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2021 Annual Scientific Meeting
28-30 April 2021

Our Annual Scientific Meeting's create a forum in which scientists, healthcare professionals, and trainees from clinical, educational, research, policy and industry settings can meet and exchange up-to-date information on pain mechanisms, pain assessment, and pain management. Our events promote core values of professionalism and competency-based education and advocates on behalf of patients with acute and chronic pain.

This year, given the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves, we will be doing things a little differently - below is a taste of what to expect but watch this space for updates and the latest news as we develop our program!

CPS ASM 2021 by the Numbers: 

  • 1 Remarkable Mary Ellen Jeans Keynote - Dr. David Bennett
  • 1 Distinguished Career Lecture - Dr. Gerald Zamponi
  • 1 Early Career Lecture - Dr. Reza Sharif-Naeini
  • 2 Outstanding Plenary Speakers - Dr. Sarah Ross & Dr. Sean Mackey
  • 3 Days of Exceptional Content 
  • 10 Provinces & 3 Territories
  • 20+ Symposia/Workshop Sessions
  • 100+ Posters 
  • Endless opportunities to network, discuss, and ask questions


The College of Family Physicians of Canada

This Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 10.50 Mainpro+ credits.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

“This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of  Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and approved by the Canadian Rheumatology Association. You may claim a maximum of 9.5 hours (credits are automatically calculated).

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Medical Association, physicians may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at www.ama-assn.org/go/internationalcme. Live educational activities recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as Accredited Group Learning Activities (Section 1) are deemed by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) eligible for ECMEC®.”

Patients Included

We are proud that once again our Annual Scientific Meeting is a Patients Included meeting, demonstrating our commitment to incorporating the experience and insight of patients into our events by ensuring that they are neither excluded nor exploited.

Patients Included™ conference charter clauses:

1. Patients or caregivers with experience relevant to the conference’s central theme actively participate in the design and planning of the event, including the selection of themes, topics and speakers.

2. Patients or caregivers with experience of the issues addressed by the event participate in its delivery, and appear in its physical audience.

3. Travel and accommodation expenses for patients or carers participating in the advertised programme are paid in full, in advance. Scholarships are provided by the conference organisers to allow patients or carers affected by the relevant issues to attend as delegates.

4. The disability requirements of participants are accommodated. All applicable sessions, breakouts, ancillary meetings, and other programme elements are open to patient delegates.

5. Access for virtual participants is facilitated, with free streaming video provided online wherever possible.

For more information about Patients Included, click here

Keynote & Plenary Speakers

Mary Ellen Jeans Keynote Lecture

Dr. David Bennett, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology, Head of the Division of Clinical Neurology, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford

David Bennett is Professor of neurology and neurobiology at the University of Oxford and honorary consultant neurologist. His sub-specialty interest is peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain; he administers the neuropathy and pain channelopathy clinic at Oxford University Hospitals. He completed neurology training in London and moved to Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Oxford in 2012 where he is head of the Division of Clinical Neurology. He is currently a senior Wellcome clinical scientist. His research interest is to understand the process of nerve injury and repair and prevent unwanted outcomes such as neuropathic pain. He takes a broad experimental approach to this problem ranging from understanding ion channel biology to clinical trials.

Research Highlights:

  • Genetic basis of inherited painful channelopathies such as familial episodic pain syndrome.
  • Identification of signaling events which lead to neuropathic pain.
  • Improved means of patient stratification.
  • Identification and assessment of new pain therapeutics using clinical trials.

    Basic Science Plenary

    Dr. Sarah Ross, PhD

    Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

    Sarah Ross was born in London ON, and did her undergraduate training at the University of Western Ontario. She received her doctorate in physiology from the University of Michigan, studying the differentiation of fat cells with Ormond MacDougald. As a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, she studied neural specification by transcription factors with Michael Greenberg. Serendipitously, these studies led to the identification of a population of inhibitory neurons in the spinal cord that normally inhibit itch. Since 2011, she has been directing a research program at the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research to study the circuits of itch (and now pain) in more detail. Ross’ lab has consistently been funded through NIH grants and private foundations, including the Rita Allen Foundation, Whitehall Foundation, Fight for Sight, and the American Hearing Research Foundation. She is also passionate about mentoring trainees, for which she has received the Biomedical Graduate Student Association's Distinguished Mentor Award.

