Speakers

Speakers

Dr. Carlo Dionisi-Vici

Italy

Dr. Carlo Dionisi-Vici, paediatrician is Head of the Unit of Metabolic Disease at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Research Hospital in Rome, Italy; is President of the Italian Society for Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Neonatal Screening (SIMMESN) and Council member of the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (SSIEM). His clinical and research focus includes organic acidemias, urea cycle defects, homocystinurias, management of metabolic emergencies, mitochondrial and lysosomal disorders and hyperinsulinism. He has conducted translational research for the development of guidelines in inborn errors of metabolism and applied new technologies to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

Dr. Tawfeg Ben-Omran

Qatar

Dr. Ben-Omran received his speciality training in clinical & metabolic genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Canada. He has obtained both FRCPS & FCCMG in Medical Genetics in 2006.  Currently, he is a senior consultant and Head of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics at Hamad Medical Corporation. He is an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar & New York-USA. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital-USA.

He contributes to the body of published knowledge in clinical and metabolic genetics, with over 60 published articles in peer reviewed journals, book chapters and abstracts. He is reviewer for many clinical genetics journals.

He is an active clinical researcher, collaborating on projects with local, regional & international communities.  He is a lead primary investigator in many high profile research projects & clinical trials to evaluate the long-term effects of enzyme replacement therapy in patients with different lysosomal storage disorders. His main scientific interests include genetics of brain malformation& microcephaly, white matter disorders, dysmorphology, autosomal recessive disorders. In addition, Dr. Ben-Omran is an external advisor and expert for E-HOD (European registry and network for homocystinurias and methylation defects).

He is recognized as an expert in genetic disorders of the Arab population. His national & international presence is clear.  In 2013, he received the “Princess Aljawhara Center Award for The Best Research in Basic Genetics” the most competitive & prestigious awards. He received Research Award from MRC-HMC for Homocystinuria project and Stars of Excellence Award 2011 for both Pioneering Newborn Screening & specialized care of Genetic Diseases in the Middle East. Recently, awarded the Stars of Excellence in research 2014: Cutting Edge of Research in Medical Genetics.

He has memberships in many societies including:  American Society of Human Genetics, European Society of Human Genetics, Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Middle East Metabolic Genetic Group, the Middle East & North Africa Newborn Screening Initiative, Middle Eastern Lysosomal Storage Diseases Expert Council Advisory Board, Child Health Research Advisory Committee, International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis, Chairman of Middle East Metabolic Dieticians Group & Founder Member & Regional Representative of SSIEM Adult Metabolic Physicians Group.

Dr. Andrew Morris

UK

Andrew Morris is a Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Metabolic Medicine. He works on the Willink Metabolic Unit, which is part of Genomic Medicine in the Central Manchester University Hospitals and serves the North of England through a clinical network. He was previously a consultant in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. His research has primarily concerned mitochondrial disorders and fatty acid oxidation defects but he has wide experience of inborn errors of metabolism and a particular interest in teaching. He was Leader of the Classical Homocystinuria Guidelines Group for E-HOD, the European Network and Registry for Homocysinurias and Methylation Defects.

Tara Morrison

Australia

Tara Morrison is director and chair of HCU Network Australia.  Her connection to this disorder is a personal one: her two sons were diagnosed with Classical Homocystinuria at ages 5 and 1 years.  At the time of diagnosis the Morrison Family were left with many unanswered questions.  Their response has been to try and change this experience for others.

In 2014 Tara founded HCU Network Australia and serves voluntarily as Director and Chair of the Board.  She is eager to utilize her personal and professional experience to achieve real outcomes for individuals affected by the disorder and their families.

Tara has practiced law in private practice for the past 10 years.  She has worked in a range of areas and specializes in family law and building and construction.  Tara holds a double degree in Arts and Law.  She is a solicitor admitted in NSW and the High Court of Australia.

