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Plenary Program


 Title: Humanizing capitalism to address suffering

David Green (USA)

15/04/2019 at 10:45

David GreenDavid Green has worked with many organizations to make medical technology and services sustainable, affordable and accessible to all. He is a MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and is recognized by Schwab Foundation as a leading social entrepreneur.

David directed the establishment of Aurolab (India), to produce affordable intraocular lenses (10% of the global market share) suture and pharmaceuticals. Over 25 million Aurolab lenses have been implanted.

He has developed high-volume, quality eye care programs that are affordable to the poor and self-sustaining from user fees, including Aravind Eye Hospital in India - which performs over 450,000 surgeries per year; and major eye care programs and training centers in China, India, Nepal, Egypt, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Mexico  and Guatemala.

He co-founded Sound World Solutions to make affordable hearing aids; LegWorks, which makes prosthetic knees affordable; and the Eye Fund, a $15M social investing fund in collaboration with Deutsche Bank.

He is a recipient of the “Spirit of Helen Keller” award for humanitarian efforts in blindness prevention; and was awarded the University of Michigan Humanitarian Service Award.


Title: The global epidemic of kidney disease and access to high quality dialysis care                     (Hugh de Wardener Lecture)
Jonathan Himmelfarb (USA)

14/04/2019 at 14:45

Jonathan HimmelfarbDr. Jonathan Himmelfarb is Director of the Kidney Research Institute, Co-Director of the  Center for Dialysis Innovation, Professor of Medicine, and holds the Joseph W. Eschbach M.D. Endowed Chair in Kidney Research at the University of Washington.

Dr. Himmelfarb has held leadership positions in many national and international nephrology societies, and was President of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN)  in 2014-2015.

He has served on expert panels for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Veterans Health Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other organizations.

Dr. Himmelfarb has served on numerous editorial boards including the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), Kidney International, BMC Medicine, the Faculty of 1000 in Medicine, and the Faculty of 1000 in Research.

His current research interests include developing a wearable artificial kidney; development of a human ‘kidney-on-a-chip’, evaluation of risk biomarkers in acute and chronic kidney disease; and studies of Kidney Precision Medicine.

Dr. Himmelfarb leads numerous investigator-initiated clinical trials, cohort studies, and multicenter collaborative studies. He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed publications.


Title: Global health and noncommunicable diseases (Brenner/Dirks Lecture)
Sania Nishtar (Pakistan)

12/04/2019 at 17:00


Dr. Sania Nishtar is an internationally acclaimed Pakistani physician and public health expert.

She currently co-chairs WHO’s High-Level Commission on Non-communicable diseases along with the presidents of Uruguay, Finland and Sri-Lanka. She also co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Healthcare and the U.S National Academy of Sciences Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in low and middle-income countries. In addition, she also chairs the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s Advisory Committee.

She is the founder and president of the NGO Heartfile in Pakistan and has previously served as a federal minister in the Pakistan government in 2013. She was Pakistan’s nominee for director-general of the World Health Organisation in 2017 and was in the final shortlist of three.

Earlier she was also founding Chair of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Accountability Panel for Women’s and Children’s health and chaired WHO’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

She has received many international awards for her work and is widely published.

Sania Nishtar graduated from Khyber Medical University as the best graduate in 1986. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and took a Ph.D at Kings College London.


Title: Control of immune responses by regulatory T cells (Donald Seldin Lecture)
Shimon Sakaguchi (Japan)

14/04/2019 at 10:45

Shimon SakaguchiShimon Sakaguchi is currently a Distinguished Professor at Osaka University, Japan.

He is an immunologist recognized particularly for his discovery of regulatory T cells, an indispensable constituent of the immune system for the maintenance of immune self-tolerance and homeostasis.

Sakaguchi obtained an M.D. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1982 from Kyoto University, Japan, and performed postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University as a Lucille P. Markey Scholar.

He has been a Professor at Kyoto University and Osaka University for many years. He was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor in 2009, elected to Foreign Member of National Academy of Sciences USA in 2012, designated as Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government in 2017, and has been awarded with many international prizes including Cancer Research Institute’s William B. Coley Award, Keio Medical Science Prize, Canada Gairdner International Award and the Crafoord Prize.


Title: The future of medicine is personal
Molly Shoichet (Canada)

13/04/2019 at 10:45

Molly SHOICHETProfessor Molly Shoichet holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering at the University of Toronto. She was appointed Ontario’s first Chief Scientist in 2018, where she is enhancing the culture of science in Ontario.

Dr. Shoichet has published over 575 papers, patents and abstracts and has given over 350 lectures worldwide. She currently leads a laboratory of 30 and has graduated 158 researchers.

Her research is focused on drug and cell delivery strategies in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, retina) and 3D hydrogel culture systems to model cancer. Dr. Shoichet co-founded three spin-off companies, is actively engaged in translational research and science outreach.

Dr. Shoichet is the recipient of many prestigious distinctions and the only person ever to be inducted into all three of Canada’s National Academies: the Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

In 2018, Professor Shoichet was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada – one of the highest distinctions for a Canadian - and in 2011, she was awarded the Order of Ontario – Ontario’s highest honour. In 2014, Dr. Shoichet was given the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, University Professor, which is held by less than 2% of the faculty.

Dr. Shoichet was the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America in 2015, elected Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2016, and won the Killam Prize in Engineering in 2017.

Dr. Shoichet received her SB from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1987) and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Polymer Science and Engineering (1992).


Title: Putting the balance back in diet: The nutritional geometry of obesity, metabolic disease and ageing (Claude Amiel Lecture)
Stephen Simpson (Australia)

13/04/2019 at 14:45

stephen simpsonSteve Simpson is Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.

After graduating as a biologist from the University of Queensland, Steve undertook his PhD at the University of London, then spent 22 years at Oxford before returning to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, then ARC Laureate Fellow.

Stephen and colleague David Raubenheimer have developed an integrative modelling framework for nutrition (the Geometric Framework), which was devised and tested using insects and has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. He has also revolutionised understanding of swarming in locusts, with research spanning neurochemical events within the brains of individual locusts to continental-scale mass migration.

In 2007 Steve was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2008 he won the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, in 2009 he was NSW Scientist of the Year, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Steve has also been prominent in the media, including presenting a four-part documentary series for ABC TV, “Great Southern Land”.


Title: Novel insights into the molecular pathogenesis of human SLE (Stewart Cameron Lecture)
Carola Vinuesa (Australia)

15/04/2019 at 16:45

Photo Carola VinuesaCarola Vinuesa was born in Spain and obtained a medical degree at the University Autonoma of Madrid.

She undertook specialist clinical training in the UK and in 2000 was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham. A year later she was the recipient of a Wellcome Trust International Travelling prize Fellowship to do postdoctoral work at The John Curtin School for Medical Research in The Australian National University.

Since 2006 she has been a group leader. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the year (2008), the Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2009).

In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She is currently Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology (CPI), an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence.


Title: Non-medical plenary speaker
Tim Flannery (Australia)

12/04/2019 at 17:00

Tim FlanneryTim Flannery is one of Australia's leading thinkers and writers.

A scientist, explorer and conservationist he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books.

He was described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the great explorers, and as a scientist who's discovered more new species than Charles Darwin.

His landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers have changed the way we think about the environmental challenges facing the world.

He spent a year teaching at Harvard, and in 2007 he co-founded and was appointed Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council.

Named Australian of the Year in 2007, he works with governments and business in North America, Asia and Europe on climate change action.

In 2011 he became Australia’s Chief Climate Commissioner, and in 2013 he founded and heads the Australian Climate Council. He serves of the Sustainability Advisory Boards of Siemens and Tata Power (India).