Featured Plenary Speakers

Arthur K. Asbury Lecture (GBS/CIDP/Inflammatory)
Giuseppe Lauria, MD, IRCCS "Carlo Besta" Neurological Institute, University of Milan, Milan, Italy 
Title: Skin for Neurologists


Giuseppe Lauria is Professor of Neurology and director of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the IRCCS “Carlo Besta” Neurological Institute of Milan, Italy. He received the degree in Medicine at the University of Padova and trained as a resident in Neurology at the University of Ferrara, and was a fellow at the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, USA. He has pioneered the use of skin biopsy in peripheral neuropathies and neuropathic pain syndromes, contributed to the discovery of new phenotypes and gene mutations in small fibre neuropathies and participated in setting guidelines for clinical treatment of peripheral neuropathies.


Richard P. Bunge Lecture (Biology of Nerve)
Alison Lloyd, PhD, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, London, UK
Title: Peripheral Nerve Homeostasis and Regeneration - Links to Disease


Alison Lloyd is a Professor of Cell Biology and head of the Cell Biogenesis and Tissue Regeneration research group at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London, UK. She studied Biochemistry for her undergraduate studies at UCL, followed by a PhD in the laboratory of Chris Marshall at the Chester Beatty Laboratories at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. This was followed by postdoctoral fellowships in Strasbourg, France and at the ICRF laboratories in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London. In 1998, she started her laboratory at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology where she currently runs a research group focused on two main areas of cell biology- the control of cell biogenesis and tissue regeneration- and how these relate to tumour formation. Using the mammalian PNS as a model system, she has made ground-breaking discoveries as to how this tissue regenerates and the parallels to the development and spread of tumours- in particular to tumours that develop in patients with the familial tumour predisposition syndrome, Neurofibromatosis Type 1. She is a member of EMBO and co-chair of the UCL Cancer Domain.


Peter J. Dyck Lecture (Diabetes and Clinical Topics)
Geert Jan Biessels, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
Title: Neurological Disturbances in Patients with Diabetes Beyond Peripheral Neuropathy: CNS Involvement on Multimodal Brain Imaging


Geert Jan Biessels is Professor of Neurology with a chair on Cerebrovascular disease and Cognition at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD in 1997 and registered as a neurologist in 2004. His major research interest is vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), focusing on etiological research using novel MRI markers and on the role of diabetes. Using the unique properties of high field 7T-MRI his group has been able – for the first time - to detect cerebral microinfarcts in vivo and subsequently translated the technique to 3T-MRI. His team is currently assessing structure and function of the small vessels themselves, thus getting closer to the core of cerebral small vessel diseases (SVD). They also employ brain network analyses and lesion symptom mapping techniques in order to better understand cognitive impact of vascular brain injury. He is PI of the TRACE-VCI study, the META VCI map initiative and the Dutch Heart Brain Connection program. He participates in the EU-funded research program SVDs@target (https://www.svds-at-target.eu/). He is PI of two large multicentre RCTs on prevention of cognitive decline in patients with type 2 diabetes. In 2015 he received the senior investigator award of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) and in 2016 he was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in recognition of his work.


J.W. Griffin Lecture (Regeneration) 
Valeria Cavalli, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA
Title: Neuronal and glial mechanisms regulating nerve regeneration


Dr. Cavalli’s work aims to understand the complex cascade of cellular events responsible for repairing damaged axons in peripheral nerves and to identify therapeutic targets to improve neuronal recovery following axon injury. Dr. Cavalli and her colleagues have identified several key molecular players and their roles in announcing injury, initiating a response and carrying out repair. Among them are mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR), JNK-interacting protein, JIP3 and the gene regulators HDAC5 and HIF-1alpha. Dr. Cavalli earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. During her graduate work in the lab of Dr. Jean Gruenberg in Geneva, Dr. Cavalli studied the signaling mechanisms regulating membrane trafficking in cells. She continued with postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. There she joined the lab of Dr. Larry Goldstein and studied how vesicular transport impacts signaling along peripheral nerves, and, vice versa, how signaling impacts vesicular transport. In her initial studies, she focused on retrograde injury signaling, or how information about an injury is conveyed from the distantly located lesion site in the axon back to the cell body. She received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to continue her studies on injury signaling. She then joined the Washington University faculty in 2006 and is now Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience.


P.K. Thomas Lecture (Inherited Neuropathies)
David Adams, MD, PhD, Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Universite Paris Sud, Paris, France
Title: Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy as a Model of Medical Progress


David Adams is Head of the French National Reference Centre for FAP, a position held since 2005, and has been the Coordinator of the French Network for FAP (CORNAMYL) since 2010. He was made a Professor of Neurology at the Université Paris Sud, France in 1996, and between 1996 and 2008 was Assistant Professor of the Department of Neurology at the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Bicêtre, Université Paris Sud. In 2009, he became Head of the Department of Neurology at AP-HP. He is cluster Manager of Neurosciences Head and Neck since December 2016. He is now involved in research programmes of early diagnosis in sporadic cases and genetic carriers, and belongs to the European Reference Network for neuromuscular diseases ERN EURO NMD. His main areas of expertise are peripheral neuropathies, including FAP and other rare peripheral neuropathies. He has been particularly involved in the evaluation of the effects of liver transplantation on neuropathy in FAP patients in France since 1993, and the neurological risks of domino liver transplantation. He is Principal Investigator in many multicentric clinical trials for FAP. Professor Adams was an Advisory Board member for International Symposium on Familial Amyloidotic Polyneuropathy (ISFAP), the International Symposium on Liver Transplantation in Familial Amyloidotic Polyneuropathy (IS-LTFAP). He organized the First European Congress on Hereditary ATTR amyloidosis in 2015 and the First European meeting for ATTR amyloidosis for doctors and patients in 2017 in Paris. He received the 2017 PK Thomas prize from the European Academy of Neurology.


Jonathon Pembroke Lecture (Cell Biology) 
Massimo Zeviani, MD, PhD, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Cell Biology Section, Bethesda, MD, USA
Title: The Impact of Mitochondrial Biology on Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders


Professor Massimo Zeviani is the Director of the University of Cambridge/MRC-Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK. He moved to UK from Milano, Italy, where he directed the Unit of Molecular Neurogenetics at the Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta. By characterizing informative patients and families affected by mitochondrial impairment, Prof Zeviani identified many disease-related genes and developed the first therapeutic approaches for mitochondrial diseases. His team has created several mouse models for the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of mitochondrial disorders, in addition to maintaining a clinical interest in the management and investigation of mitochondrial disease patients. His research has also provided a relevant contribution to the characterization of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative conditions, involving the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Presidential Lecture
Steven S. Scherer, MD, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Title: Peripheral Neuropathy – 6th Edition

Steven S. Scherer is the Ruth Wagner Van Meter and J. Ray Van Meter Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his B.S., M.D., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and did an internship, neurology residency, and a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, before joining the faculty in 1991. For 40 years, Dr. Scherer has sought to understand the causes and treatments of peripheral neuropathies, with a focus on inherited neuropathies in his clinical work and laboratory investigations. He has served on NIH Study Sections, on the medical board of the CMT Association, and is the current president of the Peripheral Nerve Society. Dr. Scherer was the first recipient of the Alan J. Gebhart- Peripheral Nerve Society Prize for Excellence in Peripheral Nerve Research.