Annual RIMS Conference: 4-6 June 2020, Leuven (BE)
Prof. Maria Pia Amato (Italy)
Dr Giampaolo Brichetto (Italian MS Society (AISM), Italy)

Dr. Giampaolo Brichetto joined the Italian MS Society Foundation (FISM) on March 2009, where he currently holds the position of Coordinator of Research in Rehabilitation. Giampaolo is 44 years old and has 17 years of Research in Rehabilitation experience in the field of neuro-rehabilitation: Parkinson’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis; he worked as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation MD and then as PhD in Neurosciences for the Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Genova, from 2000 to 2007 and then as Head of Traumatic Brain Injury Unit for Ottavia Ferrero Hospital from 2007 to 2009. His whole carrier effort aimed at improving neurorehabilitation strategies both by integrating traditional rehabilitation techniques with bio-tech devices and cognitive rehabilitation strategies and by improving rehabilitation outcome measures for clinical and research purposes. He is author of more than 41 papers in extenso, published on international peer reviewed journals and more than 100 abstracts published in peer reviewed journals.

Prof. Louise Connell (University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom)

Louise Connell is Professor of Neuro-Rehabilitation. She works as a clinical- academic in a partnership post between the University of Central Lancashire and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Her interest is in implementation research, and she is undertaking a programme of research into neurological rehabilitation. Her current research focuses specifically on implementation research for increasing intensity after stroke. She is a physiotherapist, and is particularly passionate about improving research capacity and capability of allied health professionals. Her work has been recognised by being awarded a Fellowship of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists In Neurology.

Prof. Marie D'Hooghe (National MS Center Melsbroek & University Brussels, Belgium)

After obtaining her medical degree magna cum laude at the University Leuven (June 1984), Marie B D’hooghe started her Neurology training under supervision of Prof H Carton (Leuven) and Prof GC Ebers (London Ontario, Canada). She became board certified in Neuropsychiatry in 1990. While working at the National MS Center, Melsbroek, Belgium, she obtained extensive experience in the multidisciplinary, long-term follow-up of multiple sclerosis patients. She was principle investigator in multiple clinical trials and epidemiological studies. In April 2012, she obtained her PhD in medical sciences, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (promotor Prof Dr Jacques De Keyser). Her thesis “Factors associated with disability progression in multiple sclerosis” included 6 peer-reviewed papers. Marie B D’hooghe is member of the Academic Staff of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She obtained national (KBS - MS society, FWO grant G0383.18N) and international grants (2015, Global MS Registry Research Fellowship) and published over 70 full length peer reviewed papers as author or co-author. Her main research interests are the modifiable factors that affect progression of disability in MS, including pregnancy and the impact of invisible symptoms. She is member of the Medical Advisory Board of the National MS Society in Belgium.

Prof. Bénédicte Dubois (University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium)
Prof. Jennifer Freeman (University of Plymouth, United Kingdom)

Jenny Freeman is a Professor in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation within the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences at Plymouth University. Her research programme in MS centres on the development and evaluation of complex rehabilitation interventions; reflecting the priority given by health services to providing evidence based management. A key focus is on the rehabilitation of impaired mobility and balance. Her research is grounded on her longstanding clinical expertise in neurological physiotherapy, for which she has an ongoing clinical commitment. She is a member of the executive board of RIMS.

Dr Carlotte Kiekens (Montecatone Rehabilitation Institution, Imola, Italy)

Carlotte Kiekens is a Physical and Rehabilitation (PRM) physician (MD). She is since January 2020 Director of the Spinal Unit at the Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute in Imola (Bologna, Italy). Before she was head of clinic at the PRM department of the University Hospitals Leuven and she is currently still affiliated with UZ Leuven and KU Leuven. She was a member of the Executive Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Centre (Melsbroek, Belgium) from 2004 till 2019. She is the Co-Director of Cochrane Rehabilitation which she cofounded in 2016. She is the chair of the International Society of PRM-WHO Liaison committee and a member of the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine. She is a Belgian delegate at the European Society of PRM and chair of the Professional Practice Committee at the UEMS PRM Section Her domains of expertise are: Spinal Cord Injury, Spina Bifida, Peripheral Nerve Disease, Polytrauma, Burns, Amputation, Sexuality and Fertility, Spasticity Management, Organizational and Ethical Aspects or Rehabilitation Medicine, Insurance Medicine and Medical Expertise, Evidence based medicine in rehabilitation practice.

Prof. Daphne Kos (National MS Center Melsbroek & KU Leuven, Belgium)

Daphne Kos graduated as occupational therapist (OT) and movement scientist. She worked as OT practitioner, lecturer and researcher and studied fatigue management and assessment in people with multiple sclerosis in her PhD project. Currently she is coordinator of scientific research in the rehabilitation department of the National MS Center Melsbroek and professor and co-manager of the OT master programme in KU Leuven (interuniversity programme with Ghent, Hasselt and Antwerp). Her research domain is situated in the area of fatigue, occupational performance, life balance, goal setting and assessment, mainly in multiple sclerosis (in all stages). Daphne Kos is president of Rehabilitation in MS (RIMS).

