Speakers

Prof. Serge Adnot, Institut Mondor de Recherche Biomédicale, Créteil, France

Serge Adnot is Professor of Physiology (Medical school, Paris-Est-Creteil University, France), head of the clinical functional testing department at the Henri Mondor teaching hospital in Creteil, head of the INSERM respiratory-research team entitled ‘Role of cell senescence in pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases’ at the Créteil school of medicine, and co-coordinator of the DHU Aging Thorax-Vessels-Blood granted in January 2013.

S Adnot is focusing his research on lung tissue and pulmonary vascular remodelling, with special emphasis on the role for cell senescence in the pathogenesis of lung disease and/or as a new treatment target. His group has pioneered the concept that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with accelerated aging and that lung cell senescence is a major propeller of lung alterations. 

 

 

Prof. Arne Akbar, Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, University College London, UK

Professor Akbar’s work involves studies at the interface between academia, industry and clinical practice. He is internationally recognized for his studies on mechanisms that control the differentiation and senescence of human T lymphocytes and two of these studies were published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation1 and Nature Immunology2 and also a recent study in Nature Immunology in 20173. In addition, he has made seminal observations about how different CD45R isoforms can be used to discriminate between primed and T cells and these markers are now used in routine diagnostic practice. His group was one of the first to identify human regulatory T cells. He was closely involved in the development of Basilizximab (Simulect), used for the prevention of acute solid organ graft rejection (Akbar is a joint patent holder) that has been used to treat ~300,000 patients. His group have also developed cutaneous recall antigen challenge models in humans for the study of immunity in vivo that have been adopted by researchers worldwide and by Glaxo Smith-Klein. His research group consists of basic scientists and clinicians facilitating the translational aspects of his work. The benefit of this combination is exemplified by the recent award of a highly competitive multidisciplinary MRC Experimental Medicine Grant (Akbar PI) to investigate whether blocking p38MAP kinase in older humans in vivo enhances their responses to recall antigen challenge in the skin. These studies are based on original mechanistic data that was generated in the Akbar Lab.

 

 

Prof. John Beard, Department of Ageing and Life course, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Dr John Beard, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., is Director of the Department of Ageing and Life Course with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.  WHO has identified ageing as one of its priority areas of work, and Dr Beard leads a “whole of Organization” response that draws on the extensive capacity of the Organization’s many Departments, Regions and Country Offices.  Dr Beard was lead editor of the first World Report on Ageing and Health which was released in 2015. His team was responsible for drafting the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health which was adopted by WHO’s 194 Member States in 2016 and will frame how governments around the world, WHO and other partners can take concrete action to foster Healthy Ageing.  WHO ’s ongoing work on ageing and health also includes major global research and knowledge translation initiatives with a particular focus on low and middle income countries, as well as the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities which now includes around 400 cities in 40 countries.    

Dr Beard is an Australian physician and has held a range of senior public health and academic roles in Australia and the USA. He is past chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Ageing and a current member of their Council on the Future of Human Enhancement.  He is an honorary Professor with the University of Sydney and remains actively involved in several large international research projects, with a particular interest in the influence of the physical, social and economic environments on health.  He was a co-editor of the 2014 Lancet series on Ageing, and of the special issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization on “Women Beyond Reproduction”

 

 

Dr. Elena Biagi, Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Italy

Elena Biagi has an academic background in biotechnology and molecular biology. She got her master degree at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna in 2006, after a training period spent at the Molecular Ecology Lab of the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands. She has been working as a research fellow at the University of Bologna in the field of human gut microbiota for 10 years, studying the relationship between the gut microbiota composition and many physiological and pathological conditions in pediatric and adult age, as well as the relationship between healthy ageing, longevity and gut microbiota dynamics. Her current research interests also include the gut microbiota of wild animal models of peculiar human conditions, such as extreme longevity. She is been actively involved in a few large collaborative EU and national research projects and her scientific achievement are documented by more than 40 research articles.

