Speakers & chairs

Speakers & chairs

Mihai Netea


Mihai Netea was born and studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He completed his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on studies investigating the cytokine network in sepsis. After working as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, he returned to Nijmegen where he finished his clinical training as an infectious diseases specialist, and where he currently heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Nijmegen Medical Center. He is mainly interested in understanding the factors influencing variability of human immune responses, the biology of sepsis and immunoparalysis, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity.

Ivona Aksentijevich


Ivona Aksentijevich M.D. is an Associate Investigator in the National Human Research Genome Institute, Bethesda, USA. Dr. Aksentijevich is Board certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and she runs the molecular diagnostic laboratory for patients with autoinflammatory diseases. She is an expert on the genetics of autoinflammation and serves as one of the editors for the registry of mutations associated with various autoinflammatory diseases, known as Infevers. In addition to her work in molecular diagnostics, Dr. Aksentijevich is accomplished research scientist and has been a major participant in a number of studies related to genetics and pathophysiology of autoinflammatory diseases including FMF, TRAPS, NOMID, DIRA, APLAID, DADA2, CANDLE, HA20, otulipenia. She serves as an advisory editor for the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal and was the president of the International Society of Systemic Autoinflammatory Diseases (ISSAID).

James Stacey Taylor


James Stacey Taylor is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at The College of New Jersey. Branded a heretic by the London Times for his arguments in favor of legalizing markets in human organs in his book Stakes and Kidneys: Why markets in human organs are morally imperative (Ashgate, 2005) he is also the author of Practical Autonomy and Bioethics (Routledge, 2009), and Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics (Routledge, 2012). He is the editor of Personal Autonomy: New essays (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Death: Metaphysics and Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2013). He is currently working on a book on the ethics of using compensated donation to procure blood and blood products.
In addition to his academic writing he has authored numerous Op-Eds on bioethical issues which have appeared in publications including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, and USA Today. (One of his award-winning Op-Eds for the Los Angeles Times was credited with influencing the ruling of the 6th District Court circuit that led to the legalization of payment for bone marrow.) He is an occasional contributor to National Public Radio and has been quoted in The New York Times.

Graham Wallace

Graham qualified with a BSc Immunology from the University of London in 1985. He went on to study for a PhD in Immunology at University College London which was awarded in 1988. Following a postdoctoral position at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Graham started a postdoctoral position at St Thomas' Hospital London in ocular immunology. One of the diseases that was of interest to the group was Behcet's Disease (BD). That initiated his interest in the condition, and it has been part of his laboratory's work ever since. Graham moved to University of Birmingham in 2002 and has continued to investigate BD with a particular interest is the genetic basis of the disease as the geographical spread suggests an aetiology that matches the name the Silk Road disease. He group have been involved in validating several genome-wide analysis studies in addition to describing genetic polymorphisms in Il-10 and PTPN22 which may impact on BD. Graham collaborates widely with colleagues in Turkey, Qatar, Chongqing and Rotterdam to further BD research. Graham is secretary if the International Society for Behcet's Disease, and President of the International Association of Inflammation Societies.

Eldad Ben-Chetrit

Professor of Medicine, formerly, Head Department of Medicine (1998-2001), and formerly Director of the Rheumatology Unit (2009- 2017) and the FMF Clinic at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.. He is a visiting Professor at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (1996), Stanford University (2004) and McGill Universities (2010). After training in Internal Medicine, Dr Ben-Chetrit was trained in Rheumatology and Immunology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California (Lab of Eng Tan MD), In 1990 he gained his Diplome in Rheumatology. His main research interests and publications include: Pathophysiology of Auto-Immune diseases i.e; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren's Syndrome (SS) and immune related Complete Congenital Heart Block (JCI 1989). He identified the SSA/Ro 52KD protein (JEM 1988) and isolated the gene encoding the SSA/Ro 60KD protein (JCI 1989). His main current interest is in the genetic, pathophysiology and therapeutic response of autoinflammatory diseases mainly, Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) and Behcet's disease (BD). He also studied extensively the mechanism of action of Colchicine and its pharmacokinetics. He participated in one of the two groups which identified the MEFV gene associated with FMF (Nat Genet 1997). He also participated in the NIH group which found IL-10 SNP association with Behcet's disease (Nat Genet 2012). He also participated in the group which revised the classification criteria for BD. Recently he was in the steering committee of the large trial of canakinumab (anti IL-1 ab) in autoinflammatory diseases (NEJM 2018) and headed the committee for renaming the autoinflammatory diseases and revising their definition. He has published more than 240 original papers, case reports letters and reviews and received many national and international awards.

Ahmet Gül

Professor Ahmet Gül graduated from Istanbul Faculty of Medicine of Istanbul University in 1987. He completed his training in internal medicine and rheumatology at the same institution; and he has been serving on its faculty since 1997.
His research has been focused on the immunopathogenesis and genetics of inflammatory rheumatic disorders, especially Behçet's disease, familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), and other monogenic autoinflammatory disorders. He carried out research at Karolinksa Institute (Stockholm, Sweden) and ARC Epidemiology Research Unit (Manchester, UK), he has currently been collaborating with the National Institutes of Health (USA) on the genetics of Behçet's disease.
He is a member of several professional societies including Turkish Society for Rheumatology, Turkish Society of Immunology, Behçet's Disease Society of Turkey (currently President), International Society for Behçet's Disease, and International Society of Systemic Auto-Inflammatory Diseases.
He has over 150 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and over 6500 citations with and h index of 37, and he has been serving on the Editorial Board of prestigious rheumatology journals including the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Haner Direskeneli

Haner Direskeneli, MD is a Professor of Rheumatology and is currently the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Department of Internal Medicine in Marmara University, School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey.
He graduated from Istanbul University, had residency trainings in Internal Medicine/ Rheumatology in Marmara University and fellowships in Lupus Research Unit (1992) and Department of Oral Immunology in UMDS, London UK (1992-1993). He is a member of Turkish Rheumatology Society, American College of Rheumatology (ACR), Turkish Immunology Society and International Society for Behcet's disease (ISBD). His current main research interests are infectious etiology, oral health, immune response/genetics and assessment in 'Behcet's Disease' and immune response/genetics, assessment (imaging, outcome tools) and management of 'Takayasu's arteritis". He also have studies on rheumatoid arthritis, SLE and systemic sclerosis. He is a member of OMERACT large-vessel vasculitis and Behcet's Study Interest Groups, and is part of a EULAR taskforce for Imaging in large-vessel vasculitis. He has collaborations with Michigan University and Mayo Clinic in USA, Leeds University in UK, Paris and Ottawa Universities.
He has >200 peer-reviewed articles with > 5000 citations.

André Uitterlinden

André Uitterlinden is Professor of Complex Genetics at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam – The Netherlands - where he holds positions in 3 departments: Internal Medicine, Epidemiology, and Clinical Chemistry. His research is focusing on genetic factors for common traits and disease, including anthropometry, endocrine traits & disorders, and locomotor disease such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. At Erasmus MC he is also heading the Genomics Core Facility, which is one of Europe's largest genomics facility. It provides services for DNA isolation, genotyping and sequencing, and is the coordinating center for the European GSA consortium handling >850.000 samples for array genotyping. As a PI (Principal Investigator) and member of the MT, he is coordinating molecular genetic analyses in 2 major cohort studies at Erasmus MC: the Rotterdam Study (20,000 elderly subjects) and the Generation R birth-cohort (n=10,000 children +15,000 parents). He is collaborating with many (large) international epidemiological study populations and involved in several consortia, e.g., GEFOS, Reprogen, CHARGE, GIANT, MiBioGen. He is a member of the Research Steering Committee of the CHARGE consortium and was director of the Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Aging (NCHA). He has co-authored over 1060 papers (H-index 125) and is leading annual courses on complex genetics at Erasmus MC.

Dorian Haskard

Dorian Haskard obtained his first degree in physiology at the University of Oxford and then moved to the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London for clinical training. He developed his interest in vascular inflammation as a Fellow with Dr Morris Ziff at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas from 1984-1986. In 1987 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship to develop his own laboratory at the UMDS, Guy's Hospital. He joined the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medicine in 1990. In October 1995 he was appointed to a Personal Chair in Rheumatology and to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Sir John McMichael Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine. He was elected to be a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001. He has held a number of senior administrative positions at Imperial College London, including Head of the Section of Vascular Science and Head of the Division of Cardiovascular Clinical Science within the National Heart and Lung Institute, and Head of Immunology and Inflammation within the Department of Medicine. His research is focused on understanding the biological basis of atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation. He has a long-standing interest in Behçet's Disease, and is currently President of the International Society for Behçet's Disease. Current projects include: post-transcriptional regulation of inflammatory and thrombotic gene expression in vascular endothelial cells and macrophages; role of humoral immunity (antibodies and complement) in the pathobiology of atherosclerosis; use of humoral immune markers in risk stratification of cardiovascular events; and antibody-mediated molecular imaging of vascular inflammation.

Yohei Kirino

Yohei Kirino qualified with an MD from the Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Japan in 2001. After the internship, he went on to study for a Ph.D. in Department of Rheumatology at Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine (Prof. Yoshiaki Ishigatsubo lab). Under the supervision of Dr. Mitsuhiro Takeno, he investigated heme degrading pathways in Behçet's disease. From 2009 to 2012, he was trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Daniel Kastner lab in US National Institutes of Health, NHGRI. Along with Dr. Elaine Remmers and Prof. Ahmet Gül, he participated in genome-wide association studies of Behçet's disease, which led to the discovery of gene-gene interaction between HLA-B*51 and ERAP1 in Behçet's disease. After returning to Yokohama City University, as Assistant Prof., he studied the epidemiology of Behçet's disease. He reported that clinical phenotypes are changing in Japan during past 30 years. Also, he is studying the function of GWAS-identified loci. His team recently identified that CCR1 and IL10 eQTL effects in polarized macrophages in Behçet's disease. He received a Promotion Award from Japan College of Rheumatology in 2015. Kirino is currently a Councilor of Japan College of Rheumatology, and the member of Behçet's Disease Research Committee, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan (Chairperson Prof. Nobuhisa Mizuki).

Martin van Hagen

Prof. P.M. van Hagen is vice-president of the ICBD2018. Currently head of Clinical Immunology at the Department of Internal Medicine of the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and staff member of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital.
He completed a Bachelor's degree in Clinical Chemistry in 1979, followed by a course on Radioisotopes in Biochemistry in 1980 at the Interuniversitary Reactor Institute, Delft, and then he completed his medical degree in 1987 at the Erasmus Medical Center. His current academic responsibilities include running an annual course on immunology for dermatologists and rheumatologists and supervision of pre-doctoral research students. Prof. van Hagen has organized many (inter)national symposia and workshops and has presented many international lectures. He has authored or co-authored 125 articles published in international journals, and many more published at the national level as well as book chapters.

Annet van Royen-Kerkhof

Dr van Royen-Kerkhof is paediatrician-immunologist/rheumatologist, and Head of the Department of Pediatric Immunology, Rheumatology, Infectiology, Hematology and StemCell Transplantation of the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU). Her clinical work, focussing on pediatric systemic autoimmune disease, mainly juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), is closely interrelated with fundamental research from the Laboratory of Translational Immunology of the UMCU, and the Child Development & Exercise Center of the UMCU. Her fields of interest are development of biomarkers (e.g. galactine-9) to assess disease activity in JDM, and development of training programs to increase physical activity in children with musculoskeletal inflammation. Dr van Royen and co-workers actively contribute to research projects of centers for JDM worldwide. In addition, Dr van Royen-Kerkhof is Program Director of the Medical Research Master SUMMA, a program to train clinician-scientists.

Ilknur Tugal-Tutkun

Dr. Ilknur Tugal-Tutkun is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine and Director of the Uveitis Service at the Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Tugal-Tutkun received an MD from Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine in 1984 and completed a residency in ophthalmology at the same institution in 1991. She completed fellowship training at the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Service, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary in 1994-1995. She is a member of the International Ocular Inflammation Society, International Uveitis Study Group, American Uveitis Society, the Society for Ophthalmo-Immunoinfectiology in Europe, and the International Society for Behcet's Disease.

Mirjam van Velthoven

Dr. Van Velthoven started her carrier in ophthalmology in 2002 as a PhD student at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. In 2006 she received her PhD degree, based on her thesis: "En-face Optical Coherence Tomography of the Retina", which includes scientific publications in Retina, American Journal of Ophthalmology and Progress in Retina and Eye Research. In 2008 she received the "F.C. Donders" award for her thesis.
She continued her education as a resident in Ophthalmology at the Academic Medical Center, from which she graduated in march 2011. Following her residency, she was a fellow for one year at the Uveitis and Medical Retina Service of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital. Per September 2012 she works as a consultant at that department. She is actively involved in clinical research related to Optical Coherence Tomography and Uveitis.

Eun Ha Kang

Eun Ha graduated Seoul National University College of Medicine in 2000. He went on to study for a PhD in Immunology under Professor Yeong Wook Song at Seoul National University College of Medicine, which was awarded in 2007. She took a postdoctoral position in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and studied animal models of myositis with professor Ascherman in 2007-2009. She returned to Seoul National University Bundang hospital in 2009 as a faculty member. As a rheumatologist, she was interested in Behcet's Disease (BD) with a high prevalence in East Asia. She has studied clinical and immunogenetic characteristics of BD. Her group has been involved in identifying genetic risk factors for BD or BD related clinical features in Korean patients and the genome wide association study in Korea. Her recent research focuses on imputation based identification of BD susceptibility genes using previous Korean GWAs database.

Hok Bing Thio, MD, PhD, born 2 April 1960 in Surabaya (Indonesia), is a full-time dermatologist consultant and vice-chair at the department of dermatology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is also chair of the dermatology residency program. His PhD thesis (1999) was entitled "Clinical and basic aspects of fumarates in psoriasis", and his main research interests are basic and clinical immunology, particularly the 2 main chronic immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) of the skin, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (AD). Dr Thio has been the principal supervisor/investigator of clinical studies and translational research on psoriasis and AD.
Dr Thio has authored and co-authored several papers in peer-reviewed journals. More recently his field of interest has been focused on the interaction of the immune system and the gut- and skin microbiota. His clinical and scientific expertise with dimethylfumarate as immunomodulatory agent brings him into the field of various non-cutaneous IMIDs such as sarcoidosis, vasculitis, multiple sclerosis and lupus erythematosus. His other preferred topics of research include gut and skin microbiota, pruritus and the cutaneous impact of immunosenescence in ageing.