SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS

  • Napoleone Ferrara

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    Dr. Napoleone Ferrara is a Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Having graduated from the University of Catania, Italy, in 1981, Dr. Ferrara went on to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco and joined Genentech, where he isolated the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and studied its effects for the first time. Thereafter, he and his colleagues developed the first anti-VEGF antibody therapy - ranibizumab -, capable of inhibiting angiogenesis and, as such, of treating Wet (neovascular) age-related Macular Degeneration, an illness responsible for irreversible blindness, among other intraocular disorders.

    For his work, Dr. Ferrara received the 2010 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, in 2011, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, in 2013, and the António Champalimaud Vision Award, in 2014.

    Presently, Dr. Ferrara and his team are researching the mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis alternative to VEGF, particularly the role of the microenvironment and of immune cells and fibroblasts-produced factors in VEGF inhibitors resistance.

  • Graziella Pellegrini

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    Graziella Pellegrini is Full Professor and Head of the Cell Therapy Program at Centre for Regenerative Medicine "Stefano Ferrari" of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. She is also co-founder and R&D Director at Holostem Terapie Avanzate S.r.l., having developed Holocar, the world's first commercial stem-cell therapy.

    She was awarded for research on central nervous system, on burn patients, for research on ocular pathology and for research on urethra. (Author of several international patents, book chapters and many peer reviewed publications in the major international scientific journals, she was invited speaker or chairman in over two hundreds major international meetings and courses on Stem Cells and Regenerative medicine.)

    Prof. Pellegrini is one of the two inventors of the technology for culture, and transplantation of limbal stem cells for treatment of blindness due to corneal stem cell deficiency, and defended the orphan drug designation and European registration of the therapy. She is currently collaborating to a phase I clinical trial on gene therapy of epidermolysis bullosa.





    Iris Jonkers

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    Iris Jonkers is Assistant professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands. Her research focus is the elucidation of the role of the genetic risk factors in Celiac Disease and a better understanding of how genetics contribute to disease.

    How other genetic risk factors rather than the HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8 contribute to coeliac disease is not well understood, as the changes in DNA primarily fall within the non-coding genome. In order to better understand these changes, her laboratory takes several approaches at multiple levels. Taken together, these aim to elucidate which molecular pathways are affected by genetics in CeD and to identify potential drug targets to treat this disease.

    Currently, Professor Jonkers is studying how small changes in DNA enriched in celiac patients influence the regulation of gene expression and lead to celiac disease. To answer this question, she has received a Rosalind Franklin Fellowship and a Dutch VIDI-NOW grant.

    The role of genetics in celiac disease: Small changes, big effects

    Celiac disease (CeD) is partly caused by small changes in our DNA. Using a genome wide association study, more than 40 loci containing these changes, or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), have been identified. The main genetic risk factors are the HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8 genes, which are necessary but not sufficient to cause CeD. How other genetic risk factors contribute to coeliac disease is less well understood, as the changes in DNA primarily fall within the non-coding genome. Therefore, we focus on elucidating the role of these genetic risk factors in CeD to understand how genetics contribute to disease. We take several approaches: 1. Expression quantitative trait locus analysis on healthy individuals to correlate gene expression changes to genotype in blood-derived immune cells, 2. Functional finemapping of SNPs to identify and understand the role of causal SNPs and the genes they affect in a cell type specific manner, and 3. Profiling the disease-specific cell types derived from CeD patients at a transcriptomic, epigenetic and cytokine level to understand CeD pathology at a molecular level. Together, we aim to elucidate which molecular pathways are affected by genetics in CeD and to identify potential drug targets to treat CeD.

  • Derek Perkins

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    Derek Perkins, Ph.D. is a Consultant Clinical & Forensic Psychologist at West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Professor of Forensic Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, Co-director of the onlineProtect research group on internet-related sexual offending, and a Trustee of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. He was Head of Psychological Services at Broadmoor Hospital (high secure psychiatric hospital) from 1986-2013, having previously worked in the UK Prison Service and Midland Centre for Forensic Psychiatry. He has worked in secure and community settings on the assessment and treatment of sex offenders, the interface between mental disorder and sexual offending, psychophysiological assessment of sexual interest, child sexual exploitation and sexual homicide.

