Invited Speakers

Invited Speakers


  Jeffrey Curtis, MD, MPH, University of Alabama, USA

Updates in Biomarker and Other Testing in the Long-Term Management of RA

Dr. Jeffrey Curtis is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Curtis received a Medical Degree (MD) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, OR. He subsequently completed a residency in internal medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and a fellowship in rheumatology at UAB. He completed a graduate program in Clinical Informatics at Stanford University and received his Master of Science (MS) degree in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board certified in both rheumatology and clinical informatics.  Dr. Curtis is a member of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE), the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR). He has been on the editorial board for Arthritis & Rheumatism, Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (PDS) and Arthritis Care and Research (AC&R). He has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles and book chapters.


Kevin Deane, MD/PhD, Chair, PMA, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Biomarkers and Other Factors in the Prediction and Prevention of Future Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. Kevin Deane is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with a primary appointment within the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Deane’s research is focused primarily on the preclinical period of the disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and he is currently involved as a co-investigator in a multi-centered study investigating how genetics and environmental factors influence the early development of RA. He also has special interests in the mechanistic role of the lung and other mucosal sites in the development of RA. In addition, Dr. Deane is also the Principal Investigator on an NIH-sponsored clinical trial for the prevention of RA that is entitled ‘Strategy for the Prevention of RA, or ‘StopRA’. 


Evan Der, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA

Renal Biopsy and Precision Medicine in Lupus Nephritis

Thierry Dervieux PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Laboratory Director, Exagen Diagnostics Inc, USA

Industry Perspective: Companion Diagnostics in Autoimmune Disease and SLE – Antibodies and other Markers

Thierry Dervieux, Ph.D. has served as our Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Laboratory Director since October 2010. Dr. Dervieux has nearly 20 years of experience with the development of drug monitoring and molecular diagnostic assays in partnership with academia and diagnostic industry. Prior to joining Exagen, Dr. Dervieux was Vice President of Research and Development with Cypress Bioscience, Inc., a pharmaceutical company with a focus on drugs to treat central nervous system disorders, where he developed our current portfolio in the rheumatology space from 2008 to October 2010. He previously served as Senior Director Research and Development with Proprius Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical and personalized medicine company focused in rheumatology and pain management, until its acquisition by Cypress Bioscience. Prior to that, he served as Principal Scientist and Director of Research and Development at Prometheus Laboratories. Dr. Dervieux is board certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and holds certificates of qualification as medical laboratory director in the categories of cellular immunology, clinical chemistry, drug monitoring, genetic testing and diagnostic immunology. Dr. Dervieux holds Pharm.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France, an inter-university diploma in biostatistics from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, and trained at St. Jude Children™’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Paul Emery, MD, University of Leeds, UK

Biomarker Testing in Diagnosis and Management of Early Rheumatoid Arthritis

 Dr. Paul Emery heads the division of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine and is director of the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust in the United Kingdom. Dr. Emery, who has published more than 800 peer-reviewed articles, focuses his research on the immunopathogenesis and immunotherapy of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and connective tissue diseases.

Aryeh Fischer, MD, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Laboratory Testing in the Diagnosis and Management of Autoimmune Lung Disease

Dr. Aryeh Fischer is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with a primary appointment within the Division of Rheumatology and a secondary appointment in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine within the Department of Medicine.  His specific area of clinical and research expertise is within systemic sclerosis and autoimmune associated lung diseases, and autoimmune interstitial lung disease in particular. He has developed clinical expertise with patients referred nationally for evaluation of autoimmune lung disease.  Dr. Fischer has served as an invited lecturer on autoimmune and interstitial lung diseases at numerous national and international pulmonary and rheumatology conferences and has numerous original research publications, review articles, and textbook chapters dealing with autoimmune interstitial lung disease.

