Workshop speakers

Maurizio Averna

Palermo, Italy

Familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS)

Alberico L. Catapano

Milan, Italy

Will aggressively lowering of LDL prevent atherosclerosis?

Alberico L. Catapano was born in Milan in 1952. He received his degree from the University of Milan in 1975 and specialization in clinical pharmacology in 1979. Since 1972, Professor Catapano has been involved in the fields of atherosclerosis, lipids, lipoproteins and genetic dyslipidaemias, and has made landmark observations regarding heat shock proteins and pentraxins in atherogenesis, on high-density lipoprotein in the modulation of the immune response, and on the identification of possible therapeutic targets by exploiting genetic information. Alberico Catapano is Full Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milan, Director of the Laboratory of Lipoproteins, Immunity and Atherosclerosis of the Center for the Study of Atherosclerosis at the “Bassini” Hospital. He is also the Director of the Center of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology of the University of Milan. He is the immediate past President of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) and Chairman of the EAS/European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for the treatment of dyslipoproteinaemias. He holds board positions on several learned scientific societies, including the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis. He is also President of the Italian Society of Clinical and Experimental Therapy (SITeCS) and General Director of the SISA Foundation (Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis).

Professor Catapano has authored more than 390 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and several books in the area of the atherosclerosis, lipoproteins and lipid metabolism. He is Editor of Atherosclerosis Supplements and also Co-editor of Atherosclerosis and Associate Editor of other scientific journals. According to Google Scholar, his H-index is 67 and the last 5 years has received more than 15,000 citations.


Guy G. De Backer

Ghent, Belgium

Primary prevention of CVD

Honorary Professor of Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Guy De Backer graduated in 1968 as medical doctor at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He holds special degrees in cardiology and in cardiac rehabilitation and he was awarded with an additional degree in public health. In 1979 he was awarded with a PhD in epidemiology at Ghent University with a dissertation based on results from the Belgian Heart Disease Prevention Project, part of the WHO European Collaborative Group Project. From 1973 until 1988 he was a permanent research fellow at the National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium).  

From 1988 onwards he was professor of medicine at Ghent University chairing the Department of Public Health from 1989-2009. At the University Hospital in Ghent he has been chairing the Cardiac Rehabilitation centre from 1983-2009 and the Department of Cardiology from 2007-2009.

He is the author or co-author of 458 publications in journals cited in SCI, SSCI or AHCI, 130 papers in other journals and more than 50 chapters in books. Thomson Reuters 2015:  citations: 31441; h-index 62; ‘highly cited researcher’

Guy De Backer was a member (1994-2016) and the past-chairman (1996-2009) of the Superior Health Council of Belgium and is a member and the past-president (2007-2010) of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium.

Edward A. Dennis

San Diego, USA

Potential and caveats of lipidomics for cardiovascular disease

Professor Dennis is Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He graduated Yale University (BA), Harvard University (Ph. D), was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, and received Doctorates in Medicine (honorary) from Goethe University and the University of Lyon INSA. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Lipid Research and was the Director of the LIPID MAPS Consortium which developed the lipidomics field with over 385 publications on eicosanoids, inflammation, lipidomics, lipid signaling, and phospholipases.

Mark Febbraio

Darlinghurst, Australia

Role of TLR4 in lipid induced macrophage inflammation

Prof Mark Febbraio is a SPRF of the NHMRC and the Head of Division, Diabetes & Metabolism at The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. He is the CSO of N-Gene Research Laboratories Inc., a USA based Biotechnology Company and the Founder and CSO of the recently incorporated company Kinomedica. His research focuses on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with exercise, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.  His aim is to develop novel drugs to treat lifestyle related diseases. He has authored over 230 peer-reviewed papers in leading journals and has over 25,000 career citations.  Prof Febbraio’s most recent prizes include the Sandford Skinner Oration-The University of Melbourne (2011), Eureka Scientific Prize Finalist (2013) and the Australian Diabetes Society Kellion Award (2017).

Robert Gerszten

Boston, USA

Mining the blood for new cardiometabolic markers

Robert E. Gerszten, MD is Chief of Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Herman Dana Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Gerszten’s investigations focus on the nexus of cardiac and metabolic diseases. His translational research program leverages metabolomics and proteomic technologies for the discovery of new biomarkers and pathways contributing to atherogenesis and its complications. His highly interactive program collaborates across a spectrum of institutions, from the Broad Institute to the Framingham Heart Study, the Jackson Heart Study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, and the TIMI Study Group.

Stephan Gielen

Leipzig, Germany

Will inhibiting thrombus formation prevent acute coronary syndromes?

As President of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR) 2012-14, as National CVD Prevention Coordinator for Germany, and as Secretary of the Project Group on Prevention of the German Cardiac Society Stephan Gielen has been active in cardiovascular prevention. He works as Director of the Dept. of Cardiology, Angiology, and Intensive Care Medicine at the Klinikum Lippe, Detmold, Germany and is member of the Medical Faculty of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. He is editor of the ESC Textbook of Preventive Cardiology, co-author of the ESC Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine and author/coauthor of more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Diedrick Grobbee

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Early therapy versus late intervention; what works?

Albert K. Groen

Groningen, The Netherlands

The role of bile acids in cholesterol homeostatis

Bert Groen is professor of Systems Biology and Medicine at both AMC, Amsterdam and UMCG, Groningen, The Netherlands. His research focuses on understanding the molecular regulation of metabolic pathways involved in bile salt, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Bert’s group discovered a novel pathway for cholesterol secretion; directly from the blood to the intestinal lumen. They called this pathway transintestinal cholesterol secretion (TICE). Realizing ever more the extreme complexity of regulation of metabolism in humans including the influence of the intestinal microbiome, the focus of Bert’s group shifted recently to a novel emerging field of biomedical research; systems biology and systems medicine.

Joachim Herz

Dallas, USA

Lipoprotein metabolism in the brain

Joachim Herz, MD, is a Professor of Molecular Genetics, Neuroscience, Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.  His research focuses on the mechanisms by which Apolipoprotein E, the primary genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and a ligand for members of the LDL gene family, predisposes to synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration. The Herz Lab aims to determine whether altering ApoE expression and trafficking could eventually be a viable therapeutic option for treating Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to providing new insights into mechanisms leading to fatty liver, insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

Ulrich Laufs

Leipzig, Germany

Reality check: Can we get to goals in guidelines?

In July 2017, UL was appointed as the Professor of Cardiology at Leipzig University and as chairman of cardiology at Leipzig University Hospital.

Ulrich Laufs was born in Göttingen, Germany, and studied philosophy and medicine in Bochum. He completed his training at the University of Hamburg, where he did his medical thesis at the Institute of Pharmacology. After his residency at the University of Köln he worked for 2 years at the Cardiovascular Division of the Brigham and Women´s Hospital in Boston. In the lab of Jim Liao he described the cholesterol-independent regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase by statins, a mechanism that contributes to the effects of statins on ischemic stroke. Under the mentorship of Michael Böhm he undertook his fellowships at the University of Köln and the University of Saarland.

Before his recent move to Leipzig, Ulrich Laufs was Professor for Clinical and Experimental Medicine and served as Vice Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Angiology and Intensive Medicine at the University of Saarland, Homburg, Germany. He has received numerous honours including a first place of the Young Investigator Award of the American College of Cardiology, the Population Sciences Award of the European Society of Cardiology, the Paul-Martini-Award, and the Albert-Fraenkel-Award of the German Cardiac Society. UL serves in serveral editorial boards and as a member of the federal drug commissions of the German Physicians (Arzneimittelkommission der Deutschen Ärzteschaft, AkdÄ) and the German Pharmacists (Arzneimittelkommission der Deutschen Apotheker, AMK). He is chairman / member of the nucleus of the working groups on “heart failure”, “heart and brain” and on “prevention” of the German Society of Cardiology.

Professor Laufs works as interventional cardiologist. He has a special clinical interest in lipid disorders and heads a research group with special focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms and clinical studies of cardiovascular prevention. UL enjoys the combination of acute and interventional patient care with cardiovascular prevention and translational research. His current research is focused on

  • Vascular biology, ischemic stroke and cardiovascular prevention.  His group has a special interest in the study of the molecular effects of physical exercise, such as the molecular regulation of cellular senescence.
  • Clinical and experimental research in lipid metabolism. The group has characterized several cholesterol-independent effects of statins mediated by isoprenylation of small G proteins. Currently his group is interested in the cellular actions of triglycerides, plant sterols, PCSK9 and ApoCIII.
  • Pathophysiology of myocardial remodelling and fibrosis. UL headed a research consortium funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) that elucidates the signalling during adaptive and maladaptive myocardial remodelling, a topic that is closely related to his projects addressing small G protein function and physical exercise.
  • Cardiovascular pharmacotherapy. The clinical trial unit of his research group conducts investigator initiated studies with a special interest in topics related to medication adherence and participates in many multi-center trials.

Nicholas J. Leeper

Boston, USA

The role of efferocytosis in atherosclerosis

Dr. Nicholas Leeper is a vascular biologist and cardiologist interested in atherosclerosis and aneurysm disease. His laboratory pursues these conditions with a combination of translational approaches from the fields of human genetics, molecular biology, and murine models of vascular disease. They hope to translate their findings from bench to bedside to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. A specific example of this work centers in their recent discovery of the role of efferocytosis (the phagocytic clearance of apoptotic debris) in the heritable component of atherosclerosis. He also directs the Stanford Vascular Medicine Translational Research Program, which works towards targeting these processes in humans with cardiovascular disease.

Ziad Mallat

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Functional immune cell interactions and plaque development

Dr. Mallat received his MD and qualification in Cardiovascular Diseases from 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 joined INSERM, Paris in 1998 as Assistant Research Professor, became Associate Professor in 2002 and Research Professor in 2007. He is currently BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is Associate Editor of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Atherosclerosis, and British Journal of Pharmacology on the Editorial Board of Circulation Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine, and JCI Insight.

Adil Mardinoglu

Stockholm, Sweden

Nonalcoholic liver hepatic steatosis: a systems biology approach

Dr. Mallat received his MD and qualification in Cardiovascular Diseases from 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 joined INSERM, Paris in 1998 as Assistant Research Professor, became Associate Professor in 2002 and Research Professor in 2007. He is currently BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is Associate Editor of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Atherosclerosis, and British Journal of Pharmacology on the Editorial Board of Circulation Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine, and JCI Insight.

Manuel Mayr

London, United Kingdom

Systems biology-opportunities and challenges: the application of proteomics to study the cardiovascular extracellular matrix

Dr. Mallat received his MD and qualification in Cardiovascular Diseases from 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 joined INSERM, Paris in 1998 as Assistant Research Professor, became Associate Professor in 2002 and Research Professor in 2007. He is currently BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is Associate Editor of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Atherosclerosis, and British Journal of Pharmacology on the Editorial Board of Circulation Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine, and JCI Insight.

Samia Mora

Boston, USA

High-resolution lipoprotein phenotypes and cardiovascular outcomes

Samia Mora, MD, MHS is Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and Director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Mora received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University, and completed her cardiology training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital. A fellow of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Mora has clinical and research interests in cardiovascular prevention. She serves on the Editorial Board of JAMA Internal Medicine. She has authored many peer-reviewed publications in connection with her research on risk factors and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Willem J.M. Mulder

New York, USA

Nanomedicine as novel atherosclerosis thearpy

Dr. Mulder is a Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as well as at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. His research – funded by several NIH grants and an NWO Vidi – focuses on precision imaging and targeted therapy in cardiovascular disease and cancer. This involves library technology, encompassing nanomaterials derived from natural lipoproteins (nanobiologics), that allows meticulously designing targeted immunotherapies. When appropriately designed, such nanobiologics can be applied to empower the immune system’s ability to fight disease, by promoting or inhibiting an immune response, by polarizing macrophage function, or by targeting myeloid cell dynamics.

