Augurex, through its management team, employees and advisors, possesses leading scientific, clinical and industry expertise.
From the laboratory bench, through to clinical development and commercialization, the Augurex team has the core competencies to advance transformational biomarkers to the clinic.
Norma K. Biln, B.Sc., MBA, Chief Executive Officer
Norma Biln is a leading figure in the Biotechnology sector recently recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in 2017, and BC’s Most Influential Women 2018: STEM Stars. Throughout her 24 years in the life sciences she has worked along, built and led teams that have consistently exceeded corporate goals. Norma began her career in clinical research with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals after completing her Bachelor of Science in Physiology at McGill University. She continued her career in several capacities in sales management, marketing and market access with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Amgen and Abbott Laboratories. Before her role of CEO at Augurex, Norma worked in various senior management roles in Business Development, Commercial and Communications. She holds a Master of Business Administration and is pursuing her Doctorate, part-time at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. Norma is a member of the Board of Directors of Resverlogix Corp (TSX:RVX), BIOTECanada, the national industry association and New Ventures BC, the province’s premiere tech competition and early-stage accelerator.
Douglas B. Buchanan, B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA, Director, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services
Tim W. H. Chan, B.Comm., Director
Natalie E. Dakers, B.Sc. President and CEO, Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator
Natalie Dakers was appointed Chair of the Augurex Board of Directors in March 2018. Ms. Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and currently serves as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator. Accel-Rx is a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research and is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ms. Dakers joined Accel-Rx full-time having been the President and Chief Executive Officer of CDRD Ventures Inc. which acted as the commercial arm of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). Under her leadership, the commercial arm was founded, and supported the creation of a number of commercial opportunities including Kairos Therapeutics Inc. and Sitka Biopharma Inc. Ms. Dakers was the founding CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), also a national Centre for Excellence for Commercialization and Research. Under Ms. Dakers’ leadership, CDRD signed affiliation agreements with more than 20 major research institutions in Canada and around the world, and forged important strategic relationships with public and private sector partners including Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Genome British Columbia and the Governments of British Columbia and Alberta. Prior to leading the establishment of CDRD, Ms. Dakers was President and CEO of Neuromed Pharmaceuticals (Technologies) Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy and cardiovascular diseases. As co-founder and CEO, Ms. Dakers built the company from inception and raised three rounds of venture financing totaling approximately $70 million. Prior to this, Ms. Dakers managed technology transfer for the Life Sciences sector at the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO) at the University of British Columbia, where she was involved in the creation and spin-off of more than a dozen start-up high-tech and biotech companies. Currently, Ms. Dakers is a board member of BIOTECanada, BioTalent, Imstar Therapeutics and Augurex Inc. She has previously served on a number of national boards including the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Genome Canada, the International Science and Technology Partnership Canada (ISTP Canada) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Life Sciences Advisory Board. She served on the Boards of Genome BC, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and was Chair of LifeSciences BC. Ms. Dakers is an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Business Innovation.
David R. Demers, B.Sc. Physics and Juris Doctor, Chair of Crocus Advisors
David Demers is Chair of Crocus Advisors, a private investment company focused on carbon reduction and mitigation solutions. Mr. Demers was one of the founding leaders of Westport Innovations (NASDAQ:WPRT), and acted as founding CEO and Director as Westport grew from a startup spun out of the University of British Columbia into the world leader in environmental engine technology, enabling a global transition for heavy-duty commercial vehicles from diesel fuel to cleaner, cheaper natural gas. Westport was listed on the TSX in 1999 and on NASDAQ in 2008. Mr. Demers retired from Westport in July 2016 upon the successful conclusion of the merger with Fuel Systems Solutions to form Westport Fuel Systems. Mr. Demers has also been a member of the leadership team with many other new ventures including corporate joint ventures, technology spinoffs, and corporate venture initiatives. These include EnWave (TSX:ENW) as it was spun out of the University of British Columbia until it completed its initial public offering; BrightSide as it worked through technology validation until the company was sold to Dolby; and the Westport – BC Gas joint venture that evolved into Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE). Mr. Demers is a Director with Timia Capital Corporation (TSX: TCA.V), a specialty finance company that provides revenue financing to early stage technology companies and has been a Director of Primero Mining Corp. (NYSE: PPP, TSX: P), an intermediate precious metals producer with mines in Mexico and Canada, since its formation in 2008. He has served on all of the major Board committees and is currently Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and has in the past acted as Lead Director, Chair of Special Committee, and Chair of the Compensation Committee. In the latter role, he led C-Suite recruiting and management transition assignments. Mr. Demers obtained a Bachelor of Science (Physics) in 1976 and a Juris Doctor in 1978, both from the University of Saskatchewan. He started his career as a midnight shift computer systems operator at IBM’s state of the art (at the time) System 360/65 data centre in Calgary and joined IBM Canada Ltd. (“IBM”) in 1979 as a Systems Engineer. While at IBM he worked with the first time sharing and email systems, with the first relational database products, the IBM PC, laser printing technology and the first voice/data networking systems.
Paul Terry, President NewOak Investments Ltd.
Paul is a technologist and business leader. Currently Paul provides the vision and technical leadership for several organisations in the fields of Big Data, the future of Heathcare, Quantum Computing, Communications/Storage AI. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Genome BC (chair – innovation subcommittee) and Augurex (a Biotech). Paul lectures in technology, strategy, and product management for the MBA program at SFU, and is a sought-after speaker on data innovation and strategy. Paul has served on many boards; both non for profit and technology based for profit organisations. Paul spent 3 terms on the Board of Directors for Providence Health Care serving on Innovation and Quality subcommittees. Paul spent 12 years as the secretary/treasurer and technology adviser for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, British Columbia’s health research support agency, and was one of the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at SFU Venture Labs. Prior to his experience in healthcare and venture capital, Paul was the CEO of PHEMI – a Big Data company focused on Heathcare. Paul was the CTO and cofounder of OctigaBay Systems – a pioneer in high-performance computing – which was acquired by Cray Inc., the world leader in supercomputing. He was also the cofounder and CTO of Abatis Systems, which was acquired by Redback Networks. Paul’s early career included senior roles at Newbridge Networks and at technology companies in the UK. Paul was awarded Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40″ award in 2000. He is and ICD.D member; holds an MBA from the Cranfield School of Management, a marketing diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a PhD in Electrical Engineering and an honours Bachelor’s degree from the University of Liverpool.
Dr. Blocka is a Clinical Professor and former Head of the Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan Medical School where he also completed his subspecialty training in Internal Medicine as well as at the University of Toronto. He completed his subspecialty training in Rheumatology at the University of Saskatchewan and undertook a research fellowship specializing in Pharmacokinetics of Antirheumatic therapies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then joined the Faculty of the Department of Medicine Division of Rheumatology at the University of Saskatchewan rising to the rank of Professor and Head of the Division. Dr. Block relocated to Vancouver British Columbia in 1999 where he established a busy community based practice specializing in rheumatoid arthritis and complex connective tissue disease. He is on the active consultant staff at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital and the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. He heads the Rituxan Infusion Program at the Mary Pack Arthritis Centre and is one of three consultants in the UBC Lupus Clinic. Dr. Blocka has a major interest in medical education having served as Chair of Graduate and Postgraduate Training Committees, both at the University of Saskatchewan and UBC. He was also a former Chair of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons Fellowship Examination Committee in Rheumatology. Dr. Blocka has an ongoing interest in clinical research having been involved in numerous investigator as well as industry initiated clinical trials throughout his career. He is a member of the Arthritis Research Centre and past member of the Canadian Research Rheumatology Consortium. He has authored numerous articles in peered reviewed journals and continues to remain actively involved in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education teaching.
Dr. Bykerk received her medical degree from McMaster University. She was trained in Internal Medicine training at McMaster, in Internal and Critical Care Medicine University of Toronto and was a Rheumatology Fellow at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Dr. Bykerk has served as the Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital from 1987-2000, and the Assistant Director of the Division of Advanced Therapeutics and the Director of the Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Program at the Rebecca MacDonald Centre for Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease and head of the Toronto Early Arthritis Program until 2011. She is currently the Direct of the Inflammatory Arthritis center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Bykerk has an active clinical practice, focusing on primarily on early inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and seronegative arthropathies.
Dr. Fleischmann is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and co- Medical Director of the Metroplex Clinical Research Center in Dallas. He is in the private practice of rheumatology in Dallas, TX. Dr. Fleischmann graduated from Stuyvesant High School and Columbia College, both in New York City, received his MD from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and completed his residency in medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. His fellowship in rheumatology was completed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York under the mentoring of Carwile Leroy. He is board certified in internal medicine with subspecialty certification in rheumatology. Although in private practice, Dr. Fleischmann has authored over 150 manuscripts, focusing on the management of rheumatoid arthritis, which have been published in peer-reviewed journals and has authored over 350 scientific abstracts which have been presented at rheumatology meetings world-wide. For the past 35 years he has been an active teacher in the fellowship program of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical center and also educates residents and medical students. Dr. Fleischmann has more than 35 years of experience as a clinical investigator. He has been a principal or co-principal investigator in over 1000 clinical studies in the fields of rheumatology (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, osteoarthritis, pain management, and osteoporosis). Dr. Fleischmann has helped design, implement and reported the results of studies on virtually every medication approved for use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis over the past 30 years. He has been an invited speaker at many international rheumatology meetings and symposia worldwide in which he has discussed the diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Fleischmann was an early proponent of the aggressive treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and the importance of measuring disease activity in order to help guide treatment decisions. He is a Master of the American College of Rheumatology, a former President of the Texas Rheumatism Association, and a former President of the Dallas–Fort Worth Rheumatism Association. He has served on the finance committee of the American College of Rheumatology and the Fund-Raising Committee of the Research and Education Foundation of the ACR. He has presented frequently at the ACR and EULAR annual meetings. He is a reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals including Arthritis Rheumatism, the Annals of Rheumatic Disease and the Journal of Rheumatology. He is Co-Editor of Rheumatology (Oxford).
Aziz Ghahary, Ph.D. a professor and the Director BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn and Wound Healing Research Group in the Department of Surgery/ Plastic Surgery at the Vancouver General Hospital, is a 14-3-3η co-inventor. Since he began his career, Dr. Ghahary has been awarded more than 50 research grants from different local, national and international granting agencies. Dr. Ghahary has published or co-published over 167 peer reviewed articles, presented over 200 abstracts and major presentations at national and international conferences. Dr. Ghahary and his team have discovered that communication among different types of cells in the skin is crucial to successful healing and have isolated a protein that is key to that communication. This discovery is fundamental to understanding how to prevent formation of scar tissue after a burn and why wounds fail to heal. Dr. Ghahary and his team also identified a small molecular with anti-scaring properties and the use of this factor has now been approved by the Health Canada and the Vancouver General Hospital Ethic Committee to proceed for Phase 1 Clinical Trial. Dr. Ghahary is now a world-renowned leader in the treatment of burns and wounds. He received his Ph.D in Medical Physiology from the University of Manitoba in 1988 and after 2 years as post – doctoral training, he accepted an assistant professorship position in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta in 1990. He was then promoted to associate and full professor in 1996 and 2003, respectively. In 2005, he was then recruited as full professor and the director of the BC professional Firefighters’ Burn and Wound Healing Research Group of 14 graduate students, post-docts and research associates.
Dr. Keystone is a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a Senior Consultant in Rheumatology at Mount Sinai Hospital and founder of the Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre (AARC), a multidisciplinary research centre devoted to epidemiological and translational research studies in autoimmue diseases at the University Health Network. Dr. Keystone obtained his Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto in 1969. After a further five years of training in Rheumatology, he received his specialty degrees (or fellowships) in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine in 1974. He then carried out his research training at the Clinical Research Centre in Harrow, London, UK until 1976. He was on staff as a consultant rheumatologist at The Wellesley Central Hospital, Toronto, Canada from 1976 to 1998 before taking up his current position at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Keystone is Founder and Chairman of the Canadian Rheumatology Research Consortium (CRRC), a national network of academic and community rheumatologists devoted to enhancing the scope and efficiency of clinical trials in Canada which ultimately improves access of new therapies to patients with arthritis. In 2003, he established The Rebecca Macdonald Centre for Arthritis and Autoimmune Disease – a centre devoted to research of genomics, therapeutics, and outcomes in autoimmune inflammatory joint disease. He is Director of the Centre and heads the Advanced Therapeutics Division which focuses on novel therapeutics in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Keystone is a consultant to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, and is a member of numerous national and international biopharmaceutical advisory boards. He is also engaged in laboratory research studies of immune system abnormalities in Rheumatoid Arthritis. He is the author of more than 280 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He has been the recipient of numerous honours, including the Senior Investigator Award of the Canadian Rheumatology Association and the American College of Rheumatology’s Grand Master Award in 2008. Dr. Keystone also received a Lifetime Excellence in Rheumatology Teaching Award at the Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium Conference in January 2011 as well as the Congress of Clinical Rheumatology Outstanding Speaker Award in the spring of 2011. In 2012, he was chosen as “Alumni of Influence” by the University College of The University of Toronto, Canada and in 2014 was awarded “Rheumatologist of the Year”, by the Ontario Rheumatology Association.
