Workshop speakers

Elena Aikawa

Boston, USA

Sortilin in vascular calcification

Dr. Elena Aikawa is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also Director of the Vascular Biology Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CICS), Founding Director of the Heart Valve Translational Research Program (HVTRP) and Associate Head of Section of Cardiovascular Life Sciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Dr. Aikawa is a passionate advocate for the early imaging and treatment of calcific aortic valve disease. Dr. Aikawa’s primary research focuses on the development of new therapies to prevent, treat and cure calcific aortic valve stenosis, a disease that currently has no treatment options other than valve replacement. She was at the forefront in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiovascular calcification ( Circulation 2007). Her studies contributed to the discovery of calcifying extracellular vesicles as a precursor of microcalcification ( Nature Materials, 2016; Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2016). More recently she used systems approaches, involving multi-omics and network medicine, to identify novel therapeutic targets ( Circulation, 2018). Dr. Aikawa has been a member of the Working Group on Calcific Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Alliance of Investigators on Calcific Aortic Valve Disease of the National Institutes of Health. She holds editorial positions at the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, Circulation Research, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and PLoS ONE. Dr. Aikawa has delivered numerous keynote lectures and cardiovascular grand rounds nationally and internationally, and has authored more than 200 articles on cardiovascular pathobiology. Her research program has been continuously supported by NIH funding. Dr. Aikawa remains committed to advancing the careers of women in science and medicine. She cofounded the BWH Committee for Internationally Trained Women Faculty in 2004 and founded the annual Women in Medicine and Science Symposium at BWH in 2012. She was recently elected as Vice-chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee of American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. In 2016, Dr. Aikawa was elected as President of the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB). She is serving as the society’s first female president.

Christy Ballantyne

Houston, USA

Remant TRL and atherosclerosis

Dyslipidaemia guidelines: What is new?

Optimal lipid lowering therapy: New and established therapies

REDUCE-IT: an in depth analysis

Clinical experience with Bempedoic Acid


Martin Bennett

Cambridge, UK

Mitochondrial function in atherosclerosis

Professor Bennett trained in Cardiology in Birmingham and Cambridge. He was awarded one of the very first BHF 7-year Clinician Scientist Fellowships in 1990 and undertook research training at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, London, studying vascular smooth muscle cell division and cell death in atherosclerosis and arterial injury. This was followed by a post-doctoral position in Seattle, USA, and later award of a BHF Senior Fellowship in 1997. He currently holds the British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Cambridge, with Honorary Consultant Cardiologist positions at Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals, and heads the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in Cambridge. His major research interests are the vascular biology of atherosclerosis and imaging of vulnerable plaques. His work has identified the mechanisms by which human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) undergo apoptosis and cell senescence in atherosclerosis, the validity of VH-IVUS to identify high-risk plaques. Professor Bennett has published widely on these subjects, and is currently on the editorial board of Circulation Research and Heart. In 2007 he was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences and is the current Chairman of the British Atherosclerosis Society.

Jan Borén

Gothenburg, Sweden

Lipolysis of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, vascular inflammation, and atherosclerosis

Professor Jan Borén, MD, PhD (born 1963) is currently Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Department of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University and Director of the Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research.

His main interest has been to study the role of apoB-containing lipoproteins in normal and disturbed lipid physiology and to understand the molecular mechanism by which the apoB-containing lipoproteins exert its effect on the arterial wall.

Professor Borén’s outstanding achievements have been recognised by several honours and awards including Irvine H. Page Atherosclerosis Research Awards for Young Investigators (AHA, 1997) and Göran Gustafsson’s Prize in Medicine from the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (2004). He has been actively involved in activities of EAS and IAS, including the IAS meetings in Stockholm 2000 and Osaka 2003.

For EAS, he has taken part in the organization of the Society’s Congresses in Seville 2004, Prague 2005, Helsinki 2007, Istanbul 2008 and Hamburg 2010 and he was co-Chair of EAS Congress 2011 in Gothenburg. Professor Borén served on the Society’s Executive Committee as Treasurer from 2008 until 2018 and serves as Vice-President from January 2017.

Giovanni G. Camici

Zurich, Switzerland

The aging cardiovascular system

Alberico L. Catapano

Milano, Italy

Dyslipidaemia guidelines: What is new?

Improve-it lessons, how do they apply today?


The mandate for reducing residual CVD risk in patients with persistently elevated LDL-C

Let’s get real: a discussion on LDL-C management 2019

Nutraceuticals in the guidelines

Alberico L. Catapano was born in Milano in 1952. Received degree from the University of Milano in 1975 and a specialization in Clinical Pharmacology in 1979. From 1972 been involved in the field of Atherosclerosis, Lipids, Lipoproteins and genetic dislypidaemias. From the scientific standpoint Prof. Catapano has made landmark observations regarding the role of HSP’s and of Petranxins in Atherogenesis and on the role of HDL in the modulation of the immune response. Alberico Catapano is Full Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milano, Director of the Laboratory for the study of Lipoproteins and Atherosclerosis and of the Center for the Study of Atherosclerosis of the Italian Society of Atherosclerosis (S.I.S.A.) at the “Bassini” Hospital. He is also the Director of Center of Epidemiology and Preventive Pharmacology of the University of Milano (SEFAP).

Professor Catapano is Past President of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS), the Chairman of EAS Educational, Guidelines & Corporate Activities Committees and the Chairman of the EAS/ESC guidelines for the treatment of dyslipoproteinemias. He holds board positions in 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.

He has authored more than 400 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and of several books in the area of the Atherosclerosis, Lipoproteins and Lipid Metabolism. He is the editor of Atherosclerosis Supplements and also co editor of “Atherosclerosis” and associate editor of other scientific journals.

Dominique de Kleijn

Utrecht, The Netherlands

Extracellular vesicles as new pharmacological targets to treat atherosclerosis

Professor de Kleijn is since 2016 Professor of Experimental Vascular Surgery at UMC Utrecht and since 2010 professor of the Netherlands Heart Institute, Utrecht the Netherlands. From 2012 to 2016, he was Research Professor of Surgery at NUS/NUHS and preclinical director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) Singapore. He was until 2016 professor of Cardiovascular Immunology and co-chair of Experimental Cardiology at UMC Utrecht. Since 1997 he is involved in cardiovascular research from basic science, animal myocardial infarction and atherosclerotic studies (mouse and pig) towards clinical biobanking studies. Next to this, he was CTO of a UMC Utrecht spin-off biomarker company Cavadis BV and member of the Scientific Committee of ICIN and initiator and founder SOciety for Clinical Research and Translation of Extracellular Vesicles Singapore ”SOCRATES”. His research interests are: The innate immune system in cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis & Biomarkers for diagnosis or predictive for secondary events with a focus on plasma extracellular vesicles. He has > 200 papers published and a H-index of 69.

Brian Ference

Cambridge, UK

Don't treat high Lp(a)

What has Human Genetics taught us about ANGPTL 3, 4 and 8 in lipid metabolism?

The genetic evidence for inhibiting the cholesterol synthesis pathway to control LDL cholesterol

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt

Copenhagen, Denmark

Phenotype, genotype or epigenetics?

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, MD, PhD, DMSc is Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, and Associate Research Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen.

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt joined the Scandinavian Society for Atherosclerosis Research as a young MD, and has led the Society from 2006 to 2011. She has served as Faculty member in the European Atherosclerosis Society Congresses since 2010. She was invited speaker at the 83rd EAS congress in Glasgow, at the 17th International Symposium on Atherosclerosis congress in Amsterdam, and is invited to talk at the Gordon Research Conference on Lipoprotein Metabolism in New Hampshire, USA June 2016, and at Scientific Sessions, American Heart Association, New Orleans, USA November 2016, with talks focusing on lipoprotein metabolism, diabetes, and the interrelationship between lipids, atherosclerosis, and dementia.

In 2010 she was granted the prestigious Sapere Aude Research Leader Grant from the Danish Medical Research Council of 900,000 Euros, with the aim to focus on the genetic component of common multifactorial diseases as ischemic heart disease, stroke and dementia. Presently she and her students focus on the interplay between atherosclerosis, lipid metabolism and dementia, and recently they identified the first lipid-related plasma biomarker robustly associated with future risk of dementia in the general population, as well as novel associations between lipid-related genes and dementia. Such knowledge will have the potential to form the basis for more personalized and targeted medications and preventive interventions for dementia – a disease highly correlated with atherosclerosis, but with no currently effective treatment.

Daniel Gaudet

Montreal, Canada

Global diagnostic algorithm for FCS

ANGPTL3 as a therapeutic target

The Clinical Consequences of Fcs

Lesca Holdt

London, UK

Circular non-coding RNA ANRIL modulates ribosomal RNA maturation and atherosclerosis in humans

Jay Horton

Dallas, USA

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and vascular complications

PCSK9 In the liver

Dr. Jay D. Horton is the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition and Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics. He obtained his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of Iowa and completed his Internal Medicine residency, gastroenterology fellowship, and Howard Hughes post-doctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern. Dr. Horton’s research interests are in determining how transcriptional regulators of fat metabolism contribute to the development of fatty liver and delineating the function of PCSK9, a protein secreted into the blood that regulates LDL receptors in liver.

Luisa Iruela-Arispe

Los Angeles, USA

Interaction between hemopoeitic cells and endothelium in vasculature

Siddhartha Jaiswal

Palo Alto, USA

Clonal hematopoiesis in cardiovascular disease states

John Kastelein

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

New targets for controlling dyslipidaemias

Evgeni Levin

North Holland Province, The Netherlands

Shot-gun proteomics to assess vulnerable plaques and future CV risk

Klaus Ley

La Jolla, USA

Manipulating adaptive immunity to curb atherosclerosis

Klaus Ley is Professor and Head of the Division of Inflammation Biology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, USA. He trained at Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg, Germany and was a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Virginia from 1994 to 2007. His research focuses on chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, specifically the role of myeloid leukocytes. Professor Ley is the recipient of AHA Distinguished Scientist [2015], the 2010 Malpighi Award from the European Society for Microcirculation, and the 2008 Bonazinga Award from the Society for Leukocyte Biology.


Esther Lutgens

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Immune checkpoints in atherosclerosis / T-cells

Esther Lutgens studied Medicine at the University of Maastricht and did a PhD in Experimental Vascular Pathology during her studies, resulting in an MD-PhD degree in 2001. In 2001, she obtained the TALENT stipend from NWO, which enabled her to do her post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University in Boston, MA, and at Dartmouth University in Hanover, NH, USA (2002-2004). After her return at the University of Maastricht, she obtained a VENI-grant (NWO), a Dr. E. Dekker fellowship (DHF) then a VIDI grant (NWO), which allowed her to set up her own laboratory on Experimental Vascular Immuno-pathology. Focus of her research is the role of immune-modulation in atherosclerosis. She became an ‘Established Investigator’ of the Dutch Heart Foundation in 2009, and obtained a Sofja Kovalevskaja fellowship in Germany, which enabled her to start a second laboratory at the Ludwig Maximilian’s University in Munich. In 2011, she was appointed full Professor at the University of Maastricht. In 2011, she received the LnvH jubileum prijs for most promising female scientist within life sciences. At the end of 2011, she was appointed as a full professor at the AMC in Amsterdam, where she is co-heading the Experimental Vascular Biology lab. In 2013, she obtained the prestigious VICI grant (NWO) which allows her to continue her research on the role of the immune system on atherosclerosis and obesity. Esther is married and has 2 children.

