Mathison Trainee Organization

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Science in the cinema 1
Science in the cinema 2
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Join Us!

Are you a trainee from a Mathison Centre Member? If so, we would love to keep you up to date with information about the MTO, invite you to events and include you in our community! Fill in the survey to join by clicking the button below. 

Volunteer and Leadership

The Mathison Trainee Organization (MTO) is always looking for volunteers to support Mathison Centre community outreach events and to take on leadership roles in the executive committee. Leadership opportunities include coordinating outreach and social events, coordinating educational opportunities, organizing journal clubs and other related work in supporting trainees of members of the Mathison Centre. These are great opportunities to be involved, gain new skills, and strengthen your CV. Send an email to if you are interested in being involved. 

MTO Funding Resources

The MTO executive team is passionate about encouraging all trainees to maximize their funding opportunities and so we are putting together a list of all funding open to MTO members! Watch this space for more details to come!! 



We send our members a monthly newsletter that highlights all of the exciting things going on in the MTO and to celebrate the successes of MTO members. Here you can find our previous newsletters. 

Mathison Trainee Organization (MTO)


The Mathison Trainee Organization (MTO) is an organization of graduate students and post-doctoral scholars supervised by members of the Mathison Centre. The purpose of the MTO is to support its members through social, educational, and community outreach opportunities. Students and postdocs are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities offered and to get involved by contacting


Due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, the MTO is currently not organizing in-person events. We encourage you to stay connected through our website and email list, and we look forward to once again being able to resume such events.

Executive Committee 2019- 2020

MTO events and initiatives are organized by a team of diverse MTO members, each tasked with a focus area. 


President- Nathan Godfrey

Nathan is a PhD candidate in Dr. Stephanie Borgland’s lab. He studies synaptic plasticity in reward circuits of the brain. Specifically, his PhD research has focused on plasticity induced by changes in metabolic states. In addition to working on his research, Nathan has been heavily involved in the Mathison trainee organization. Prior to becoming the president of the organization, he was the outreach director and successful in initiating the MTO Science Cafés. Nathan grew up in British Columbia and obtained a bachelor’s degree from BYU-Idaho in Biology. Outside of the lab, Nathan enjoys getting out to the mountains to snowboard and mountain bike.


Communications - Catherine Thomas

Catherine is also a PhD candidate in Dr. Stephanie Borgland's lab. Her research focuses on how a neuropeptide called orexin affected mesolimbic dopamine and reward-related behaviours. Catherine is originally from the United Kingdom, and received her undergraduate degree (psychology BSc Hons) and master's (Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging) from the University of Sheffield. Catherine is due to graduate in the next few months and hopes to pursue a career in medical communications. 


Community Outreach  - Sabin Nastase

Sabin is a graduate student in Dr. Matthew Hill’s lab. He is part of the Leader’s in Medicine MD/PhD program. His research focuses on how the endocannabinoid system acts to regulate valence processing and coordinate behavioural invigoration during stress and homeostatic need. Sabin earned his Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours Degree in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. In his time outside of the lab, Sabin loves playing frisbee, riding his bike, reading classics, and engaging in as much banter as he can.


Social Events - Brooke Allemang

Brooke is a doctoral student and Clinical Research Associate in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. Prior to beginning her PhD in 2018, she worked as a Transition Navigator at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto where she developed a program to support youth with sickle cell disease in transitioning from pediatric to adult services. Brooke is passionate about engaging youth with lived experience in research and program development. Her dissertation research focusses on transition readiness amongst youth with co-occurring health and mental health issues exiting pediatric services using a patient-oriented, mixed methods approach.


Education - Emily MacPhail

Emily is a MD/PhD student in the Cumming School of Medicine, and her research focuses on the relationships between nutrition, gut microbiota, and cognitive flexibility in both anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She is supervised by Dr. Paul Arnold and Dr. Raylene Reimer. Clinically, she is particularly interested in internal medicine, psychiatry, and adolescent health. In her extracurricular life, she is enthusiastic about work relating to medical learner wellness, mental health, and youth advocacy, and is involved in several local and provincial level committees in these areas. She is also an avid reader, a lover of logic puzzles, and an amateur cake artist who enjoys a challenge. 


Recent Events

While COVID-19 has suspended our in person events for the foreseeable future, some of the events we typically run each year include: 

MTO Science Café

The MTO Science Café is a unique event in that it is organized by trainees for trainees. The goal of this science café is to increase conversation within the community about research related to mental health. This is an opportunity for trainees to share their research with the general public by giving ‘TED talk’ style talks in community settings. Both trainees and community members who attend this event find it to be a very positive experience. This is an opportunity to fine-tune your public communication skills. You don’t have to already be a great speaker to do this, as you will receive coaching from professionals within the Cumming School of Medicine. If you are interested in speaking at or participating in an MTO Science Café, please contact us.


Think Big Series

In partnership with the Calgary Public Library, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) has hosted numerous public lectures given by faculty members on the brain. These events including the Think Big Series are very popular and offer trainees an opportunity to interact with the public before and after the lectures. Because many of these lectures are focused on mental health, the MTO has played an important role in these outreach events in a number of ways including organizing display booths.


Science in the Cinema

The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine hosts a number Science in the Cinema events throughout the year. These are popular events for the public, which involve a screening of a popular movie at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington. This is followed by a discussion with experts from the University of Calgary about the science depicted in the film. In January on Bell Let’s Talk Day each year, the Mathison Centre has the opportunity to organize a screening and discussion of a film related to mental health. This offers members of the MTO an opportunity to volunteer and attend the event.


Ronald McDonald House

Volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) is an incredibly rewarding experience. The RMH is located across the street from the Alberta Children’s Hospital and serves as a home away from home so that families can be close to their children while they are being treated in the hospital. These families are under a great deal of stress, and in order to help, members of the community can sign up to prepare meals at the RMH. Volunteering at the RMH has provided members of the MTO with the opportunity to get together and do something meaningful within the community. If you are interested in volunteering for this effort, contact the MTO to pursue.