Organisers

Organisers

Dr. Carlo Dionisi-Vici

Italy

Dr. Carlo Dionisi-Vici, paediatrician is Head of the Unit of Metabolic Disease at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Research Hospital in Rome, Italy; is President of the Italian Society for Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Neonatal Screening (SIMMESN) and Council member of the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (SSIEM). His clinical and research focus includes organic acidemias, urea cycle defects, homocystinurias, management of metabolic emergencies, mitochondrial and lysosomal disorders and hyperinsulinism. He has conducted translational research for the development of guidelines in inborn errors of metabolism and applied new technologies to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

Tara Morrison

Australia

Tara Morrison is director and chair of HCU Network Australia.  Her connection to this disorder is a personal one: her two sons were diagnosed with Classical Homocystinuria at ages 5 and 1 years.  At the time of diagnosis the Morrison Family were left with many unanswered questions.  Their response has been to try and change this experience for others.

In 2014 Tara founded HCU Network Australia and serves voluntarily as Director and Chair of the Board.  She is eager to utilize her personal and professional experience to achieve real outcomes for individuals affected by the disorder and their families.

Tara has practiced law in private practice for the past 10 years.  She has worked in a range of areas and specializes in family law and building and construction.  Tara holds a double degree in Arts and Law.  She is a solicitor admitted in NSW and the High Court of Australia.

Prof. Henk Blom

Netherlands

Henk Blom finished his Chemistry study in 1985 and received his PhD in 1988 at the Radboud University Nijmegen. After his post-doc period at the Human Genetics Branch, NIH, USA (William Gahl), he became post-doc in 1990 and later in 1992 staff member of the Clinical Genetics Center Nijmegen at Laboratory of Pediatrics and Neurology, University Hospital Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In 1997 he became Established Investigator of the Netherlands Heart Foundation and in 2003 he was registered as Clinical Biochemical Geneticist. In 2007 he was appointed as vice-head and later head of the Metabolic Unit at the Department Clinical Chemistry, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, the Netherlands and in 2009 he became Professor in Biochemistry of Inherited Metabolic Diseases at the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam. Since 2014 he is head of the laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry and Metabolism, Department of General Pediatrics, Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine University Hospital Freiburg, Germany.

His research concerns inborn errors of metabolism with special focus on inherited defects of homocysteine, methylation and folate metabolism. His contributions include the association of a disturbed homocysteine metabolism with pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, cardiovascular disease, thrombosis and stroke in children. He investigated the genetic etiology of thermolabile MTHFR, which resulted in the discovery of the MTHFR 677C>T variant which is the first identified genetic risk factor for neural tube defects.  Basic research concerned the effects of homocysteine and its metabolites on development of chicken embryos and endothelial function.

Among inborn errors of metabolism his group described the molecular basis of severe hyperhomocysteinemia. They also explored cystinosis and defects in the methionine methylation pathway, including methionine adenosyltransferase deficiency. They discovered two new genetic defects: one in folate metabolism: dihydrofolate reductase deficiency and one defect in methylation: adenosine kinase deficiency. Prof Henk Blom is coordinator of E-HOD, an international consortium on homocystinurias and methylation disorders. In 2017 the consortium consisted of almost 100 partners. Main achievements are the setup of the E-HOD registry (www.EHOD-registry.org) and website (www.E-HOD.org) with information for expert as well as patients and their families. In addition four guideline manuscripts have been published, teaching courses and Patient – Expert Meetings organized.

He supervised as (co)promoter of 31 PhD students and published over 350 papers in international journals resulting in an H-index of 72.

Prof. Viktor Kožich

Czech Republic

Professor Kožich graduated from the School of General Medicine, Charles University in Prague in 1985. Since his graduation he has been working in the Institute of Inherited Metabolic Diseases and he specialized in clinical biochemistry and medical genetics, in 2012 he became the full Professor of Medical Genetics.

His main interests are genetic, biochemical, clinical, epidemiological and ethical aspects of inherited metabolic disorders with a special interest in disorders of homocysteine metabolism and namely in cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency—a disease in which he became interested  in 1991-1992 during his fellowship in the laboratory of Prof.Jan P.Kraus (University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, USA).  Prof.Kožich is also involved in organization of neonatal screening and serves as a Chairman of the national Coordination Center on Neonatal Screening in the Czech Republic.

Professor Kožich has been a tutor of graduate and postgraduate students, he is an author of over 100 publications in peer reviewed international journals, several chapters in books, and of articles and chapters in Czech medical literature; he has been an invited speaker at various international and national conferences. He is a member of councils of several international learned societies (SSIEM, ERNDIM, and ESHG) and he is active in peer review system at both the national and international levels.

Dr. Ida Schwartz

Brazil

Ida Vanessa D. Schwartz graduated in 1994, entered residency in clinical genetics in 1995, started her Master’s degree program in 1998, her PhD in 2000 (this last post graduate course ended in 2004), and started her Postdocs in 2015 and in 2016 respectively. Both her Master’s and her PhD were related to inborn errors of metabolism, and the study of ethical/economic aspects related to the treatment of rare disorders is one of her main research lines. She is an associate professor of the genetics department at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), as well as the coordinator of both the local Gaucher Reference Center and the Inborn Metabolic Clinics in the Medical Genetics Service at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, which is an international reference center for the diagnosis and treatment of lysosomal storage disorders. Among the awards and recognitions she has received, some stand out, such as, the L’OREAL/Brazilian Academy of Sciences for Women in Science (2007) and her affiliation to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (2008). She has been a member of the Ethics Committee of UFRGS since 2011.