Stephen Nicholls

Adelaide, Australia

Defining high risk plaque by IVUS and OCT

Giuseppe D. Norata

Milan, Italy

PCSK9 biology beyond the liver

Giuseppe Danilo Norata, PhD, is Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milan, Italy and Adjunct Professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. He graduated in Pharmacy, received the PhD in Experimental  Medicine at the University of Siena and was a post-doc at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. His research activity is devoted to the investigation of molecular mechanisms involved in vascular and cardiometabolic diseases and their connection with immunometabolism from a translational perspective. He published more than 145  papers in the field of cardiovascular and immunometabolic  diseases.

Gary K. Owens

Charlottesville, USA

Vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis

Fausto J. Pinto

Lisbon, Portugal

Reality check: Guidelines versus real life after ACS

Michael Potente

Bad Nauheim, Germany

Transcriptional control of endothelial energy

Michael Potente is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research. He is a board-certified cardiologist who was trained at the Universities of Frankfurt and Toronto. He has received several awards including the Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Research Prize as well as the Albert Fraenkel Prize granted by the German Cardiac Society. In 2014, he was selected for the prestigious EMBO Young Investigator Programme. His work focuses on metabolic adaptations in endothelial cells, aiming to understand how changes in endothelial metabolism impact vascular differentiation and function.

Kausik Ray

London, United Kingdom

Familial Hypercholesterolaemia

Stefano Romeo

Gothenburg, Sweden

Genes can hurt you to develop CVD-beyond classical risk factors

Emilio Ros

Barcelona, Spain

Lessons from the "Prevention with Mediterranean Diet" (Predimed) study

Former director, Lipid Clinic, Endocrinology Service, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona; Emeritus Investigator IDIBAPS; PI of research group, CIBER Fisiopatología de Obesidad y Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain. Postgraduate training in New York and Boston (1970-1976). American Boards of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. Member of Spanish Atherosclerosis Society (SEA), EAS, IAS, ISSFAL, and ACC. Various awards to best scientific career in Nutrition. Research in nutrition for CVD prevention, including Mediterranean diet (PREDIMED trial), walnuts and phytosterols; cognitive function; membrane fatty acids; genetic dyslipidemias; cardiovascular risk assessment; vascular imaging. Publications: over 340 original papers and 125 review papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Lars Rydén

Stockholm, Sweden

Should the main target be hyperglycaemia or should we focus on other risk-factors?

Naveed A. Sattar

Glasgow, United Kingdom

Should the main target be hyperglycaemia or should we focus on other risk-factors?

Heribert Schunkert

Munich, Germany

Genes can protect you from CVD – beyond classical risk factors

Heribert Schunkert, MD is Professor of Cardiology of the Technische Universitaet Munich, Director of the Cardiology Department, German Heart Centre Munich. He completed a research fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA and clinical fellowships at Beth Israel Hospital and at the Universitaetsklinikum, Regensburg and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. From 2002-2012 Prof. Schunkert was Director of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Luebeck. He conducts research in the molecular genetics of multifactorial cardiovascular disease, coordinates several EU- and BMBF-sponsored projects as well as the European-American Leducq network CADgenomics to identify the genetic roots of myocardial infarction. He is the author of more than 600 publications in international journals.

Erik S. Stroes

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Very high risk patient - secondary treatment

Filip K. Swirski

Boston, USA

Distant control of plaque formation

Dr. Filip Swirski is the Patricia and Scott Eston MGH Research Scholar, Principal Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Systems Biology, and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Swirski’s research aims to understand how innate leukocytes such as monocytes and macrophages shape and are shaped by inflammation.

