Ron Hill Retirement


Many of you joined us for Ron’s retirement celebration from Neurosurgery at Lot 6 back in June of 2018.  How time flies!  Ron rejoined Neurosurgery in October of that year in a post-retirement part-time position where he worked primarily on special projects with Dr. Weise’s team.   

Ron officially retires again today from Neurosurgery after close to 38 years of biking to the hospital!  For those who do not know, Ron was an employee of Biomed from 1983-2000 after which he began working with Neurosurgery, from 2000-2018…2021!  During his time in Neurosurgery, Ron provided expert technological support, training and mentoring for neuromodulation, deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, image-guidance, medical instrumentation, VR surgical simulation and robotics.  His talents also included graphic design, photography, web design and maintenance and print production – to name a few!  Ron was also always available to provide technical support to the neurosurgeons and assistants.   

Please join me in a fond farewell to Ron; many of us will see him on the bike trail, on a lake kayaking, at home in his workshop or at home making the tastiest of sour dough bread from his secret stash.  We appreciate all that you have done, Ron, to elevate the Division of Neurosurgery’s work and thank you for your unwavering dedication and friendship!  

I also know that, even though this is a post-retirement farewell, I expect that we will see you around the Division helping us out from time to time...    

In the meantime, best wishes and see you on the trails!

Dr. David Clarke and the Division of Neurosurgery

Dalhousie press release features groundbreaking environmental work including Dr. Sean Christie

Media release: National project involving Dalhousie University’s Healthy Populations Institute aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to health care, create low-carbon ‘green’ health system

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 (Halifax, NS) Researchers at Dalhousie University are collaborating with colleagues across the country to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation linked to the health-care system while raising awareness about sustainability through a nationally co-ordinated network that received $6 million in federal funding.

Neurosurgeon and professor, Dr. Sean Christie, and Gillian Ritcey of Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) are partnering with Dr. Fiona Miller of the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in Toronto on the project, titled CASCADES (Creating a Sustainable Canadian Health System in a Climate Crisis). Colleagues at the Planetary Health Care Lab at the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care are also participating in this national approach to curb climate change.

Read full press release here

An effective mentoring relationship in research can inspire and give confidence to the mentee, while providing the mentor with a valued colleague

Dr. Gwynedd Pickett received the inaugural Award for Excellence in Research Mentorship – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine!  This is a newly established award for research mentorship.  All currently-appointed faculty members within the Faculty of Medicine are eligible to be nominated by their current and/or past colleague(s) and/or trainee(s) within the Faculty of Medicine if an equity-deserving group is represented by either a mentee or the mentor.  The award specifically acknowledges excellence in mentoring professional development, mentor/mentee relationships and research.

Dr. Pickett was also one of five nominated for the Program Director of the Year Award.

Congratulations, Dr. Pickett! 

Department of Surgery Research Day

Congratulations to all of the neurosurgical presenters at this year’s Department of Surgery Research Day(s), held virtually on April 7, 8 and 12, 2021.  Well done!  Special accolades to Neurosurgery’s winners: 

Nicholas Blake - Best Presentation by a Medical Student, ”A province wide assessment of the appropriateness of lumbar spine MRI” (Supervisor:  Dr. Sean Christie);

Liam Rappoldt - Best Presentation by a Graduate Student, “Establishing a patient derived, in vitro organotypic slice culture of GBM” (Supervisor:  Dr. Adrienne Weeks);

Dr. Carlos Restrepo - Best Presentation by a Clinical Fellow, “Efficacy of an image-based programming plan in predicting the final stimulation configuration for subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation” (Supervisor:  Dr. Lutz Weise).

Special thanks to Dr. Sean Christie for chairing one of the sessions. 

Congratulations to the award winners of Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day, held on March 10, 2021 via Zoom for Healthcare!

The winners for this year’s event are:

Top Overall Presentation:  Dr. Carlos Restrepo for “Efficacy of an Image-based programming plan in predicting the final stimulation configuration for subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation”.

Top Neurosurgery Presentation:  Dr. Mark MacLean for “A Quantitative Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Instability Classification (DSIC) System to Reduce Variation in Surgical Treatment”.

Top Neurology Presentation:  Dr. Oliver Neal for “In-hospital martality following middle cerebral artery territory ischemic stroke: 25 years of observation on a Canadian stroke unit”.

