Meet our speakers

Gunnar Blohm

Dr. Gunnar Blohm’s research interests lie in the 3D properties of sensorimotor control and their role in the interaction of different motor systems. In other words, how do we experience 3D space and what computations does the brain perform to purposefully act upon our environment? He focuses on three subtopics: eye-hand coordination, saccade/ smooth pursuit eye movements and the construction of 3D models of space for perception and action. Dr. Blohm uses computational modeling techniques, behavioral experiments, as well as brain imaging, brain stimulation and studies of patients.
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Jeffery Bowers

Dr. Jeffery Bowers received his degree in psychology (BSc) at the University of Toronto (1987), and completed a Ph.D. with Daniel Schacter and Kenneth Forster at the University of Arizona (1993) on the topic of long-term priming. He then moved to Montreal for a post-doctoral position at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Centre Hospitalier Cote-Des-Neiges, working with Daniel Bub on letter-by-letter reading (1993-1994). Following this he moved to Rice University as an assistant professor (1994-1998), and then took a position of a lecturer at the University of Bristol, where he is now a professor. His research addresses a range of issues in language and memory. In one aspect of his work, he seeks to understand the coding of word knowledge in the brain. Another line of his research attempts to further our understanding of the learning mechanisms that support written and spoken word perception. Currently, he is focused on the relation between deep neural networks and the brain, with a focus on vision.

Monica Castelhano

Dr. Monica Castelhano’s primary research interests lie in the domains of visual attention and visual memory, and how these faculties operate in our everyday lives. In her lab, she and her team are currently exploring these processes as they pertain to real-world scenes. Through various studies, they investigate how individuals perceive, explore, search through, and remember information from complex, natural stimuli (i.e., real-world scenes). Utilizing both behavioral and eye movement measures, Dr. Castelhano is interested in understanding how we initially comprehend what we are viewing, how this comprehension then influences the way we pay attention to our environment, and how this information is subsequently remembered over the long term.

Cristina Conati

Dr. Conati is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She received a M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Milan, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems at the University of Pittsburgh. Cristina has been researching human-centered and AI-driven personalization for over 25 years, with contributions in the areas of Intelligent Tutoring Systems, User Modeling, Affective Computing, Information Visualization and Explainable AI.
Cristina’s research has received 10 Best Paper Awards from a variety of venues, as well as the Test of Time Time Award 2022 from the educational data mining society. She is a Fellow of AAAI (Association for the Advancement of AI) , an ACM Distinguished Member, and an associate editor for UMUAI (Journal od User Modeling and User Adapted Interaction), ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems and the Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. She served as President of AAAC, (Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing), as well as Program or Conference Chair for several international conferences, including UMAP, ACM IUI, and AI in Education.

Sidney Givigi

Sidney N. Givigi  received the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, in 2009.,He is currently an Associate Professor with the School of Computing, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. His current research interests include autonomous systems and robotics.

Ting Hu

Dr. Ting Hu received her postdoctoral and PhD training from the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, and the Department of Computer Science, Memorial University, respectively. Her research focus lies on two inter-related areas, bio-inspired intelligent computing and bioinformatics. She is interested in 1) designing robust and interpretable evolutionary learning algorithms, a creative approach to AI, and 2) mining large-scale biomedical data using complex networks and machine learning techniques.

Donald Landes

Donald Landes is Full Professor of Contemporary Continental Philosophy in the Faculté de philosophie at Université Laval, where he has been teaching since 2015. He was previously a visiting Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Concordia University (2012-2015) and a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at McGill University (2010-2012). He received his PhD in Philosophy from Stony Brook University (SUNY) in 2010. His main area of research is the embodied phenomenology of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and he published the new English translation of Merleau-Ponty’s key work, Phenomenology of Perception, in 2012 (Routledge). His research focuses on questions of language, expression, perception, embodiment, temporality, and responsibility, and he has recently been considering the phenomenological implications of AI-generated art.  

Matthew Pan

 Dr. Matthew Pan is a faculty member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Queen’s University and a core member of the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute. His research areas include human-robot interaction, haptics, virtual/augmented reality and human augmentative technologies. At Queen’s, he leads the Machine Intelligence and Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory (MItHRIL).
Previously, Dr. Pan was at Disney Research Los Angeles, where he worked on animatronic technologies and guest-facing interactive experiences designed for Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products. There, he led projects involving social and physical human-robot interaction as well as mixed reality technologies.
Dr. Pan obtained his MASc and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He received his BASc in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada. 
His prior research areas include the study of haptic displays, affective and psychophysiological computing, assistive robotics, and human-computer interaction.

Nancy Salay

Dr. Nancy Salay is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department specialising in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. She has published many papers on various aspects of cognition, including perception. Her book, How Words Help us Think: An Externalist Account of Representational Intentionality (Bloomsbury Press, Inc., in press summer 2024), provides support for the sensorimotor account of perception, one of the
views that will be discussed during the workshop. These ideas on perception and intentionality were presented at a plenary talk during the 29th International Science of Consciousness Congress (May 22-27, 2023, Taormina,
Sicily).
Dr. Salay also serves as Editor-in-Chief (anglophone) of Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, an established, generalist journal of philosophy.

Susanna Schellenberg

Dr. Susanna Schellenberg is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University, where she holds a secondary appointment at the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. She specializes in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language and is best known for her work on perceptual experience, evidence, capacities, mental content, and imagination. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Award, a Humboldt Prize, and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship for a project on the Neuroscience of Perception. She is the author of The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence (Oxford University Press, 2018). The book won an honorable mention for the American Philosophical Association 2019 Sanders Book Prize.

Katharina Schwarz

Dr. Katharina Schwarz is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Würzburg, Germany. She studied biology at the University of Würzburg and the University of Umea, Sweden, and then obtained her PhD at the University of Hamburg, Germany. She now works as a principal investigator in Wilfried Kunde’s Lab (Cognitive Psychology) at the University of Würzburg. Her research interests include understanding the sense of agency, social actions, action control, actions and moral ambiguity, expectancy effects, and the history of psychology.

Michael Wheeler

Michael Wheeler is an Assistant Professor in The DAN School of Drama and Music where he teaches acting, directing and arts leadership. As a researcher, his work has focused on the possibilities virtual reality presents for live performance, and is funded with Dr Matthew Pan by a Connected Minds CFREF Seed grant to explore the use of robotics to provide haptic feedback for live VR performances. Previous SSHRC-funded research involved collaborating with computer scientists to adapt a play previously staged in physical space to a virtual one. He is also Director of Artistic Research at SpiderWebShow Performance, Canada’s first live digital performance company and a Co-Curator of FOLDA (The Festival of Live Digital Art), occurring annually in June at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Michael has also directed many normal non-VR plays at theatres like Theatre Passe Muraille, The Theatre Centre, The Great Canadian Theatre Company, and The Vancouver Playhouse.