    Research Highlights:

    • Neural circuits of itch and pain
    • Generate novel genetic tools to study populations of spinal neurons
    • Perform axon circuit mapping using viruses
    • Elucidate neural coding using optogenetics and electrophysiology

      Clinical Lecture Plenary

      Dr. Sean Mackey, MD, PhD

      Chief, Division of Pain Medicine, Redlich Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

      Sean Mackey is Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and Redlich Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Neurosciences and Neurology at Stanford University. Dr. Mackey received his BSE and MSE in Bioengineering from University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as his M.D. from the University of Arizona.

      Under Dr. Mackey’s leadership, the Stanford Pain Management Center has twice been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Pain Society (APS). As Director of the Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab, his primary research interest involves the use of advanced psychophysical, neurobehavioral and neuroimaging tools to investigate chronic pain.

      Currently, he is developer of a free, open-source learning health system—CHOIR. Dr. Mackey has served as principal investigator for multiple NIH (P01, R01’s, U01, K24, T32, and R21) and foundation sponsored grants to investigate mechanisms of chronic pain.

      Dr. Mackey is author of over 200 journal articles and book chapters in addition to numerous national and international lectures. He is past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Dr. Mackey co-authored the Institute of Medicine’s report, Relieving Pain in America. He was co-chair of the Oversight Committee for the NIH/Health and Human Services National Pain Strategy (NPS), an effort to establish a national health strategy for pain care, education, and research. In the last few years he has received the American Pain Society Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award; the AAPM’s Pain Medicine Fellowship Award, Distinguished Service Award, and Robert G. Addison, MD Award, and NIH Directors’ Award for his efforts on the NPS.

      Research Highlights:

      1. Characterizing central nervous system mechanisms of the human pain experience and its modulation and using this to develop biomarkers
      2. Development and use of an open-source learning healthcare system (CHOIR) to transform the care of people with pain, and serve as a platform for innovative research in real-world clinic patients.
      3. Novel therapies for pain including transcranial magnetic stimulation, virtual reality, psychological and pharmacological therapies.

        2021 Career Award Keynotes

        2021 Distinguished Career Award Keynote

        Gerald W. Zamponi, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS

        Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neuroscience, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

        Dr. Gerald Zamponi is Senior Associate Dean for Research and Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He previously served as the Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. He received his undergraduate training in Engineering Physics from the Johannes Kepler University in Austria, followed by a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary and postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Dr. Zamponi’s research addresses how ion channels and receptors contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain, with the goal of developing strategies to regulate ion channel function for therapeutic intervention. His work also deciphers the functional connectomics of brain circuits that process pain signals. He has published over 300 articles, is an inventor on 12 issued US patents, and has given over 250 invited lectures across the globe. In addition to having been an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Scientist and Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator, he is currently a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neurobiology. He is an elected Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, as was recently elected into the National Academy of Inventors (USA).

        2021 Early Career Award Keynote

        Reza Sharif-Naeini, PhD

        Dr. Sharif Naeini is a neurophysiologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. He received his B.Sc. in Biochemisty from Université de Montréal in 1999, followed by a M.Sc. in Psychiatry and a Ph.D. in Physiology from McGill University in 2007. He continued his postdoctoral studies in Biophysics at Sophia Antipolis in France and in Anatomy & Genetics at UCSF.

        He is the newly appointed Director of the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain (AECRP), the Director of the Strategic Initiative on Neuronal Mapping of the Quebec Pain Research Network, a member of the Pain Scholars Leadership Committee of the Rita Allen Foundation, and Associate Editor for the journal PAIN. He received several awards during his career, including the Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award in Neuroscience and the Early Career Award from the Canadian Pain Society.

        Dr. Sharif leads the pain research laboratory within the Cell Information Systems group, focusing on identifying novel pain sensors, discovering the mechanisms of chronic pain, and translating these lab discoveries into effective therapies for patients. His research is supported by grants from the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as well as several philanthropic foundations.

        Dr. Sharif is a strong advocate for the enhancement of training environment for students, pushing the boundaries of technology development, and promoting knowledge translation to establish stronger roots with the community.

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