Top Non-Resident Presentation:  Ryan Greene for “Development of a Frailty Index from the Canadian Spine Outcomes Research Network (CSORN) to Predict Long Term Success of Surgery for Patients with Degenerative Pathologies of the Spine”.

Dr. William D. Stevenson Research Award:  Dr. Mark MacLean for “A Quantitative Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Instability Classification (DSIC) System to Reduce Variation in Surgical Treatment”.

Dr. W.J. Howes Neurosurgery Teaching Award:  Dr. Carlos Restrepo

A special thank you to our Guest Speaker and Judge, Dr. Richard Hall, Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Anesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management at Dalhousie University.  We also wish to thank our Judges, Dr. Robin Urquhart, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, and Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh, Division of Medical Oncology at Dalhousie University.

A Super Awesome Science Show (SASS) - With Dr. Mark MacLean

Dr. Mark MacLean, Resident (PGY3), recently joined a Curious Cast/Global News Podcast episode of the "Super Awesome Science Show" (SASS). Dr. MacLean discussed COVID-19 and the nervous system.  See attached link for the full episode.

COVID-19 and the Brain

Dr. Adrienne Weeks - OR 2021 (2)

Drs. Adrienne Weeks and Sean Barry

A First in Nova Scotia

Drs. Adrienne Weeks and Sean Barry performed surgery to remove a malignant brain tumour last week.  They were guided by a drug called 5-ALA which produces a fluorescent light. It is the first time the drug has been used in brain surgery in Nova Scotia.  See the attached CBC article for more information.

Brain surgery performed in Halifax marks advance in cancer fight


Dr. David Brandman

Congratulations Dr. David Brandman...FRCSC!

Congratulations to Dr. David Brandman who successfully completed his Royal College certification in Neurosurgery.  Dr. Brandman finished neurosurgery residency in 2020, and is currently a stereotactic / functional neurosurgery fellow at Emory University.  Dr. Brandman completed medical school at the University of Calgary and started neurosurgery residency at Dalhousie University in 2010. During residency, he enrolled in the clinical investigator program. He completed a PhD at Brown University in neuroscience, studying brain computer interfaces. Congratulations, David! 


Dr. Katherine Tourigny

Welcome Dr. Katherine Tourigny

We are very happy to have Dr. Katherine Tourigny join our Atlantic Canadian Neurosurgery Residency Program as PGY1!  Katherine completed her undergraduate bachelor in Behavioural Neuroscience and Medical degrees at the University of British Columbia prior to moving from coast to coast to join our team.


Dr. Stephen Lownie

Welcome Dr. Stephen Lownie

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Stephen Lownie to Dalhousie’s Division of Neurosurgery.  Dr. Lownie will practice general cranial neurosurgery with a particular focus on posterior fossa disease.  We are so pleased to have Dr. Lownie and his family in Halifax and to have him join our Neurosurgical Team!


Dr. Stephen Lownie is a neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist with interests in skull base and vascular diseases. He served as Professor in the Departments of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Medical Imaging and Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery at Western University in London, Ontario from 2011 to 2020. He served as Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery from 2000 to 2005, and as Co-Chair / Co-Chief of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences from 2000 to 2010. He currently serves as Past-President of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. In 2020, he was appointed Professor in the Division of Neurosurgery at Dalhousie University.

Dr. Lownie obtained his MD at Dalhousie University followed by postgraduate education in neurosurgery at Western, and diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology fellowships at Western and at UCLA. He served as attending neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist at London Health Sciences Centre from 1992 to 2020. He is the first Canadian and one of the first worldwide trained in both neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology. He has mentored neurosurgeons, radiologists, and neurologists who have gone on to neurovascular careers in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and the Middle East.

Dr. Lownie introduced the first robotic-3D angiography into a neurosurgery O.R. in North America in 2008. He has conducted peer-reviewed grant-supported basic research, garnering the 2016 Lawson Award for Innovation, and in surgical education using large and small animal disease models. He has also partnered with industry in the development and assessment of novel technologies.

First in Canada to use new robot for brain surgery

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Division of Neurosurgery (Department of Surgery) and Medtronic Canada ULC are delighted to announce the first- in-Canada use of Medtronic Stealth AutoGuide ™ robot technology, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

“The Stealth AutoGuide ™ is a major step forward for Neurosurgery,” said Dr. David Clarke, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health Authority. “I am pleased to report that the technology was used for the first time in Canada on a patient last week. That patient has already recovered from the surgery and is moving on to receive further care closer to home.”

