The 2018 Gairdner International Symposium - Big Data for Health

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Red & White Club

1833 Crowchild Trail Northwest

McMahon Stadium

Calgary, AB T2M 4S7


View Map

Event description


The 2018 Gairdner International Symposium

Big Data for Health: Expectation. Opportunity. Impact.

An ever-expanding volume of data, the need to link data from disparate sources, and the increasing complexity of research design is radically changing biomedical, clinical and health services, and population health research. “Big data” approaches involve the theory and methodology of data analysis and data science, and sociological understanding and ethical management of these developments must advance synchronously to ensure sound application in medicine and health.

Celebrating advancements in big data and global health, the prestigious 2018 Gairdner International Symposium, hosted by the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, will feature Professor Alan Lopez, recipient of the 2018 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

Featured speakers also include Professor Gina Neff, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, the Oxford Internet Institute & Department of Sociology with Oxford University, and Eyal Oren, Product Manager with Google AI. A series of local speakers will provide furtner insight into these themes.


08:00 – 08:30 | Registration

08:30 – 08:45 | Welcome Remarks

Dr. Gerald Zamponi, PhD, Senior Associate Dean (Research), Canada Research Chair

Dr. Andre G. Buret, PhD, Associate Vice-President (Research)

Dr. Janet Rossant, PhD, President & Scientific Director, Gairdner Foundation

Dr. William Ghali, MD, Scientific Director, O'Brien Institute for Public Health

08:45 – 09:45 | Keynote presentation by Dr. Alan Lopez, PhD, Melbourne Laureate Professor

09:45 – 10:25 | Series of local speakers – part 1

Dr. Tyler Williamson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Dr. Lorian Hardcastle, S.J.D., Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary

Dr. Joon Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Data Science, Departments of Community Health Sciences & Cardiac Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD, Full Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary

10:25 – 10:55 | Break

10:55 – 11:35 | Expert lecture by Dr. Gina Neff, PhD, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, Oxford Internet Institute & Department of Sociology, University of Oxford

11:35 – 12:15 | Series of local speakers – part 2

Dr. Maria Santana, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr. Matthew James, PhD, MD, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale, PhD, Professor, Computer Science, Simon Fraser University

Dr. William Ghali

12:15 - 12:55 | Expert lecture by Dr. Eyal Oren, PhD, Project Manager, Google AI

12:55 – 13:00 | Closing Remarks Dr. William Ghali

13:00 – 14:00 | Networking Lunch & Posters/visual displays

Our Esteemed Speakers

Alan Lopez

Professor Alan Lopez AC PhD FAHMS is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and the Rowden-White Chair of Global Health and Burden of Disease Measurement at The University of Melbourne. He is also Director of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Group at Melbourne, Visiting Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the IHME-Big Data Institute Strategic Partnership at the University of Oxford, and an Affiliate Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington. He held prior appointments as Professor of Medical Statistics and Global Health, and Head of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland and several senior technical and senior managerial posts at the World Health Organization in Geneva including Chief Epidemiologist in WHO’s Tobacco Control Program, Director of WHO’s Epidemiology and Burden of Disease Unit and Senior Science Advisor to the Director-General. More recently, he has led the Bloomberg Data for Health global initiative to improve the registration and certification of births, deaths and causes of death to better inform global and national investments for health development.

Gina Neff

Professor Gina Neff is a Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute and the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford. She studies the future of work in data-rich environments. She is an expert on technological disruption across several different industries including health care, media, and construction. She has published three books and over four dozen research articles on innovation and the impact of digital transformation. Her most recent book, Self-Tracking, co-authored with Dawn Nafus (MIT Press, 2016), focuses on the practices and politics of using consumer technologies to track health and other everyday personal metrics. Her book Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries (MIT Press, 2012) about the rise of internet industries in New York City won the 2013 American Sociological Association Communication and Information Technologies Best Book Award. She leads a new project on Data Diversity that studies the challenges of using artificial intelligence for decision making. Her research on large-scale building architecture and construction examines how new information and communication technologies require new ways of working and the challenges of implementing these changes at an industrial scale.

Eyal Oren is a Product Manager at Google AI, and is part of a team that applies a variety of machine learning techniques to healthcare data, focusing on electronic health records. Before moving to healthcare, Eyal worked on several other Google products, such as optimizing the real-time auction and underlying prediction models for YouTube ads. Prior to joining Google, Eyal was a strategy consultant at McKinsey and an academic with a Ph.D. in Computer Science on large-scale reasoning with web data.


A free shuttle bus between Foothills and McMahon Stadium will be available – departure times & location to be announced.

The Red and White Club parking is located on the East side of the main building – ensure you are not parking in the permitted parking lots. Parking is $4.00 on weekdays before 6 p.m.

Guests who require wheelchair access to the Red & White Club: On the East side of the building (by the loading dock) there are directional signage for accessibility entrance. The elevator is located within the loading dock area of the building.

Share with friends

Date and Time


Red & White Club

1833 Crowchild Trail Northwest

McMahon Stadium

Calgary, AB T2M 4S7


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved