23rd Annual RIMS Conference: 31 May - 2 June 2018, Amsterdam

Prof Roshan Das Nair, University of Nottingham

Prof Roshan das Nair is Professor of Clinical Psychology & Neuropsychology at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham. He is a British Psychological Society Chartered Clinical Psychologist and a Health and Care Professions’ Council Registered Practitioner Psychologist. After qualifying as a clinical psychologist from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, he obtained his PhD from the University of Nottingham. Prof das Nair has previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of Zambia, and until recently he was a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Prof das Nair's research focuses on the application of psychological and neuropsychological science to better understand and treat psychological issues related to neurological conditions. His expertise is in the evaluation of effectiveness of complex intervention and implementation research. His clinical trials have evaluated cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injuries, adjustment interventions in MS, and self-help interventions for people with MS and their carers. He is co-chief investigator of the Cognitive Rehabilitation of Attention and Memory in MS (CRAMMS) trial, which has randomised 449 people with MS and is due to be completed later this year.

Dr Freya Davies, Cardiff University

Dr Freya Davies completed her undergraduate medical training in Cardiff in 2006 and then qualified as a general practitioner in 2011. She now works as a research fellow for the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research at Cardiff University. Her research has focussed on the role of self-management in long-term conditions. In 2013, she began work on a qualitative research study exploring patients’, carers’ and professionals’ experiences of the transition to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The findings of this study influenced the development of her ongoing PhD, which explores how the support for self-management provided to people with long term neurological conditions could be improved through health professional training.

Prof Vincent de Groot, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam

Vincent de Groot was born in 1971 and obtained his MD degree in 1996. Subsequently, he entered the rehabilitation medicine residency programme, which he combined with his PhD training. In 2004 he started working as a rehabilitation physician at VU University Medical Center Amsterdam. In 2007 he successfully defended his PhD thesis ‘Outcome measurement and functional prognosis in early multiple sclerosis’. Since September 2014 he has been professor of rehabilitation medicine and chair of the department of rehabilitation medicine at VU University Medical Center Amsterdam. His clinical and research focus is on neurorehabilitation, in particular multiple sclerosis, gait analysis, orthotics of the lower limb and spasticity treatment. He is also deputy instructor of the rehabilitation medicine residency programme and member of the executive board of RIMS (Rehabilitation In Multiple Sclerosis).

Dr Eva Hertz, Center for Mental Robusthed, Copenhagen

Dr. Eva Hertz is a well-known public speaker, author, and has for years been a lecturer at Aarhus University, Master of Positive Psychology. For the past three decades, she has worked with people in difficult life situations due to illness, e.g. people living with aids and cancer; as a researcher; and as a clinical psychologist. Eva has an MSc in Psychology and earned her PhD from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. She is the founder of the Danish Center for Resilience (Center for Mental Robusthed) based in Copenhagen, where she works with stress management, design and teaching of psychological resilience training programs in private and governmental organizations e.g. hospitals and the army. Eva is also the head of the MRT Resilience Teacher Training Program.

Prof Rogier Hintzen, MS Center ErasMS, Rotterdam

Rogier Hintzen is Professor in Neurology and Head of the MS Center ErasMS, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Departments of Neurology&Immunology. His current research interests include the biological determinants of cause & course of MS, prediction of MS after a first attack in adults and children, genetic and environmental influence on MS, cellular immunology as tools to understand and measure MS disease activity. He also supervises studies on biomarkers in body fluids, using several proteomic and immunological techniques. He is a member of several international boards and societies, including the European School for Neuroimmunology (ESNI), the International Paediatric MS Study Group (IPMSSG), the International MS Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and the International Society for Neuroimmunology (ISNI).

Prof Marie Johnston, University of Aberdeen

Marie Johnston, BSc., PhD., is Emeritus Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and a registered Health and Clinical Psychologist. Following a postdoctoral post in the University of Oxford she held academic posts in London University at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and St Andrews University before moving to Aberdeen. She conducts research on behaviour and health, focussing especially on behaviour change interventions and on integrating biological and behavioural explanations of disability and rehabilitation. Her first papers in implementation research appeared over 25 years ago and since then she has worked with multiple disciplines to ensure that behavioural science theory and methods are integrated into studies of evidence-based practice. Her work has been supported by national, international and charitable funders and she has over 400 publications.She was instrumental in developing the discipline of health psychology in the UK and in Europe and has been honoured by receiving fellowships in Scotland, the UK, Europe and the USA. https://www.abdn.ac.uk/clsm/profiles/m.johnston

Ms. Eija Luoto, Finnish MS Nurses Organization, Turku

Eija Luoto is a certified nurse in internal medicine. She accomplished administrative qualification in nursing in 1985 in Turku, Finland. She has specialized in multiple sclerosis. From 1987 to 2016 she was first the head nurse, later the administrative director of Masku Neurological Rehabilitation Center, owned by the Finnish MS Society (later Finnish Neuro Society). Ms Luoto played the key role in founding the Finnish MS Nurses Organization 1998 and acted as President from 1998-2016. Also, she was an European liaison member in IOMSN (International Organization of MS Nurses), launching the international certification examination in multiple sclerosis for Finnish MS nurses in 2008. Ms Luoto was actively involved with RIMS from the beginning of the organization. She was elected President in 2005 and she held the positon until 2011. She has actively lectured and published both nationally and internationally on multiple sclerosis nursing. In 2007 she was decorated by the Finnish President with Medal of the Order of the White Rose of Finland for her activities in several nongovernmental associations.

