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”.


Neurosurgery was also highlighted for integration of competency-based education in our Atlantic Canada Residency Program.


Congratulations to the award winners of Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day, held on March 4, 2020 at the QEII Health Sciences Centre!

The winners for this year’s event are:

Top Overall Presentation:  Liam Rappoldt, “Establishing a Patient-Derived, In-Vitro Organotypic Slice Culture Model of GBM”

Top Neurosurgery Presentation:  Dr. David Brandman, “Automated Call Schedule Software”

Top Neurology Presentation:  Dr. Caitlin Tarlton, “Demographics, Seizure Patterns, and Cognitive Profile of Individuals with First Seizure, New Onset Epilepsy, and Newly Diagnosed Epilepsy Assessed at the Halifax First Seizure Clinic”

Top Study Presentation:  Dr. Mustafa Nadi, “A Multidimensional Frailty Model that May Aid in Predicting Mortality Following Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury”

Dr. William D. Stevenson Research Award:  Dr. David Brandman, “Automated Call Schedule Software”

Dr. W.J. Howes Neurosurgery Teaching Award:  Dr. Jacob Alant

A special thank you to our Guest Speaker and Judge, Dr. Sean Taylor, Division of Neurology.  We also wish to thank our Judges, Dr. Melissa Andrew, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Saranyan Pillai, Division of Neurosurgery. 

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!