Margaret McGlynn

USA

Margaret (Margie) McGlynn is President of the Board of HCU Network America, a patient advocacy organization she co-founded to provide support for patients and families affected by homocystinuria.  She is also President of the Hempling Foundation for Homocystinuria Research, a fund she established to support research on new therapies for HCU in honor of her late sisters, Judy and Susie Hempling. Judy and Susie passed away due to homocystinuria in the early 1970s and Margie is committed to finding a cure for homocystinuria so that someday no children will suffer like her sisters did, and no families will need to deal with the impact of this devastating illness on their family members or the fear of passing the disease along to additional offspring.

After receiving a BS in Pharmacy and an MBA in Marketing from The University at Buffalo, Margie spent 26 years at Merck where she served in leadership roles in marketing, new product development and managed care, last serving as President, Global Vaccines and Anti-Infectives. After retiring from Merck, Margie served for 4 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a Product Development Partnership which helps accelerate HIV vaccine development by bridging government and philanthropic funding with academic and industry vaccine research and development capabilities. Margie also serves on the boards of, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Amicus Therapeutics, Orphan Technologies, and Air Products and Chemicals.

Prof. Matthias R. Baumgartner

Switzerland

Matthias Baumgartner studied Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he earned his degree as a medical doctor in 1992. He then went on to do a postgraduate course in experimental medicine and biology at the University of Zurich followed by laboratory work at the Biocentre of the University of Basel. After completing his residency in pediatrics at the University Children’s Hospital Basel and at Hôpital Necker – Enfants Malades in Paris, Prof. Baumgartner continued his training in the United States, where he worked as postdoctoral und clinical fellow at the Mc Kusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, from 1999-2001. He returned to Basel to lead the Metabolic Unit at the University Children’s Hospital. 2 years later Prof. Baumgartner joined the Division of Metabolism & Molecular Pediatrics at the University Children’s Hospital in Zurich. After his habilitation in 2005 he was elected as professor for metabolic diseases at the University of Zurich in 2008. Prof. Baumgartner is head of the Division for Metabolic Diseases und Medical Director of the Swiss Newborn Screening Program at the Kinderspital Zürich. Since 2012 he leads the clinical research priority program “Rare Disease Initiative Zurich – radiz” at the University of Zurich. Prof. Baumgartner is an internationally known metabolic paediatrician and scientist with a main research interest in disorders of intracellular cobalamin metabolism including the homocystinurias and methylmalonic acidurias; he is a  steering committee member of the European networks and registries for Homocystinurias and remethylation disorders (E-HOD, www.e-hod.org) and Intoxication type Metabolic Diseases (E-IMD, www.e-imd.org) and an editor of the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease.

Prof. Viktor Kožich

Czech Republic

Professor Kožich graduated from the School of General Medicine, Charles University in Prague in 1985. Since his graduation he has been working in the Institute of Inherited Metabolic Diseases and he specialized in clinical biochemistry and medical genetics, in 2012 he became the full Professor of Medical Genetics.

His main interests are genetic, biochemical, clinical, epidemiological and ethical aspects of inherited metabolic disorders with a special interest in disorders of homocysteine metabolism and namely in cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency—a disease in which he became interested  in 1991-1992 during his fellowship in the laboratory of Prof.Jan P.Kraus (University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, USA).  Prof.Kožich is also involved in organization of neonatal screening and serves as a Chairman of the national Coordination Center on Neonatal Screening in the Czech Republic.

Professor Kožich has been a tutor of graduate and postgraduate students, he is an author of over 100 publications in peer reviewed international journals, several chapters in books, and of articles and chapters in Czech medical literature; he has been an invited speaker at various international and national conferences. He is a member of councils of several international learned societies (SSIEM, ERNDIM, and ESHG) and he is active in peer review system at both the national and international levels.

Prof. Henk Blom

Netherlands

Henk Blom finished his Chemistry study in 1985 and received his PhD in 1988 at the Radboud University Nijmegen. After his post-doc period at the Human Genetics Branch, NIH, USA (William Gahl), he became post-doc in 1990 and later in 1992 staff member of the Clinical Genetics Center Nijmegen at Laboratory of Pediatrics and Neurology, University Hospital Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In 1997 he became Established Investigator of the Netherlands Heart Foundation and in 2003 he was registered as Clinical Biochemical Geneticist. In 2007 he was appointed as vice-head and later head of the Metabolic Unit at the Department Clinical Chemistry, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, the Netherlands and in 2009 he became Professor in Biochemistry of Inherited Metabolic Diseases at the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam. Since 2014 he is head of the laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry and Metabolism, Department of General Pediatrics, Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine University Hospital Freiburg, Germany.