    The aetiology, assessment and treatment of sexual offenders

    In this talk we will consider the definitions, nature and causes of sexual offending, including different types of offending, their prevalence and changes over time. Issues in offender assessment – case formulation, risk assessment and treatment needs – will be explored using latest research findings and case examples. Finally, we will consider what kinds of interventions are appropriate to tackle different types of sexual offending, ranging through one-to-one therapies, group treatment programs and wider societal responses.



    Klaus Beier

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    Klaus M. Beier studied medicine and philosophy. He is a specialized physician for psychosomatics and psychotherapy and is head of the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He is in charge of the undergraduate training of medical school students in sexual medicine as well as the postgraduate training for physicians and psychologists in this field. He is also responsible for the Outpatient Clinic of the Institute which offers assessment and treatment for the full range of sexual disorders and gender dysphoria.

    His main focus in research is the prevention of child sexual abuse. The goal is to encourage self-identified undetected pedophiles to seek professional help in order to avoid committing child sexual abuse or the use of child abuse images. For this purpose, in 2005 he initiated the “Prevention Project Dunkelfeld” which has now extended to 10 additional locations all over Germany. Furthermore, in 2017 he started the internet-based self-management tool “Troubled Desire” for assessment and treatment in case of pedophilia to prevent child sexual abuse.

    Regarding these efforts, in 2017, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.

    Pedophilia and Sexual Offending against Children: How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and the Use of Child Abuse Images?

    Pedophilia - a sexual preference for the body scheme of prepubescent children - is defined as a disorder within the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization as well as within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.

    Contrary to popular belief, not all sex offenders who target children are pedophiles, and not all pedophiles commit sexual offences. But quite obviously pedophilia is an emotionally charged and controversial topic, which might be an explanation for putting it out of focus within the Health Care System. Mental health and criminal justice professionals are mostly and worldwide not well trained in terms of assessment methods and intervention techniques available to develop and implement effective policies and practices.

    This is an obstacle for prevention, i.e. proactive strategies to protect children from child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by online offenses, such as the consumption or distribution of child abusive images (so-called child pornography), which emphasizes the internationally relevant dimension of the issue. The presentation will address key concerns and questions in dealing with this clinical population and offer insights into a primary prevention approach developed in Germany.

  • Chandan Sen

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    Professor Chandan Sen is the Vice Chair of Research of the Department of Surgery of the Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University.

    Dr. Sen’s program is interested in tissue injury and repair and works across three organ systems- skin, brain and heart. His group is interested in miRNA biology, redox signaling and tissue oxygenation. In the skin, the Sen group works on wound healing – both experimental as well as clinical. In the brain, specific focus is directed towards stroke biology and related neurodegeneration. The Sen group has identified the alpha-tocotrienol form of vitamin E as a major protector against stroke-induced injury to the brain.

    Induced Tissue Reprogramming using Tissue Nanotransfection

  • Dermot Maher

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    Dr Maher is Coordinator, Research Capacity Strengthening, at the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. He is based in Geneva where TDR is hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). He trained in medicine in the United Kingdom at Cambridge and Oxford, with subsequent postgraduate training in family medicine, internal medicine and infectious diseases.

    He was a specialist physician in Malawi, a TB medical officer with WHO in Geneva, head of a programme of HIV research in Uganda with the Medical Research Council (UK) and Uganda Virus Research Institute, Senior TB Advisor with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Geneva and International Portfolio Manager at the Wellcome Trust in London.

    His professional qualifications are in family medicine, general medicine and public health, and he has a doctorate in public health. He has broad experience in research in developing countries, particularly in TB, HIV and non- communicable diseases. His research expertise is in the following areas: clinical research, operational research, epidemiology, research methodology, health systems research (particularly the links between research and policy) anethics. His main current interest is in strengthening research capacity in low- and middle-income countries.

    Ending infectious diseases in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals

    The long-term epidemics of infectious diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, hepatitis and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), require concentrated global attention for a magnified response sustained over a long period to bring them to an end. Building on the progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a new joint global public health approach to accelerate progress and meet the ambitious global targets set for 2030 for HIV, TB, malaria, hepatitis and NTDs in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such an approach provides the framework for public and private sector delivery of effective clinical and other interventions for improved care and prevention to the large numbers of people worldwide at risk of, or suffering from, these diseases.

    The development of this approach reflects WHO’s global leading role in the overall health contribution to achieving the SDGs and in setting out a new agenda specifically for these infectious diseases for 2016-2030. Drawing on the common elements of the individual disease strategies, the new approach provides opportunities for joint efforts to accelerate achievement of the 2030 targets. The wide range of stakeholders includes clinical care providers, researchers, national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development partners.

