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ISNN 2021 Speakers


Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos is a pediatrician and endocrinologist whose research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was on the nutritional aspects of genetic and endocrine disorders; evolutionary aspects of diet and fatty acids; and the importance of a balanced ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and growth and development. She has been the Founder and president of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, a nonprofit educational organization in Washington, DC, since 1990. Dr. Simopoulos was chair of the Nutrition Coordinating Committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that coordinated all Nutrition Research of the Federal Government in the U.S. in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. She was a consultant to the Office of Consumer Affairs at the White House. Prior to that, she was the Executive Secretary of the Medical Sciences Division at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). During that time, she directed the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA technology. Dr. Simopoulos was a Founding Member of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) in 1991, the Founder of the International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics (ISNN), and was Past President of ISNN from 2005-2009. She is the author of The Omega Diet (HarperCollins, 1999) and has edited over 50 books and journal supplements, in addition, to publishing over 360 scientific papers. In 2008 she was 1 of 9 selected women in the U.S. recognized by the Education Update in their March issue “Women Shaping History”.
Pedro A. Jose, MD, PhD is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Physiology, The George Washington University. Dr. Jose studies the role of dopamine/dopamine regulatory genes (e.g., G protein-coupled receptor kinase 4, sorting nexins, gastrin) on renal sodium transport and their roles in the pathogenesis of hypertension and metabolic syndrome. Dr. Jose has received several research-related awards, including the 2015 Excellence Award for Hypertension Research (American Heart Association). Expertise and research interests: Renal pharmacology and physiology, epithelial sodium transport, genetics and pharmacogenetics of hypertension, G protein-coupled receptors
Olivia Dong, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN is a Senior Research Health Economist at RTI Health Solutions where she specializes in evaluating the humanistic and economic value of new healthcare innovations to inform their availability, pricing, and reimbursement. Prior to starting at RTI-HS, she completed an NHGRI-funded post-doctoral research fellowship in genomic medicine at the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine. Olivia has received several awards for her research, including winning first place in the American College of Cardiology 2021 Young Investigator Awards Competition in Outcomes Research.
Maria Vranceanu completed her nutrition studies at the University of Florence, master's degree in nutrigenetics at University of Tor Vergata postgraduate course in nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics at University of Florence and is a PhD candidate at Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj Napoca. Her expertise, Genetics of obesity and eating behavior. CEO and founder Eva Nutrition.
Dr. Louis Pérusse is Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the Faculty of Medicine in Laval University, Québec. He is a genetic epidemiologist with more than 30 years of research experience in the field of the genetics of complex diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Dr Pérusse is a member of the Nutrition Santé et Société (NUTRISS) Research Center at the Institute of Nutrition Functional Foods (INAF) of Laval University and President-elect of the International Society of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics (ISNN). He is the author of more than 650 papers and communications in the field of genetics of obesity and its related-metabolic complications and of adaptation to exercise training.
Adela Chirita-Emandi is a consultant in Pediatrics and in Medical Genetics, Lecturer in the Department of Genetics of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Victor Babes Timisoara. She published more than 40 scientific papers in national and international journals (including Nature and The Lancet). She is one of the Vice presidents of the Romanian Society of Medical Genetics. She is a geneticist in the Regional Center of Medical Genetics Timis within Emergency Hospital for Children “Louis Țurcanu” Timişoara, a reference center in ERN ITHACA. The main clinical and research interests are genetics and rare diseases.
Agata Chmurzynska, PhD, is Professor of Health Sciences and Head of the Human Nutrition of Dietetics at Poznan University of Life Sciences. She received Ph.D. in genetics from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. Her research interests include fetal programming, determination of body mass, links between one-carbon and lipid metabolism, choline, and personalized nutrition.
Rosita Gabbianelli, is Full Professor of Biochemistry at University of Camerino, Italy. She obtained her PhD in Biology at the University of Camerino in 1997. Her research field includes studies on the interplay between early life exposome and long-term effect on health, and the nutrigenomic strategies to counterbalance molecular damage. She is an visiting professor at Jilin Agriculture University, Changchun, (China) and (co)author of more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, 4 chapters of books and 138 communications at international meetings. She has supervised more of 84 bachelor/master degree/PhD students. She is an editorial board member of several journals on health; member of ISNN, NUGO, SIB and Chair of the Scientific and Organizing Committee of the European Summer School on Nutrigenomics.
