Plenary speakers

Stefanie Dimmeler

Frankfurt, Germany


RNA editing controls atherosclerosis

Dr. Dimmeler received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Konstanz/Germany. She then completed a fellowship in Experimental Surgery at the University of Cologne and in Molecular Cardiology at the University of Frankfurt. Since 2001 she is Professor of Experimental Medicine and since 2008 Director of the In­stitute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Frankfurt. She received more than 17 awards. She presented the George E. Brown Memorial Lecture and the Paul Dudley White International Lecture at the Scientific Sessions of the AHA as well as the Thomas W. Smith Memorial Lecture and the Michael Oliver Memorial Lecture at the BAS Autumn Meeting. She received two ERC Advanced Investigator Grant. Her group elucidates the basic mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease and vessel growth with the aim to develop new cellular and pharmacological therapies for improving the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Ongoing research focuses on epigenetic mechanisms that control cardiovascular repair, specifically non-coding RNAs. 

David Erlinge

Lund, Sweden


Strategies to treat vulnerable plaques

David Erlinge received an MD at Lund University, Sweden 1990 followed by a PhD at the same university. He has been a visiting research fellow at Cornell Univ. Med. Coll., New York, NY. The clinical speciality is invasive cardiology (PCI). In 2006 he received the The Lars Werkö distinguished research fellowship and in 2008 he was appointed Professor in Cardiology at Lund University. The research is focused on acute coronary syndromes, platelet function and cardioprotection. He has written >240 original articles.

Brian A. Ference

Bristol, United Kingdom


Lessons from genetics: risk-score and novel candidates

Brian Ference is Associate Professor of Medicine, Clinical Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of the Cardiovascular Genomic Research Centre at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is currently on leave from those posts and living in Beijing where he is Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the Chinese Precision Medicine Initiative US-Sino Collaboration, which is helping to design the next generation healthcare system based on a virtual cloud-based infrastructure and informed by personalized machine learning “prescriptive genomic” testing. Dr. Ference is also a member of the Leadership Council of the American College of Cardiology’s Section on the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Ference is a cardiologist and genetic epidemiologist who was educated and trained at Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. His research focuses on the use of naturally randomized genetic evidence to 1) accelerate the drug discovery and development process by designing and conducting portfolios of “naturally randomized trials”; 2) identify patterns of polymorphism that define differential vulnerability to modifiable cardiovascular risk factors as a strategy to personalize the prevention of cardiovascular disease; and 3) frame and answer important public health questions to fill evidence gaps when an actual randomized trial would be either impossible or impractical to conduct thereby informing (and challenging) cardiovascular medicine treatment guidelines. He holds leadership positions in several international cardiovascular medicine professional societies.

Valentin Fuster

New York, USA


Imaging and CVD risk estimation (population studies)

Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D. is Director of Mount Sinai Heart, The Richard Gorlin, MD Heart Foundation, Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Physician-in-Chief, The Mount Sinai Hospital.

Valentin Fuster is a world-renowned cardiologist and a long-time global leader in the field of cardiovascular medicine having received the highest awards for research from the three leading cardiovascular organizations: AHA, ACC & ESC. Dr. Fuster has published more than 1,000 research studies and has been named Doctor Honoris Causa by thirty-six universities. He is a past President of the American Heart Association, past President of the World Heart Federation, Member of the US National Academy of Medicine, where he chaired the Committee for the document on “Promotion of Cardiovascular Health Worldwide”, presently Co-Chairs the Advisory Committee on “the Role of the United States on Global Health” as advisor to the US President, Member of the European Horizon 2020 Scientific Panel of Health, former Council member of the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Chairman of the Training Program of the American College of Cardiology.

Ulf Landmesser

Berlin, Germany


Is there need to revise goals from lipid lowering

Is it possible to prevent recurrent events?

Ulf Landmesser is Chairman of the Department of Cardiology at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (CBF) since 2014. After completing his medical studies at the Medical School of Hannover, the University of Connecticut in Farmington (USA) and the National Heart & Lung Institute in London, he specialized in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the Medical School of Hannover. In 2000/2001 he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in vascular biology at the Department of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta (USA) as a scholar of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He was appointed Consultant Cardiologist at the Medical School of Hanover, Germany. In 2007 he became a Senior Consultant Cardiologist with a focus on acute and interventional cardiology, and translational cardiovascular research in the Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Zurich, where he later acted as Vice-Chairman of the Department of Cardiology. Professor Landmesser received the Götz Award in 2012, the official award of the medical faculty of the University of Zurich. Since 2008 he has been Deputy Editor of The European Heart Journal.

