Ivona Aksentijevich M.D. is an Associate Investigator in the National Human Research Genome Institute, Bethesda, USA. Dr. Aksentijevich received her medical degree from the Belgrade University in former Yugoslavia. Dr. Aksentijevich is Board certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and she runs the molecular diagnostic laboratory for patients with autoinflammatory diseases. In addition to her work in molecular diagnostics, Dr. Aksentijevich is accomplished research scientist. For almost 30 years, Dr. Aksentijevich has used genetic and genomic approaches to understand and to advance the molecular pathophysiology of autoinflammatory conditions. Dr. Aksentijevich began her research career by making major contributions to the linkage mapping and positional cloning of the gene mutated in familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) (NEJM, 1992; Cell, 1997). Dr. Aksentijevich was the first co-author on the seminal paper published in Cell, 1999 that proposed the now widely accepted concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote a group of disorders mediated by cells of the innate immune system.
She was a major participant in discovery of pathomechanisms of disease in 10 autoinflammatory conditions (FMF, TRAPS, NOMID, DIRA, APLAID, DADA2, CANDLE, HA20, otulipenia, and SIFD). Ultimately, these discoveries informed about the new therapies for these diseases. Dr. Aksentijevich served as the president of the International Society for Autoinflammatory Diseases. During her career, Dr. Aksentijevich received the NIH Director’s Award, March of Dimes Foundation Finalist Award, Senior Basic Scientist Award/ISSAID, the NHLBI Orloff Science Award, and several NIH Group Merit Awards.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine
Director of Research, Division of Rheumatology
Senior Clinician Investigator in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
University of Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Aydin had her medical degree in 2000, at Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine. She then completed her internal medicine residency in 2004 and rheumatology in 2009, both at Marmara University Faculty of Medicine. Between 2009-2011, she had been involved in research projects on the effect of enthesitis in the pathogenesis of psoriatic arthritis, in University of Leeds, UK. She has been working as an Associate Professor at University of Ottawa, Division of Rheumatology since 2015. She has also been the director of research of the same institute since 2018.
Musculoskeletal imaging, especially ultrasound, has been the cornerstone of her research. She has multiple projects on the validation of ultrasound in inflammatory arthritis as well as early diagnosis and monitoring of the disease activity. She is one of the co-leaders of the GRAPPA (Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis) Ultrasonography committee and is currently leading international projects. She is also the principle investigator of the Ontario Spondyloarthritis registry. Dr. Aydin has more than 110 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Royal Free Hospital and UCL Division of Medicine, London, UK
Professor Denton studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital in London and obtained a PhD in cell biology from University College London (UCL) then trained in medicine and rheumatology in London. Following a Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship in molecular genetics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (USA), he was an Arthritis Research UK Senior Research Fellow 2000-2010. He is Professor of Experimental Rheumatology at UCL and a consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London. He has published extensively on laboratory and clinical aspects of connective tissue disease.
He leads a large clinical and translational research programme in scleroderma at the Royal Free Hospital and co-ordinates multidisciplinary care for more than 1700 patients. He currently chairs the UK Scleroderma Study Group (UKSSG) and is the Arthritis Research UK Research Advisory Group (RAG) Lead for Autoimmune Connective Tissue Diseases. He delivered the Heberden Round at the annual BSR Rheumatology Conference 2017 in 2017.
Associate Professor, Rheumatology, Dept. of Medical Specialties, Geneva University Hospital (HUG), CH
Consultant in Epidemiology, Clinical Research Center, HUG, CH
Finckh leads clinical research in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Geneva. He trained in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology in Paris, Geneva and Lausanne and received his MSc in Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health. Finckh chairs the Scientific Commission of the Swiss Rheumatoid Arthritis cohort (SCQM-RA) and the EULAR Study Group of Epidemiology. His research includes the identification of modifiable risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), impact of early therapeutic interventions in RA, comparative effectiveness research and identification of pre-clinical phase of RA. He is leading a multicenter study entitled “evaluation of a novel screening strategy for rheumatoid arthritis” in Switzerland.
Alpizar-Rodriguez D,* Lesker TR,* Gronow A, Gilbert B, Raemy E, Lamacchia C, Gabay C, Finckh A,# Strowig T# (*# equally contributed). “Prevotella copri in individuals at risk for rheumatoid Arthritis”. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2019;78:590-593.
D. Alpizar-Rodriguez, (…) and A. Finckh. “Role of reproductive and menopausal factors in functional and structural progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Results from the SCQM cohort.” Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Oct 31, 10.1093/rheumatology/key311
Loutan L; Alpizar Rodriguez D ; Finckh A, Mombelli A, and Giannopoulou E. "Periodontal status correlates with anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) in first degree relatives of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis". J Clin Periodontol. 2019 Apr 26.
Lauper K, Courvoisier DS, (…) Finckh A, and Gabay C. “Incidence and prevalence of major adverse cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and axial spondyloarthritis”. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Dec;70(12):1756-1763
Click here to view detailed cv
Dr. Merkel is the Chief of Rheumatology and a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Merkel is an internationally recognized research and clinical expert in vasculitis and scleroderma, two diseases he has studied for over 25 years, and is an author on over 300 scientific publications. He is the Principal Investigator of the NIH-Sponsored Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC), a leading international research infrastructure for vasculitis clinical investigation. Dr. Merkel’s research focuses on clinical trial design and conduct, outcome measure development, clinical epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, and biomarker discovery.
Dr. Merkel received his MD from Yale University, his MPH from Harvard University, completed his residency training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Merkel receives the majority of his research support from the National Institutes of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, with additional funding from industry sources and private foundations.
Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Michelle Petri, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She attended medical school at Harvard University and fulfilled her internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition, she completed two fellowship programs at the University of California, San Francisco in allergy and immunology and rheumatology. Dr. Petri is the Director of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a longitudinal study of morbidity and mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus, and Co-Director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center.
Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany
Denis Poddubnyy is a professor of rheumatology at the Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany. He received his medical degree from Saratov State Medical University in Russia in 2003. After 5 years of training in internal medicine and rheumatology there, Dr Poddubnyy moved to Berlin. Since 2008 he has worked as a staff physician and researcher at the Charité University Hospital. In 2014-2016, he has also coordinated the Clinical Research Unit at the Berlin Institute of Health. In April 2016 he was appointed as a full professor and a head of Rheumatology Unit at Campus Benjamin Franklin at the Charité University Hospital.
In 2008 he completed his PhD thesis related to the cardiovascular pathology in ankylosing spondylitis and in 2013 his lecturer qualification thesis dedicated to the topic of ‘Prediction and prevention of disease progression in early axial spondyloarthritis’. Since 2003 his research activities have focused on early diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes in patients with axial spondyloarthritis. Dr Poddubnyy is a member of the executive committee of the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society (ASAS) and author of a number of publications on the topic of spondyloarthritis in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters.
Dr Vaglio graduated at the University of Parma (Italy) in 2000, and at the same institution completed his Nephrology post-graduate course (2005) and his PhD (2009). In 2005-2006 he was post-doctoral fellow at the Emory University under the supervision of Dr C. Weyand.
Dr Vaglio’s research interests include systemic vasculitis, lupus nephritis, retroperitoneal fibrosis and IgG4 related disease, and Erdheim-Chester disease. He is a member of the European Vasculitis Society (EUVAS) and is one of the coordinators the European EGPA study group. He published 148 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals, and was an invited speaker at 30 international scientific meetings.
Dr Vaglio currently serves as Nephrology Consultant and Associate Professor of Nephrology at the University of Firenze, Italy.
* Alphabetically listed by surname.