His research concerns inborn errors of metabolism with special focus on inherited defects of homocysteine, methylation and folate metabolism. His contributions include the association of a disturbed homocysteine metabolism with pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, cardiovascular disease, thrombosis and stroke in children. He investigated the genetic etiology of thermolabile MTHFR, which resulted in the discovery of the MTHFR 677C>T variant which is the first identified genetic risk factor for neural tube defects.  Basic research concerned the effects of homocysteine and its metabolites on development of chicken embryos and endothelial function.

Among inborn errors of metabolism his group described the molecular basis of severe hyperhomocysteinemia. They also explored cystinosis and defects in the methionine methylation pathway, including methionine adenosyltransferase deficiency. They discovered two new genetic defects: one in folate metabolism: dihydrofolate reductase deficiency and one defect in methylation: adenosine kinase deficiency. Prof Henk Blom is coordinator of E-HOD, an international consortium on homocystinurias and methylation disorders. In 2017 the consortium consisted of almost 100 partners. Main achievements are the setup of the E-HOD registry (www.EHOD-registry.org) and website (www.E-HOD.org) with information for expert as well as patients and their families. In addition four guideline manuscripts have been published, teaching courses and Patient – Expert Meetings organized.

He supervised as (co)promoter of 31 PhD students and published over 350 papers in international journals resulting in an H-index of 72.

Prof. Bridget Wilcken

Australia

Professor Bridget Wilcken graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University. She has over 40 years’ experience in the investigation and treatment of patients with inborn errors of metabolism.  Until 2012 she was Clinical Director of the New South Wales Biochemical Genetics and Newborn Screening Services at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, and is currently a part-time metabolic physician at Sydney Children’s Hospital. Research has been mainly in the general area of newborn screening, especially screening for cystic fibrosis and expanded screening by tandem mass spectrometry. She is former President of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia, the International Society for Neonatal Screening (ISNS), and the Australasian Society for Inborn Errors of Metabolism. She has been awarded the Order of Australia and the Guthrie Medal of the ISNS for services to newborn screening.

Dr. Warren Kruger

USA

Dr. Warren Kruger graduated magna cum laude from Cornell, received his Ph.D in Biochemistry from the University of California, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University.  He is currently a full professor in the Cancer Biology program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he has been since 1995.  His lab focuses on the study of sulfur amino acid metabolism and its relationship to human health and disease.   He has worked on CBS deficiency since 1992, where he showed that human CBS could functionally substitute for the yeast enzyme.  A key discovery made to Dr. Kruger was the finding that most patient-derived mutant CBS proteins have “cryptic” enzyme activity which can be uncovered by various genetic and pharmacologic manipulations.  Also, Dr. Kruger’s lab has created several different mouse models of CBS deficiency that are used widely in the field.  He has published more than 80 peer reviewed papers, been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences, and has obtained research grants from a wide variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, American Cancer Society, and American Heart Association.

Soraia Poloni

Brazil

Soraia Poloni has a Bachelor’s in Nutrition from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil, a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology and is a researcher at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil.

Since 2010, I have been developing my research in the field of homocysteine disorders, focusing on metabolic and genetic aspects of CBS deficiency. Our research developed at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (Brazil), provided the most wide-ranging clinical and genetic characterization of HCU patients in Brazil to date. Also, we described novel aspects of lipid metabolism in this disease. Our research center, headed by Prof Ida Schwartz, also participates of the EHOD registry and develops several research collaborations with the University of Freiburg (Prof. Henk Blom) in the study of homocystinurias and methylation defects.

Dr. Vania Almeida

Brazil

Graduate in Biological Sciences at Universidade Mackenzie (1984), Master in Biochemistry at Universidade Federal de São Paulo (1988) and PhD in Biochemistry at Universidade Federal de São Paulo (1993). Associate Professor at Universidade Federal de São Paulo and Coordinator of the Graduation Program in Psychobiology at UNIFESP. She has authored over 150 papers, supervised over 40 MSc and PhD. Has experience in Biochemistry and Genetics, mainly on the following subjects: homocysteine, oxidative stress, epigenetics, inborn errors of metabolism and lysosomal storage diseases.