Press Release

Chronicle Herald Interview

COVID 19 Update:

To our neurosurgical patients across Atlantic Canada, please know that we are doing our best to provide urgent care to those in need.  We do hope to get back to elective clinics and ORs soon.  Our administrative staff are at the ready to support you during this difficult time.  Please continue to reach out with any questions regarding your care.

To our neurosurgical colleagues across Atlantic Canada, I applaud you for your efforts as we address daily challenges.  Our team continues to come together and thrive in providing care on our in-patient wards and in the operating rooms, in providing leadership in crisis management and in providing ongoing education for our trainees.     

While this pandemic unfolds, we hope that you are faring well while staying productive and keeping you and your families safe.

All the best,

David Clarke and the Division of Neurosurgery


Best Student Presentation

Congratulations to Casey Jones, Dalhousie Medical Student, for winning “Best Student Presentation” at Department of Surgery Research Day on Wednesday, June 3! Casey’s presentation was titled “Impact Detecting Helmets as Indicators of Concussion and Traumatic Microvascular Injury in University Football Players”. His research is supervised by Drs. David Clarke and Alon Friedman; co-investigators include Lorelei Audas, Nelofar Kureshi, Lyna Kamintsky, Lynne Fenerty and Dr. Christina Atkinson.

Congratulations to Mark MacLean, PGY2 Neurosurgery Resident

Mark MacLean received the K.G. McKenzie Memorial Prize for Clinical Neuroscience Research – the top research prize in Canada for a neurosurgery resident – from the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation / Canadian Neurosurgical Society. Dr. MacLean’s research, supervised by Drs. Sean Christie and Gwynedd Pickett, examines potential gender biases in accessing spinal surgery, including pre-operative utilization of healthcare resources. Please see more on Dr. MacLean’s award at the following link.

Link to article

mark maclean

Dr. Mark MacLean


Dr. Ayoub Dakson

This is the second year in a row that a resident in Neurosurgery from Dalhousie University has won this national award. In 2019, Dr. Ayoub Dakson, supervised by Dr. Sean Christie, also won the K.G. McKenzie Memorial Prize for Clinical Research, 2nd Prize, for his research, "a nation-wide prospective multi-centre study of external ventricular drainage accuracy, safety and related complications”.


Dr. Daniel McNeely’s excellent work is highlighted on CTV

See the attached clip from CTV Live at Five on Friday, April 3.  Please note: Dr. McNeely is a neurosurgeon, rather than a neurologist as mentioned in the clip’s dialogue.    


Sharing Good News!

The Department of Surgery edition of “The Update”, Winter 2020, highlights members of our neurosurgical team:

Picket Family

Dr. Gwynedd Pickett and family

Faculty Spotlight:  “Wonder Woman, striking that fine balance” - Dr. Gwynedd Pickett is a meticulous and excellent cerebrovascular surgeon and Director, dedicated teacher, mother and wife, choral singer, knitter, Scout Leader… We are proud to share the attached article.


Dr. Sean Christie

Congratulations to Dr. Christie who was named the Chair of the Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Research Council for the 20-21 academic year!

Dr. Sean Christie and team received an operational grant from the Department of Surgery Research Office in the amount of $49,122 for “Neuronal Protection Following Spinal Cord Injury through Inhibition of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter”.


Dr. Lutz Weise

Dr. Lutz Weise and team were awarded a Seed grant in the amount of $49,539 from the Department of Surgery Research Office for “Optimizing Deep Brain Stimulation Targeting Using Motor Evoked Potentials”.

Dr. David Brandman, Chief Resident, awarded the “Best Trainee poster presentation” for his oral presentation

Dr. David Brandman, Chief Resident, recently attended the Canadian Neuromodulation Society meeting in Iqaluit, NU. He was awarded the “Best Trainee poster presentation” for his oral presentation, “Rapidly Calibrating Intracortical Brain Computer Interfaces for Communication in Three People with Paralysis”. Hats off, Dr. Brandman!

Welcome new Residents and Fellow

The Division of Neurosurgery is delighted to welcome new residents, Drs. Jenna Smith-Forrester and Abdulaziz Bokeris as well as Fellow, Carlos Restrepo.  

