Keynote Speakers

Professor Daniel L. Kastner M.D. Ph.D.

M.D., Ph.D. NIH Distinguished Investigator, Inflammatory Disease Section National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Research, NHGRI 

Dr. Dan Kastner obtained his A.B. summa cum laude in philosophy from Princeton University in 1973 and a Ph.D. and M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine by 1982. After completing Internal Medicine residency and chief residency at Baylor, Dan moved to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1985. He is currently the Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Throughout his career at the NIH Dan’s research has focused on using genetic and genomic strategies to understand inherited disorders of inflammation, often stimulated by patients with relatively rare disorders seen at the NIH Clinical Center hospital. This work has provided detailed molecular explanations for these illnesses, has provided the conceptual basis for highly effective targeted therapies, and has informed our understanding of more common illnesses. Dan’s group also proposed the now widely accepted overarching concept of autoinflammatory disease to denote disorders of the evolutionarily ancient innate branch of the human immune system. Dan has won a number of awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the National Academy of Medicine in 2012, recognition as Federal Employee of the Year in 2018, and the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine in 2019. 

Professor Dennis McGonagle FRCPI Ph.D

Professor of Investigative Rheumatology, Leeds Institute of Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Leeds 

Dennis McGonagle graduated from UCD in 1990 with a first class honour in Medicine, winning the O’Donovan Gold Medal and two other Medals in Medicine. He went into Rheumatology in 1994 and moved to the University of Leeds in 2006.  He undertook his PhD into the cellular and micro-anatomical basis for inflammatory arthritis disease localisation to the joints.  In clinical research, he has used microanatomy and imaging to elucidate the pathogenesis of the seronegative inflammatory diseases and has defined the central role of the enthesis in joint pathology in several key publications including the cytokine mediated enthesitis theory of synovitis in the seronegative spondyloarthopathies (diseases that include Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis) (Lancet 1998).  He runs clinics into immune mediated diseases and a joint autoinflammaotory network and he has developed the modern immunological Disease Continuum classification of inflammation against self (PLoS Med 2006).  His group have shown how COVID-19 immunopathology is a distinct pulmonary pathology that differs from classic MAS and DIC (Autoimm Rev 2020 & Lancet Rheum 2020).  

His group have defined normal human enthesis innate and adaptive immunity including gamma delta T-cells and conventional T-cells in the human enthesis (Cuthbert R et al ARD 2019) and (Bridgewood C et al ARD 2019 & Watad et al ARD 2020).     His other interest is the use of native joint resident mesenchymal stem cells for OA therapy (Nat Rev Rheum 2017). 

Dennis is Professor of Investigate Rheumatology and Section Head of Experimental Rheumatology at the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Arthritis & Rheumatism and Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, and has served as a member of the Scientific Committee of The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR).   He is a member of the UK MRC PSMB Board.  He has also won international prizes for his work including the Verna Wright Lecture in 2018 and the Philadelphia Rheumatism Pemberton Prize in 2018 and the Royal Academy of Medicine (Bioengineering) Medal in 2019.     


Cornelia M. Weyand, M.D.Ph.D.

Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Stanford University, School of Medicine, USA 

Dr. Weyand has a special interest in understanding how the human immune system ages and how this leads to inflammatory disease. The immune system protects against infections and malignancy and regulates the wound healing process. With progressive age, individuals become susceptible to cancer and infections. Unexpectedly, aging also leads to much higher risk for tissue inflammation. Dr. Weyand and her team have defined successful and maladaptive immune aging and are developing therapeutic strategies to slow down the immune aging process. 

Together with her research team, Dr. Weyand has examined immune malfunction in two disease states, rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis of the large blood vessels. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis the immune system ages much faster, loses protective functions and gains pro-inflammatory potential. Vasculitis of the large blood vessels leads to life-threatening complications and is strictly linked to the patient’s age. By examining immune cells from affected patients, Dr. Weyand’s group has defined mechanism of tissue invasion of inflammatory cells, arrest and survival signals that hold inflammatory cells in the tissue and the energy sources that allow inflammatory cells to fuel their bad behaviors. 

Dr. Fergus Shanahan MD, DSc, MRIA

Emeritus Professor of Medicine at University College Cork, Ireland University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland 

Dr. Fergus Shanahan is emeritus professor of medicine at University College Cork, Ireland and was foundation director of APC Microbiome Ireland.  He previously held positions in the United States at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and in Canada at McMaster University. Specialising in chronic intestinal diseases, he has received multiple international awards for his contributions to medical science and to the medical humanities. He was the first recipient of the Hektoen International grand prix for his essay entitled ‘Waiting’. Dr. Shanahan has published more than 570 scientific papers and numerous books, one of which won the BMA book award for gastroenterology in 2006. He has several patents and is a co-founder of three university start-up companies. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Canada, and the United Kingdom as well as of the American College of Physicians. He served as President of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology, was named to the “Irish Life Science 50” a list of the top 50 Irish and Irish Americans in the life science industry, and in 2013 Science Foundation Ireland named him as its Researcher of the Year. In 2016, the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) honoured him with a gold medal for contributions to the life sciences.  









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