Steve Nicholls

Adelaide, Australia

Imaging vulnerable plaque

Steve Nicholls undertook his medical and doctoral training at the University of Adelaide. He completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at the John Hunter Hospital. He moved to the Cleveland Clinic for a postdoctoral fellowship in plaque imaging. He was subsquently promoted to faculty appointments in the Departments of Cardiovascular Medicine and Cell Biology. He was the Cardiovascular Director of the Cleveland Clinic Coordinating Center for Clinical Research. In 2012, he returned to Australia to take up the positions of Deputy Director and Heart Health Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. His research interests include lipoprotein functionality, plaque imaging and leadership of cardiovascular clinical trials. He has served as global principal investigator of numerous clinical trials including SATURN, ACCELERATE, AQUARIUS, ASSURE, STRENGTH, ACCENTUATE, GLAGOV, CARAT and MILANO. He has published more than 250 manuscripts and is frequently invited to give plenary talks at international scientific meetings. He is currently a Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Max Nieuwdorp

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gut microbiome and cardioascular disease: from promise to delivery

Max Nieuwdorp MD PhD is an internist endocrinologist and professor of Internal Medicine at UVA. Amsterdam the Netherlands. He is currently chair of the AMC/Vumc Diabetes Center. After obtaining his PhD at University of Amsterdam followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Diego (prof jeff esko, department of cellular and molecular medicine), dr Nieuwdorp started his own translational researchgroup (currently 25 MD PhD students, 5 postdoctoral fellows) focusing on the causal role of (small) intestinal bacterial strains to treat insulin resistance, adipose tissue inflammation and cardiovascular disease

Katey Rayner

Ottawa, Canada

Decoding the non-coding genome to understand cardiovascular disease

Patrick Rensen

Leiden, The Netherlands

Brown fat to combat cardiovascular disease

Patrick Schrarauwen

Maastricht, The Netherlands

Stimulating energy metabolism to combat type 2 diabetes; insight from human translational interventions

Stimulating energy metabolism to combat type 2 diabetes; insight from human translational interventions

Heribert Schunkert

Munich, Germany

What have we learned about CVD risk from genome-wide association studies?

Heribert Schunkert is Professor of Cardiology at the Technische Universitaet Munich, Director of the Cardiology Department and Medical Director of the German Heart Centre Munich. After completing his medical studies, he undertook a research fellowship at the Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston, USA and subsequent clinical fellowships at Beth Israel Hospital, the Universitaetsklinikum, Regensburg, and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. From 2002-2012 Professor Schunkert was Director of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Luebeck, before appointment to his current position. His research focuses on the molecular genetics of multifactorial cardiovascular disease. He coordinates several European Union- and the German BMBF-sponsored projects, as well as the European-American Leducq network CADgenomics which aims to identify genetic factors contributing to myocardial infarction. He has served on the Board of Directors of the German Societies of Hypertension and Cardiology, and is the author of more than 500 publications in international journals.


Michael Sieweke

Marsberg, Germany

Molecular markers of vascular aging

Marja-Riitta Taskinen

Helsinki, Finland

Dyslipidaemia guidelines: What is new?

Marja-Riitta Taskinen is an Emerita Professor of Medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Group, Heart and Lung Centre, at Helsinki University Central Hospital. Currently she leads her research team at Biomedicum Helsinki focusing on lipoprotein kinetics in health and lipid disorders and genetics of familial dyslipidemias. Prof. Taskinen’s team is a member of the Research Program Unit, Diabetes & Obesity Research program at the University of Helsinki.

Professor Taskinen has over 400 original publications and over 100 reviews and chapters. 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). Professor Taskinen was a member of the task force on “ESC guidelines on diabetes, pre-diabetes and cardiovascular diseases” developed in collaboration with the EASD in 2013. She also continues as a member of the EAS/ESC Guidelines committee on Management of dyslipidemias and EAS Consensus Paper Panel. Her group is currently a partner in a EU-project RESOLVE (FP7-HEALTH-2012-INNOVATION-1), which started in 2013. Professor Taskinen is also a member of NIH (1R01HL113315-01) funded consortium “Genomic and Metabolomic Profiling of Finnish Familial Dyslipidemia Families” that started in 2012.

Sam Tsimikas

San Diego, USA

Treat Lp(a)

JL Witztum

San Diego, USA

Modified lipids and lipoproteins

Noam Zelcer

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Novel insights into LDL clearance in mice and humans