Justine Keathley (née Horne), is a postdoctoral fellow at Université Laval and visiting fellow at Harvard University/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research interests relate to the pragmatic application of nutrigenetic information and advice. She is interested in understanding how nutrigenetic information can influence dietary change and health outcomes, as well as establishing methods for determining the scientific validity of gene-diet interactions and associations. Her research uses multi-omics approaches to provide insights for precision nutrition.
The research of PD Dr Guy Vergères at Agroscope aims at characterizing the impact of food fermentation on human health and to develop fermented food products with specific bioactive properties making use of state-of-the-art methods in food (foodomics) and nutritional (nutrigenomics) sciences. The vision of this research is to specifically introduce fermented foods into nutritional guidelines. Guy Vergères is chair of the international nutrigenomics organisation NuGO and teaches nutrigenomics at ETH-Zurich and the University of Lausanne.
Daniele Del Rio and his team have been investigating, for the last 15 years, the fate of polyphenolic substances after ingestion and throughout the human body. Understanding how these dietary phytochemicals are modified by the interaction with human and microbiota-derived enzymes, to yield smaller and more absorbable metabolites, has opened the door to a better understanding of their biological activity. The team has then embarked on an adventurous journey to unravel if the interindividual differences in the production of such phenolic metabolites also correspond to differences in the health effects attributed to polyphenol-rich foods.
Nanette Steinle research interests are chemosensing, genetics and eating behavior. This presentation will discuss the impact of genetic polymorphisms in chemosensors in the gut on eating behavior and BMI in a founder population. An overview of the current literature of gut brain function in health promotion and disease prevention will also be presented.
Luis Saraiva research interests: Our laboratory employs a multidisciplinary strategy to better understand how evolution shaped the gene expression in the mammalian olfactory system, and how odor exposure can ultimately result in complex changes in behavior or physiology. In this context, we are particularly interested in the modulatory effects of odors in fear, stress, and appetite. A parallel interest of our laboratory is to develop personalized medicine strategies to help patients suffering from neurological, kidney, and metabolic disorders. In this context, we deploy and/or develop biological assays to unravel molecular mechanisms underlying specific neural and metabolic processes, aiming to understand how genetic variation can lead to their dysfunction and ultimately disease.
George Dedoussis is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Nutrigenetics of Harokopio University in Athens. He received his PhD from the Medical School of Athens. He worked as a researcher on a Fulbright scholarship at the Medical Faculty of the 'Harvard University' (Boston, USA). He has published more than 300 papers and his research work has been recognized by others (number of citations > 55000). He was nominated in 2019 among the most cited scientists worldwide during the last decade. He has coordinated many national and European grants in the field of genomics of obesity, myocardial infraction and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). He is also testing the impact of natural compounds on NAFLD patients and he was the coordinator of a Marie Curie RISE European grant (
Anna Arola-Arnal is involved in gaining evidence of the beneficial health effects of dietary polyphenols, mainly proanthocyanidins, on improving the dysfunctions associated with the metabolic syndromes linked with obesity. In particular, she studies the molecular mechanisms by which these phytochemicals act by gene expression, microRNA and/or microbiota analyses, evaluating their bioavailability and tissue distribution in rats. Recently, she is focused on the evaluation of the interaction of polyphenols with the biological rhythms.
Dr Emma Beckett, from the University of Newcastle Australia, researches Gene-nutrient-environment interactions and their role in disease risk. She is also a science communicator interested in empowering consumers to make more informed, evidence-based decisions surrounding food.
Prof. em. Dr. Hannelore Daniel held the Chair of Physiology of Human Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich. Her main research interests are control mechanisms in mammalian metabolism; studied in model organisms and humans by using molecular techniques and metabolomics for better phenotyping. Some of the research relates directly to approaches for personalised nutrition. Hannelore is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences and an advisor for national and international funding agencies, research centers and the EU commission. She has received numerous scientific awards including the “Pro meritisAward” and the Silver medal of the State of Bavaria.