Dr Ruth Ann Marrie, University of Manitoba

Ruth Ann Marrie is a Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her medical degree from Dalhousie University, both with Distinction. She completed neurology training at McGill University. This was followed by a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic, supported by a Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowship Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Subsequently, she obtained a PhD in Epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. Presently she holds the Waugh Family Chair in Multiple Sclerosis. Her research aims to understand the influence of comorbid factors, such as other chronic diseases, health behaviors, and critical illness on a range of multiple sclerosis (MS)-related health outcomes. Other areas of research interest include etiologic factors for MS, patient-reported outcomes, and pediatric MS.

Prof Anna Nieboer, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Since 2012 Anna Nieboer is a professor of Socio-medical Sciences at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and a doctorate from the same institution upon completing the doctoral program in sociology at the Interuniversity Center for Social Science, Theory, and Methodology. Since January 2013 she is chair of the newly formed sociomedical science department at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management. Anna has conducted extensive research on quality of care in a variety of healthcare settings. The author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, she has extensive experience with the evaluation of large-scale, complex, and multidisciplinary interventions with a special focus on chronically ill patients’ selfmanagement abilities and well-being.

Prof Bernard Uitdehaag, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam

Prof. dr. Bernard M.J. Uitdehaag (1958) studied medicine in Nijmegen and was trained in neurology in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam he was also trained in epidemiology. He is involved in MS research since 1985 end did his PhD in MS research in 1998. In 2009 he became a professor of neuro-epidemiology and in 2010 chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. In 2013 he became professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurology in the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. In 2013 he also became Director of the VUmc MS Center Amsterdam. Between 2006 and 2014 he was member of the Netherlands Society of Neurology, being president from 2011 until 2014. He (co-)authored around 300 scientific papers.

Prof Raymond Voltz, University Hospital Cologne

In 1991, after his medical studies, Raymond Voltz completed his doctoral thesis in tumor immunology at the Max-von-Pettenkofer Institut for Medical Microbiology in Munich. Clinically a neurologist by training, after a research scholarship at the Max-Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and a German Research Society (DFG) habilitation scholarship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, he was appointed a C3 professor for oncological neuroimmunology in 2003. In 2004, Raymond Voltz took over the newly founded Chair for Palliative Medicine (initially funded by the German Cancer Aid) at the University Hospital at Cologne. He has been interested in the hospice idea since 1985 and is one of the founding members of the German Society of Palliative Medicine in 1994 and has been its vice president from 2006 to 2012, chairing the national palliative care congress in 2014. Raymond Voltz is member of different medical boards and reviewer in different national and international professional associations and journals.

Prof Leo Visser, ETZ location EZ Hospital Tilburg

Prof dr. Leo Visser, is working as Neurologist at the ETZ Hospital, location St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, Netherlands and is professor at the University of Humanistic Studies at Utrecht. His PhD research was on Neuroimmunology of the Guillain-Barré syndrome. He has clinical research experience on Neuro-immunology, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuromuscular Disorders, Clinical Neurophysiology, Child Neurology, Ultrasound of peripheral nerves and Neuro-infections (AIDS). He has published more than 150 peer reviewed articles. The main focus of the research is on patient perspective and participation in chronic neurological conditions such as MS. His group developed the Can Do training to improve self-efficacy in patients with MS. With his ethics of care team at the University of Humanistics Studies qualitative studies using phenomenology have been performed on the following topics: lived experiences of people with recently diagnosed MS, understanding body awareness of people with MS in daily life and the inherent meaning of taking medication. He is principal investigator of a large multicenter prospective study, the MS@work study in which physical, psychological, cognitive, the work environment, job demand and personal factors involved in work participation in the early stages of MS are being assessed.

Dr Inez Wens, University of Antwerp

Inez Wens is a dedicated MS researcher. She has a master degree in bioscience engineering and obtained a PhD in biomedical sciences in 2014, with a special interest in neuro-rehabilitation, muscle biology and neuro-immunology. During her PhD research at Hasselt University, she reported an elevated prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance in persons with MS, comprising the risk to develop type II diabetes, and other secondary health complications, in the future. In addition, Dr. Wens also investigated muscular function and some underlying mechanisms in skeletal muscle tissue of MS patients. Besides loss of muscle strength and muscle mass, she also reported muscle fiber anomalies in MS, compared to healthy controls. Next, she was able to remediate some of the above mentioned problems by means of rehabilitation exercise programs, in an intensity depend manner. As a postdoctoral research fellow, Dr. Wens focussed her research on skeletal muscle tissue analyses, describing mitochondria and myogenic stem cells. Her research has been internationally recognised and rewarded (amongst others by FWO Flanders) and she published papers in the leading MS and neuro-rehabilitation journals. Currently, Dr. Wens is assigned as a project manager of a horizon2020 project at the University of Antwerp and the University Hospital of Antwerp, performing a phase 1 clinical trial, in the development of an antigen specific cell therapy for MS patients.

Prof Kenneth Pakenham PhD, University of Queensland, Australia

Dr Pakenham is a Professor of clinical and health psychology in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland, Australia. His psychology research and clinical practice spans 35 years. Inspired by the resilience of people with serious illnesses, he has committed his career to investigating the processes that foster personal growth in the context of health adversities, and to translating his findings into interventions that help people live fully with illness, including carers. Through over 130 publications, >3,000 Scopus citations of his work, over 60 conference presentations, three research awards, and more than two million dollars of competitive grant funding, he has become a leader in the application of positive health frameworks to several chronic illnesses, including MS, and to caregiving in these contexts. The “living fully with illness” theme integrates his early research in stress/coping theory, his mid-career shift to incorporate positive psychology, and his current focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He developed the first ACT university course in Australia. Through 10 publications, conference presentations, and five teaching awards, he has become a leader in integrating therapist and self-care training using ACT. Recently he has focused on developing innovative ACT interventions that build resilience in people with MS and their careers.