 

 

Prof. Mieke Boots, University Medical Center, Groningen, The Netherlands

Professor Mieke Boots PhD: Cellular immunologist specialized in the immunology of ageing. She graduated in the Life Sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1985and defended her thesis on peptide vaccine development in 1991 at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. She then joined Organon, a pharmaceutical company in the Netherlands to specialize in drug discovery for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)/Cancer. She worked amongst others on development of a PD1 antagonist antibody (Keytruda/pembrolizumab) for the treatment of melanoma. In 2009 she was appointed adjunct professor at the Groningen University to liaise industry and academia in translational immunological research on healthy ageing. In 2011 she left Industry (MSD at the time) and became a full professor and principal Investigator at the UMCG in Groningen. Her main research topic is the immunology of ageing in relation to the development of late-onset autoimmune diseases such as large vessel vasculitis (giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatic) and RA. The focus of the research is on understanding the development of late-onset autoimmune diseases and the definition of (cellular) biomarkers as predictors of disease, relapse and recovery in giant cell arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica and RA.

 

 

Dr. Olga Britanova, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

 

Dr.Olga Britanova got her Ph. D. in Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov  Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Science in 2003. Since 2008 she has been working in Laboratory of Genomics of Adaptive Immunity headed by Prof. D. Chudakov. Previously, her research was focused on the study of the molecular pathways during embryonic development of the mamalian cerebral cortex. She investigated the role of the transcription factor Satb2 in determination of the cell fate identity of cortical neurons. Since 2008 she has been working in Laboratory of Genomics of Adaptive Immunity. Her scientific interests are focused on molecular immunology. Particularly, she has developed PCR-based techniques for TCR and BCR profiling analysis. Dr. Britanova conducts investigations of changes in diversity of TCR and BCR repertoires in health and disease. Employing quantitative TCR repertoire profiling she and her colleagues investigated changes in diversity and architecture of human TCR repertoires starting from umbilical cord blood to centenarian blood samples. 

 

 

Prof. Andrea Cossarizza, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine, Italy

Prof. Andrea Cossarizza is Full Professor of Pathology and Immunology and Director of the School of Specialization in Clinical Pathology and Clinical Biochemistry, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine. He has many years of experience in Immunology, and in particular in the development and use of new flow cytometric approaches in immunological research. His longstanding research commitments are centered into identifying the molecular and cellular basis and the involvement of the immune system in several diseases and infections, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, on the pathogenesis of sepsis, and physiopathological conditions, that include those of neurodegenerative origin (multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer) or human aging, either physiological (with the model of centenarians) and pathological (Down’s syndrome). During the past decade Prof. Cossarizza has built expertise in the clinical application of new methods for the identification of rare cellular subsets to patients affected by HIV infection and to patients undergoing liver transplantation, as well as in patients suffering of multiple sclerosis or patients during septic shock. Such methods are allowing a new and fine characterization of the functional activities of these cells.

Prof. Cossarizza has published 300 papers on peer-reviewed international journals, including Science, PNAS, Blood, etc.  He authored >90 papers or chapters on books or conference proceedings and presented 450 communications to conferences and meetings. His papers have received >23,000 citations. He is currently President Elect of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC).

 

 

Dr. Giuseppe Del Giudice, GSK Vaccines Srl, Siena, Italy

Translational Science Leader at GSK Vaccines Srl, Siena, Italy (previously Novartis Vaccines), he is responsible of activities (mainly related to human immunology and translational research) focusing on the understanding of how vaccine-related (adjuvants, formulations, delivery, etc) and host-related factors (age, genetic makeup, environment, pharmaceutical treatments, etc) can affect positively or negatively the immune response to vaccines against several viral and bacterial diseases, more specifically in the areas of influenza, vaccine adjuvants, conjugated vaccines, vaccination at the extremes of age, pertussis, meningitis, staphylococcal infections, etc.

From 1996 and 2005, he was responsible of the preclinical research at Chiron Vaccines, Siena, mainly in the areas of the development of bacterial vaccines and of  mucosal vaccines.

Before, he spent 12 years in Switzerland studying the immune response to malaria parasites first at the University of Geneva, then at the University of Lausanne, where he got the position of Professeur Agrégé. Concomitantly he was appointed medical officer (staff member) at the World Health Organization Headquarters, Division of Communicable Diseases.

He received his MD degree at the University of Milan, where he also got the Specialisation in Infectious Diseases. He then received his PhD in Immunology at the University of Geneva.

He is author and co-author of over 270 publications, member of several international scientific societies, and member of international non-governmental non-profit scientific committees.

 

 

Dr. Guillaume Dorothée, Inserm UMRS 938, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France

Guillaume Dorothée is a group leader and senior investigator (CR1) in neuroimmunology at the french National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in the Research Center of Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris, France. He obtained his Ph.D in Immunology from University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris 6) in 2003, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Curie Institute in Paris. His current main research interests focus on understanding the role of neuroimmune interactions in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, and developing innovative immunotherapy approaches and immune-based biomarkers in such conditions. Based on a translational research approach, a particular focus addresses the interplay between cellular adaptive immunity and innate neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Guillaume Dorothée is a Scientific Council member of Association France Alzheimer, and an Executive/Steering Committee member of the French Society for NeuroImmunology (CFNI), and of the International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART) – PIA “Immunity and Neurodegeneration”.

 

Prof. Harmut Geiger, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Stem Cell aging, University of Ulm, Germany

Hartmut Geiger studied chemistry and biochemistry at the Universities of Karlsruhe and Witten/Herdecke, Germany,where he completed his Master of Science degree in 1995. He then received his Dr. rer. nat. at the University of Freiburg in 1999. He prepared his doctoral thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Immunbiology in Freiburg. His post-doctoral work then took him to the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA, as a research fellow of the German Academy of Natural Sciences, Leopoldina, in the area of stem cell genetics. In 2002 he was appointed assistant professor in the Division of Experimental Hematology, Department of Pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA,. Hartmut was then appointed research professor and head of the clinical research group KFO 142 “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Ageing” at the University of Ulm, Germany in 2008. He was appointed Director (W3 with leadership role) of the Institute for Molecular Medicine at the University of Ulm in 2013. He holds a dual appointment with Cincinnati Children’s. He has accomplished research achievements in the following fields with high translational potential: Functional rejuvenation of aged stem cells via inhibition of RhoGTPAses, target-oriented, therapeutic manipulation of adult hematopoietic stem cells for radiation protection and intelligent and innovative stem cell genetics.

 

 

Prof. James Kirkland, Director, Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

James L. Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at Mayo Clinic and Noaber Foundation Professor of Aging Research. Dr. Kirkland’s research is on cellular senescence, age-related adipose tissue and metabolic dysfunction, and development of agents and strategies for targeting fundamental aging mechanisms to treat age-related chronic diseases and disabilities. He published the first article about drugs that clear senescent cells – senolytic agents. He is a scientific advisory board member for several companies and academic organizations. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, President-Elect of the American Federation for Aging Research, and past chair of the Biological Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America. He holds honorary appointments at Boston University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is a board certified specialist in internal medicine, geriatrics, and endocrinology and metabolism.

 

 

Dr. Jean-Charles Lambert, Inserm 1167, Institut Pasteur de Lille, France

Jean-Charles Lambert is a specialist of Alzheimer’s disease as indicated by his professional route. He started his research by working on the implication of the APOE gene in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and defended his Ph.D in Genetics and Neurosciences at the University of Lille I, (1999, France). After receiving his PhD, he moved to the University of Birmingham (UK, Marie Curie fellowship) and continued to be involved in the understanding of the APOE role in the AD process using molecular and biological methodologies. At the end of 2001, he was recruited at Inserm as a tenured scientist at the Pasteur Institute of Lille. In 2006, he became the leader of the Inserm team “Research for molecular determinants of neurodegenerative diseases” at Inserm U744 and in 2008, he was nominated Inserm research director.

The projects developed in his team rely on integrated approaches including the development of epidemiological approaches, high-throughput genomic methodologies and an essential bio-informatic backbone. Furthermore, this also implies the development of pertinent in vitro and in vivo experimental models from the most interesting genetic determinants characterized.

 

 

Dr. Thibaud Lebouvier, Memory Centre of Lille University Hospital, Lille, France

Dr. Thibaud Lebouvier is a neurologist and neurobiologist specialised in neurocognitive disorders, with a particular interest for vasculodegenerative interactions in Alzheimer’s disease and non-AD dementias. He currently works in the Memory Centre of Lille University Hospital lead by Prof. Florence Pasquier.

