MS Connect

Speaker Biographies



Information Session: Cancer, Depression, and Anxiety Disorders in MS
Time: Wednesday, April 28 at 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. PT

Speaker: Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie

Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie is a Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her medical degree from Dalhousie University, both with Distinction. She completed neurology training at McGill University. This was followed by a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic, supported by a Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowship Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Subsequently, she obtained a PhD in Epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. Presently, she holds the Waugh Family Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and serves as the Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee for the MS Society of Canada. Her research aims to understand the influence of comorbid diseases on a range of multiple sclerosis (MS)-related health outcomes. Other areas of research interest include etiologic factors for MS, patient-reported outcomes, and pediatric MS.

Information Session: Novel Technologies to Identify Biomarkers of MS Disease Trajectories
Time: 5-6 p.m. ET / 2-3 p.m. PT

Speaker: Dr. Alexandre Prat

Dr. Alexandre Prat obtained his undergraduate degree (B.Sc.) in biochemistry from Université de Montréal in 1990 and an MD-MSc in 1995. He completed his Neurology residency training at McGill University (Montreal Neurological Institute) in 2003, after having completed a Ph.D. degree (2000) in the laboratory of Dr Jack P. Antel. His PhD work focused on the development of the human Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). Dr Prat is an active member of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada (Neurology) since 2003. In 2000, he received the S. Weir Mitchell Award of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr Prat is a staff neurologist at the CHUM (Montréal) and is a Professor of Neurosciences at Université de Montréal. Dr Prat held the Donald Paty Research Chair of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and was a senior Scholar of the FRQ-S (2012-2016). He now holds the Senior Canada Research Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and was inducted at the College of researcher of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015. The current research interests of the Prat lab include the immunological roles of the BBB, the mechanisms of monocytes and lymphocyte migration across the BBB and the physiological regulation of the BBB functions by glial cells.

Information Session: MS in Immigrants: Effect of the Canadian Environment on the Risk of Developing MS
Time: 10:30-11:30 a.m. ET / 7:30-8:30 a.m. PT

Speaker: Dr. Dalia Rotstein

Dr. Dalia Rotstein is a neurologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. She works at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto where her focus is on treating multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases. Her research investigates risk factors for developing multiple sclerosis and for MS disease course. She is also interested in the study of early outcome measures for MS therapies including No Evidence of Disease Activity or NEDA. She is a founder and advisor of the NIRVE neurology education program, which connects neurology residents across five continents for regular interactive educational sessions.

Exercise Session: Adapted Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Time: 4-5 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT

Speaker: Amy Gostola, Kinesiologist

Amy Gostola graduated with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan and works at CBI Health Centre in Lloydminster, Alberta.

Panel Discussion: Living Well with MS: Ask the Experts
Time: 6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT

Speaker: Margot Catizzone

Margot Catizzone is a physiotherapist at UHN Toronto Rehab, supporting their community-based exercise program, TIME, as Practice Lead. Over the past 12 years, Margot has worked with individuals with neurological conditions in a multitude of settings, from the community to inpatient and outpatient rehab, and private practice. Her passion is in increasing community capacity for inclusive physical activity, in order to help individuals living with chronic mobility impairments live healthy & active lives.

Speaker: Tiffany LaFleur

Tiffany LaFleur is a Registered Dietitian working with Alberta Health Services since 2006. Tiffany has established the dietitian’s role at the Calgary MS Clinic at South Health Campus since its founding in 2012. Using a client-centered approach, Tiffany is passionate about supporting people living with MS in optimizing their health through nutrition.

Speaker: Michelle Srdanovic

Michelle Srdanovic has a Master of Arts Degree in Counselling Psychology (2008) and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who specializes in treating trauma and anxiety. For the last 15 years, she has divided her time between teaching as part-time faculty in the Health Sciences Department at BCIT, and providing therapy to children, couples, and families in her private practice in New Westminster. She is also the proud parent of a 15-year-old daughter, and a person living with MS since 2013.