Plenary speakers

Heike Bischoff-Ferrari

Zurich, Switzerland


Personalised medicine in the elderly – how to avoid overtreatment

Heike Bischoff-Ferrari is Director of the Centre on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. After completing her clinical training at the University of Basel Switzerland, Dr. Bischoff-Ferrari undertook a fellowship at the Department of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and was appointed to the faculty at Harvard Medical School from 2002 until 2005. In 2002, she obtained a Master of Public Health Degree in Clinical Effectiveness, and in 2008, a Doctor of Public Health Degree from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. In 2005 she took a primary faculty appointment at the Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical Medicine at the University Hospital in Zurich Switzerland, where she has been Head of Clinical Research since May 2007. In February 2007, she received a Swiss National Foundation Professorship and in September 2009 she started her current position. Dr. Bischoff-Ferrari’s research focuses on improving musculoskeletal health in older individuals, specifically, nutritional and exercise interventions in the prevention of falls, fractures, and osteoarthritis.

Johan Björkegren

Stockholm, Sweden


Implementing systems biology to personalise medicine

Johan Björkegren is currently Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. He obtained his MD at the Karolinska University Hospital, and his PhD at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. His early work explored the role of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in coronary artery disease, and postdoctoral studies in mouse models established the hepatic gene microsomal triglyceride transfer protein as a key target to lower plasma cholesterol levels and reduce atherosclerosis. His subsequent research has focused on the use of multi-modal big data analysis to create reliable network models of human biology and cardiovascular disease. This has been achieved using a range of clinical datasets that combine detailed clinical characteristics, including imaging, genomics, and proteomics data. Together with Dr. Arno Ruusalepp, Tartu University Hospital, Estonia, Dr. Björkegren initiated the Stockholm-Tartu Atherosclerosis Reverse Network Engineering Task (STARNET) biobank from coronary artery disease (CAD) patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Subsequent work using this biobank has led to identification of RNA sequence data from up to nine CAD-relevant tissues, which will be critical to generating network models that predict the risk for and clinical outcomes of CAD.

Alberico L. Catapano

Milan, Italy

The Changing Face of HoFH

Future challenges in the guidelines


What is the critical evidence behind the guideline

The Changing Face of HoFH

Therapeutic Approaches: The EAS way




Panel Discussion with Live Q&A

The Changing Face of HoFH

Welcome and introduction

The Changing Face of HoFH

Panel discussion & Conclusion

Stefano del Prato

Pisa, Italy


Prevention of cardiovascular diseases by glucose lowering drugs

Stefano Del Prato is Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the School of Medicine, University of Pisa and Chief of the Section of Diabetes, University Hospital of Pisa, Italy. He graduated from the University of Padova, Italy and undertook postgraduate specialisation in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine. Professor Del Prato’s main research interests focus on the physiopathology and therapy of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. He is a member of many societies and associations including the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the American Diabetes Association. Professor Del Prato is past Vice-President of the EASD, past President and Honorary President of the Italian Society of Diabetology, and the current Chairman of the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD). Professor Del Prato is the recipient of many awards including the Prize of the Italian Society of Diabetology for outstanding scientific activity and the Honorary Professorship at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredya in Lima.

Stephanie Dimmeler

Frankfurt, Germany


Will non-coding RNAs change our understanding of vascular biology and disease?

Stanley Hazen

Cleveland, USA


Taming the gut microbiota

Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, is chair of the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine in the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He holds the Jan Bleeksma Chair in Vascular Cell Biology and Atherosclerosis. Dr. Hazen obtained a Bachelor degree and dual MD /PhD degree in Biophysical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, with subsequent clinical training in Internal Medicine in the subspecialty of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis. He has made seminal discoveries linking gut microbial pathways to cardiovascular disease and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, thrombosis, heart failure and chronic kidney disease. Dr. Hazen has received numerous awards, including election to the American Federation for Medical Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he was named as a Distinguished Scientist by the American Heart Association.

Gökhan S. Hotamışlıgil

Boston, USA


Foundations of immunometabolism and implications for metabolic health and disease

Gökhan S. Hotamışlıgil, MD, PhD.

Harvard University


James S. Simmons Chair of Genetics & Metabolism,

Director, Sabri Ülker Center for Metabolic Research

Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health


Department of Molecular Metabolism

Assoc. Member, Harvard-MIT Broad Institute,

Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center


M.D. Ankara University, Ph.D. Harvard University  

Dr. Hotamisligil’s research efforts focus on the molecular and genetic basis of common and complex metabolic diseases. His research examines the identity and molecular mechanisms of adaptive response systems in health and disease with a focus on metabolism. He is an internationally recognized leader with many seminal contributions including discoveries defined inflammatory origins of obesity and diabetes which are the pillars of the field of immunometabolism. His research group identified the role of endoplasmic reticulum as a key locus of metabolic and immunometabolic adaptation, identified key mechanisms that relate to ER’s metabolic functions, such as the most recent discovery of ER-bound Nrf1 as a guardian of metabolism, and identified molecules that can target ER, some of which are in clinical trials. Dr. Hotamisligil’s studies also led to the identification of new lipid and peptide hormones and their mechanisms of action.  Dr. Hotamisligil pursues interdisciplinary paths and collaborations towards development of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies against chronic metabolic and inflammatory diseases. These programs have driven several drug development platforms, some currently in clinical trials. His published work has resulted in >200 scientific manuscripts which have received >70,000 citations with an h factor>100 and resulted in multiple patents.

Dr. Hotamisligil has been recognized with many fellowships and awards during his training from the Markey and Pew Foundations, and the American Diabetes Association. He’s an elected member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences and the recipient of the 2004 TUBITAK Science Award. Dr. Hotamisligil’s scholarly recognitions include the Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment Award of the American Diabetes Association, the Wertheimer Award of the International Association of Obesity, Science Award of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, Roy Greep Award for Outstanding Research of the International Endocrine Society, the International Danone Prize, and most recently the EASD-NovoNordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence.   

Further information could be obtained at:

John J.P. Kastelein

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


New therapeutic approaches

John J.P. Kastelein is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam, where he held the Strategic Chair of Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease. After completing his medical studies in Amsterdam, he trained in medical genetics, lipidology and molecular biology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1986-1988). Upon his return to the Netherlands, he was awarded a doctorate (Cum Laude) and in 1989 he founded the Lipid Research Clinic at AMC, which has become part of the Department of Vascular Medicine. The most important concept in Dr. Kastelein’s research career is the “extreme genetics” approach, in which the study of rare human disorders that are associated with premature coronary disease have broader relevance for the understanding of the etiology of heart disease. This approach has been very successful, most notably in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), now recognized as the paradigm for the relationship between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and heart disease. In 1995, Dr. Kastelein initiated a foundation for the active identification of patients with classical FH in the Netherlands (StoeH). Dr. Kastelein was president of the Dutch Atherosclerosis Society, is a member of the Royal Dutch Society for Medicine & Physics, the Council for Basic Science of the American Heart Association and the European Atherosclerosis Society, a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, and a board member of the International Task Force for CHD Prevention. Among his many awards, Professor Kastelein received the Anitschkow Prize from the European Atherosclerosis Society in 2014. He is ranked among the top 100 of the most influential clinical researchers globally.

Ziad Mallat

Cambridge, UK


Immune modulation in atherosclerosis

Ziad Mallat is the British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, UK. He received his MD and qualification in Cardiovascular Diseases from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie in 1996, and his Ph.D. in Vascular Biology, Thrombosis and Haemostasis from University of Paris-Diderot in 1999. He subsequently joined INSERM, Paris in 1998 as Assistant Research Professor, became Associate Professor in 2002 and Research Professor in 2007. His research aims to understand the role of immune responses in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. Professor Mallat was the first to identify a major atheroprotective role of regulatory T cells and associated anti-inflammatory cytokines, IL-10 and TGF-β. More recently, he identified selective pathogenic and protective roles for defined B cell and innate lymphoid cell subsets in atherosclerosis and cardiac remodelling following ischaemic injury. His basic science research is complemented by proof-of-concept clinical trials in patients with coronary artery disease. Professor Mallat is Associate Editor of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Atherosclerosis, Consulting Editor for Cardiovascular Research, and serves on the Editorial Board of Circulation Research, and JCI Insight.

Jörg Menche

Vienna, Austria


AI in CVD & beyond

Jörg Menche is Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Menche obtained his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, specializing in network theory, before undertaking postdoctoral studies at Northeastern University and at the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, USA. In close collaboration with Joseph Loscalzo from Harvard Medical School and Marc Vidal from Dana Farber Cancer Institute he applied tools and concepts from network theory to elucidate the complex machinery of interacting molecules that constitutes the basis of (patho-)physiological states. At CeMM, Dr. Menche applies diverse computational approaches to help understand and interpret the large datasets derived from a broad range of post-genomic technologies, ranging from next-generation sequencing of genomes, epigenomes and transcriptomes, to high-throughput proteomics and chemical screening. Two major areas of interest of his research group are network-based approaches to rare diseases and understanding the basic principles of drug-drug interactions.

