Invited Speakers


Emeritus Professor Peter Croft (UK)

Peter Croft is Emeritus Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology and former Director of the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University, UK. He studied social anthropology and medicine, was a principal in general practice, and trained as a clinical epidemiologist before developing long and happy collaborations with rheumatologists on research into common musculoskeletal syndromes, notably back pain, widespread pain and osteoarthritis. His research has incorporated causal, prognosis and intervention studies, from farming as a cause of osteoarthritis of the hip to risk stratification as an efficient approach to back pain care. He remains concerned about over-medicalisation, believes that improved implementation of research into practice will come from stronger partnerships between health care and research organisations, and is optimistic about the potential of health care data to drive better outcomes for patients.      


Dr Daniel Cua

Dr Cua completed his Doctorate Degree with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Immunology at University of Southern California. He continued his postdoctoral training under Robert Coffman at DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto California. He is currently Group Leader, Immunology Discovery and Immuno-Oncology Discovery at Merck Research Laboratories. Dr Cua has contributed to medical literature with more than 110 original articles with 36,200 citations and h-index 59 (Google Scholar). In 2003, his work appearing in the journal Nature demonstrated that IL-23 is a critical cytokine that promotes autoimmune inflammatory disorders. This work led to the proposal of the Th17 Immune Axis hypothesis (2005), which formed the basis for the successful clinical testing of anti-IL-17, anti-IL-23 and RORgt inhibitors for treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders. More recently, his group has leveraged their expertise to study novel immune modulatory receptors on T cells and myeloid cells for immunotherapy of autoimmunity and cancer.


Professor Martin Englund (Sweden)

Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Orthopedics
Department of Clinical Sciences Lund
Lund University, Sweden

Martin Englund is an epidemiologist and clinical investigator. He completed his MD in 1998, and received his PhD in Orthopedics in 2004. He did a two-year postdoctoral training at Boston University, United States, where he also earned his MSc degree in Epidemiology. Professor Englund heads the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Orthopedics, which is a cross-disciplinary research group at Lund University, Sweden,

Professor Englund currently focuses on translational osteoarthritis research, including proteomics, imaging as well as epidemiologic research. His main research focus is the role of meniscus in early knee osteoarthritis development as well as the societal burden of musculoskeletal disease using population-based register data. In 2011 he received the OARSI Clinical Investigator Award for his groundbreaking research on the role of meniscus in osteoarthritis, followed by the Young Investigator Award by EULAR in 2012.


Professor Roy M Fleischmann (USA)

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.

Dr Fleischmann has authored over 200 peer reviewed manuscripts, focusing on the management of rheumatoid arthritis as well as psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and osteoarthritis and has authored over 350 abstracts which have been presented at rheumatology meetings world-wide.

Prof Fleischmann has been a principal or co-principal investigator in over 1000 clinical studies in the fields of rheumatology (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout), pain management, and osteoporosis.

Prof Fleischmann 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.

Prof Fleischmann is a reviewer for many peer-reviewed journals including Arthritis Rheumatism, the Annals of Rheumatic Disease, the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of Rheumatology. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Executive Committee of TREG, an organization dedicated to furthering knowledge in all aspects of rheumatology to both the pharmaceutical industry and practicing rheumatologists.


John J. O'Shea, Jr. (USA)

John J. O'Shea graduated Phi Beta Kappa from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Science degree, and then gained a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Cincinnati. After residency in Internal Medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University and subspecialty training at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he did further postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He is currently the Director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), NIH.  Dr. O’Shea served as the Acting Director of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine from 2009-2011.

Dr O’Shea has made fundamental discoveries related to the basic mechanisms underlying cytokine signal transduction, molecules that are critical for the development and functioning of the immune system. He and his colleagues first cloned the human tyrosine kinase Jak3 and discovered its role in signaling by interleukin-2. These insights led to the discovery of JAK3 mutations as a cause of severe combined immunodeficiency. The demonstration of the role of Janus kinases in cytokine signaling led Dr O’Shea and his colleagues to propose that targeting Jaks would represent a new class of immunomodulatory drugs. He was awarded a U.S. patent for his work on Janus family kinase inhibitors and developed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which generated one such compound. This drug, tofacitinib, is now approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and is the first oral therapy for rheumatoid arthritis approved in a decade. Two other JAK inhibitors have been approved by the FDA and others are in late phase clinical development. Dr O’Shea’s work also has provided fundamental insights into the role of STAT family transcription factors regulate helper lymphocyte development and differentiation. Dr O’Shea has also discovered the genetic basis of a number of diseases, for which he and his colleagues coined the term “autoinflammatory diseases”. Dr O’Shea has made many important insights into the control of Thelper1 (Th1), Th17 and regulatory T cells, as well as the molecular basis of Job’s or Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome.  Most recently, he has made seminal discoveries related to how cytokines impact the epigenome.

Dr O'Shea has received numerous awards, including: the NIH Director's Award four times, the US Public Health Service Physician Researcher of the Year Award, the Irish Immunology Public Lecture Award, the Arthritis Foundation's Howley Prize, the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the Daniel Drake Prize, as well the Danny Thomas, Lockey, Cochrane and Talmadge lectureship awards. He was nominated to give a lecture at the Nobel Forum.  He was designated as one the “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2003-2014” by Thompson Reuters. Dr O’Shea is a member of the American Association of Physicians, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and has been on the editorial boards of many journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Blood, Journal of Immunology, Immunity and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Dr O’Shea is a founding Director of the NIH/Oxford Graduate Program in Biomedical Science. 


Professor Désirée van der Heijde (The Netherlands)

Professor of Rheumatology Leiden University Medical Center Leiden
The Netherlands

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 1-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 has also been affiliated to the Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway.

Her major research interest is in the methodology of outcomes assessment and its application in clinical research. Specific areas of interest are radiographic scoring methods in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondyloarthritis, as well as scoring of magnetic resonance imaging in spondyloarthritis. She is involved as principal investigator or steering committee member in many clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and spondyloarthritis.

Professor van der Heijde was the Chairperson of the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS) from 1995 to 2012. She was the Chair of the EULAR Standing Committee for Clinical Affairs and is currently the ACR-EULAR liaison officer. She received the prestigious Carol Nachman Award for her scientific contributions to rheumatology in 2011, a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Ghent in Belgium in 2012, and the Jan van Breemen medal in 2017.

Professor van der Heijde has published more than 775 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 RMD Open. She is also associate editor of the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.


Dr Stuart Warden (USA)

Stuart Warden BPhysio (Hons), PhD, FACSM, is Associate Dean for Research within the Indiana University (IU) School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Professor within the Departments of Physical Therapy (IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences), Anatomy & Cell Biology (IU School of Medicine), and Biomedical Engineering (Purdue University School of Engineering). Dr. Warden completed his physiotherapy and PhD degrees at the University of Melbourne (Australia) before embarking on clinical and research post-doctorates at the Australian Institute of Sport and IU Department of Orthopedic Surgery, respectively. His research interests focus on the form and function of the musculoskeletal system and, in particular, the lifelong contribution of physical activity to skeletal health. He has contributed over 125 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and received funding from numerous federal agencies, including the National Health and Medical Research Council, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defence. Dr. Warden currently serves as a Section Editor for Current Osteoporosis Reports, Senior Associate Editor for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and Associate Editor for the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. He is also an Editorial Board member for Bone, Bone Reports, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, JBMR Plus, and Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

Other Speakers

·      Gustavo Duque

·      Chris Pearce

·      Peter De Cruz

·      Peter Foley

·      Lyndell Lim

·      Alberta Hoi

·      Mandy Nikpour

·      Vidya Limaye

·      Peter Choong

·      Richard de Steiger

·      Adam Elshaug

·      Andrew Wilson