Beatriz Frangipani

Brazil

Beatriz Jurkiewicz Frangipani graduated in nutrition in 1990 from São Camilo University in São Paulo. In the same year she started to work with PKU at APAE-SP – Association of Parents and Friends of Children with Disabilities, currently a Reference Service in Newborn Screening.

In 2001 she became a member of the National Program for Newborn Screening of Health Ministry. She trained dietitians from other Brazilian states to qualify them to follow new PKU cases in accredited Reference Services throughout the country. She is currently working at a Reference Center for Inborn errors of metabolism (CREIM), at Federal University of São Paulo, treating patients with organic acidemias, aminoacidopathies, urea cycle disorders, homocystinurias, galactosemia, Glycogenosis, hereditary fructose intolerance, Ketogenic diet and metabolic emergencies  diet management . She has been working with patients with homocystinurias for 20 years and she is currently treating 23 patients.

Dr. Harvey Levy

USA

Dr. Harvey Levy is Senior Physician in Medicine/Genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has devoted his career of 50 years to the diagnosis, research, and treatment of metabolic disorders.

Dr. Levy developed a specific interest in Homocystinuria during his fellowship in metabolism when he identified the first case of CBS deficiency diagnosed from newborn screening. Shortly thereafter he and Dr. Harvey Mudd discovered homocystinuria not due to CBS deficiency but to a disorder now known as cobalamin C (cblC) defect, the first example of a metabolic disorder of vitamin B12 in the human. Disorders of sulfur metabolism have continued to be a major interest of Dr. Levy throughout his career. He has authored over 400 medical articles and book chapters on metabolic disorders, including many on the homocystinemias, and has received a number of national and international awards for his achievements.

Dr. Irini Manoli

Greece

Dr Manoli is a physician scientist and Clinician Associate Investigator in the Organic Acid Research Section of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Bethesda, MD, USA. Her primary interest is in combining work on animal models and clinical studies with the aim to develop new therapies for methylmalonic acidemias (MMA) and defects of intracellular cobalamin metabolism. She has worked with several mouse models of defects in the cobalamin pathway, studying the pathophysiology underlying disease manifestations, discovering new disease biomarkers and testing small molecule therapies. Along with the work in the lab, she follows over 200 patients enrolled in the NIH clinical protocol on MMA and cobalamin disorders and works on translating preclinical therapies from animal models of MMA into the clinic. Her work was critical in the reappraisal of dietary practices for MMA and cobalamin C deficiency in the USA and the development of improved guidelines for these disorders.

Dr Manoli received her M.D. from the University of Athens, Greece and subsequently pursued residency training in pediatrics and neonatology in the UK, followed by postgraduate training including a M.Sc. in pediatric endocrinology and a Ph.D. in basic medical sciences, both at the University of Athens, Greece. She moved to the USA in 2002 to work as a postdoctoral fellow on mitochondrial genomics at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH and subsequently trained in genetics and clinical biochemical genetics, at the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD and was board certified in 2009.

Dr. Ida Schwartz

Brazil

Ida Vanessa D. Schwartz graduated in 1994, entered residency in clinical genetics in 1995, started her Master’s degree program in 1998, her PhD in 2000 (this last post graduate course ended in 2004), and started her Postdocs in 2015 and in 2016 respectively. Both her Master’s and her PhD were related to inborn errors of metabolism, and the study of ethical/economic aspects related to the treatment of rare disorders is one of her main research lines. She is an associate professor of the genetics department at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), as well as the coordinator of both the local Gaucher Reference Center and the Inborn Metabolic Clinics in the Medical Genetics Service at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, which is an international reference center for the diagnosis and treatment of lysosomal storage disorders. Among the awards and recognitions she has received, some stand out, such as, the L’OREAL/Brazilian Academy of Sciences for Women in Science (2007) and her affiliation to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (2008). She has been a member of the Ethics Committee of UFRGS since 2011.