Professor Landmesser has a particular research interest in lipids, vascular biology and coronary disease.

Peter Libby

Boston, USA


Anti-inflammatory therapy and resolution of inflammation, theory and practice

Dr. Peter Libby is a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Dr. Libby received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now BWH). He also completed a research fellowship in cellular physiology at HMS and an honorary doctorate from the University of Lille, France Dr. Libby is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Libby’s clinical and research interests include vascular biology, atherosclerosis and preventive cardiology. Dr. Libby’s research laboratory studies the messengers created by the body that may produce arterial plaque and blockages, as well as normal and abnormal function of smooth muscle and endothelial cells.

Dr. Libby has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research accomplishments, including most recently the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology (2011), the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association (2011), the Anitschkow Prize in Atherosclerosis Research of the European Atherosclerosis Society (2013), and the Special Award of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (2014). He has received a number of lifetime achievement awards various organizations. Dr. Libby was selected as Consulting Editor of the year by Circulation Research in 2015, and received a 2015 High Citation Award as an editorial board member of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. He was awarded the Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine for 2016 and the 2017 Earl Benditt Award from the North American Vascular Biology Organization. 

Dr. Libby has published extensively in medical journals including Circulation, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature.

He is an Editor of Braunwald’s Heart Disease, having served as the Editor-in Chief of the 8th Edition. Dr. Libby has also contributed chapters on the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of atherosclerosis to many editions of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He has held numerous visiting professorships and delivered more than 100 major named or keynote lectures throughout the world.


Steffen Massberg

Munich, Germany


Atherothrombosis; from pathogenesis to treatment

Steffen Massberg is Professor of Cardiology and Director of the Department of Cardiology at the University Clinic Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany.

His basic-science research topics include stem-cell biology, platelet biology, mechanisms of arterial and venous thrombosis, immune-cell migration, immune-cell/coagulation crosstalk and bio-imaging (including 2-photon microscopy). He has written over 135 articles published in national and international peer-reviewed journals, including Blood, Nature Reviews Immunology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine and Circulation.

Professor Massberg is the co-ordinator and lead scientist of the European FP7 project PRESTIGE, the co-speaker and principal investigator of the DFG Collaborative Research Unit (SFB) 914 and the principal investigator of the DFG-Research Unit (FOR) 923. He has received many prizes for his work, the most recent being the 2011 Martin Villar Haemostasis Award (together with Dr Bernd Engelmann) and the 2012 Basic Science Award from the German Society of Cardiology (DGK).

Gerard Pasterkamp

Utrecht, The Netherlands


Shifting concepts in the description of the "vulnerable plaque"

Gerard Pasterkamp, MD, is Professor of the laboratory of clinical chemistry at the University Medical Center Utrecht. His research interests are in the field of cardiovascular biology and innovation in biomarkers and drug targets to diagnose and treat atherosclerotic disease. The research group houses the largest atherosclerotic plaque biobank worldwide: Athero Express including >4500 patients. This biobank has generated new insights into determinants of plaque destabilisation. The laboratory also invests in the excavation of genetic determinants of atherosclerotic plaque characteristics. He has coordinated national and EU based consortia with the aim to unravel biomarkers and mechanisms of atherosclerotic disease.

Ira Tabas

New York, USA


Defective inflammatory resolution in atherosclerosis: Mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities

Dr. Tabas, Richard J. Stock Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, completed his M.D./Ph.D. at Washington University and his clinical training at Columbia. His research has elucidated signaling pathways in macrophages that contribute to atherosclerosis and in hepatocytes that contribute to pro-atherogenic insulin resistance. His papers have appeared in Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Cell Biology, Cell Metabolism and other top journals, and he is on Science’s Board of Reviewing Editors. His awards include election to ASCI/AAP, AHA Established Investigator Award, Columbia University Lamport Research Award, AHA/ATVB Council Special Recognition Award, Washington University Alumni Achievement Award, the Society of Leukocyte Biology Bonazinga award, the Harrington Discovery Institute Innovator-Scholar Award, and the AHA Ross Lectureship Award.

Marja-Riitta Taskinen

Helsinki, Finland


Disturbances in hepatic and lipoprotein metabolism is the hallmark of atherogenic dyslipidemia

Marja-Riitta Taskinen MD, PhD and Emerita Professor of Medicine and her team is a member of the Research Program Unit, Diabetes & Obesity Research program at the University of Helsinki. Her research team at Biomedicum Helsinki focuses on lipoprotein kinetics in health and metabolic disorders including diabetes and dyslipidemias and genetics of familial dyslipidemias.