Prof. Helle Terkildsen Maindal (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Dr Maindal is Professor in Health Promotion at the Section of Health Promotion at Aarhus University, Denmark and an Honorary Professor at the School of Health Transitions, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Her major vision is to support communities and people, so they can make informed choices that are promoting their health in the best way. She is an international recognised expert in Health Promotion working with targeting vulnerable families at high risk of diabetes from a life course perspective in a coherent health system. Dr Maindal is an expert in complex intervention methodology and the development of health promotion outcomes, such as Health literacy. Internationally, she is known for her Health Literacy research investigating both measurements and epidemiology, as well as interventions targeted both organisations, health professionals and patients. She chairs the Danish network in health literacy, and is a WHO advisor in the same topic.

Prof. Stefano Negrini (University of Milan, Italy)

Prof. Stefano Negrini, MD is Professor in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) at University “La Statale” of Milan and Rehabilitation Research Coordinator of the Care & Research Institute (IRCCS) Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi. He is Director of Cochrane Rehabilitation, Chief-Editor of the “European Journal of PRM”, and Scientific Director of ISICO (Italian Scientific Spine Institute) in Milan. He is listed Top Italian Scientist and is academician of the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (EARM). He is Chair of the Raise of Awareness on Rehabilitation - ROAR Task Force of the International Society PRM (ISPRM), Italian delegate of the PRM Section of the European Union Medical Specialists, in the Advisory Board of the international Society On Spinal Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT). He has been coordinator of the 3rd Edition of the White Book on PRM in Europe He founded Cochrane Rehabilitation and SOSORT. He has been President and Scientific Secretary of SOSORT and of 21 Meetings, promoter and Chair of the International on-line and the Italian live Masters on Spinal Deformities conservative treatment. He won 16 Awards including the AAP DeLisa Lecture. He published >320 PubMed/Medline papers, gave >100 Invited Lectures and had >400 abstracts in International Meetings.

Dr Liesbet Peeters (University of Hasselt, Belgium)

Liesbet is the chair of the MS Data Alliance initiative. She is a data scientist at the Biomedical Research Institute and Data Science Institute of Hasselt University (Belgium). She is a member of the ELIXIR community focussing on constructing a sustainable infrastructure for the sharing of biological information throughout Europe. Her research focuses on developing big data sharing procedures and artificial intelligence algorithms with a specific focus on real-world evidence. She is a core group member the #DataSavesLives.

Dr Menno Schoonheim (UMC Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Menno Schoonheim is a neuroscientist, currently working as an assistant professor at the department of Anatomy and Neurosciences of the Amsterdam UMC in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He received his PhD in 2014, based on his thesis entitled “Are you connected? A network perspective on cognitive dysfunction in early multiple sclerosis”. His research mainly focuses on understanding and predicting disease progression in MS, both in the form of cognitive decline as well as physical disability. His work centers around advanced imaging, studying functional and structural brain networks and brain atrophy patterns using techniques like MRI and magnetoencephalography. He is currently the head of the steering committee of IMSCOGS, the international MS cognition society.

Dr Alexander Tallner (Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)

Alexander Tallner is a graduated Sports Scientist. He started his scientific career at the Department of Sport Science and Sport of the University of Erlangen, Germany, in 2007. Since then, he developed two main research foci: internet-based exercise promotion in persons with Multiple Sclerosis (pwMS), and assessment of physical function and physical activity in pwMS. Consequently, these were the constituents of his PhD in 2012. Then, the integration of behavioral elements into internet-based physical activity/exercise interventions to increase adherence became his next cornerstone. This encompassed constituents like online learning, promotion of physical activity-related health competence, gamification, as well as Fitnesstracker and smartphone integration. Currently, he has the project management position of the “MS bewegt” study (University of Erlangen), an e-Health platform integrating those components into a service specifically designed for pwMS.

Mr. Pieter Van Galen (Brain Star, Belgium)

Pieter was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and is an active member of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP). In addition to his extensive work with EMSP, he is a self-employed freelance trainer and consultant, with broad professional experience as a speaker. Pieter feels that MS is sometimes misunderstood as, often on the outside, there are no physical symptoms, but mobility and fatigue can play a large role in day-to-day life for people with MS. Through his advocacy work, he hopes to help raise awareness of MS and improve patients’ experiences and empower others. Pieter has been an active member of the MS in the 21st Century Steering Group since 2016. He is proud to be one of the authors on the first MS21 patient-HCP co-authored manuscript and over the years he has presented at a number of different international congresses representing EMSP, MS in the 21st Century and himself as a PwMS.