Ashley Frazer-Abel, PhD, Director, ExSera Labs, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Biomarker Testing in Autoimmune Disease: Small Lab Perspective

Dr. Frazer-Abel is an Assistant Professor of Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  She brings a strong background in complement and autoimmune testing for both patient diagnostics and clinical trials for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  Dr. Frazer-Abel has served as Principal Investigator or Contributing Scientist for the complement and cytokine analysis for more than a hundred non-clinical and clinical trials.  In addition to work on the development of new drugs, Dr. Frazer-Abel also has deployed many of the same tests for the benefit of patient diagnostics, developing novel assays to meet unmet diagnostics needs. Dr. Frazer-Abel brings with her a mastery of the regulatory landscape and of requirements for work in diagnostics, as well as work that has to be regulated by the US FDA under 21 CFR. She is currently the Laboratory Director of Exsera BioLabs located on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Marvin Fritzler, MD/PhD, University of Calgary, Canada

Integration of Biomarker Testing into Clinical Decision Making

Dr. Marvin Fritzler is Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Dr. Fritzler’s research interests are the identification of novel autoantibodies and biomarkers for autoimmune diseases and the development of innovative diagnostic technologies. His current research is focused on autoantibodies to GW bodies, endosomes, extracellular exosomes and ribosomal P proteins. He has published more than 300 papers and book chapters and has been a contributor to many national and international organizations. He was President of the Western Section of the American Rheumatism Association and the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation. He serves on the Board of Directors of Genome Alberta, PrioNet, the Alberta Prion Research Institute (APRI), the Serology Committee of the International Union of Immunology Specialists and World Health Organization, and the Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Organization (VIDO). He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the EPA Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Montana and as a consultant to ImmunoConcepts, INOVA Inc., Immunex, BioRad, InnoGenetics, Euroimmun and Mikrogen.

Harry Glorikian, Author of Moneyball Medicine: Thriving in the New Data-Driven Healthcare Market, and General Partner, New Ventures Funds, USA

The Next Wave of Personalized Medicine: Discover how Data and AI is Transforming Personalized/Precision Medicine

Harry Glorikian, MBA, is has over three decades of experience building successful ventures around the world. Mr. Glorikian is a much sought-after speaker best known for his achievements in healthcare, diagnostics, healthcare IT, and the convergence of these areas.  Join us in Denver, Colorado at the inaugural Precision Medicine in Autoimmunity conference where Mr. Glorikian will present “The Next Wave of Personalized Medicine: Discover How Data and Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Precision Medicine”.  Attendees will also receive a copy of his latest book MoneyBall Medicine: Thriving in the New Data-Driven Healthcare Market, a well-researched and compelling projection on the evolution of precision medicine in the coming decade.

V. Michael Holers, MD, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Natural History of Rheumatic/Autoimmune Diseases in Biomarker Discovery

 Dr. Michael Holers is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Division Head for the Division of Rheumatology within the Department of Medicine. Dr. Holers conducts research in both basic and translational research. His basic science work focuses on the roles of complement receptors and membrane regulatory proteins in the immune response, with a special emphasis on autoimmune diseases. The Holers’ laboratory has developed human and mouse models in which to study these complement related biologic processes and to develop novel complement inhibitors. Candidate therapeutics derived from these studies have been advanced to clinical trials in humans.  With regard to translational research, Dr. Holers is a co-founder of SERA (Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis), which is focused on understanding the early pathogenesis and natural history of RA. In that regard, it is now known that autoimmune diseases such as RA begin years before clinical signs and symptoms are apparent, when at-risk individuals manifest highly predictive autoantibodies in their serum. The goal of these studies is to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis in highly at-risk individuals.

Judith James, MD/PhD, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, USA

The Transition from Incomplete Lupus to Lupus: Opportunities for Prevention

 Judith A. James, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and George Lynn Cross Research Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. James is also Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s (OMRF) Vice President of Clinical Affairs where she oversees all clinical activities at the foundation, which treats and conducts clinical research involving thousands of patients suffering from lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. A board-certified rheumatologist and internationally acclaimed researcher, she is best known for her work in the prediction and prevention of the autoimmune disease lupus. Her research has resulted in OMRF being named a National Institutes of Health Autoimmunity Center of Excellence, one of only 10 nationwide. She chairs OMRF’s Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program and holds the Lou C. Kerr Endowed Chair in Biomedical Research.

Peter Lipsky, MD, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, AMPEL BioSolutions, USA

Discovery of Novel Therapies for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Other Autoimmune Diseases

Dr. Peter Lipsky is a Rheumatologist & Immunologist who immerses himself in basic & clinical research. He received his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine, completed residency training at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York and his post-doctoral fellowship in NIAID at the NIH. After going to UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Peter rapidly advanced to become a professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology as well as the Director of the Harold C Simmons Arthritis Research Center, Co-Director of the Immunology Graduate Program, and Director of the Rheumatic Disease Division of the Department of Internal Medicine. He entered the new millennium as the Director of the Intramural Research Program & the Autoimmunity Branch of NIAMS at the NIH.

