Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

MS Connect '18

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  • Conferences
  • Education & Information
  • Peer Support

Join us in Calgary for MS Connect '18, the MS Society of Canada, Alberta & Northwest Territories Division's annual conference, on September 21 & 22, 2018!

MS Connect ’18 is a conference that brings together people experiencing MS, health professionals and researchers from across Alberta and the Northwest Territories to discuss and learn about the latest MS research and symptom management developments. The conference features presentations from leading MS researchers, posters from up and coming researchers in the MS world, opportunities to engage with experts to aid in your MS journey, vendors and more.

For more details on MS Connect ‘18, please click on the tabs below. We hope to see you in Calgary on September 21 & 22, 2018 for MS Connect '18!


Speaker Bios

Dr. Jiwon Oh

State of the science in progressive MS: Highlights of National and International efforts

Dr. Jiwon Oh is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Oh is a staff neurologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and specializes in the care of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Concurrently, she holds appointments as a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and as a part-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Oh’s research focuses on developing advanced MRI techniques in the spinal cord and brain for use in clinical settings. She leads the MRI research program at St. Michael’s Hospital and is the principal investigator (PI) on a number of local and collaborative, multi-center MRI studies. Dr. Oh has led the establishment of an MS clinic registry at St. Michael’s Hospital which has, to date, captured data from 4000 of the 7000 patients followed yearly and will soon contribute to international registries such as MSBase.

Dr. Oh is also the Secretary and one of the founding Steering Committee members of the North American Imaging in MS Cooperative (NAIMS) - representing a multi-national, collaborative MRI research endeavor in MS. Over the last four years, NAIMS has grown from seven to 27 independent sites and has multiple active multi-center research projects with many more at various stages of development and implementation. Finally, she is leading the Canadian National Progression Cohort, which will be a prospective cohort study that will be designed to better understand progression in MS.

Dr. Pamela Valentine

Welcome and moving forward together

A trained research scientist, Dr. Pamela Valentine comes to the MS Society from Alberta Innovates where she spent over a decade and a half leading innovation and change. Her leadership at Alberta Innovates included significantly growing the health research portfolio and strengthening integration of research and health systems to maximize impact for patients and providers. She also led the establishment of a new Alberta Innovates organization that consolidated four corporations across the health, energy, agriculture and forestry sectors. Pam started her career as a faculty member at the University of Calgary at Hotchkiss Brain Institute and then moved to Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, where she held a number of leadership roles.

Pam believes strongly in collaboration and building robust relationships - and has had a career of working with various stakeholders including from government, the private sector and clinical networks. Collaborating with the board, she will lead a new strategic undertaking that will ensure the MS Society remains a strong national, bilingual organization that delivers exceptional community-based programs focused on enhancing the quality of life of Canadians living with MS.

Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Pam is a published researcher and has been awarded the Canadian Psychological Association of Excellence and the Neuroscience Canada Foundation Award. Pam believes in achieving impact in the health domain - a passion she developed as a basic scientist with a strong desire to facilitate the linkage between basic research and clinical care. Pam is motivated and excited by the ability to touch people affected by MS and their families in a more tangible way.

Dr. Marcus Koch

A new kind of trial to find treatments for progressive MS

Dr. Marcus Koch is an MS neurologist at the Calgary MS Clinic (Foothills Medical Centre) and a researcher at the University of Calgary. He attended medical school in Freiburg and Luebeck in Germany and, after graduating, trained in neurology in Groningen, The Netherlands. During his residency training, he performed research on the epidemiology of progressive MS and earned a PhD for this research in 2009. He also did a research fellowship at the University of British Columbia focused on epidemiological research. Since 2011, he has been working in Calgary, where he treats patients with all forms of MS. His main research focus is progressive MS, especially clinical trials of generic drugs in progressive MS.

Dr. Jodie Burton

A new approach to an old question – Is vitamin D beneficial in established MS

Dr. Jodie Burton obtained her BSc in the Life Sciences in 1996 and her MD in 2000 at the University of Toronto. She then undertook a Neurology residency at the University of Toronto, which she completed in 2005. She spent the next two years in a Multiple Sclerosis fellowship with Dr. Paul O'Connor (from 2005 - 2007), and obtained her MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from 2006 - 2008 (both at the University of Toronto). She was on staff at the University of Toronto at the MS clinic from 2007 - 2009, until she joined the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the MS Program, as well as the Department of Community Health Sciences, at the University of Calgary. Dr. Burton is currently an Associate Professor and a full member of the MS Research Program with the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

For over 13 years, Dr. Burton's research has focused on the role of vitamin D in MS disease activity and neuroprotection, with ongoing studies and trials in this area. She is currently a principal investigator of the A Phase II Trial of High-Dose Vitamin D Induction in Optic Neuritis, which is based out of Calgary, Alberta

She has also developed escalation protocols for aggressive MS and Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD), and is the co-director of the Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Program for Multiple Sclerosis at the University of Calgary, as well as the co-lead of Provincial Clinical Knowledge Initiative for NMOSD.