Welcome new Residents and Fellow

From left to right: Drs. Abdulaziz Bokeris, Carlos Restrepo, David Clarke (Head of Neurosurgery), Jenna Smith-Forrester, Gwynedd Pickett (Residency Program Director)

Congratulations, Dr. Christie!

Effective July 1, 2019, Dr. Sean Christie was promoted from Associate Professor to the rank of Professor by Dalhousie University.  Congratulations, Dr. Christie!

Epilepsy Surgery – A Tribute to André Olivier

Dr. David Clarke recently joined a group of national and international speakers at his alma mater, the Montreal Neurological Institute / McGill University, to pay tribute to Dr. André Olivier, an esteemed international leader in epilepsy surgery. Dr. Clarke’s presentation was titled, “In the Tradition of Olivier: Neurosurgery in the East”.
At The Neuro, Dr. Olivier served as McGill’s Neurosurgeon-in-chief for over two decades. Dr. Olivier developed pioneering surgical technologies, including the OBT stereotactic frame, which greatly advanced neurosurgery standards and improved patient quality of life. He was also the William Cone Professor and Chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery at McGill University, as well as a past president of the Association of Neurosurgeons of the Province of Quebec. In 1977, he was presented a medal by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, awarded to outstanding young Canadians on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Her Majesty's accession to the throne. In recent years, he wrote a book titled ‘Techniques in Epilepsy Surgery, the MNI Approach’, an invaluable resource in epilepsy treatment.


André Olivier, BA, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Emeritus Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, McGill University


Congratulations to our Neurosurgery Graduating Residents and Fellow

Congratulations to our Neurosurgery Graduating Residents Drs. John Adams, Aaron Robichaud and Fellow, Dr. Ayoub Dakson! Best wishes! We will miss you.

Click for full article

Research and Innovation

Dr. David Clarke, head of the Division of Neurosurgery at the QEII, stands in front of the StealthStation. This new technology enables neurosurgeons to carry out surgery more effectively, efficiently and in a way which is ultimately safer for the patient. (DARREN HUBLEY)

Full article

2018_Neurosurgery Kids Fund BBQ

IWK Neurosurgery Kids Fund

Lemonade Stand and BBQ

On August 30, Jordan Bignell, Super Hero, set up a lemonade stand and, with the help of Jayda Slaunwhite, drew crowds of people from University Avenue to the IWK Health Centre Neurosurgery Kids Fund BBQ!   Funds raised exceeded $2,250!  Well done!!  A warm thank you to everyone who helped out with this initiative.


2018 10 02 Dr McNeely fixes teddy

IWK Neurosurgeon

Dr. Dan McNeely sutures beloved teddy bear

Carolyn Ray · CBC News · Posted: Oct 02, 2018 2:34 PM AT | Last Updated: October 2



Gaming meets medicine

Gaming meets medicine to become a Nova Scotia neurosurgeon's essential tool

Neurosurgeon, Dr. David Clarke, estimates half of all surgical training could be done in the virtual world.

Carolyn Ray · CBC News · Posted: May 01, 2018 5:00 AM AT | Last Updated: M

Congratulations to the Neurosurgery Spine Team

Our Spinal Cord Injury Acute Services Team - the first to be accredited in Canada - again received full national accreditation.  Highlights of the Accreditation Report include:

Clinical leadership – there is a strong interdisciplinary team with recent expansion of beds to accommodate demand;

Competency – patients and families have access to the interdisciplinary team and staff are supported through education and training for ongoing professional development;

Episode of Care – staff spoke of supportive environment and opportunities for professional development.  There is a defined pathway and criteria for admission to the unit for traumatic spinal cord injury patients.  Goals of care are established amongst staff and family;

Decision support – Patient records are complete and accessible with continuity of care.  The Unit is supported by Nurse Practitioners; and,

Impact on outcomes – there is a strong focus on quality improvement and safety.

Congratulations to all on the spine team, led by Dr. Sean Christie!

CaRMS (Canadian Resident Matching Service)

The Division of Neurosurgery is delighted to announce that we will be accepting one resident per year through CaRMS (Canadian Resident Matching Service).  This important decision supports Neurosurgery’s goal of providing neurosurgical care that meets the needs of the region and further strengthens our Atlantic Neurosurgery Training Program!