President's Message

April 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I am very excited for this year’s annual PNIRS meeting, to be held June 24-27 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The meeting will be held in the newly built Halifax Convention Center which is in the heart of downtown and just 100 steps from the ocean. Additionally, we have arranged accommodations at three hotels offering different pricing options, all conveniently located within a block of the Convention Center. With a backdrop of nearby fishing villages, lighthouses, historic sites, Irish/Celtic style pubs, fresh seafood, and a beautiful seafront, Halifax is one of the most welcoming (and friendliest) cities in Canada!

The theme of this year’s meeting is Diversity in PNI Research. This will be highlighted by our educational short course, entitled Diversity in PNI Related Research, Methods, and Career Paths. The Presidential Symposium will also address Diversity in PNI Research and will feature Dr. Julian Thayer as a key participant. This symposium will focus on diversity issues in PNI research - from study design and data collection through to data analysis and interpretation.

We have made some changes to the program this year to allow for more free time for networking/socialization. Please see the Program-at-a-Glance for the schedule and Meeting Flyer for other details (e.g., 6 symposium titles). To start, most of the committee meetings will occur online prior to the annual meeting. Hence, the educational short course this year will occur on Monday morning and the meeting itself will kick off at 2pm. There will be an opening reception that day (6pm-8pm) held outside in historic Fort George at the Citadel (originally built 1749) that is only a 10-min walk from the convention center. Tuesday after the meeting will feature a Speed Mentoring session followed by a Trainee Mixer. On Wednesday, there will be an optional Harbor Cruise from 3:15-5:15pm (free of charge) followed by free time. The boat holds a large, but limited, number of people so please register early for this event. That evening will be the Early Career Researchers Social (aimed at post-docs through pre-tenure faculty). And, of course, on Thursday evening the meeting will close with a banquet and music. 

This years’ award winners, with associated talks, will include the recipients of the Norman Cousins Award (Dr. Julie Bower), the Robert Ader Award (Dr. Luba Sominsky), and the George Solomon Memorial Lecture Award (Dr. Jennifer Felger). In addition, Dr. Michael Meaney will deliver this year’s Ronald Glaser Frontiers in PNI Lecture – he is a leading expert on early life events and the biological basis of vulnerability for psychopathology.

This year the oral presentations will be held in concurrent sessions - for both symposia and paper sessions. This means that we will be accepting twice the usual number of abstracts for talks, and there will be almost 30 more talks in this year’s program. Having this choice between presentations should increase the breadth of science available at the meeting to attendees. Note that moving between sessions to hear different speakers will be viable, as the Chairs will be asked to stick to a strict schedule.

Please note the abstract deadline is a week away (April 8). When submitting your abstracts please indicate whether you would prefer oral or poster presentation. All abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Affairs Committee and the 36 top-rated submissions will be selected for oral presentation in one of six sessions.

PNIRS offers more than just the Annual Meeting! We also provide online content. This spring, PNIRS Presents featured two insightful talks: Dr. Sarah Spencer discussed "The Long-Term Mental Health Impact of Juvenile SARS-CoV-2: Evidence from a Rodent Model," while Dr. Elaine Hsiao explored "Microbiome Interactions with the Nervous System in Health & Disease." Dr. Carmine Pariante will present the final talk of the spring on April 17th at 11am EDT (4pm GMT), titled “Depression and Inflammation: Time to Rethink Anti-inflammatory Treatment.” Recordings of these talks are accessible at under the member’s section.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Halifax in June! 

Christopher Engeland, PhD
PNIRS President

*** For those attending from outside of Canada, the exchange rate will likely be well in your favor (e.g., today’s USD to CAD conversion = 1.36).

Back To Top