Ruhi Kilani is a Senior Research Associate at the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn and Wound Healing Research Group and is a co-inventor of 14-3-3η. Dr. Kilani has (co)-published over 60 peer reviewed papers, and presented 70 abstracts at national and international conferences. Dr. Kilani graduated with a M.Sc. degree in 1975 from the School of Public Health at the University of Tehran, Iran. At the University of Manitoba School of Medicine, Department of Medical Microbiology, Dr. Kilani received a Ph.D. in 1990 and completed her post-doctoral training at the Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta from 1990-1993. She then joined the Department of Immunology, at the University of Alberta as a Research Associate, under supervision of Dr. Larry Guilbert. In 2005, Dr. Kilani joined the BC professional Firefighters’ Burn and Wound Healing Research Group, at the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of British Columbia and since then she is acting as a Senior Research Associate and Manager of the Laboratory.
Robert Landewé is a professor in rheumatology at the Academic Medical Center / University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and a consultant in Rheumatology at the Atrium Medical Center Heerlen, The Netherlands. Professor Landewé received his medical degree from Maastricht University in 1990, and defended his thesis on cyclosporine therapy in rheumatoid arthritis in 1994. He received practical training in general internal medicine and rheumatology at Atrium Medical Center, Heerlen and in rheumatology at the University Hospital, Maastricht. Currently, Professor Landewé is involved in outcome research and epidemiological research in the field of rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis. He has extensive experience in the design and analysis of clinical trials and has a special interest in medical statistics. Professor Landewé has authored or co-authored approximately 350 articles and many book chapters covering a variety of topics, but with an emphasis on clinical epidemiology, methodology, statistics and guideline development. He has led the EULAR recommendation initiatives on the management of early arthritis, the management of rheumatoid arthritis, and the measurement of disease activity in clinical trials. He is a regular reviewer for several general medicine-, rheumatology- and epidemiology journals. Professor Landewé is a previous executive committee member of OMERACT, current president of the Assessment in Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS), executive board member of the Dutch Society of Rheumatology, and executive board member of the METEOR foundation (monitoring in rheumatology).
Walter Maksymowych is a Professor and Medical Scientist in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology at the University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada. He is the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Investigator Award from the Canadian Rheumatology Association. He is also Chair of the International OMERACT Soluble Biomarker Working Group, the Scientific Chair of the Alberta Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pharmacovigilance Program and Outcomes Research in Therapeutics (RAPPORT) committee. He is past-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Canadian Rheumatology Association. He founded Canadian Research and Education (CaRE) Arthritis Limited, an Alberta company focused on the development of personalized medicine strategies for patients with arthritis, and now serves as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Maksymowych graduated from the University of Manchester School of Medicine, United Kingdom, in 1981 and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Alberta and the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds Fellowships in the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and the American College of Physicians. His primary research interests are the imaging, genetics, and treatment of spondyloarthritis, and the clinical validation of biomarker technologies for rheumatic diseases. He has published over 250 research articles and is a member of numerous international societies related to arthritis research. His research activities involve a global network of investigators and major partners in the pharmaceutical, imaging, and biomarker industries. He has spearheaded numerous international collaborative networks that have culminated in the development of multiple scoring systems based on imaging and biomarker technologies for use in both diagnostic and therapeutic settings as well as clinical trials research. Most recently, he co-invented the 14-3-3η protein biomarker platform which has recently been licensed for diagnostic testing of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Mease is clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, director of the rheumatology clinical research division at Swedish Medical Center, and is in clinical practice with Seattle Rheumatology Associates, in Seattle, Washington. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University in Stanford, California. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Washington. Dr. Mease is a leading researcher and educator on disease state and treatment of rheumatic disorders. His research focuses on emerging therapeutics and outcome measures for clinical trials. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator on numerous clinical trials, including recent studies on therapies for psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, and has authored over 300 articles, numerous abstracts, and book chapters on these and related subjects. He serves on the review boards for The Journal of Rheumatology, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Arthritis Care & Research, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, and other leading publications. Dr. Mease is or has been a board member of the Psoriasis Foundation, and the Northwest Arthritis and Osteoporosis Institute, and is a founding organizer, immediate past president and current treasurer of the Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA), a global research and education association. He is a member of the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis international Society (ASAS) and the Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network (SPARTAN). Dr. Mease has been active in the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT) organization as a steering committee member and co-chair of several working groups (psoriatic arthritis, single joint assessment, fibromyalgia and chronic pain) as well as a member of the soluble biomarker and patient participation working groups. He conducts disease state research in registries such as the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America (CORRONA) for which he is Director of the Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis arm of the registry and member of the Executive Board. Dr. Mease consults on the design and conduct of clinical trials in various rheumatic diseases and is a recipient of the American College of Rheumatology’s Medical Communicator Award. He is a lifetime member of the National Registry of Who’s Who and has been listed among The Best Doctors in America and The Best Doctors in Washington state.
Dr. Ritchlin is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program and the Clinical Immunology Research Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. He attended medical school at Albany Medical College and completed his medical residency and chief residency at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York. He trained as a fellow in rheumatology at the New York University Medical Center and remained as a postdoctoral fellow for 2 years and then spent an additional year in the lab of Dr. Robin Poole in Montreal, Canada. He joined the faculty of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1991. In 2009, he earned a Masters in Public Health degree at the University. Dr. Ritchlin is engaged in translational research that is centered on mechanisms of bone resorption in psoriatic arthritis and on the role of the lymphatic system in joint flares observed in both rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. His laboratory has a number of ongoing projects including circulating osteoclast precursors in inflammatory joint disease and psoriasis, mechanisms of inflammatory osteolysis in psoriatic arthritis, and gene activation profiles in the blood and end organs of patients with immune mediated inflammatory disorders. The lab is also examining the contribution of circulating dendritic cells to inflammation in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. His research is funded by the NIH, National Psoriasis foundation, Amgen, Centocor and UCB. He is also a co-investigator in the IPART and CORRONA registries and he leads an effort to identify arthritis biomarkers in psoriasis patients. He is chair of the Professional Meetings Committee of the American College of Rheumatology and also directs the mentoring of junior investigators in the Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA). He has published over 100 manuscripts on topics related to psoriatic arthritis, lymphatic mechanisms of joint flare and bone remodeling.
Dr. Kam Shojania is a Clinical Professor and the Head of the Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine at University of British Columbia (UBC), where he also holds the position of Rheumatology Postgraduate Program Director. Dr. Shojania is also Chief of Rheumatology at St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital. He is a graduate from UBC medical school where he also completed his specialty training in Internal Medicine and his fellowship in Rheumatology. Dr. Shojania is an investigator at Arthritis Research Canada (ARC) in Vancouver and is the former Director of Clinical Trials at ARC. He was a founding member and Director of the Canadian Rheumatology Research Consortium and has been involved in a number of clinical trials in the areas of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and ankylosing spondylitis. Dr. Shojania’s previous awards include a Clinician-Teacher Award from The Arthritis Society and a UBC Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is a recipient of the UBC Master Teacher Award, the Howard Stein Award and the Canadian Rheumatology Association Teacher-Educator Award. He has been an invited speaker at over 60 national and international meetings. Dr. Shojania has 82 publications and six book chapters including the area of laboratory testing of the rheumatic diseases.