Alan Tall

New York, USA

Clonal hematopoiesis in atherosclerosis

Alan Tall is the Tilden-Weger-Bieler Professor of Medicine and head of the Division of Molecular Medicine at Columbia University.  Dr. Tall discovered mutations in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene that are associated with increased HDL levels and reduced LDL levels and identified CETP as a therapeutic target.  He elucidated the role of ABCA1 and ABCG1 in regulating the proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells and the production of myeloid cells and platelets. Recently he has focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the association of human genetic variants  with atherosclerosis.  He has been awarded the Irvine Page Award, the Robert I. Levy Lectureship, the Distinguished Scientist Award (AHA) and the Anitschkow Prize.

Peter Tontonoz

Los Angeles, USA

Lipid signaling pathways in physiology and disease

Peter Tontonoz is the Frances and Albert Piansky Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. The focus of his laboratory is the control of gene expression by lipids and the role of nuclear receptors in lipid metabolism. Dr. Tontonoz has helped to elucidate fundamental mechanisms by which animals maintain cellular and whole-body lipid homeostasis. He is a recipient of the Weitzman and Aurbach Awards from the Endocrine Society, and the Jeffrey Hoeg Award from the AHA. He serves on a number of editorial boards and is Editor in Chief of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 

Sotirios Tsimikas

San Diego, USA

Are we ready to test the Lp(a) hypothesis?

Dr. Tsimikas is Professor of Medicine and Director of Vascular Medicine at the University of California San Diego. He obtained his MD degree in 1988 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed Internal Medicine training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1991, and fellowships in Cardiovascular Disease, Atherosclerosis and Molecular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology at the University of California San Diego from 1992-1997. Dr. Tsimikas’ clinical interests Vascular Medicine Program encompass treating patients in the continuum of high-risk primary prevention to endovascular intervention.

Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen

Copenhagen, Denmark

Generic risk, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and cardiovascular disease

Anne Tybjærg-Hansen MD DMSc, is Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Section for Molecular Genetics, at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark (from Nov. 1999). Professor of Clinical Biochemistry with Focus on Translational Molecular Cardiology at the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (from Dec. 2009). She graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Copenhagen in 1981 and the scientific education included 1 year at the University of Copenhagen and the Lipid Clinic at Righospitalet, 3 years at Hagedorn Research Laboratory, Gentofte, Denmark; and 3 years (87-89) at British Heart Foundation’s Molecular Biology Research Group, London, UK.

Professor Tybjaerg-Hansen is a member of the steering committees of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen General Population Study and the current chairman of the European Lipoprotein Club.


Jan M. van Deursen

Rochester, USA

Senescent intimal foam cells are deleterious at all stages of atherosclerosis

Dr. Jan van Deursen received his Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the University of Nijmegen in 1993. He started his own lab at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in 1996.  He joined Mayo Clinic in 1999, where he is currently a Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Professor of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  He is the Vita Valley Named Professor of Cellular Senescence and directs the Cell Biology program of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic Gene Knockout and Transgenic Core Facility.

Nick J. Wareham

Cambridge, United Kingdom

How to combat CVD at a population level?

Seppo Ylä-Herttuala

Kuopio, Finland

Cardiovascular gene therapy

Dr. Yla-Herttuala is a world leader in cardiovascular gene therapy for atherosclerosis and ischemic diseases. His team was the first to use adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to human arteries already in 1995. Since then, he has conducted eight phase 1-3 clinical trials in cardiovascular gene therapy. He is also the originator of the concept of epigenetherapy. His group has been widely recognized for basic biology, translational and epigenetic research of the vascular endothelial growth factors, especially focusing on the new members of the VEGF family. Previously he worked with oxidized LDL and atherosclerosis and was the first to show that OxLDL exists in human atherosclerotic lesions. His list of publications includes over 500 scientific articles.

José L. Zamorano

Madrid, Spain

LDL after ACS: How low to go? How to go there?