Workshop Speakers

CO-CHAIR

Camilla Stoltenberg

Camilla Stoltenberg is the Director-General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She is a Norwegian medical doctor and epidemiologist who has served several years as both Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Deputy Director-General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, with responsibility for strategic development of key infrastructures for research in Norway; the national health registries, biobanks, and population-based cohorts. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health runs most of the centralized national health registries in Norway, large population-based cohorts including the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), and a research biobank. Since the late 1990s Dr. Stoltenberg has engaged in developing such infrastructures for research in Norway and internationally.

Dr. Stoltenberg is Professor at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Bergen, Norway, and in 2014 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She holds a number of positions in Norway and internationally, including Chair of the board for following up the national strategy for health and care research in Norway (HelseOmsorg21), chair of the board of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Arctic University of Norway, member of the Executive Board of EAT, member of the Expert Review Group on Population and Public Health at the Wellcome Trust, UK, member of the Executive Board of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), member of the Board of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess’ Foundation in Norway, and contributor to a regular column in the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet. She is Principal Investigator in Norway for the Autism Birth Cohort Study (ABC), and is involved in several scientific research and strategic projects nationally and internationally. Dr. Stoltenberg’s scientific work has a focus on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, with data from registries, MoBa, and the ABC. In addition, she is involved in research on perinatal and genetic epidemiology, studying causes of birth defects, stillbirth and infant death, consanguinity, health in immigrant populations, and social inequality in health.

CO-CHAIR

Kári Stefánsson

Kári Stefánsson, MD, Dr Med, founded deCODE in August 1996. Dr. Stefánsson was previously a professor of Neurology, Neuropathology and Neuroscience at Harvard University and Director of Neuropathology at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1983 to 1993, he held faculty positions in Neurology, Neuropathology and Neurosciences at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Stefánsson received his MD and Dr. Med. from the University of Iceland and is board-certified in neurology and neuropathology in the United States. Dr. Stefansson is recognized as a leading figure in human genetics. He has shaped deCODE’s scientific approach and been actively engaged in leading its gene discovery work, serving as senior author on most of the company’s publications in major scientific journals.

PRESENTER

Jonas Björk

Jonas Björk, professor in epidemiology at Lund University, Sweden. Conducts large-scale population studies on geographical differences in health and disease, with special focus on differences that can be attributed to socioeconomic or environmental factors. Has also a keen interest in validity issues related to population research, broadly defined.

PRESENTER

Christian Erikstrup

Christian Erikstrup is chair professor of clinical immunology at Aarhus University and head of blood production at the Department of Clinical Immunology, Aarhus University Hospital. He is a co-initiator and member of the steering committee of the Danish Blood Donor Study (DBDS), a cohort and bio bank with approximately 125,000 participants. DBDS performs studies within general health, blood donor health, and transfusion medicine.

SESSION CHAIR

Tove Fall

Tove Fall is Professor in Molecular Epidemiology at Uppsala University. The focus of Dr. Fall’s research is to identify casues and consequences of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and she leads a research team of 15 scientists in Uppsala with support from the European and Swedish Research Councils. Her skills lay mainly in epidemiological study design, registry-based research and moelcular epidemiology. She is an elected member of the Swedish Young Academy and chairs the SCAPIS-genetics advisory board.

She has been collecting and analyzing epidemiological data for covid-19 since spring 2020 within the Covid Symptom Study Sweden with more than 200,000 participants in collaboration with Lund University and in the CRUSH-Covid project in collaboration with Region Uppsala and she acts as the co-PI for both studies. Dr. Fall’s graduate education is in Veterinary Medicine from SLU, Uppsala (2005). After a PhD on the epidemiology of diabetes in dogs (2009) she made a transition to human medical and genetic epidemiology in her post-doc at Karolinska Insitutet.

PRESENTER

Krista Fischer

Krista Fischer has a PhD in mathematical statistics (University of Tartu, Estonia, 1999). She has worked at University of Ghent, Belgium (1999-2001, postdoctoral researcher), Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu (Associate Professor 2001-2007), MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, UK (Investigator/Scientist 2007-2010). Since 2010 she is working as Senior Researcher at the Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu, where she is leading the biostatistics group. Her main research interests include causal inference in genetic epidemiology, statistical modelling of -omics data (survival models, polygenic risk scores, complex models involving multi-omics data, etc). Krista Fischer is a member of the Executive Board of the International Biometric Society and was the president of the Nordic-Baltic Region of the International Biometric Society in 2013-2016.