She also participates in the Evidence Based Medicine educational program for neurology residents and supervises students in a variety of research settings.

Dr. Katherine Knox

Web-based physiotherapy for people with multiple sclerosis

Dr. Katherine Knox is an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her clinical practice includes neuro- rehabilitation services, with a special interest in multiple sclerosis. She obtained her fellowship training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Saskatchewan (2006), and her Doctor of Medicine and Kinesiology degrees at McMaster University. She is a primary investigator with the Cameco MS Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Saskatchewan. Her clinical research focuses on gait, exercise behavior, long term outcomes and quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Jens Walter

The gut microbiota and multiple sclerosis

Jens Walter is an Associate Professor and Campus Alberta Innovation Program Chair for Nutrition, Microbes, and Gastrointestinal Health at the University of Alberta. After receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Hohenheim in Germany, he performed postdoctoral research into genetic and metagenomic approaches to study gut microbial ecology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. In 2006, Dr. Walter accepted a tenure track position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to work as a Molecular Microbial Ecologist. He received tenure in 2012 before moving to the University of Alberta, Canada, in 2014. Dr. Walter’s research focuses on the investigation of ecological and evolutionary processes that shape host–microbial symbioses in the human gut, and the application of these scientific concepts to develop microbiome-targeted nutritional and therapeutic strategies to improve human health. To achieve his goals, Dr. Walter employs a combination of gnotobiotic animal models and human intervention trials, both informed through the use of comparative genomics, phylogenomics, metagenomics and other molecular tools to study gut ecosystems and their bacterial members. In total, Dr. Walter has published 92 peer reviewed publications, several of which made it into the ‘research highlights’ of leading journals and/or received commentaries.

Young Minds of MS Research

Young Minds of MS Research is a chance for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and new researchers to share their multiple sclerosis (MS) research, which is taking place through the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge. Individuals have the opportunity to learn about promising research from up and coming MS researchers, who in turn have the opportunity to share what their research means for MS today, as well as what it may mean tomorrow.

For MS Connect ’18, Young Minds of MS Research will consist of both a poster session and oral presentations.

Poster Session

15 up and coming researchers will be invited to present their research at MS Connect ’18 in poster format. The poster session runs from 12:30 – 1:30 PM on Saturday, September 22 with the researchers available to answer questions. Posters can be viewed throughout the entire conference.

Oral Presentations

Out of the 15 researchers invited to present their research via posters, three are invited to give 15-minute presentations at MS Connect ‘18.

We encourage you to stop by, learn, connect and speak with these researchers! The audience's feedback contributes to the selection of winners for the best poster and oral presentation at MS Connect ‘18. Each winner receives a small award to support their continued MS research.

Please stay tuned for more details about the Young Minds of MS Research who will be at MS Connect ‘18.

Young Minds of MS Research is made possible through collaboration and partnership between the Alberta MS Network and the MS Society of Canada, Alberta and Northwest Territories Division.

Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert offers conference participants the opportunity to meet, one on one, with experts in a variety of fields. Interested participants are invited to sign up for 20-minute appointments, with an expert of their choice, during which they can ask questions and receive information and resources related to the expert’s field of practice.

Ask the Expert runs from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Saturday, September 22. Participants can sign up for appointments at 8:30 AM on Saturday, September 22. To ensure that all conference participants have equal opportunities to sign up and meet with experts, early sign up is not available.

A list of available experts and their bios will be available by Monday, July 30.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the information provided in this session does not represent the opinion of the MS Society of Canada and is not intended as medical advice. For specific advice and opinion, always consult a physician. Experts or the MS Society cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations. The information is intended for general information purposes only, and does not constitute medical, legal, accounting or tax advice or opinions on any specific matters. Persons requiring diagnosis or treatment or with questions specific to a single individual are urged to contact their local health care provider, accountant or lawyer for appropriate advice and care. Laws and regulations change frequently, and their application can vary widely based on facts and circumstances involved. The Multiple Sclerosis Society and experts are not responsible for the applicability of advice or treatment and accuracy of information as it relates to your specific situation.

