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Mary Ellen Jeans Keynote lecture


A podcast of an interview with Professor Maria Fitzgerald where she talks about her early career

"Being Brave and Asking Questions" can be found here.


Prof. Maria Fitzgerald

Maria Fitzgerald studies the developmental physiology and neurobiology of pain circuits in the brain and spinal cord.  Her work has had a major impact on our understanding of how pain perception emerges in childhood and how early pain experience can shape pain sensitivity for life.   Maria studied Physiological Sciences at Oxford University and trained in pain physiology and neuroscience with Patrick Wall FRS at UCL, who taught her to love science and to never be afraid of asking questions.  She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Anaesthetists (Faculty of Pain Medicine) in 2013, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.  She was awarded Honorary Membership of British Pain Society and of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) in 2018 and the Feldburg prize 2021.  Her research has shown that while basic nociception is functional at birth, the systems in the spinal cord and brain that determine pain perception central pain control develop later in childhood and are vulnerable to stress and trauma in early life.   She has changed clinical perception by showing that pain in children requires appropriate measurement and treatment which should be tailored to the developmental stage of the child.   Maria is currently Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at University College London.

Plenary Lectures


Prof. Allan Basbaum

Allan Basbaum completed undergraduate studies at McGill University in Montreal, where he began his pain research studies with Ronald Melzack, his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and postdoctoral research at University College London, with Patrick Wall. Presently, he is professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. His research focuses on peripheral and central nervous system mechanisms that process pain and itch messages, including the molecular mechanisms that contribute to chronic pain after tissue or nerve injury. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of PAIN, the journal of the IASP, treasurer of the IASP, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and is a fellow of the Royal Society in the United Kingdom. He is presently a member of NINDS Council and the HEAL Initiative panel.



Prof. Nanna Brix Finnerup

Nanna Brix Finnerup, MD, DrMedSc, is Professor and head of the Danish Pain Research Center, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Dr. Finnerup has authored >200 peer-reviewed papers. Her main research interest is the pathophysiology and therapy of neuropathic pain. Current research areas include painful chemotherapy and diabetic polyneuropathy, postsurgical neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury pain, cerebral palsy, thermal sensory integration, neurophysiological and molecular assessment of pain mechanisms, neuropharmacology, stratified clinical trials, and systematic reviews. Dr. Finnerup is section editor of the journal Pain and past-chair of NeuPSIG, the neuropathic pain SIG of IASP and past president of the Scandinavian Association for the Study of pain (SASP). She has been member of the IASP task forces on Cannabinoids, Classification of Pain Diseases, and Definition of Pain.

 Distinguished career award Keynote lecture


Dr. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos

Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, Ph.D., FCAHS, is the Research Chair in Aging and Health and Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Regina. With a primary focus on pain in dementia, his work has emphasized development/validation of observational pain assessment approaches, widely cited clinical consensus guidelines, knowledge translation (e.g., resources for patients, web-based training for clinicians), pain self-management, biopsychosocial model development, policy studies and development of advanced technologies to facilitate pain assessment in older adults. Professor Hadjistavropoulos has been funded through a succession of grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and AGE WELL Network of Centres of Excellence.  He has published close to 250 peer reviewed articles and book chapters as well as 7 books. He is Editor-in-Chief of Ethics & Behavior.

 early career award Keynote lecture


Dr. Katie Birnie

Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Birnie, PhD, RPsych, is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary where she leads the Partnering For Pain program. She is the Associate Scientific Director of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a national knowledge mobilization network working to improve evidence-based children’s pain management through coordination and collaboration. Dr. Birnie joined Alberta Children’s Hospital as a medical psychologist in 2018, where she continues to provide clinical care through the Vi Riddell Children’s Pain and Rehabilitation Program.

Dr. Birnie is a recognized leader in pain research and patient partnership, for which she has received national and international accolades. She was the recipient of the 2020 Pain Awareness Award from the Canadian Pain Society and was selected as a 2020-2021 MAYDAY Fellow, a prestigious fellowship focused on communications and advocacy for improved pain care. Dr. Birnie’s Partnering For Pain research program engages strong partnerships with youth, families, healthcare professionals, decision-makers, and community organizations to improve the assessment and management of pain in children. She has published more than 65 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds research funds from the Canadian Pain Society, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit, and the Chronic Pain Network.

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