Paul-Peter Tak received his medical degree cum laude from the Free University in Amsterdam and was trained as an internist and rheumatologist at Leiden University Medical Center, where he also received his PhD. He has worked as a scientist at the University of California San Diego for two years. He served as Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the Academic Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam (AMC) for 12 years. Currently he is Professor of Medicine at AMC, Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at University of Cambridge and Honorary Professor of Rheumatology at Ghent University. Professor Tak has been a member of the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scientific Committee and Executive Committee and a member of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee of the American College of Rheumatology. He further acted as chairman of the EULAR Standing Committee on Investigative Rheumatology as well as chairman of the Grant Advisory Council for EULAR’s Orphan Disease Programme on systemic sclerosis. He served on many editorial boards, including as co-editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism. He has published about 500 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals. He has served as a consultant to Augurex until 2011, when he became Senior Vice President and Global Head of Immuno-Inflammation R&D at GSK.
Professor Tanaka is Professor and Chairman of The First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan. He completed his MD degree in 1984, summa cum laude, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, School of Medicine. He completed his Ph.D. in 1988 which focused on mechanism of spontaneous activation of B cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: analysis with anti-class II antibody. He was a Visiting Fellow in Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, from 1989-1992. Professor Tanaka serves as council and editorial member of the Japanese Society of Internal Medicine and is a member of the international committee board of directors, vice chief editor and committee chief of the certification board of the Japanese College of Rheumatology. Professor Tanaka is president and associate editor of the Japanese Society of Bone and Mineral Research and a member of the board of the Japanese Society of Inflammation and Regeneration, Japanese Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research and Japanese Society of Clinical Immunology where he also serves as council member. He is a member of the American Societies of Immunologists, Bone and Mineral Research and the American College of Rheumatology. Other council positions that he holds are with the Japan Endocrine Society, Japanese Asociation of Clinical Rheumatology, Japanese Association of Osteoporosis. Professor Tanaka has made transformational contributions to the field of rheumatology that have changed clinical practice and has been the recipient of over 77 research grants and President awards from the Japanese Society of Inflammation in 1999 and the Japanese College of Rheumatology in 2008 as well as an academic award from the Japanese Society of Bone and Mineral Research and a 2009 Award from the European League Against Rheumatism. He is the author of book chapters, reviews, original articles and case reports constituting over 1,500 publications.
Désirée van der Heijde obtained her medical degree in 1986 from the Catholic University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She completed her PhD in 1991 and became a board-certified rheumatologist in 1993. Following a one-year appointment in Sweden in 1993, she joined the Department of Rheumatology at the University Hospital Maastricht until 2007, when she took up her current position as professor of rheumatology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Since 2007 she is also affiliated to the Diakonhjemmet Hospiral in Oslo, Norway.
Her major research interest is in the methodology of outcomes assessment and its application in clinical trials. Specific areas of interest are radiographic scoring methods in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA), as well as scoring of MRI in SpA. She is involved as principal investigator or steering committee member in many clinical trials with biologics in RA, PsA and SpA.
Professor van der Heijde was the chairperson of the Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) from 1995 to 2012. She is the chair of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Standing Committee for Clinical Affairs as well as a member of the EULAR Standing Committee for Clinical Epidemiology. In 2011 she received the prestigious Carol Nachman Award for her scientific contributions in rheumatology and in 2012, a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Professor van der Heijde has published over 600 papers in the international literature, as well as chapters in leading rheumatology textbooks. She is a regular reviewer for all the major rheumatology journals and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology and Nature Clinical Practice. She is also an associate editor of Arthritis Research and Therapy and an advisory board member of the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.
Dr. van Schaardenburg is the Manager in the Division of Rheumatology at Reade in the Netherlands and serves as a consultant rheumatologist at the Academic Medical Center, also in Amsterdam. Dr. van Schaardenburg is a member of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, the Dutch Society of Rheumatology and the EULAR study group of risk factors for RA. He has (co)-published over 126 peer reviewed articles in International journals and has a special interest in diagnosis of early RA and development of a screening algorithm to identify patients at risk of developing RA. He received his MD from the University of Groningen in 1982, completed a degree in Internal Medicine in 1989 and in Rheumatology in 1992. He completed his PhD in 1994 at the University of Leiden.