BIRD 2022 First Annual Congress

Speakers and moderators

Dr. Filip Baert, M.D.
AZ Delta campus Rumbeke Roeselare

Dr Filip Baert is currently head of UR-Care (United Registries of Clinical Assessment and Research) at ECCO and former Chief Scientific Officer for the Governing Board of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO). Filip has over 25 years of experience in clinical research and is currently Head of the Department of Gastroenterology of AZ Delta Hospital in Roeselare, Belgium, where he has developed special expertise in IBD, microscopic colitis as well as celiac disease.
Filip graduated in medicine, surgery and obstetrics from the University of Leuven in 1989. He then underwent specialization in internal medicine, gastrointestinal and liver diseases (1994), becoming a Fellow in Gastroenterology of the University of Chicago Hospitals. Next to his clinical practice he continued to be involved in translational research and acquired a PhD from the University of Leuven in 2014 on pharmacokinetics of monoclonal antibodies.
He is director of the Fellowship training program in AZ Delta for the Universities of Ghent and Leuven.
He authored and co-authored > 130 peer reviewed publications and several chapters and serves as a reviewer for the key GI Journals, ECCO and UEGW. He is a President of BIRD (Belgian IBD Research and Development group).
Among his ongoing important research projects are two European registries UR-Care (a pan European IBD electronic record/dBase) and of I-Care (Ibd CAncer and seRious infections in Europe) .
Finally he serves on the editorial Board of the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis.

Prof. Dr. Triana Lobaton, M.D., PhD
UZ Gent

Triana Lobatón finished her training as gastroenterologist in Barcelona and in 2015 she obtained her PhD on "fecal calprotectin as a surrogate marker of disease activity in IBD patients" at the University of Barcelona. As part of her PhD program, she spent 18 months (2013-2014) at the IBD unit of Leuven University Hospital under the supervision of Prof. Séverine Vermeire. 

Her clinical activity and research is focused on IBD, in particular on clinical projects. Because of her particular interest in research and educational activities, she started as coordinator of the young GETECCU (Spanish group of Crohn and Colitis)- and still collaborating with this group- and since she moved to Belgium in 2017 she joined the BIRD group. Triana Lobatón is currently member of the BIRD educational comittee (Educom) and national representative for BIRD at ECCO. She is also involved in several ECCO activities.

Since December 2017 she's working as a full time staff member at the Gastroenterology Department of Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent), leading the IBD unit. In 2019 she became assistant professor at UZ Gent. 

Dr. Lieven Pouillon, M.D.

Gastroenterologist-hepatologist, IBD Clinic and GI Clinical Research Centre, Imelda General Hospital, Bonheiden, Belgium

Dr Pouillon graduated as a gastroenterologist at K.U. Leuven (Belgium). He completed  a one-year IBD fellowship at CHRU Nancy in France, before joining the IBD unit at Imelda General Hospital Bonheiden (Belgium) in 2018. He has (co-)authored >40 peer-reviewed publications (h-index 17), presented at >10 international congresses, and has clinical trial experience as a principal and sub-investigator in over 25 international trials. Dr Pouillon is an elected member of the educational committee of the Belgian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Development Group (BIRD) and serves as a reviewer for several leading gastroenterology journals, including CGH, AP&T and JCC.

Prof. Dr. João Sabino, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Prof. Dr. João Sabino is assistant professor at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) and staff member of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospitals Leuven since 2019.  

João Sabino graduated as MD at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Part of his MD training was done at the University of Salamanca, Spain, under the Erasmus program. In 2010, he moved to Belgium for his gastroenterology fellowship, which included internships at the University Hospitals of Leuven, Hospital of Lier, and Hospital of Genk.

In December 2017, he successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Host-microbiome interactions in health and digestive diseases” at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Leuven. After his PhD, he did a short postdoctoral stay at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

João Sabino holds a basic-clinical research position at the Flemish Foundation for Scientific Research (FWO Vlaanderen). He is member of the Educational Committee and of the board of the Belgian IBD Research and Development (BIRD) group.

His main research interests are the role of dietary approach to treat intestinal inflammation, the role of dietary components in the development and resolution of intestinal inflammation, and the impact of undernutrition in the quality of life of patients with IBD.

Prof. Dr. Harald Peeters, M.D., PhD
AZ Sint-Lucas Gent

Harald Peeters, MD, PhD, is a gastroenterologist at the  St Lucas Hospital in Ghent, where he is also vice-president of the Medical Board. He has a special interest in IBD and together with 2 colleagues and an IBD-nurse he runs the local IBD clinic. He is member of ECCO and BIRD since many years . In BIRD he is being part of the eductional committee (Educom). H Peeters is reviewer for several international peer-reviewed journals and for ECCO and UEGW abstracts and grants. He is associate editor for Acta Gastroenterologica Belgica. Furthermore, he is also associate professor at the faculty of Medicine at the University of Ghent.

Elisabeth Lallemant, IBD nurse
CHR de la Citadelle

Elisabeth Lallemant  graduated from Barbou Liège (HEPL) as a graduate nurse in June 1993. In 1995, she obtained the diploma as a specialist in hospital hygiene and teaching skills. In 2014, she followed the training for the certificate of educator in diabetology. Since 1993, she has worked as a nurse at the Hospital of the Citadelle, Liege. She worked for the first 9 years in the geriatric patient service. Since August 2002, she has worked as a study coordinator for the clinical studies of the gastroenterology and endocrinology departments. Since the beginning of BINA in 2012, now BINAstoria, she is regularly in contact with its members.  She also attended the 2019 ECCO training to formalize her IBD nurse designation.

Jolien De Rechter, Study Coordinator
Onze Lieve Vrouwziekenhuis campus Aalst

Jolien De Rechter graduated in 2020 as Master Biomedical sciences at UGent. After her master's thesis about inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in a mouse model, she decided to explore IBD in the clinical world. She started as an IBD-consultant in Onze-Lieve-Vrouwhospital in Aalst, where she and her colleague guide IBD patients and develop patient-centered projects and where she coordinates clinical trials in Crohn and Colitis. From the beginning of her working carreer, she has been a member of BINAstoria and she joined the board in March 2022. 

Sophie Claeys, IBD nurse
AZ Sint-Lucas Gent

Sophie Claeys graduated in 2014 as master of science in healthcare management and policy, after she got her bachelor degree of nursing in 2012. She started working as a nurse on the hospital ward cardiology/pneumology in AZ Sint-Lucas. She has always been interested in clinical trials. Since January 2016 she is working as an IBD nurse and study nurse at the AZ Sint-Lucas IBD Clinic in Ghent.

In 2018 she joined the board of the Belgian IBD Nurses and Study coordinators association (BINAstoria) where she is responsible for the communication and the liaison with the Crohn and Colitis Organisation (CCV) .

Katrien Asnong, IBD nurse

Katrien graduated in 2000 as Master in Science of Nursing at the Catholic University of Leuven, after she got her degree in nursing in 1997.

She started working as study nurse in the IBD ward of Prof. Rutgeerts of the University Hospitals of Leuven where she built her experience within IBD.

After 5 years, she made the switch to the private sector as CRA and Project Leader within the medical devices. However, the lack of patient contact and hands-on work made her decide to go back to the IBD patients.

In 2014, she reinforced the IBD clinic of Dr. Bossuyt in the Imelda Hospital of Bonheiden, where she is coordinating clinical trials in Crohn and Colitis in the team of study nurses. She has been a member of BINAstoria since the merge of the study nurses with the IBD nurses in June 2019, and a board member from November 2019 until June 2022.

Prof. Dr. Aranzazu Jauregi Amezaga, M.D., PhD
UZ Antwerpen

Aranzazu Jauregui Amezaga MD PHD is gastroenterologist at UZ Antwerpen. She completed her PhD “Cell therapy for Crohn’s disease” in 2016. She has specific interest in intestinal ultrasound for IBD patients and is member of the IBUS group. Her research focusses on translational studies on IBD pathogenesis and monitoring of disease course and treatment response.

Dr. Hannah Gordon, M.D.
Barts Health NHS Trust, London, England

I work in Barts Health NHS Trust, East London, where I recently completed my fellowship. My lab research focused on a novel population of T cells, with potential to traffic to the skin and the gut. In a trust serving a diverse patient population, I also studied the impact of ethnicity on response to anti-TNF therapy.

I am passionate about health equality, and I am a member of ECCO GuiCom committee. I co-ordinated the ECCO guideline on malignancy in IBD, and have co-authored several other guidelines and topical reviews. Whilst redeployed for COVID-19 pandemic cover, I took part in the ECCO Taskforce on the "Dos and Don'ts" paper on COVID care in IBD. When not working, I help co-ordinate fund raising for a small charitable project, providing healthcare and education for a family in Uganda. 