 

 

Dr. Camille Locht, Center of Infection and Immunity of Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, France

Dr. Camille Locht holds currently a position as Research Director at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and, since 2010, is the founding director of the Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille on the campus of the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France. He has obtained his PhD at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1984. After a 3-years post-doctoral stay at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the USA, where he started to work on pertussis and cloned the pertussis toxin genes, he joined SmithKline – Beecham (now GSK) to help developing acellular pertussis vaccines. Since 1989 he is the head of a research laboratory at the Institut Pasteur de Lille, where he has been the Scientific Director from 2002 to 2013.

His research interest is in molecular pathogenesis of respiratory infections, essentially pertussis and tuberculosis, with the long-term aim to develop new tools to combat these diseases. A very powerful molecular typing system for mycobacteria, invented in his laboratory has already reached the market, and a live attenuated nasal pertussis vaccine developed in his laboratory has now successfully completed phase I clinical trials and is currently in clinical development. He also has discovered a protective mycobacterial latency antigen, called heparin-binding haemagglutinin (HBHA), which is now in late stage pre-clinical development as an anti-tuberculosis vaccine candidate. He has authored more than 300 international publications, book chapters and patents and has obtained several research awards.

 

 

Prof. Marina Lynch, School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Marina Lynch heads the Neuroinflammation Research Group, in Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin of which she was a previous director.  In 2006 she was the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Conway Review Lecturer and Silver medal recipient and she was elected as a member to the Royal Irish Academy in 2009. 

The current team comprises 7 postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers. The research team focuses on investigating the triggers that lead to microglial activation and consequently the neuroinflammatory changes that occur in the brain with age, especially in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and the impact these have on neuronal function.  Current project include analysis of the role of the inflammasome and metabolic changes in neuroinflammation.

 

 

Prof. Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Dr de Magalhaes graduated in Microbiology in 1999 from the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia in his hometown of Porto, Portugal, and then obtained his PhD in 2004 from the University of Namur in Belgium, where he worked in the _Ageing and Stress Group_ led by Dr Olivier Toussaint. Following a postdoc with genomics pioneer Prof George Church at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, in 2008 Dr de Magalhaes was recruited to the University of Liverpool in the UK to develop his own group on genomic approaches to ageing. Now a reader (equivalent to associate professor), Dr de Magalhaes leads the _Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group_ (http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~aging/ [3]) which focuses on understanding the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms of ageing. The group’s research integrates different strategies, but its focal point is developing and applying experimental and computational methods that help bridge the gap between genotype and phenotype, a major challenge of the post-genome era, and help decipher the human genome and how it regulates complex processes like ageing. Notably, his group is a world-leader in employing genomics and bioinformatics to study ageing with pioneering work in studying gene networks of ageing and in sequencing and analyzing genomes from long-lived species. Dr de Magalhaes has given over 100 invited talks, including a TEDx talk, and his research has been widely featured  in the popular press (_BBC_, _CNN_, the _Washington Post_, the _Financial Times_ and many others).

 

 

Dr. Masashi Narita, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, UK

Masashi Narita has been a group leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge since 2006. He obtained his MD in 1992 (Osaka, Japan) and finished his PhD (Osaka, Japan) in 2000. He then joined Scott Lowe’s group as a postdoc at the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory, where he contributed to the identification of senescence-associated heterochromatic foci (SAHF). Currently his group is focused on mechanisms of diverse senescence effector programs. 

 

 

Professor Magdalena Plebanski, Monash University, Australia

 