Vendor Fair

MS Connect '18 features a Vendor Fair on Saturday, September 22 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. A variety of vendors will provide displays and have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and equipment that are all geared towards supporting you along your MS journey. We invite you to check out the vendors and see what they have to offer!

A list of available vendors will be available by Monday, July 30.

If you are interested in being a vendor at MS Connect ‘18, please contact


To register for MS Connect ’18, please click the link below. The link will take you to the MS Connect '18 event page on Eventbrite - the official MS Connect conference registration platform. Please note that the ticket price includes conference registration and parking at Mount Royal University on Friday, September 21 in the evening and all day on Saturday, September 22.

To register, please click HERE.

Early Registration Opens – Monday, May 7, 2018

Early Registration Ends – Friday, August 10, 2018

Online Registration Ends – Monday, September 17, 2018

MS Connect ’18 Subsidy

To support individuals living with multiple sclerosis who would like to attend the conference but would be unable to due to financial constraints, the MS Society of Canada, Alberta & NWT Division is happy to offer an MS Connect ‘18 Conference Subsidy. Subsidy applications will be accepted for review until Friday, August 10. Successful applicants will be notified within 2-3 weeks of the MS Society receiving their complete application. For further details about the subsidy and to apply, please click on the link below.

Subsidy Application


Conference Hotel Information

MS Connect ’18 has partnered with a local hotel close to the venue to provide an accommodation option for conference attendees travelling from out of town.

Grey Eagle Casino and Resort

Located on the beautiful Tsuu T’ina First Nation, nestled on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains and at the convenient location of 37 Street & Glenmore Trail S.W., the Grey Eagle has a number of accessible rooms and offers shuttle services to and from Mount Royal University (MRU) - site of MS Connect ’18. When booking your room, please mention that you are attending MS Connect ’18.

Address: 3777 Grey Eagle Drive

Toll Free: 1.844.719.8777

Hotel Main Line: 403.719.8883

Reservations: 403.719.8777


Directions to Hotel


  • South on Deerfoot Trail
  • Head west onto Glenmore Trail
  • Head south on 37 Street SW


  • East on the #1 Highway (16 Avenue)
  • Head south onto Sarcee Trail
  • Head south on 37 Street SW


  • North on Deerfoot Trail
  • Take the west exit onto Glenmore Trail
  • Head south on 37 Street SW


  • North on Deerfoot Trail
  • Take the west exit onto Glenmore Trail
  • Head south on 37 Street SW

Maps & Driving Directions

MS Connect '18 is taking place at Ross Glen Hall in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning (EC Building), located on Mount Royal Circle (near the East Gate), which can be reached via Crowchild Trail SW to 50 Avenue SW. For driving directions, please visit Google Maps.

The street address is 4825 Mt Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB, T3E 7N5. MS Society volunteers will be located around the hall and roadway to help direct you to the venue and parking.

Parking Information

Parking is available for conference attendees and the fee for parking is built into the conference registration fee. The parking lots available at MRU for MS Connect '18 are Lot 8 and the East Gate Parkade (both located next to the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning). For more information about parking, please visit the Parking & Transportation website.

Please note that vehicles without permits that are parked in permit spaces may be ticketed. Further parking details will be provided closer to the conference dates, along with information about displaying parking permits within vehicles.

Calgary Information

The City of Calgary is full of attractions for visitors of all ages. At your convenience, we encourage you to spend extra days checking out the below activities.

Calaway Park

Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park

East Village

Grey Eagle Resort and Casino

Heritage Park Historical Village


Kensington Village

17th Ave Retail and Entertainment District


Looking to stay informed about the latest MS Connect ’18 conference updates? The MS Society of Canada, Alberta & Northwest Territories Division invites you to subscribe our e-newsletter, MS Connect – AB & NWT News. This e-newsletter provides our members, stakeholders and the MS community with information about upcoming events, including the conference, research advancements and stories from across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Sign up here.

We are indebted to our sponsors for their generous support of the conference. Without this support, in monetary and product in kind, the conference would simply not be possible.

MS Connect ’18 is sponsored by unrestricted educational grants. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is an independent, voluntary health agency and does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions.