Keynote Speakers

Christer Betsholtz, Ph.D.

Dr. Christer Betsholtz has a long-standing interest in how the different cell types of the blood vasculature interact in the process of blood vessel formation during angiogenesis, in organ-specific functions of blood vessels during adult physiology, and during disease and repair processes. He seeks to discover the identity of the secreted ligands, their receptors and signaling pathways by which endothelial cells pericytes and other perivascular cell types communicate to coordinate their behavior and differentiation during vascular morphogenesis and function. One of the organs in focus for his investigations is the central nervous system, in which the blood vessels are endowed with, or adjacent to, barriers that regulate the selective passage of solutes and macromolecules to and from the brain parenchyma. He tackles these questions primarily in mouse models using a combination of techniques including mouse genetics, imaging and single cell RNA sequencing.

Christer Betsholtz studied medicine and graduated from Uppsala University with PhD degree in 1986. Initially focusing on the role of platelet-derived growth factors in development and cancer, he became endowed Professor of Medical Biochemistry at Gothenburg University in 1994. Having found that PDGF-B/R signaling drives the recruitment of pericytes to blood vessels, he became more broadly interested in mechanisms of angiogenic sprouting and the interplay between tip- and stalk cells in this process. After moving to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 2004, he turned his attention again to pericytes and their role in regulating the blood-brain barrier. Since 2013, he shares his time between Uppsala University as Professor of Vascular and Tumor Biology, and Karolinska Institute as Director of the Astra/Zeneca/Karolinska Integrated Cardio-Metabolic Center (ICMC).

Christopher S. Chen

Christopher S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., is Founding Director of the Biological Design Center, Director of the Tissue Microfabrication Laboratory, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Dr. Chen has been an instrumental figure in the development of engineered cellular microenvironments to understand how cells build tissues. His group pioneered the use of micro- and nanofabrication technologies to identify the underlying mechanisms by which cells interact with materials and each other to build organized tissues, and to apply this knowledge in the biology of stem cells and tissue vascularization. Most recently, he has used these insights to engineer biomimetic cultures that recapitulate the architecture and function of a variety of human tissues, as a new platform for studying human physiology and disease.

He has served or is serving as a member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of 1000, the Board of Trustees for the Society for BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology, and Defense Sciences Study Group. He has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Angiogenesis Foundation Fellowship, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the Mary Hulman George Award for Biomedical Research, and the Herbert W. Dickerman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science. He received his A.B. in Biochemistry from Harvard, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., and Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Harvard-M.I.T. Health Sciences and Technology Program. He earned his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School.

He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and in Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, and then was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania as the Skirkanich Professor of Innovation and founding director of the Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration prior to his current appointment.

Christoph Scheiermann

Christoph Scheiermann studied biochemistry at the FU Berlin. After having obtained his PhD at Imperial College London in 2008 he went to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York for postdoctoral work. In 2013 he started his own lab at the LMU Munich and became associated professor at the University of Geneva in 2018. The research of the group focuses on the influence of time-of-day and the nervous system on the interaction of leukocytes with the vessel wall and the generation of immune responses.


Professor Coen Stehouwer

Professor Coen Stehouwer currently is Professor of Internal Medicine and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

He is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist in the field of microcirculatory as well as large artery research, notably in the context of cardiovascular complications of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

Since 1990, the work of Professor Stehouwer and his group has led to 74 completed PhD theses, and more than 750 peer-reviewed papers in international journals.

His work is well-recognized as shown by a Hirsh index of 100 (Web of Science); >40,000 citations; several awards, such as the Dr. F. Gerritzen Award for excellent diabetes research (Dutch Diabetes Research Foundation, 1993); the Castelli-Pedroli Award for excellent research into the complications of diabetes (European Association for the Study of Diabetes, 2005); the Dutch Society of Vascular Medicine Career Award (2007); the Ruitenga Van Swieten honorary professorship of the University of Amsterdam (2009); and the Donald McDonald Award of Artery Society (2017); as well as many invited lectures at (inter)national meetings, such as those of the European Conference on Microcirculation, the World Congress for Microcirculation, the European Society for the Study of Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association, the European Society for Cardiology, and the American Heart Association.

His research programme focuses on the elucidation of how metabolic changes in (pre)diabetes and the metabolic syndrome cause micro- and macrovascular disease. A key element of the programme is to combine epidemiology, clinical physiology and experimental approaches, in the conviction that these approaches should complement and mutually inspire each other. He is one of the principal investigators of the well-known Hoorn Study (since 1992). He also obtained national and European funding (M€ 16) for, and is the initiator and Scientific Director of, the Maastricht Study (started 2010), which combines very detailed phenotyping (with a focus on cardiac, large artery and brain, retina and skin microcirculatory function and structure) with an ‘omics’ approach in 6000 individuals without and 2000 with type 2 diabetes to elucidate how diabetes leads not only to classic complications but also to so-called emerging complications such as cognitive dysfunction, mood disorders, liver disease, musculoskeletal disease, pulmonary disease, sleep-disordered breathing, and infectious diseases.

C.D.A (Coen) Stehouwer (born Rotterdam, 1960) obtained an MD at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (1985; cum laude). He was registered as internist in 1990 and obtained a PhD in 1992 (Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Amsterdam). He received postgraduate training in epidemiology and molecular biology.

He was appointed professor of medicine and vice-chair of the Department of Medicine in 2000 at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam). In 2004, he accepted a position as professor of medicine and chair of the department of medicine at the University of Maastricht.