I love to travel, and after the years of virtual congresses and educational meetings, I'm especially excited to be joining you in Belgium -  many thanks for inviting me!

Prof. Dr. Tine Jess, M.D., DMSc
Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Tine Jess, Fellow of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters and Director of the National Center of Excellence for Molecular Prediction of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, PREDICT, in Copenhagen, Denmark, is an international expert in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). At age 33, she defended her doctoral thesis on prognosis of IBD from Denmark and the Mayo Clinic, US. Alongside, she was co-responsible for creation of Department of Epidemiology at Novo Nordisk A/S. At age 35, she received a Female Research Leader Grant from the Danish Council of Independent Research and established her own research group at Statens Serum Institut. During the last decade, Professor Jess has published numerous important contributions to the field in Gastroenterology, Gut, BMJ, JAMA, Nature Reviews Gastro Hep, and New England Journal of Medicine; she has been heading the Epidemiological Committee of the European Crohn Colitis Organization; and she has received several acknowledgments for her research, including the UNESCO For Women in Science Award, the UEG Rising Star Award, a Medal of Honor, and an InnoWoman title by Innovation Fund Denmark. 

Prof. Dr. Tim Vanuytsel, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), Department of Chronic Diseases, Metabolism and Ageing (ChroMetA), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Leuven Intestinal Failure and Transplantation Center, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Prof. Dr. Tim Vanuytsel graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from Leuven University Medical School. He obtained a PhD degree in biomedical sciences in 2014 with a thesis on the role and mechanisms of intestinal permeability in functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Prof. Vanuytsel currently holds a position as a consultant gastroenterologist in Leuven University Hospitals with a clinical focus on functional gastrointestinal disorders and patients with intestinal failure. He is the co-founder and medical director of the Leuven Intestinal Failure and Transplantation center (LIFT), which is the largest intestinal failure center and the only small bowel and multivisceral transplant center in Belgium.

Prof. Vanuytsel’s research interest lies in the pathophysiology and treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders and intestinal failure and transplantation. He has published >160 original research articles and reviews in international peer-reviewed journals and is the (co-)supervisor of 15 PhD students.

Prof. Dr. Mariangela Allocca, M.D., PhD
IRCCS Hospital San Raffaele and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy

Mariangela Allocca is a senior gastroenterologist and a clinical researcher at the IBD Center, at San Raffaele Hospital of Milan-Italy.

She has been adjunct Teaching Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University from 2017 to 2021.

Her research is focused on non-invasive diagnostic and monitoring techniques, in particular on investigation of the role of bowel ultrasound for the assessment of activity and complications in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

She is currently member of the International Bowel Ultrasound Group (IBUS) and IBUS SciCom deputy chair.

Furthermore, she is member of the European Crohn’s Colitis Organization (ECCO) and of the Italian Group for the study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IG-IBD).

Dr Allocca is involved in clinical trials for new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, in collaboration with many Italian, European and North-American centers.

She is author and coauthor of several peer-reviewed publications. In particular, she has developed and validated the Milan Ultrasound Criteria for ulcerative colitis, and the Bowel Ultrasound Score for Crohn's disease for monitoring disease activity and severity of IBD by bowel ultrasound.

In addition, she is proactively involved in the production of ECCO guidelines, topical reviews, and workshops.

Dr. Peter Bossuyt, M.D.

Dr Peter Bossuyt is gastroenterologist at the IBD clinic in the Imelda General Hospital in Bonheiden, Belgium. He is also co-director of the Imelda GI Clinical Research Centre in Bonheiden.

Dr Bossuyt studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and graduated magna cum laude in 2004. He pursued his GI fellowship in Kortrijk, Roeselare, Bonheiden and Leuven. After completing his GI fellowship in 2009, he took up a fellowship in advanced endoscopy at the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam. Between 2010 and 2015 he was a consulting staff member for endoscopic ultrasound at the University Hospitals of Leuven. He obtained a PhD entitled “Value of endoscopic scoring and imaging for the prognosis and follow up of IBD” at the University of Leuven in 2021. His research focuses on clinical trials in IBD and the definitions of endoscopic and imaging targets in IBD. He is a pioneer in working with e-health tools in IBD and leads several quality improvement projects. He is currently international principal investigator of 4 clinical trials in IBD and endoscopy. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Secretary of the Belgian IBD Research and Development Group, and board member of ECCO’s Clinical Research Committee, ClinCom. He won the Belgian IBD research price in 2011  and 2021 and the ESGE Innovation of the year award in 2018. He published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the Lancet, Gastroenterology, Gut, Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, JCC among others (H-index 30).