Dr. Donato Angelino is Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Teramo, Italy. He was previously post-doc researcher at the University of Parma (Italy) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). His main research fields focus on design and conduction of dietary intervention studies, particularly on functional foods and plant-based foods, and the evaluation of the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of bioactive compounds.
MD, PhD, Professor Martin Kohlmeier, UNC Nutrition Research Institute, Kannapolis, North Carolina; and Department of Nutrition, Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and visiting fellow, Wolfson College Cambridge. President of ISNN. Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. Dr. Kohlmeier researches genetic variation as a modulator of nutrient disposition and the translation of nutrigenetic information into clinical practice.
MD, PhD, J. Alfredo Martinez, Dr. Martínez has been involved in landmark intervention trials such as DIOGENES, NUGENOB, FOOD4ME, PREDIMED and PREVIEW. Dr. Martínez is chair of the department of nutrition, physiology and food science at the University of Navarra. He is currently President of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and has been recipient of several important awards including Hippocrates and Dupont prizes
Dr. Wainford is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine and the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Wainford directs an NIH supported translational research program investigating the integrated age-dependent neural and renal of long-term blood pressure and the salt sensitivity of blood pressure.
Dr. Hisanori Kato is a Project Professor at Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Toyo. Dr. Kato graduated from The University of Tokyo and was appointed Assistant of The University of Tokyo in 1988 and received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1990. He served as a guest researcher at Diabetes Branch, National Institutes of Health, USA (1991-1993). He then became Associate Professor at Utsunomiya University in 1993 and at The University of Tokyo in 1999. He has been at the current position since 2017. Dr. Kato’s recent research focus is evaluation of the effects of food components by making use of various omics technologies. He has received several awards including “Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science Award for Excellence in Research” of 2015. Dr. Kato is the current president of Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science and is the chair of the Organizing Committee of the 22nd International Congress of Nutrition (IUNS-ICN2022). He is also the chair of Federation of Japanese Nutrition Societies.
Dragan Milenkovic is senior research scientist at the French Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA, France), visiting research scientists at the University of California Davis (Davis, CA, USA) and visiting professor at University of Kragujevac (Serbia). He received his master degree in genetics and his PhD from University of Versailles (France) in molecular genetics. His research aims to demonstrate impact of nutrients on development and prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms of actions underlying observed effects using multi-genomic and bioinformatic approaches. In the last 10 years his research has been particularly focused on protective effects of bioactive plant compounds, mainly polyphenols. His projects use a translational research approach involving in-vitro studies, animal models, and clinical trials. He uses multi-omics and systems biology to integrate results from genomics studies, including modifications in gene expression (protein coding and non-coding like microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, short non-coding RNAs), protein, epigenetics, as well as in-silico docking studies to evaluate the interaction between polyphenol metabolites and cell signaling proteins.
Susan Sumner is Professor at UNC Chapel Hill, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Public Health and the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine. She directs the Metabolomics and Exposome Laboratory at the Nutrition Research Institute (NRI). Dr. Sumner is working to make personalized medicine and precision nutrition a reality. Using state-of-the-art metabolomics and exposome technologies, Dr. Sumner’s team determines how molecules present in our tissues and biological fluids are associated with states of health and wellness. Through this approach, biomarkers are discovered that can lead to new diagnostics for the early detection and diagnosis of disease, to monitor treatment and intervention, and to inform the development of intervention strategies.
Raffaele De Caterina is Professor of Cardiology at the University of Pisa, and Director, University Cardiology Division, at Pisa University Hospital. He is also Scientific Advisor for the “G. Monasterio” Foundation, Pisa, Italy. He has been Vice-President of the European Society of Cardiology (2008-2010) and President (2009-2013) of the International Society on Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Vascular Pharmacology and author of >600 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Major research interests: Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Atrial Fibrillation, Coronary Artery Disease, Cardiovascular Thrombosis, Nutrigenetics, and Nutrigenomics.
Ahmed El-Sohemy is Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. The research program in nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics aims to understand how genetic and dietary factors interact to regulate various metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in the development of cardiometabolic disease and athletic performance.