Plenary speakers

Fredrik Bäckhed

Gothenburg, Sweden


Microbiome and cardiometabolic disease

Professor Fredrik Bäckhed combines clinical oriented research with gnotobiotic mouse models to address the role of the normal gut microbiota in metabolic diseases. Fredrik Bäckhed holds a PhD from the Karolinska Institute, and performed postdoctoral training at Washington University, St Louis where he identified the gut microbiota as an environmental factor that regulates adiposity and obesity. Dr Bäckhed is professor at University of Gothenburg and Director of the Wallenberg Laboratory ( for cardiovascular research. He is also Professor at Copenhagen University and has been guest Professor at University of Oslo. His research aims to identify novel therapeutic and diagnostic targets for the metabolic syndrome by focusing on the role of the gut microbiota. His team uses an interdisciplinary research approach to delineate the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota modulates host physiology and metabolism. Professor Bäckhed has co-authored more than 80 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, Cell and Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

Robert Farese, Jr

Boston, USA


Balancing the fat: lipid droplets and human disease

Dr. Robert Farese, Jr., studied chemistry at the University of Florida and medicine at Vanderbilt University. He then completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the University of Colorado. In 1989, Dr. Farese moved to the University of California San Francisco to train in endocrinology and metabolism and did his postdoctoral research training with Dr. Stephen Young at the Gladstone Institutes, where he became an expert in gene targeting in murine embryonic stem cells and studied lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism. In 1994, Dr. Farese established his laboratory at the Gladstone and UCSF where he studied neutral lipid metabolism, focusing on the pathways of lipid synthesis and storage. His laboratory cloned many of the important enzymes of neutral lipid synthesis, including the DGAT enzymes, which mediate triglyceride (TG) synthesis. Excessive accumulation of TGs underlies obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and other metabolic diseases. Dr. Farese and co-workers discovered the DGAT enzymes and defined their molecular functions in lipid biochemistry, physiology, identified human disease mutations, and laid the groundwork for development of DGAT inhibitors.

In 2005, Dr. Farese took a sabbatical with Dr. Peter Walther, where he began working with Dr. Tobias Walther on the cell biology of lipid droplets. They collaborated closely for many years and established a joint laboratory at Harvard in 2014. They have focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms of LD formation, protein targeting to LDs, and the role that LDs play in disease.

In 2007, Dr. Farese co-founded the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) Research (CFR), a UCSF-based, multi-investigator collaborative effort whose goal is to find cures for FTD by studying progranulin biology. Dr. Farese and co-workers have generated murine and iPS models for progranulin-deficient FTD, and he co-directs the Basic Research for the CFR.

Dr. Farese has received numerous honors, among them election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, a “Freedom to Discover Award” from Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the Avanti Lipid research award.

Henry N. Ginsberg

New York, USA


Keynote Lecture: Mechanistic insights into innovative therapeutics in lipid lowering in vivo

The EAS is delighted to announce that one of the two Keynote Lectures at the 2017 EAS Congress in Prague will be given by Henry N. Ginsberg, MD, the Irving Professor of Medicine and Director Emeritus of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University Medical Center.

Professor Ginsberg’s research interests have centered on regulation of the metabolism of apolipoprotein B–containing lipoproteins in cells, mice, and humans. His present work focuses on the interaction between the secretion of very low-density lipoproteins by the liver and hepatic steatosis, as well as human mutations affecting hepatic lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. He recently received an Outstanding Investigator Award from NIH.

Professor Ginsberg has been a key contributor to the success of EAS as Co-Chair, with Professor John Chapman (Pitié-Salpetriere University Hospital, Paris, France), of the EAS Consensus Panel. Since its inception in 2009, the EAS Consensus Panel has addressed topical questions in key areas of cardiovascular disease research. The EAS Consensus Panel has helped to raise awareness of familial hypercholesterolaemia, establish lipoprotein(a) as a cardiovascular risk factor, as well as focus on the appropriate management of statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS). Full details are available at:

Göran K. Hansson

Stockholm, Sweden


Keynote Lecture: How LDL causes inflammation in the artery wall

The EAS is delighted to announce that one of the Keynote Lectures at the 2017 EAS Congress in Prague will be given by Professor Göran K. Hansson, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascular Research, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

Göran K. Hansson is Professor of Cardiovascular Research at Karolinska Institute and works in the Department of Medicine at Karolinska University Hospital and its Center for Molecular Medicine. He received his MD and PhD at Gothenburg University School of Medicine in Sweden, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA, and has been Professor of Cell Biology at Gothenburg University and Leducq Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, USA.

From 1 July 2015, Dr Hansson is the Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nobel Foundation and has been a member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute since 1997. He chaired its Nobel Committee 2004-6 and was its secretary and Director of the Medical Nobel Institute 2009-2014. He is a member of Academia Europaea and has received several awards and honorary doctorates for his contributions to medicine.

Dr Hansson´s research deals with immune and inflammatory mechanisms in atherosclerosis. He discovered that atherosclerosis involves a local inflammatory immune response in the artery wall, that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can act as an autoantigen, and that immunosuppressive drugs inhibit arterial restenosis, a principle used in current therapy. His current work deals with T cell differentiation, immunoregulatory mechanisms, and atheroprotective immunity.

Dr Hansson has published 410 scientific papers (including original papers, reviews, and chapters), supervised 24 PhD students and 18 postdoctoral fellows.

Pirkka-Pekka Laurila

Helsinki, Finland

Presentation by Young Investigators Award winner Basic Research: Pirkka-Pekka Laurila

Pirkka-Pekka Laurila, MD, PhD, conducted his doctoral research at the National Institute of Health and University of Helsinki, where he received his MD and has been teaching medical genetics. In his research into the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and metabolic traits, he has combined a number of approaches ranging from genome-wide association analyses to mechanistic studies in animal models. He has discovered new pathways leading low levels of HDL-C and impaired HDL composition, and recently, identified USF1 as a repressor of brown adipose tissue activity with low USF1 expression leading to beneficial lipid profile, reduced obesity and atherosclerosis. Currently, he is studying the effects of metabolism and aging on cardiometabolic traits at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland in the laboratory of Prof. Johan Auwerx. He has previously received an ATVB Early Career Investigator Award by American Heart Association, and Young Investigator Awards by International Atherosclerosis Society and Finnish Atherosclerosis Society.

Sarah Lewington

Oxford, United Kingdom


Large-scale epidemiology assessment of the main determinants of cardiovascular disease

Sarah Lewington is Associate Professor, MRC Population Health Research Unit, Director of Graduate Studies, Nuffield Department of Population Health, and Research Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford UK. Professor Lewington’s main research interest is in major risk factors for premature adult mortality, with a particular focus on tobacco, alcohol, blood pressure and obesity, and she is the Oxford-based principal investigator for studies conducted in Russia, Cuba and India. She leads a team of epidemiologists, statisticians and statistical programmers that forms the CTSU’s Population Studies Group and is the MRC Programme Leader Track, Statistical Epidemiology. Sarah is also a Scientific Director for the MSc in Global Health Science, with responsibility for the planning, development, delivery and management of all aspects of the fully revised MSc degree course.

Gary F. Lewis

Toronto, Canada


Regulation of lipid mobilization and lipoprotein secretion by the intestine

Dr. Gary Lewis completed his medical training in 1982 at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, followed by specialty training in Internal Medicine and then Endocrinology at the University of Chicago.  He joined the staff of the Toronto General Hospital in 1990, was appointed Head of the Division of Endocrinology at University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospitals in 2001, Director of the University of Toronto Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2008 and Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, U of T, in 2011. He is a Full Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Physiology, University of Toronto and he holds the Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes and the Drucker Family Chair in Diabetes Research.  Dr. Lewis’ research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of blood fat abnormalities in diabetes and prediabetic states. 

Peter Libby

Boston, USA


The case for immune cells: An expanded cardiovascular continuum

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.

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 80 major named or keynote lectures throughout the world.

Kathryn Moore

New York, USA


Role of non-coding RNA for cholesterol homeostasis and atherogenesis

Kathryn Moore is the Jean and David Blechman Professor of Cardiology, and Professor of Cell Biology at New York University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of metabolic dysfunction and chronic inflammation in atherosclerosis and obesity, with an emphasis on understanding maladaptive macrophage-driven inflammatory responses. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award, and the American Heart Association’s Jeffrey Hoeg Arteriosclerosis Award for Basic Science and Clinical Research. Dr. Moore is a member of the editorial board of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.


Mihai G. Netea

Nijmegen, Netherlands


Innate immune response drives atherosclerosis

Mihai Netea is Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Medical Center, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Mihai Netea was born and studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He completed his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on studies investigating the cytokine network in sepsis. After working as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, he returned to Nijmegen where he finished his clinical training as an infectious diseases specialist, and where he currently heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Nijmegen Medical Center. His main research interests are sepsis and immunoparalysis, pattern recognition of fungal pathogens, primary immunodeficiencies in innate immune system, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity. His laboratory has been a key contributor to the elucidation of mechanisms responsible for inflammasome activation in various cells types Professor Netea is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Radboud Science Award (2011), European Society for Clinical Investigation Award for Translational Research (2103) and the NWO Spinoza Prize (2016).


Chris J. Packard

Glasgow, United Kingdom


Lowering LDL-C for cardiovascular disease

Chris Packard is the Research and Development Director of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Scotland, UK.  He holds an Honorary Professorship of Vascular Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow, and is also a Consultant Clinical Scientist for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Biochemistry and founding Chairman of NEXXUS. Professor Packard received the Scottish Enterprise Special Recognition Award for his contribution to the Life Sciences industry in Scotland in February 2014 and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2014.