    This approach to end the epidemics of HIV, TB, malaria, hepatitis and NTDs by 2030 has important policy implications: expanding health service coverage, ensuring equity and respect for human rights, enhancing strategic information, strengthening health systems with integrated delivery of interventions, developing sustainable financing, overcoming technical barriers such as antimicrobial resistance, and promoting research across the spectrum from product development to implementation research.

  • Lorna Role

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    Central cholinergic circuits, which provide important modulatory control of synaptic excitability, have been strongly implicated in cognitive impairments associated with neuropsychiatric diseases including schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer’s dementia. The Role laboratory studies the generation, plasticity, and maintenance of cholinergic and cholinoceptive synapses in the mammalian brain. Current work focuses on dissecting the role of cholinergic signalling in circuits and behaviors related to emotional salience in learning and memory. In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr David Talmage (through the CNS Disorders group of the Centers for Molecular Medicine) , the Role lab is testing the hypothesis that products of the neuregulin-1 gene - a novel class of signaling molecules - are essential to the maintenance of central cholinergic circuits. As the neuregulin-1 gene has been strongly implicated as a susceptibility locus for schizophrenia, current work could provide important insight into the role of Nrg1 at synapses and circuits whose function and dysfunction may underlie this and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

    Modulating memory through controlling cholinergic circuits

    David Erritzoe

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    Professor David Erritzoe is Involved in several lines of psychopharmacological and brain imaging research at Imperial College London; investigating dopaminergic neurotransmission with measurements of the dopamine D3 receptor in alcohol addiction, studies of opioid neurotransmission in pathological gambling, and functional imaging studies looking at the role of dopamine D3 and mu-opiate receptors in cocaine, alcohol, and heroin addiction. In addition, together with Prof Nutt and Dr Carhart-Harris conducting brain imaging of the acute effects of MDMA and psychedelic compounds.

    In 2012 he was nominated a Academic Clinical Fellowship in Psychiatry under Imperial College, and from February 2013 been working in clinical psychiatry in West London, and part time in research at Imperial.

  • Joan Pere Barret

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    Dr. Joan-Pere Barret, a specialist in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, is Head of the Plastic Surgery and Burnt Department in Hospital Universitari de la Vall d’Hebron, and Full Professor of Surgery and Director of the Plastic Surgery Program, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Having graduated from the Universitat de Barcelona and trained in the University of Texas and the University of Groningen, Dr. Barret is an international authority in microvascular reconstructive surgery, in intensive care and in the treatment of burn victims with multiple related-research projects.

    In 2010, Dr. Barret and his team performed a ground-breaking surgery, in which the first full face transplant in the world was carried out, taking 24 hours to complete. The recipient received not only skin tissue, but also new cheekbones, facial muscles, teeth palate, skin, nose, lips and jaw. Later on, in 2015, an even more extensive facial transplant was performed, which implicated, in addition to the transplant itself, the complete reconstruction of the patient’s neck, mouth, tongue and back of the throat.

    Dr. Barret is the Vice President of the European Burns Association, Member of the Executive Committee of the European Burns Association, Member of the Executive Committee and Spanish Representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Burn Council and Editor of BURNS.




    Rozina Ali

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    Miss Rozina Ali is an highly trained and experienced consultant plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon, with a special interest in all aspects of breast surgery. Having graduated from St Thomas' Hospital Medical School with first class BSc honours in 1992, Miss Ali went on to pursue postgraduate surgical training at several London teaching hospitals, as well as specialist units such as the Cranio-facial Unit at Great Ormond Street and the Burns unit at Billericay/Chelmsford.

    In 2004, Miss Ali won the prestigious Kroll scholarship to study microvascular breast reconstruction in Belgium and in 2007 she was awarded a 1 year international microsurgery fellowship in Taiwan. Since that time she has enhanced her training with travels to Japan, Australia and China. Miss Ali has been awarded a British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) European scholarship and the Cutler's Surgical Fellowship. She has published and presented extensively on microvascular surgery and reconstructive breast surgery both nationally and internationally.

    Art of Breast Reconstruction

Speed Meeting

Do you have a question to ask our speakers? The Speed Meeting is an informal talk between our pannel of speakers and our participants. It takes place on the morning of the last day of the congress. During this moment, you have the chance to ask world-class speakers about their careers and current scientific research. Every year, we get a very positive feedback from our participants, so make sure you do not miss it!