She has about 430 original publications and about 130 reviews and chapters (H-index 85). Her outstanding achievements have been recognized by several international awards including the Claude Bernard Award (EASD 2002), Edwin Bierman Award (ADA 2004) and Novartis Award (2006). She has been involved in activities of European Atherosclerosis Society (President of EAS 2006-2008) and IAS (International Atherosclerosis Society) as well as of the EASD and IDF (International Diabetes Federation). The Finnish Medical Foundation chose her as the winner of the Pohjola and Suomi Mutual Medical Award for 2012. She is a member of the EAS/ESC Guidelines committee on Management of dyslipidemias and member of EAS Consensus Paper Panel.

Viola Vaccarino

Atlanta, USA


Stress, behavior and cardiovascular disease

Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D., is the Wilton Looney Chair of Cardiovascular Research, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta, USA. She received an M.D. from the University of Milan, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Yale University. She is a recognized leader on mind-body relationships in heart disease and on the role of psychological stress, mental health and behavioral factors on cardiovascular risk. Dr.Vaccarino is particularly interested in the complex interplay of emotional and behavioural factors, such as depression, psychological stress, and socioeconomic status, with the autonomic system and genetic predisposition in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Vaccarino is the author of over 300 peer-reviewed research publications and has an extensive record of research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Renu Vimani

Gaithersburg, USA


Neoatherosclerosis from a pathologist's point of view

Dr. Virmani is an internationally renowned cardiovascular pathologist. She is recognized as a leading researcher in the field of cardiovascular disease treatments.  Currently Dr. Virmani serves as the President of CVPath Institute, which she founded in 2005. Dr. Virmani lectures at scientific meetings, both nationally and internationally, and has delivered more than 800 presentations globally. She is responsible for multiple research grants in the field of cardiovascular pathology and has authored or co-authored over 700 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field of atherosclerosis, vulnerable plaque, stents, and other cardiovascular diseases. She has edited 7 books and written over 100 book chapters. Dr. Virmani is also a manuscript reviewer for many scientific journals.

Dr. Virmani was recently presented with the 2012 TCT Career Achievement Award by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation. She has also been recognized by the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Associations and also delivered the Laennec Clinician Educator Lecture in 2010. She was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium in 2008 and has also received honorary awards from European Society of Cardiology (2008) and EuroPCR (2006).

Dr. Virmani is also Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology at Georgetown University; University of Maryland-Baltimore; George Washington University; and Vanderbilt University. She was a Chairperson at the Department of Cardiovascular Pathology of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1984 until 2004. Dr. Virmani is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and is a member of the American Heart Association, and the U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology.  Dr. Virmani received her M.D. from Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi University, in New Delhi, India

Joseph Witztum

San Diego, USA


Novel theraeutic approaches using antisense inhibition

Joseph L. Witztum, MD has worked in the field of lipoprotein metabolism and atherogenesis for almost forty years, and currently is Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. His basic work has provided an improved understanding of the role of oxidized LDL and immunological mechanisms in atherogenesis and clinically, he has promoted the development of novel therapies for unmet needs, especially in the context of hypertriglyceridemia and elevated Lp(a) levels. He has published more than 430 manuscripts and has been an Editor of major scientific journals in the field for the past 30 years.

Salim Yusuf

Hamilton, USA


Lessons from epidemiology and environmental CVD risk factors

Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist whose work over 35 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. After completing his medical degree in Bangalore in 1976, Dr. Yusuf completed a Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford under a Rhodes Scholarship. During this time, he initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He coordinated the International Studies of Infarct Survival trial which set the structure for future international collaborative work in cardiovascular disease and demonstrated the value of beta-blockers in myocardial infarction. In 1984, Dr. Yusuf moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, where he was a leader in their Studies of Left Ventricular Dysfunction (SOLVD) trial (establishing the value of ACE inhibitors in left ventricular dysfunction) and DIG trial (clarifying the role of digitalis). In 1992 he moved to McMaster University, where he established an international programme of research in cardiovascular disease and prevention, culminating in the creation of the Population Health Research Institute, which he founded and heads.

Work by his group has led to a better understanding of risk factors for heart disease and strokes globally, and the discovery of new treatments such as ACE inhibitors, dual antiplatelet, and novel antithrombotic agents to reduce cardiovascular events and mortality. His current work explores the role of the environment, health policies and health systems in influencing cardiovascular disease mortality globally. Dr. Yusuf holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair, has received more than 40 international and national awards for research and in 2014 was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada.