Dr. Foroud is a founding member of the Collaborative Initiative on FASD, a multinational, interdisciplinary research team, and has been a leader in the field of FASD research for more than 15 years.


Plenary Presentation: Synergistic Effects of Cannabinoids and Alcohol

Scott Parnell

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

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.


Plenary Presentation: Alterations in the Gut Microbiota Following PAE: Early Evidence from an Animal Model

Tamara Bodnar

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Tamara Bodnar is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia, supervised by Dr. Joanne Weinberg. Her research examines the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on immune function across development in both humans and animal models. The overall goal of her research is to identify both immune-related biomarkers and targets for possible immune-based interventions for individuals with FASD.


Plenary Presentation: Criminal Culpability through the Lens of FASD

Karen Steele

JD, Attorney at Law, Karen A. Steele, Esquire, Salem, OR, USA

Karen A. Steele, JD is a sole practitioner in the law with a BA from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in Journalism and Political Science, and a JD from Washington University in St. Louis. Her practice focuses on neurodevelopmental and other specialized issues in capital and non-capital cases, in trials, appeals and post-judgment challenges. Her interests include the relevance and treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions including FASDs in justice settings; ethical and practice standards in investigating, integrating and presenting neuroscientific information to address fact-finder concerns; and the importance of forward-thinking mitigation in defense preparation.


Plenary Presentation: Global Action on FASD Prevention Research, Policy and Practice

Nancy Poole

PhD, Director, Centre of Excellence For Women’s Health; Prevention Lead, CanFASD Research Network, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Nancy Poole, PhD, is the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, and the Prevention Lead for CanFASD Research Network. Nancy leads knowledge translation, network development, and research related to improving health policy and service provision for girls and women facing a range of health and social concerns, advancing trauma informed and gender transformative approaches, and incorporating strengths based and Indigenous wellness approaches in all research, practice and policy initiatives.

Leana Olivier

PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR), Cape Town, South Africa

Leana Olivier is the CEO of FARR and a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Jaco Louw, a Research Psychologist and Project Manager at FARR. He is currently doing his PhD in Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch. Lian-Marie Drotsky is an Occupational Therapist and Project Manager at FARR. She is busy with her Masters Degree at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Denis Viljoen, Human Geneticist and FASD Clinician, is also the Chairperson of FARR. He is an Emeritus Professor at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is also a former recipient of the Canadian Starfish Award.

James Fitzpatrick

MBBS, FRACP, BSc, PhD, NMHRC Career Development Fellow, McCusker Fellow in Aboriginal Child Health; National Health and Medical Research Council FASD Research Australia Centre of Research Excellence, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia 

Professor James Fitzpatrick is a paediatrician and researcher at the University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute, whose work includes determining the prevalence of FASD in remote Aboriginal communities, establishing a national ‘Making FASD History’ Prevention Program and founding the Australian and New Zealand FASD Clinical Network. He established PATCHES Paediatrics, a national diagnostic and therapy service in Australia, to translate research into the lives of those living with FASD.

Sylvia Roozen

Sylvia Roozen, PhD, FASD Researcher, Governor Kremers Centre-Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Sylvia Roozen is a researcher of the Governor Kremers Centre (GKC), Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) the Netherlands. Here she leads the multidisciplinary FASD working group for prevention and clinical management of FASD including the disciplines of intellectual disability, applied psychology, gynaecology and obstetrics, and law and philosophy. She coordinates an international preventive management FASD consortium in close collaboration with the European Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Alliance (EUFASD). Her work is aimed at improving health promoting programs with special emphasizes for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). She addresses FASD-related research topics such as: FASD prevalence rates, frameworks for systematic interventions, psycho-social determinants of drinking behaviors, etiology and pathogenesis, and stigma related challenges. For the Dutch government she wrote the FASD knowledge synthesis (together with prof. dr. Gerjo Kok and prof. dr. Leopold Curfs).


Plenary Presentation: The Golden Tie – Understanding and Supporting Healthy Sleep in FASD

Ana Hanlon-Dearman

MD, MSc, FRCPC, FAAP, Medical Director, Manitoba FASD Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Dr. Hanlon-Dearman is a developmental pediatrician and the Medical Director of the Manitoba FASD Centre and the Child Development Clinic at Specialized Services for Children and Youth in Winnipeg Manitoba. She is a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba and is the Section Head of Developmental Pediatrics. She is a Diagnostic Co-Lead with CanFASD and is involved in FASD research nationally. She has consulted internationally in FASD diagnosis.