PRESENTER

Arnoldo Frigessi

Arnoldo Frigessi is professor of statistics at the University of Oslo and the Oslo University Hospital. He is director of the Oslo Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology and of BigInsight, a consortium of industry, public actors and academia, developing model based machine learning methodologies. Originally from Italy, where he had positions in Rome and Venice, Frigessi moved to Norway in 1997 as a researcher at the Norwegian Computing Centre, before he became professor at the University of Oslo. Frigessi has developed statistical methodology motivated by specific problems in science, technology and industry. He has designed stochastic models to study principles, dynamics and patterns of complex dependence. Currently, he has research collaborations in genomics, personalised medicine, infectious disease modeling, including Covid-19, personalised and viral marketing, sensor data and recommender systems. Frigessi is elected member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters.

PRESENTER

Atle Fretheim

Atle Fretheim heads the newly formed Centre for Epidemic Interventions Research (CEIR) at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. He has conducted health services research for the last 20 years, primarily on the effects of policies and interventions. During the pandemic he has led a series of initiatives to assess the impact of public health and social measures for infection control. He holds a position as adjunct professor at Oslo Metropolitan University, and he has been a Fulbright Scholar and Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice.

PRESENTER

Hilma Holm

Hilma Holm, MD, is the head of the Cardiovascular Research Department at deCODE genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland. She is an expert in echocardiology, cardiovascular genetics, and population genetics research. Dr. Holm is actively involved in a wide range of genetic research, including on lipids and atherosclerosis, cardiac conduction and arrhythmias, congenital heart disesae, valve disease and heart failure. She directs the deCODE Health Study, a prospective cohort study in Iceland with extensive phenotypic and genotypic information, that was leveraged for the study of the long-term effects of COVID-19. Dr. Holm received her M.D. degree at the University of Iceland. She completed her internal medicine training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, clinical cardiology training at Emory University in Atlanta, and trained in clinical echocardiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

PRESENTER/PANELIST

Matti Jantunen

Based on his experience in aerosol science, sources, dispersion, exposure and risk management, Matti Jankunen began in March 2020 to write a COVID blog and a chronological public COVID-literature and news article database. He also first formed and then joined COVID-discussion groups that involve a broad base of scientists working in Finland and abroad.

Dr. Jantunen retired in 2011 as research professor after 26 years of service at the National Public Health Institute (KTL, since 2007 THL), Department of Environmental Health, in Kuopio, Finland. Earlier he has worked in National Institute of Occupational Health, University of Kuopio and University of North Carolina. His research has focused on air pollution exposure, risk and policy impact assessment, interrupted by the Chernobyl fallout. 1989 to 1995 he coordinated the EU Air Pollution Epidemiology Programme and since then EU wide research projects, most importantly EXPOLIS, which laid the foundations for European research on air pollution exposure. From 1999 to 2001 he organised the exposure research at the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. He has been a member of dozens on WHO and EU Expert Committees and Working Groups and member of the BfR Kommission Expositionsschätzung und Expositionsstandardisierung. He has published 130 peer reviewed and 250 other scientific publications with 300 co-authors from 23 countries, and given 260 conference presentations. Prof. Jantunen was knighted (First Class), Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2003, received ISEA’s Wesolowski Award in 2004 and Distinguished Lecturer Award in 2006.

PRESENTER

Tyra Grove Krause

Tyra Grove Krause is the executive vice president ad interim for Infectious Disease Preparedness at Statens Serum Institut. She was appointed to this position in 2021.
She is also an associate professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen and has been so since 2021.

PRESENTER

Kelli Lehto

Kelli Lehto is an associate professor in neuropsychiatric genetics at the Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Estonia. Dr. Lehto has a background in Psychology (University of Tartu) and genetic epidemiology (Karolinska Institutet). Dr. Lehto’s research group focuses on exploring mental and somatic comorbidities and gene-environment interplay in psychiatric disorders. She is currently co-leading several collaboration projects on the mental trajectories during COVID-19 pandemic.

PRESENTER

Páll Melsted

Páll Melsted received his Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Mathematics from the University of Iceland in 2003 and completed a PhD degree in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago from 2009 to 2011 and a faculty at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iceland from 2011.

He joined deCODE in 2013 and from 2019 he has lead the effort on analysis of RNA sequencing data. His work is focused on development of efficient algorithms for working with high-throughput sequencing data and analysis of RNA sequencing datasets.

Dr. Melsted is a professor of computer science at the University of Iceland.

SESSION CHAIR

Lili Milani

Lili Milani is a research professor and Head of the personalized medicine initiative at the Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu. She defended her PhD degree in molecular medicine at Uppsala University, Sweden in 2009. Since then, her main areas of research have been epigenetics and pharmacogenetics – studying the genetics of inter-individual variation in drug response.

She is now actively participating in preparing and implementing the national strategy for personalized medicine in Estonia in close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Institute for Health Development.

SESSION CHAIR

Hanna Ollila

Hanna Ollila is a FIMM-EMBL Group Leader at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), based at the University of Helsinki. Dr. Ollila received her PhD in 2013 from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Helsinki, mentored by Dr. Tiina Paunio and Dr. Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen (Stenberg). For the following four years she trained as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and was mentored by Dr Emmanuel Mignot and Dr Douglas Levinson, examining the genetic underpinnings of type-1 narcolepsy. In 2018 Dr. Ollila joined Dr. Jonathan Pritchard’s team at Stanford University, training first as a research fellow and later as a visiting instructor. Dr. Ollila was co-mentored by Richa Saxena from Center of Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard medical school. Dr. Ollila’s main research interests are genetic epidemiology of sleep and brain autoimmunity and she has over 30 publications in the field of sleep, narcolepsy and autoimmunity.

SESSION CHAIR

Ole Birger Vesterager Pedersen

Ole Birger Pedersen is chief physician at Department of Clinical Immunology at the Zealand University Hospital, Køge and Associate Professor at Institute for Clinical Medicine, Copenhagen University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 in genetic epidemiology within rheumatic diseases.

Dr. Pedersen is co-initiator of the Danish Blood Donor Study (DBDS) and part of the steering committee of both DBDS and Copenhagen Hospital Biobank utilizing these resources for large scale studies on epidemiology and genetic variation within disease.

PRESENTER

Pärt Peterson

Pärt Peterson is a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He graduated in molecular biology at the University of Tartu and defended his PhD in molecular immunology in 1996 at the University of Tampere, Finland. He has been a Fellow of the Finnish Academy, The Wellcome Trust International Senior Fellow, and the Research Professor of the Academy of Estonia. Since 2008, he has been a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. His research interest has been the Autoimmune Regulator (AIRE) gene, the key factor in central thymic tolerance and in avoiding autoimmunity. He co-discovered and made initial characterization of the DNA methyltransferase 3-like (DNMT3L) gene, a regulator of DNA methylation and epigenetic imprinting. He has studied the age-related changes in the immune system, and more recently, immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

PRESENTER

Mia Phillipson

Mia Phillipson received her PhD in Physiology at Uppsala University in 2003 and pursued her post-doc at the University of Calgary. She returned to Uppsala University in 2006, and has been Professor of Physiology there since 2014. Her research combines the fields of immunology and physiology by using cutting-edge intravital imaging and molecular and functional characterization, and she is the author of more than 60 scientific publications. A major effort of the Phillipson laboratory has been directed towards delineating different functions of discrete subsets of immune cells during homeostasis as well as during injury and tissue restitution, with the ultimate goal of using their discoveries in developing novel therapies to treat disease. Among the most important discoveries of the Phillipson laboratory are the alternative roles of immune cells in restoration of blood perfusion following injury and transplantation. More specifically, a subpopulation of neutrophils that drives blood vessel formation following injury has been discovered, as well as the fact that macrophages take on blood flow regulation crucial for tissue healing.

Based on the cutting-edge medical research at her lab, Phillipson co-founded Ilya Pharma in 2016, a company which develops next-generation biological drugs for treating wounds in skin and mucosa. The first clinical trial was performed in 2020. Phillipson was appointed a Ragnar Söderberg Research Fellow in Medicine in 2012, a Wallenberg Academy Fellow in 2012 and a Wallenberg Academy Scholar in 2019. She was a selected member of the Young Academy of Sweden during 2016–20, where she was the spokesperson for research politics and part of the management. In 2021, Phillipson was appointed codirector of SciLifeLab.

At SCAS, Phillipson will apply a data-driven, unbiased approach to reveal new and site-specific roles of immune cells important for organ function and maintenance of homeostasis.

PRESENTER/PANELIST

Anders Tegnell

Dr. Anders Tegnell is the State Epidemiologist of Sweden, the Deputy Director General as well as the Head of the Department of Public Health Analysis and Data Management at the Public Health Agency. He is a medical doctor with a PhD in infectious diseases and a Master in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Tegnell has extensive experience of leading different Swedish government agencies at different levels in the field of public health, disease control and preparedness for health threats, and has also experience from international work, for example from Laos in 1990-1993 (WHO) and from DRC during the Ebola outbreak in 1995.

PRESENTER/PANELIST

Henrik Ullum

Henrik Ullum is the CEO of Statens Serum Institut (SSI) and has been so since December 2020. As CEO, Ullum has the overall responsibility of the day-to-day running of SSI.

Henrik Ullum has a medical degree from the University of Copenhagen. He has formerly been employed as a professor at the Institute for Clinical Medicine at the University of Copenhagen and as a Chief Physician at the Department of Clinical Immunology at Rigshospitalet.

PRESENTER

Olli Vapalahti

Olli Vapalahti is professor of zoonotic virology at University of Helsinki. He conducts research on viral diseases transmitted by animals to humans, such as tick-borne encephalitis, the Zika virus, SARS, Ebola as well as viruses that are not fully known and have not previously been described.

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