Prof. Dr. Christianne Buskens, M.D., PhD
Amsterdam UMC, Netherlands

Christianne Buskens graduated as a medical doctor in 1999. From 2000 until 2003 she worked as a research fellow at the department of surgery, and the department of experimental oncology at the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam. This resulted in her PhD thesis ´The development of new treatment strategies for oesophageal cancer’, which she defended with distinction in 2004. She was trained as a surgeon from 2003 until 2009 at the AMC, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (Amsterdam), and Gelre Hospitals (Apeldoorn).  After completion of her surgical training, she was granted a fellowship from the Dutch Cancer Organization (KWF) at the department of colorectal surgery in Oxford, United Kingdom. Here, she specialized in proctology and minimally invasive surgery. To combine clinical work with (translational) research work, she completed a masters program in clinical epidemiology. 

In January 2012, she became a staff member of the AMC colorectal surgeons group. Here, her field of interest changed from oncology to IBD. Today, she is a specialized IBD-surgeon treating this fascinating disease in all its complexity, in a multidisciplinary setting. She combines her clinical work with translational research which is funded by an innovative research incentive grant from The Netherlands organisation for health research and development. This grant enables her to spend dedicated research time in the laboratory, and was the basis for some ongoing translational IBD research lines: the role of the mesentery in Crohn’s disease, the role of the appendix in ulcerative colitis, and the fundamental characterization of perianal fistulas in Crohn’s patients.

Prof. Dr. Barbara Neerinckx, M.D., PhD
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Prof. dr. Barbara Neerinckx is working as a rheumatologist at the University Hospitals of Leuven since 2018. In clinic she is working in the chronic arthritis care program focusing on spondyloarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Since 2019 she works as an assistant professor at KU Leuven and is one of the lead investigators at the Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center, KU Leuven, Belgium. Her current clinical and translational research is mainly ongoing in the spondyloarthritis field with a specific interest in early disease as well as in lifestyle/environmental influences on disease onset and progression. 

Dr. Claire Liefferinckx, M.D., PhD
Hôpital Erasme

Claire Liefferinckx obtained her medical degree in 2014 at Université libre de Bruxelles. She worked as a FNRS fellow researcher at the laboratory of experimental gastro-enterology (ULB) and obtained her PhD thesis in 2019. Her main research topics are about the pharmacokinetics of biologics used in Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and the genetics underlying the severity in IBD. During her FNRS post-doctoral fellowship, she worked at GIGA (Liège) with Michel Georges’ team. She currently works in gastroenterology at Erasme hospital, mainly involved in the IBD clinic. She is member of Scicom in the BIRD.

Prof. Dr. Jean-François Rahier, M.D., PhD
CHU UCL Namur site Godinne

Jean-François Rahier was born in Belgium in 1975. He obtained his diploma of medical doctor cum laude in 2000 from the University of Louvain (UCL) and specialized in Gastroenterology in 2007. He was first trained by Pr O Dewit in Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc in 2005 and then by Pr JF Colombel in Lille in 2006-2008. Besides, he had a part-time research activity in 2008-2013 at the INSERM U995 laboratory of Professor Desreumaux in Lille (France) where he obtained his PhD on “lymphangiogenesis in IBD” in 2014. He is working at the University Hospital CHU UCL Namur in Belgium where his clinical activity is focused on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and also acted between 2014 and 2018 as consultant for phase II-III clinical trials in CHU Liège (Pr E Louis). In 2009 and 2014, he was the leading author for the European consensus on management and prevention of opportunistic infection in IBD. He has authored or co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed manuscript and is part of the scientific and executive committee of I-CARE. He is reviewer for international journals such as GUT, Gastroenterology, JCC, APT, CGH and others. He is an active member of the Belgian IBD Group where he acted as President in 2017-2020, of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation and of the GETAID (France).

Dr. Jeroen Geldof, M.D.
UZ Gent

Jeroen Geldof is a consultant at the IBD unit of the Ghent University Hospital. After graduating as a gastroenterologist at the Ghent University in 2019, he completed an IBD fellowship at the St Mark's hospital in London under the wings of prof. dr. Ailsa Hart. He has a particular interest for perianal Crohn's disease both from a medical as from a proctosurgical viewpoint. 

Dr. Dirk Van de Putte, M.D.
UZ Gent

Dr. Dirk Van de Putte is a colorectal surgeon  working in the surgical department of the university hospital of Ghent. Special interest in inflammatory bowel disease, proctology and pelvic surgery.

Bep Keersmaeckers, IBD Psychologist
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Bep Keersmaekers works as an IBD-psychologist in the University Hospitals Leuven. She focuses both on clinical work with patients as research on how to provide the best care for and prevention of psychopathology in patients with IBD. For her work she connects with other IBD-psychologists around the world. She is currently specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Dr. Leila Amininejad, M.D., PhD
Hôpital Erasme

Leila Amininejad was born in 1977 in Brussels. She began her medical formation in ULB in Brussels in 1995. She obtained her MD certification in 2002. Then she began her formation in Gastroenterology in ULB and obtained her certification in 2007. She completed her formation in 2008 with a certification of Nutrition in ULB in collaboration with the Universiy of Paris V. She began since 2007 her clinical work in Gastroenterology in Erasme hospital. She obtained her PhD certification in 2019. Her research work was based on the study of genes underlying rare monogenic diseases with IBD-like symptoms in IBD patients. She also collaborated in several IBD-studies within the International IBD Genetic Consortium (IIBDGC) and the Belgian IBD Research Group (BIRD).  

Prof. Dr. Heiko de Schepper, M.D., PhD
UZ Antwerpen

Heiko De Schepper is a senior staff member at the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the University Hospital Antwerp and has a teaching assignment at the University of Antwerp. He was trained in Neurogastroenterology at the the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and has since then specialized in gastroenterological motility diseases and pelvic floor disorders. He has a special interest in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional bowel disorders and is a dedicated advocate to increase knowledge and awareness about these frustrating diseases, both towards patients and the general audience. His research focusses on further unraveling the pathophysiology of IBS, and on the search for biomarkers to personalize the management of these patients.

Valérie Wambacq, IBD nurse
Hôpital Erasme

Valérie Wambacq is a nurse at Erasme hospital since 1991 in the gastroenterology department

First she gained 9 years of experience in the hospitalisation department. Afterwards, she worked as an endoscopy nurse for 8 years. But since 2008, she has been working as an IBD Nurse. She is responsible for coaching IBD-patients, blood draws and subcutaneous administration in IBD-studies.

In 2011, she founded BINA together with 3 colleagues. She co-founded BINAstoria and has been active as a board member until 2020.

Noortje Straetemans, IBD nurse and BINAstoria President
AZ Vesalius

Noortje Straetemans received her received Bachelor degree in Nursing In 2010 , with specialization in Social Nursing. She has always had a specific interest in the guidance and education of patients with chronic illnesses.  In January 2019 She started as an IBD nurse in AZ Vesalius Tongeren. Since then she has gained expertise in IBD and the psycho-social impact, with a specific interest in IBD and sexuality/fertility. She is a member of the Binastoria Board since 2020 and focusses on education.

Goedele Dewitte, IBD Nurse
UZ Gent

During my education, I have followed a BaNaBa International coöperation en development at UCLL. I have done an internship of 6 months in a dayclinic in Dakar, Senegal. 

I've graduated as a nurse in 2014. I have started on a general revalidation ward in AZ Jan Palfijn Ghent. 

In 2017 I've started my master education at U Ghent and combined study and work for 2 years. Since september 2019, I have started as an IBD nurse in UZ Ghent. I have started the transitionclinic togheter with the medical team. Under the supervision of our doctors I did some nurse-led research ('impact of remote care during the first pandemic').

Ariane Paps, IBD Nurse
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Ariane Paps joined the IBD specialist nurse team at the University Hospitals Leuven Belgium

in September 2018 . Ariane began her career at the University Hospitals Leuven in 1995, after training for her nursing degree at Sint Elisabethinstituut ,Leuven.

During her career, Ariane has also attended specialist training  courses in woundcare and mentor skills.

Els De Dycker, IBD Nurse
UZ Leuven Gasthuisberg

Els De Dycker joined the IBD nurse team at University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium in October 2018, and has more than 13 years of experience in ER and Intensive Care Unit. Els began her career at RZ Heilig Hart Tienen in 2002 after training for her nursing degree at Hogeschool Leuven, Belgium. She also gained the BanaBa Intensieve zorgen en Spoedgevallenzorg. In 2010 she started to work on the ER at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. In 2018 she followed a training “ PV begrippen in klinisch onderzoek” in UZ Leuven. At this moment she is her third year of her master’s degree in nursing at the KU Leuven, Belgium.