Dr. Lipsky is the co-founder of AMPEL BioSolutions LLC and directs its clinical operations. He is involved in the Lupus Clinical Investigator Network (LuCINTM) of the LRxL-STATTM Lupus Drug Repositioning Initiative. Peter has edited several journals including the Journal of Immunology, Nature Reviews Rheumatology and Arthritis Research & Therapy. Peter’s accolades include the Carol Nachman Prize, the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award and the Arthritis Foundation’s prestigious Lee Howley prize.

Michael Mahler, PhD, Vice President of Research, Inova Diagnostics, Inc., USA

Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine

 Michael Mahler, Ph.D., received his doctorate at University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has been working in research of in-vitro diagnostics for more than 15 years and is currently Vice President of Research and Development at Inova Diagnostics. He published close to 200 publications in peer reviewed journals and filed several patents. His current research is focused on autoantibodies as aid in the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. Based on his interest in Precision Medicine, especially the use of biomarkers paired with artificial intelligence he co-founded the Precision Medicine in Autoimmunity (PMA) conference.

Tim Niewold, MD, Director, Colton Center for Autoimmunity, New York University, USA

Gene and Immune Signatures as a Tool for the Characterization of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

 Timothy Niewold, MD, is the Judith and Stewart Colton Professor of Medicine and Pathology at New York University School of Medicine.  Dr. Niewold’s laboratory is mapping the genetic factors that cause autoimmune diseases and exploring the ways in which genetic variations alter the human immune response to result in disease.  Dr. Niewold has defined the ways in which interferon-alpha causes systemic lupus erythematosus and is currently interested in personalized medicine strategies in the treatment of autoimmune disease.

Michelle Petri, MD, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA

Using Biomarkers and Other Factors to More Precisely Estimate Thrombosis Risk in the Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome

 Michelle Petri, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She attended medical school at Harvard University and fulfilled her internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition, she completed two fellowship programs at the University of California, San Francisco in allergy and immunology and rheumatology. Dr. Petri is the Director of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a longitudinal study of morbidity and mortality in systemic lupus erythematosus, and Co-Director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center.

Costantino Pitzalis, MD/PhD, Royal London Hospital, UK

Synovial Biopsy in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. Costantino Pitzalis is Professor of Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology and Head of the Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology at the William Harvey Research Institute at the Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. His clinical interests encompass general rheumatology with a focus on immune/inflammatory rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

His major research interests focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of inflammation and autoimmunity in chronic arthritis with particular emphasis on translational research and biomarkers discovery. He leads a Research Team of over 35 Researchers (Clinicians and Scientists) with more than £11million research income. He has produced research of international standing captured in over 140 publications (over 50 in journals with impact factor >5) in the field of inflammation, immunity and arthritis.

Chaim Putterman, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA

Biomarker Testing in the Diagnosis and Management of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

 Dr. Chaim Putterman is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Dr. Putterman is a clinical rheumatologist who treats arthritis and related musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases specializing in lupus. A basic and translational researcher, Dr. Putterman studies the mechanisms in the immune system that go awry in lupus. His goal is to develop better blood tests for predicting the onset and severity of kidney complications in patients with lupus as well as new approaches to treatment. Dr. Putterman is director of the Einstein Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies Center of Excellence and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American College of Rheumatology and the American Association of Immunologists.

Vincent Ricchiuti, PhD, Laboratory Director, LabCorp, USA

Biomarker Testing in Autoimmune Disease: Large Lab Perspective

 Dr. Ricchiuti is the Laboratory Director and Discipline Director in Immunology for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) in Dublin, Ohio.  Prior to joining LabCorp, Dr Ricchiuti was director of clinical chemistry (including immunology testing) and toxicology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC), and associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the College of Medicine, in Cincinnati, OH. Dr, Ricchiuti was the senior director of clinical biomarkers at Medpace Reference Laboratories, in Cincinnati, OH. Dr Ricchiuti was head of specialty assays immunology and clinical research laboratories at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston, MA (1999-2011). From 2008-2011, he was also the director of Harvard Catalyst Central Laboratories, formerly National Institute of Health-Clinical Research and Translational Medicine Center. During 1999-2008, he was also the director of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) Core Laboratories at the BWH. Dr. Ricchiuti was associate biochemist in the endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension division and esoteric immunology assays, and was a faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

William Robinson, MD/PhD, Stanford University, USA

Microarray Profiling of Biomarkers in Autoimmune Disease

 Dr. William Robinson is a Professor of Medicine in both Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University. Dr. Robinson’s lab studies the molecular mechanisms of and develops therapies to treat autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, with a focus on rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and osteoarthritis. A major focus of his research is to understand the mechanisms underpinning the initiation, natural remission, and progression of autoimmune diseases – particularly of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS) – and to develop targeted therapeutics that cure these diseases without incurring serious adverse side effects.  In addition, Dr. Robinson’s work seeks to develop biomarker assays that can guide therapeutic decision-making in clinical practice. Effective treatment of RA and MS has been impeded by the heterogeneity of the diseases- by identifying molecular ‘signatures’ of disease subtypes, they hope to ultimately develop clinical tests that enable therapy to be tailored to the individual patient.

Gregg Silverman, MD/PhD, New York University, USA

Microbiome in the Pathogenesis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Dr. Silverman is a Professor of Medicine and Pathology with NYU Langone Health. Dr. Silverman has been involved in studies of autoantibodies since the time of his fellowship at the Scripps Research Foundation in 1986. Working in the laboratory of Prof. Dennis Carson, these studies began with clinical samples from the laboratory of Henry Kunkel (Rockefeller Institute), the father of modern clinical immunology and the analysis of antibody gene usage in human rheumatoid factors from patients with essential mixed cryoglobulinemia, Hepatitis C, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Sjogrens syndrome. These studies later evolved into investigations of the human B-cell repertoire and the response to B-cell superantigens, which can result in supra-clonal expansions or programmed cell death.

Through a series of collaborative studies Dr. Silverman’s lab has gained insights into the immunomodulatory properties of B-cells as producers of protective autoantibodies to apoptotic cell membrane determinants that may oppose the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Recent work has led to the development of the Dual inhibitor receptor hypothesis, which provides a theoretical model to explain the molecular mechanisms of natural antibody mediated clearance of apoptotic cells and immune modulation. Dr. Silverman is also a practicing rheumatologist with a special interest in caring for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and related conditions.

Robert Terbrueggen, PhD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dxterity, USA

Industry Perspective: Companion Diagnostics in Autoimmune Disease and SLE – RNA Testing

Bob Terbrueggen is the CEO and Founder of DxTerity, a molecular diagnostic and information company that is transforming the management of chronic autoimmune disease with from home RNA monitoring. Bob has 20 years of experience in the development of genomic tests and technologies. He started out his career at Clinical Micro Sensors (CMS), where as Director of R&D he oversaw the development of the world’s first bio-electronic DNA detection platform, the e-Sensor.  Bob then became Director of Research at Motorola Life Sciences following Motorola’s acquisition of CMS on 2000 for $300 million.  He then left Motorola to start DxTerity.

Rene Toes, PhD, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

Emerging Biomarkers in Rheumatoid Arthritis

 Dr. René E.M. Toes is professor in experimental rheumatology and head of the laboratory Experimental Rheumatology at the LUMC.  He held post-doctoral positions at Leiden University and the Leiden University Medical Center from 1996 to 1998, where he specialized on antigen-presentation and T cell-activation. In 1998 he became a fellow of the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a visiting scientist at the department of Cell Biology of the University in Tübingen, Germany. Since 2001 he is head of the laboratory for experimental rheumatology at the LUMC where he focuses his research on several aspects associated with the immune response in rheumatic diseases, more specifically, in rheumatoid arthritis.

Sterling West, MD, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Assessment of Biomarkers in CNS Lupus

 Dr. Sterling West is Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic. He is an invited speaker on multiple rheumatology topics at national and regional conferences and has over 100 original research and educational publications.  He is editor of the book, Rheumatology Secrets. He is a Master in both the American College of Physicians (MACP) and the American College of Rheumatology (MACR).

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