Zelma  Kiss

Zelma Kiss, MD, PhD, FRCSC



Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-4839
Patient Clinical Inquires: 403-944-8602
Research Administrative Assistant: 403-220-5572

Research Administrative Assistant: 
Sue Nelson
3280 Hospital Dr. NW
Calgary, AB  T2N 4N1
P: 403-220-5572
E: nelsons@ucalgary.ca

Clinical/Patient inquires:
Madeline Garcia
P: 403.944.8602

For MRgFUS for Essential Tremors (HIFU) please contact:
Marisol Ardila
E: hifu@ucalgary.ca


Educational Background

Doctor of Medicine Unknown, University of Ottawa, 1988

Doctor of Philosophy Medical Specializations, University of Toronto, 1998


Zelma HT Kiss MD PhD is a clinician-scientist and Professor in the Departments of Clinical Neurosciences/Psychiatry and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. She trained in neurosurgery and completed a PhD in neurophysiology at the University of Toronto in 1998, followed by post-doctoral training in Grenoble, France. Her research interests encompass the mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation, somatosensory restoration with neural prostheses, electrophysiology, and new neuromodulation therapies, including focused ultrasound. Clinical expertise includes stereotactic radiosurgery and functional neurosurgery to treat movement disorders, pain, and psychiatric disorders. She is Medical Director of the Neuromodulation and MR-guided Focused Ultrasound Programs in Calgary. 


Areas of Research

Mental Health
Movement Disorders
Spinal Cord/Never Injury & Pain
optical imaging
biomedical imaging
biomedical engineering
neural prostheses

Dr. Kiss’s research aims have focused on the mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is a neural prosthesis that modulates specific brain nuclei and pathways to restore or improve movement disorders such as Parkinson disease, dystonia and tremor. Her lab uses slice electrophysiology, behaviour, optical imaging, and immunohistochemistry in rodents to unravel how DBS works, in parallel to studies in humans who have DBS surgery. She collaborates with colleagues in biomedical engineering (Dr. Murari) to develop chronic models of DBS in rodents and veterinarian medicine (Dr. Whelan) to develop new targets for DBS. Surgery offers opportunities to study microelectrode recordings in patients undergoing DBS implantation. These include studies to look for biomarkers of disease and specific experiments to learn how different cells in the brain encode actions. Recent research has extended to the development of neural prostheses to restore somatosensory function, psychiatric indications such as depression, new neuromodulation therapies for pain, and mechanisms of focused ultrasound neuromodulation in collaboration with colleagues in radiology (Drs. Pichardo and Pike) and neurology (Drs. Aquino and Martino).    


Course number Course title Semester
BMEN 61931 LEC 04 04 Spec Problems in BMEN 2021


  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2009
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research Clinician Scientist Award, 2009
  • salary support award, 2009
  • AHFMR Clinical Investigator Renewal, 2008
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Clinical Research Initiative, Clinician-Scientist Phase 2 Award Renewal, 2007
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research Clinican Scientist Phase 2 Award, 2004