His research has focused on two key aspects: lipoprotein metabolism and how it is affected by diets and drugs, and large scale clinical trials of lipid lowering agents.  Key contributions include evaluation of the role of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor in vivo, the discovery of metabolic channelling in the apolipoprotein B lipoprotein delipidation cascade, and the formulation of models to explain the generation of small, dense LDL.  More recently his field of research has widened to include investigations of emerging risk factors, and the consequences of social deprivation on health and wellbeing.


Patrick Schrauwen

Maastricht, Netherlands


Importance of physical activity in metabolic and cardiovascular health and the influence of obesity and diabetes

Patrick Schrauwen, PhD is Professor of Metabolic aspects of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus at the Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC). The lab of Professor Schrauwen performs human translational research on insulin resistance, lipotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction and brown adipose tissue with special emphasis on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Professor Schrauwen was awarded the ‘Silver Medal Award’ from the Nutrition Society’ in 2006, the ‘Rising Star Award’ from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in 2008 and the Minkowski Award of the EASD in 2016. He received the prestigious Corona-Gallina Award for excellence in diabetes research in 2013.  Professor Schrauwen has published over 200 publications, and is in the editorial boards of ‘Scientific Reports’ and ‘Diabetologia’. His main fields of interest include insulin resistance, lipotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction, with a special emphasis on type 2 diabetes.

Qi Sun

Boston, USA


Diet and cardiometabolic health

Qi Sun is Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Dr. Sun’s primary research interests are focused on identifying biomedical risk factors, including dietary biomarkers, in relation to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. His research is primarily based on a few large-scale cohort studies including the Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. In addition, Dr. Sun is interested in the role of environmental pollutants, especially those from dietary sources, in the aetiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Alan Tall

New York, USA


Anitschkow Lecture: Hematopoiesis, cholesterol and atherosclerosis

Alan Tall MB BS is the Tilden-Weger-Bieler Professor of Medicine and head of the Division of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Medicine of Columbia University. Dr. Tall is internationally recognized for his work on plasma lipoproteins and atherosclerosis. Dr. Tall discovered mutations in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene that are associated with dramatically increased HDL levels and reduced LDL levels, establishing the role of CETP in the regulation of human lipoproteins and identifying CETP as a potential therapeutic target.

Dr. Tall has done research on the ATP binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 that promote cholesterol efflux from macrophage foam cells to apoA-1 and HDL particles, respectively. This work has also identified a key role of cholesterol efflux pathways in regulating the proliferation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and the production of pro-atherogenic myeloid cells and platelets. Recently the Tall laboratory has focused efforts on understanding the mechanisms underlying the association of human GWAS variants with plasma lipoproteins and coronary heart disease. This has led to an elucidation of the role of a scaffolding protein TTC39B in the ubiquitination and turnover of LXR, with impact on HDL levels, steato-hepatitis and atherosclerosis. In recognition of his work, Dr Tall was the recipient of the Irvine Page Award, the Robert I. Levy Lectureship and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Heart Association.

Marja-Riitta Taskinen

Helsinki, Finland


Hepatic lipid and lipoprotein metabolism

Marja-Riitta Taskinen is Emerita Professor of Medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Group, Heart and Lung Centre, at Helsinki University Central Hospital. Her research team, which focuses on lipoprotein kinetics in health and lipid disorders and the genetics of familial dyslipidemias, is a member of the Research Program Unit, Diabetes & Obesity Research program at the University of Helsinki.  Professor Taskinen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Claude Bernard Award (2002), Edwin Bierman Award (2004), Novartis Award (2006), the Grand Award of the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research (2011), and the Pohjola and Suomi Mutual Medical Award of the Finnish Medical Foundation (2012). She has been a key player in the European Atherosclerosis Society (President, 2006-2008), International Atherosclerosis Society, European Association for the Study of Diabetes, and the International Diabetes Federation.

Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen

Copenhagen, Denmark


Demystifying the management of hypertriglyceridaemia

Anne Tybjærg-Hansen MD DMSc, Professor, Chief Physician.

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).

Graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Copenhagen in 1981. 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.

Member of the steering committees of the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen General Population Study. Current chairman European Lipoprotein Club.

Paolo Zanoni

Zurich, Switzerland

Presentation by Young Investigators Award winner Clinical Research: Paolo Zanoni

Paolo Zanoni was born in 1984 in Mantova, Italy. He graduated in Human medicine at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in 2009 under the supervision of Prof. Sebastiano Calandra Buonaura, with a thesis on the molecular genetics of familial hypertriglyceridaemias. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Prof. Daniel J. Rader at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, USA) in 2012 and 2013 on the characterization of the SCARB1 P376L loss of function mutation, that resulted in the Science paper for which he is receiving the EAS Young Investigator Award for outstanding publications 2016. Since the end of 2013 Paolo Zanoni is pursuing a PhD in Integrative Molecular Medicine at the University of Zürich (Switzerland), under the supervision of Prof. Arnold von Eckardstein, with a focus on the discovery of new molecular players involved in hepatic lipoprotein endocytosis through high throughput screenings.

Receiving this prize Paolo Zanoni wishes especially to acknowledge the co-first authors of this paper Sumeet Khetarpal and Daniel B. Larach.