Nicole Probst-Hensch

Basel, Switzerland


What is the environment doing to cardiovascular health?

Nicole Probst-Hensch is Professor and Head of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland. After completing postdoctoral studies at the University of California and University of Southern California, USA, Dr. Probst-Hensch was Head, Zürich Cancer Registry and Department of Molecular Epidemiology, University of Zürich (2002-2008) and in 2008 was appointed Professor, School of Medicine, University of Zürich. From 2008 to 2009 she was Director, National Institute of Cancer Epidemiology and Registration, University of Zürich & Head, Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, University of Zürich, Switzerland, before her current appointment. Among other memberships and consultancies, Professor Probst-Hensch is a Fellow of the Swiss School of Public Health, and a Founding Member of the Public Health Genomics Task Force Switzerland. Her associations include the American Association for Cancer Research; the Society for Epidemiologic Research; and the European Respiratory Society. She is a member of the editorial board of Public Health Genomics and Environmental Health Perspectives.

Gregory Roth

Seattle, USA


Global perspectives of cardiovascular disease, and impact of risk factors

Lale Tokgözoglu

Ankara, Turkey

The Changing Face of HoFH

What is new in the guidelines, and what will it change for the clinician?


What is the landscape on lipid management today?


Panel Discussion with Live Q&A

Sotirios Tsimikas

La Jolla, USA


The lipoprotein(a) story - from risk factor to causality to clinical trials

Sotirios (Sam) Tsimikas is Professor of Medicine and Director of Vascular Medicine at the University of California San Diego – School of Medicine. After completing his MD degree in 1988 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Tsimikas undertook Internal Medicine training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He completed separate fellowships in Cardiovascular Disease, Atherosclerosis, and Interventional Cardiology at the University of California, San Diego, from 1992-1997. Dr. Tsimikas’ clinical interests are focused in his role as Director of the Vascular Medicine Program in treating a wide variety of patients across the continuum of high-risk primary prevention to endovascular intervention. Dr. Tsimikas is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions.

Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen


Anne Tybjærg-Hansen

Copenhagen, Denmark


Can polygenic scores reach clinical practice?

Anne Tybjærg-Hansen is Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Section for Molecular Genetics, at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, as well as Professor of Clinical Biochemistry with Focus on Translational Molecular Cardiology at the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. After completing her medical degree at the University of Copenhagen, she undertook additional studies at the University of Copenhagen and the Lipid Clinic at Righospitalet, Hagedorn Research Laboratory, Gentofte, Denmark, and the British Heart Foundation’s Molecular Biology Research Group, London, UK. Professor Tybjaerg-Hansen has made major contributions to the understanding of the genetics of lipoproteins and their association with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. She is a member of the steering committees of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen General Population Study, and a member of the European Atherosclerosis Consensus Panel, contributing to statements on familial hypercholesterolaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein, and lipoprotein(a). Professor Tybjaerg-Hansen was the recipient of the Anitschkow Award presented by the European Atherosclerosis Society in 2018.

Jan van Deursen

Rochester, USA


Age, the unpreventable risk factor - targeting senescence

Jan Van Deursen is Vita Valley Professor of Senescence at Mayo Clinic, where he chairs the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Professor of Pediatrics at The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Dr van Deursen holds a BSc in Biology, MSc in Molecular Biology, and PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands and serves on numerous national and international grant review panels. Professor Van Deursen has a longstanding interest in questions related to cell cycle control and cellular responses to stress. He helped establish the concept that, with ageing and development of age-related disease, wasteful transformed cells that cannot divide – “senescent cells”- litter tissues and demonstrated that clearance of these cells extends both health span and lifespan. He established that BubR1 (an essential mitotic checkpoint protein) is causally implicated in cancer and ageing and provided the first in vivo evidence that p16-positive senescent cells drive ageing and age-related disease. Dr Van Deursen has been recognised by numerous awards, and has a strong commitment to supporting the successful careers of young up-and-coming scientists.

Joseph L. Witztum

San Diego, USA


The Anitschkow Lecture - About Professor Witztum’s Research

Professor Witztum is the Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, USA. He is also Associate Editor of major scientific journals in the field of atherosclerosis research, and in 2016, stepped down after 13 years as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Lipid Research. Professor Witztum received his Bachelor’s Degree from Vanderbilt University, where he graduated magna cum laude, and an MD from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, followed by a fellowship and faculty position in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine. He has been at the University of California, San Diego since 1979.

In addition, Professor Witztum has contributed to atherosclerosis research as an excellent mentor, training many scientists who are now well-recognised professors in Universities worldwide.