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Plenary Program


Friday March 13

Planetary health: Why health matters for human civilization
Richard Horton (United Kingdom)

Richard Horton WebsiteRichard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.  He was born in London and is half Norwegian. He qualified in physiology and medicine from the University of Birmingham in 1986. He then joined The Lancet in 1990, moving to New York as North American Editor in 1993. Richard was the first President of the World Association of Medical Editors and he is a Past-President of the US Council of Science Editors.  He is an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, and the University of Oslo. He has also received honorary doctorates in medicine from the University of Birmingham, UK, and the University of Umea, Sweden. He is a Council member of both the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences and the University of Birmingham. In 2011, he was appointed co-chair of the independent Expert Review Group overseeing delivery of the UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy of Women's and Children's Health. He is a Senior Associate of the UK health-policy think-tank, the Nuffield Trust. Richard received the Edinburgh medal in 2007 and the Dean’s medal from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2009. In 2011, he was elected as Foreign Associate of the US Institute of Medicine. He has written two reports for the Royal College of Physicians of London: Doctors in Society (2005) and Innovating for Health (2009). He wrote Health Wars (2003) about contemporary issues in medicine and health, and he writes regularly for The New York Review of Books and the TLS. He has a strong interest in global health and medicine’s contribution to our wider culture.


Saturday March 14

Donald Seldin Lecture - Continuum from rare disorders to general population risk
Olivier Devuyst (Switzerland)

Olivier Devuyst WebsiteOlivier Devuyst, MD, PhD, is Full Professor in the Institute of Physiology of the UZH and invited Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) Medical School in Brussels, Belgium. He has a joint appointment in the Division of Nephrology of the USZ in Zurich and the Saint-Luc Academic Hospital in Brussels. Dr. Devuyst and his group investigate the molecular mechanisms of the transport of water and solutes across epithelia, and the pathophysiology of inherited renal tubular diseases and their progression. These studies, which have generated more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, are funded by national and international agencies, including the European Union (FP6, FP7), the Baxter Extramural Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Devuyst has given more than 180 invited lectures and has been the laureate of several international prizes (including the Galien Prize in 2003, the International Spa Foundation Prize in 2007, and the Prix de la Fondation du Rein in 2009). He serves in the Editorial Board of Kidney International, Pflügers Archiv and Frontiers in Renal and Epithelial Physiology, and he is Associate/Speciality Editor of Peritoneal Dialysis International and Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. Dr. Devuyst has been elected at the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium in 2005. Since 2010, he coordinates the Working Group on Inherited Kidney Disorders (WGIKD) of the European Renal Association (ERA-EDTA).


Hypertension and kidney disease: The fault is not in our stars, but may be in our embryos
Barry M. Brenner (USA)

Barry Brenner WebsiteBarry M. Brenner earned his M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1962, completed internal medicine residency at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1966 and continued his career in research positions at the National Heart Institute, and the University of California, San Francisco before arriving at Harvard as the Samuel A. Levine Professor of Medicine in 1976. Since then, Dr. Brenner has held various positions at the Brigham and Women's Hospital including: Director, Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Physiology, Director, Renal Division 1979-2001 and since 2001, Director Emeritus. During his Directorship, the Brigham Renal Division was voted America’s leading nephrology program by U.S. News and World Report, a ranking that continues to the present day. His basic and clinical research has focused on mechanisms of glomerular function in health and disease, for which he is generally considered the world’s leading authority.

Dr. Brenner has served as officer in many societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation (Councilor, Vice-President), American Society of Nephrology (Councilor, President), American Society of Hypertension (Founding Member, President), International Society of Nephrology (Councilor and Co-Chair, Commission for Global Advancement of Nephrology), American Association of Physicians (Councilor) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (Chair, Section on Medical Sciences). He has held 25 editorial board appointments, published more than 650 scientific articles, edited 48 books and has participated in over 300 visiting lectures and/or professorships. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, London; Jean Hamburger Award and Amgen Prize, International Society of Nephrology; Richard Bright Award, American Society of Hypertension; Donald W. Selden and David M. Hume Awards of the National Kidney Foundation (USA); Novartis International Award, Council for High Blood Pressure Research, American Heart Assoc; and Homer W. Smith (Basic Science), John P. Peters (Clinical Science) and Robert G. Narins (Teacher/Educator ) Awards of the American Society of Nephrology (the sole recipient of all three major awards in the history of the Society. He has also received honorary degrees from Harvard University (A.M., 1977), Long Island University (D.Sc. 1987), Université de Paris, Pierre et Marie Curie (D. Med. Sci., 1992), Universidad Complutense de Madrid (M.D., 2002) and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. Dr. Brenner was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.


Sunday March 15

Claude Amiel Lecture - Intestinal microbiota in health and disease
Stanislav Dusko Ehrlich (France)

Stanislav Dusko Ehrlich WebsiteStanislav Dusko Ehrlich was trained in Organic Chemistry at the University of Zagreb, Croatia and obtained a PhD degree in Biochemistry at the University Paris VII, France. He was a research associate of Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Prize winner, in the Department of Genetics, Stanford University Medical School, California. He founded and directed Microbial Genetics Research Unit and the Microbiology Department at the National institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).  He also founded a start-up company Enterome, developing microbiome-based biomarkers. He is Research Director Emeritus at INRA, Chief Scientific officer of Enterome and Professor at King’s College London.  His research interests are in Human Microbiome; he coordinated the EU-funded project MetaHIT and is the PI of the French Government Investissement d’Avenir 19 M€ grant MetaGenopolis. He authored or co-authored over 330 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 50 book chapters and 10 patents and holds an H index of 71. He is a laureate of the career INRA Excellence of the Agricultural Research Award, member of the French Academy of Agriculture, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the European Molecular Biology Organisation and the American Academy of Microbiology and is Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite and Légion d'Honneur.


Stewart Cameron Lecture - Epigenetics: Finding the missing heritability of complex diseases
Katalin Suszstak (USA)

Katalin Suszstak WebsiteKatalin Suszstak is a physician-scientist. Dr. Suszstak received integrated training as an MD/PhD followed by post-graduate training in Internal Medicine and in Nephrology. She also completed a Master of Clinical Research program to better understand clinical research study design and analysis. Currently Dr. Suszstak practices medicine and runs a research laboratory.

Work in the laboratory is aimed towards the understanding of molecular pathways that govern chronic kidney disease development. There are two general areas of interest: hypothesis generating (high through-put, translational) and mechanistic studies. Over the past 10 years the laboratory banked and analyzed (combined genetic, epigenetic and genomic approaches) a large number of healthy and diseased human kidney tissue samples. They hypothesize that integrative analysis of epigenetic and genetic settings in diseased cells can provide a rational basis for more accurately modeling the critical biological pathways involved in mediating the progressive phenotype in individual patients.

Currently there are 7 post-doctoral fellows and one graduate student in the laboratory. Recently one of the trainees, Dr. Kimberley Reidy received an NIH K08 award and started her independent laboratory. Over the years Dr. Suszstak has trained a large number of clinical and research fellows in her laboratory and is actively involved in different clinical and research training programs at the University of Pennsylvania.


Monday March 16

The 2015 ISN Hugh de Wardener Lecture - Why and how aging makes us sick?
Tom Kirkwood (United Kingdom)

Tom Kirkwood WebsiteTom Kirkwood CBE is Dean for Ageing at Newcastle University and Director of the Newcastle Initiative for Changing Age, having previously been Director of the Institute for Ageing and Health from 2004-2011. Educated in biology and mathematics at Cambridge and Oxford, he worked previously at the National Institute for Medical Research and at the University of Manchester. His research is focused on the basic science of ageing and on understanding how genes as well as non-genetic factors, such as nutrition, influence longevity and health in old age. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and received several international prizes for his research. His books include the award-winning ‘Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Ageing’, ‘Chance, Development and Ageing’ (with Caleb Finch) and ‘The End of Age’ based on his BBC Reith Lectures in 2001.


Brenner/Dirks Lecture - Role of vaccines in making the world a better place for children
Shabir A. Madhi (South Africa)

Shabir Madhi WebsiteShabir A. Madhi, MD, PhD, is Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also Director of the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit and Research Chair in Vaccine Preventable Diseases of the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation. Dr. Madhi completed his undergraduate and postgraduate training at the University of the Witwatersrand and qualified as a pediatrician in 1996 and is registered as a Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist.

Dr. Madhi has been involved in research on vaccine-preventable diseases and on infections in HIV-infected children for 17 years. He has undertaken some of the pivotal studies that have led to policies and guidelines in South Africa and those issued by agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). His research demonstrating a reduction in childhood morbidity with the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) and rotavirus vaccines prompted South Africa to be the first in Africa to introduce these vaccines in national immunization programs. He is currently involved in epidemiological, immunological and clinical studies on immunization of pregnant women with influenza vaccine, pertussis vaccine and GBS vaccine; which are aimed at protecting young infants from disease. Dr. Madhi has contributed nine book chapters and over 175 peer reviewed articles.


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