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HBI Alumni

The Hotchkiss Brain Institute is founded on the base of a very strong neuroscience tradition established by the previous Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience and Genes & Development Research Groups. Under the auspices initially of the Neuroscience Research Group, one of the very first training programs in neuroscience was established in 1971 as a separate stream under the umbrella Medical Science Program. Students enrolled in this program (and its subsequent evolution into the independent Department of Neuroscience), as well as numerous postdoctoral and research fellows training in neuroscience laboratories at the University of Calgary took us in an astonishingly short time period to rank among Canada's most recognized neuroscience groups.

Alumnus of the Year

In recognition of the critical role played by our trainees in our research and academic success, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute recognizes an outstanding former trainee as the Hotchkiss Brain Institute Neuroscience Alumnus of the Year. Find out more about the HBI Alumnus of the Year award.

2016 Alumnus of the Year: Dr. William F. Colmers


Dr. William F. Colmers is a Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience and AIHS Medical Scientist in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.  Dr. Colmers delivered a seminar at the HBI in January of 2017 entitled “Y-bother? New Adventures in NPY” and is the 2016 HBI Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Colmers obtained his BA and MA at John Hopkins University followed by his Doctorate in 1980 at the University of Regensburg, (Germany) in Zoology and Neuroanatomy.  He carried out postdoctoral studies at Duke, the University of Texas - San Antonio, the University of Calgary, where he was co-supervised by Drs. Lukowiak and Pittman (1983-87) and at the Vollum Institute in Portland Oregon. Since starting his own laboratory at the U of A, he has been continuously funded by AHFMR/AIHS and has focused upon studying the actions of Neuropeptide Y in the central nervous system. He has made fundamental discoveries of its involvement in epilepsy, obesity, cachexia and anxiety. His laboratory has received funding from the CIHR, NIH and AIHS among other agencies and he has trained a number of students and fellows who now occupy faculty or industry positions in Canada and elsewhere.

Dr. Colmers is a board member of the Canadian Association of Neuroscience and has been a a member of grant review panels for CIHR, AHFMR/AIHS and Campus Alberta Neuroscience. Recently he was appointed as a member of the Excellence Commission of the German Research Foundation/German Council of Science and Humanities.

View past recipients of the HBI Alumnus of the Year award.