Anne Bertrand, IBD Nurse
CHR de la Citadelle

Since 1988, Anne Bertrand is a hospital graduate nurse from the Armand Weber School in Verviers. In 1992, she graduated from the Catholic University of Louvain in hospital and medico-social sciences. In 2017, she also obtained a certificate of teaching skills at the Saint-Laurent Institute in Liège.

She worked as a nurse at the Yellow and White Cross home care of Malmedy and at Saint-Luc University Clinics in Brussels. She also worked at CHC (Clinique Notre Dame in Waremme and Clinique Saint-Joseph in Liège). She was a Head Nurse from 1995 until 2012 in CHC Clinique Saint-Joseph in Liège. Her main professional experience concerns surgery.

She has been employed as a nurse in 2013 by the Public Hospital CHR Citadelle in Liège. Currently, she is a study coordinator in nephrology-dialysis and gastroenterology within the clinical research team since October 2016. She has also been an IBD nurse since February 2018.

Soumaya Akhayad, IBD Nurse
UZ Gent

I am Soumaya Akhayad, IBD nurse at Ghent University Hospital with a Master’s degree (2021) in nursing and a specialization in emergency/intensive care (2015). I initially started in critical care where I gained experience in the emergency department and intensive care unit. After the Master program I opted for a more investigative and consultative function. As a result, I ended up in the gastrointestinal department as a study nurse for the surgical team that was specialized in cancer care. I then moved on to be a scientific associate where I did research regarding nurse consultants and specialists. This triggered me to explore the nurse consultant position in the IBD team (2021), where I am currently settled and now passionately practice the position as a teammember of the IBD unit. 

Prof. Dr. Geert D'Haens, M.D., PhD
Amsterdam UMC, Netherlands

Geert D’Haens is Professor of gastroenterology at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers (University of Amsterdam). After graduation at the University of Leuven, Belgium, he was trained in gastroenterology, gastrointestinal endoscopy and inflammatory bowel diseases at the University Hospitals in Leuven and at the University of Chicago Hospitals under the mentorship of Paul Rutgeerts and Steven Hanauer, respectively. He finished his PhD thesis in 1996 on mechanisms causing postoperative recurrence of Crohn’s disease. After that, most of his research efforts went into the mechanism of action of new IBD drugs, the development of endoscopic endpoints and surrogate markers for IBD and novel treatment algorithms.

In 1999, D’Haens was co- founder of ECCO, the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization. Currently, D’Haens leads a group of more than 50 IBD researchers in the AMC. He is also Medical Director of Alimentiv BV in Europe and former chairman of IOIBD, the international organization for study of IBD. He authored more than 500 peer reviewed articles so far and is leading many drug development programs and clinical trials for IBD.

Prof. Dr. Alessandro Armuzzi, M.D., PhD
Humanitas Research Hospital/Humanitas University, Milan

Alessandro Armuzzi leads the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Unit and co-leads the IBD Center at IRCCS Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, Italy. He earned his MD degree from the University of Bologna and his PhD degree from the Tor Vergata University of Rome, and completed his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at the Catholic University of Rome, all in Italy. Professor Armuzzi also conducted advanced research and underwent clinical training in IBD at the John Radcliffe Hospital – Oxford University Hospitals in Oxford, UK. Up to 2021 he led the IBD Center at the Fondazione Policlinico A. Gemelli IRCCS, Catholic University in Rome, Italy.

Professor Armuzzi’s research interests focus on design of investigator initiated trials in IBD, observational studies in IBD, clinical/biological prediction and outcomes in IBD and IMIDs, diagnostic modalities to assess disease activity in IBD, evaluation of efficacy and safety of combination of biologics and/or small molecules in IBD, role of dietary lipids in the intestinal fibrotic processes associated to Crohn’s disease, predictive value of colonic mucosal and synovial tissues profiles for response to JAKs inhibitor in patients affected by ulcerative colitis and concomitant peripheral arthritis

He serves as a member of several gastroenterology associations, including the Italian Group for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IG-IBD, Chair 2018-2019, EduCom Chair 2020-2021), the Scientific Committee of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology (SIGE, 2014-2017), and the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO, ClinCom Chair 2015-2017, Internal Auditor 2019-2020, Secretary 2021-2024). Additionally, he has authored many peer-reviewed publications in the field of IBD.