Professor Magdalena Plebanski (BScHon, MA, MBA, PhD) is an immunologist, internationally recognized for her pioneering work in the field of vaccines by many awards such as the Howard Hughes International Scholar Award (USA) and the NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (Australia). She directs the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Unit at the Department of Immunology and Pathology, Monash University, Australia, as well as being the Head of the Therapeutics Division at the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME), leveraging interdisciplinary collaborations between engineers and clinicians to develop new approaches to promote human health. Her primary interest is to develop practical and affordable vaccines against complex diseases, specifically malaria and cancer, and to this end she pioneered the use of synthetic nanoparticles, opening the field of nanotechnology to vaccine development, now a highly active and recognized discipline. Her nanoparticle studies also opened to door to new nanotechnology applications to prevent allergic airways disease. She has 143 peer-reviewed publications (plus books and abstracts), including field changing findings on vaccines, and on immune-evasion mechanisms used by parasites and cancer cells that can interfere with vaccine efficacy, including papers in the top world-class journals, Nature Biotechnology, Lancet, Science, Nature, Immunity, Nature Medicine, Plos Pathogens, Nature Communications to name a few. She has 100 patents in 14 patent families and successfully progressed her findings into human trials and commercialization in diverse roles as CSO, CEO and Director in successful biotechnology companies internationally. Her current interests involve the optimised application of vaccines and chemotherapy to vulnerable populations such as the elderly, as well as to patients with cancer.  To this effect she has established a number of human clinical trials, including currently a trial of DTP and Flu vaccines in the elderly.

 

 

Dr. Michael Sieweke, Inserm-Heimholz joint research laboratory, Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille Luminy, France

Michael Sieweke, head of the group “Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology”, is research director at the CNRS, a group leader at the Immunology Center in Marseille and is leading a Franco-German research group affiliated with the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin.

The principal research interests of his group are cell identity, cell fate decisions and self-renewal mechanisms in stem cells and macrophages as well as the role of macrophages in regeneration. Michael acquired his PhD from the University of Berkeley, did his post-doc training at the EMBL in Heidelberg/Germany with Thomas Graf and is since 1999 head of the “Stem Cell and Macrophage Biology” group at the CIML in Marseille/France. In 2014 he was elected EMBO-Member and last year he was one of the laureates of the prestigious ERC Advanced Grants. This year he was awarded with the silver medal of the CNRS.

 

 

Prof. Bart Staels, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, France

Bart Staels, PhD., is Full Professor, University of Lille - Hospital Practitioner, CHU Lille (PU-PH), Lille, France. He is director of the Inserm Unit UMR 1011 with laboratories (approx.120 persons) on the campus of the Institut Pasteur de Lille and the Research Pole of the University of Lille, Lille, France.

Pr. Staels earned his doctorate at the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium. He completed postdoctoral work at the Metabolic Research Unit, University of California, San Francisco and was postdoctoral research fellow of the Reverse Cholesterol Transport/Atherosclerosis Project, BioAvenir, Vitry sur Seine, France.

Pr. Staels’ research focuses on molecular pharmacology of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including dyslipidemia and type 2 diabetes. He particularly studies the role of nuclear receptors (such as the PPARs, FXR, Rev-erba and RORa) in the control of inflammation and lipid and glucose homeostasis as well as the transcriptional mechanisms involved. Pr. Staels was among the first to identify a crucial role for the nuclear receptor PPARa in the control of lipid and glucose metabolism as well as cardiovascular function in humans. He elucidated the action mechanism of the fibrate class of drugs that are currently used in the treatment of lipid disorders and worked also on the action mechanism of the glitazones, a class of anti-diabetic drugs. His work has identified the PPAR transcription factors as potential drug targets for the treatment of diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and NAFLD, which contributed to the development of several novel therapeutic compounds, two of which are currently in phase III of clinical development.

To date, Pr. Staels has published more than 820 papers, including 200 review articles, and several book chapters. He received the ISI citations award (citation number of 47169; h-index factor of 112 and average citation of 57/article). Based on the French 2007 Necker Institute dossier, Pr.Staels was between 2000-2005 among the 35 french researchers with the highest publication volume.

 

 

Wouter A.A. de Steenhuijsen Piters, University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands

Wouter A.A. de Steenhuijsen Piters is a medical doctor and Ph.D. student at the University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU), The Netherlands, under the supervision of prof. dr. Debby Bogaert and prof. dr. Elisabeth Sanders. He studies the microbiome of the upper respiratory tract in association with respiratory health and disease, focusing on bioinformatic processing and data-analysis tools to answer health-related research questions. He currently works at the University of Edinburgh, UK, where he studies the development of a healthy microbiota in relation to environmental drivers and health consequences.