Experienced EMEUNET Sub-Committee members 2023-2024

Links to other EMEUNET Sub-Committee membership posts:

Welcome to the EMEUNET Committee and Sub-Commitees issue

EMEUNET Committee members

New EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

Farewell to EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

Morten Aagaard Nielsen, MD, PhD


Morten is a trainee in rheumatology and a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Rheumatology Aarhus University Hospital. In 2021, he finalized his PhD on the role of immune checkpoint molecules and fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis. His major interests include basic and translational science, the stromal niche and the involvement in arthritis, VEXAS and autoinflammatory diseases. Morten is a board member of the Young Danish Rheumatology Society. Morten is the EMEUNET Country Liaison for Denmark and a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.


Krystel Aouad, MD

France, Lebanon

Krystel is a consultant rheumatologist, working part-time in Lebanon and completing her MPH degree in Research and Biostatistics in Paris-Saclay university, France. She pursued her training in Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital in Paris. She received a diploma in musculoskeletal ultrasound from Sorbonne University, Paris. She has a high interest in clinical research in the fields of spondyloarthritis (SpA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and rheumatoid arthritis. She received the 1st prize from EMEUNET at the ACR congress 2020 for her research work on PsA. She is currently leading a research project on axial SpA analyzing the data of the DESIR cohort. Krystel is a member of the Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee.


Gizem Ayan, MD


Gizem is a third-year rheumatology fellow at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty in Ankara, where she started a residency immediately after an 18-month inflammatory arthritis research fellowship at Ottawa University, Canada. She is currently leading the Young-GRAPPA education team. Her major research interests are inflammatory arthritis, particularly psoriatic arthritis and outcome measures in rheumatic diseases. Gizem is a member of the Education Subcommittee.


Simone Battista PT, PhD


Simone Battista is a research fellow at the Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Campus of Savona, Savona, Italy. He is a physiotherapist specialised in the rehabilitation of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disorders. In 2023, he gained his double PhD in Neurosciences (University of Genova, Italy) and Medical Science (Lund University, Sweden). His research revolves around improving patients’ adherence to lifestyle interventions (e.g. exercise and diet) and how patients’ socioeconomic, cultural and psychological factors can jeopardise their care. He is a member of the Italian Forum of the Health Professionals in Rehabilitation and the Italian Association of Physiotherapists. He is part of the EULAR HPR Knowledge Translation Subcommittee and the EMEUNET Peer-Mentoring Subcommittee.


Sytske Anne Bergstra, PhD

The Netherlands

Sytske Anne is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Rheumatology of the Leiden Univeristy Medical Center in Leiden. In 2018 she obtained her PhD on worldwide treatment opportunities of rheumatoid arthritis. Her major research interest is rheumatoid arthritis, with a focus on the optimal use of current treatment strategies and socioeconomics. She has an interest in advanced statistics and methodolog, which she applies to bridge the gap between scientifically studied treatment strategies and what is done in actual care. Sytske Anne is the project coordinator of the METEOR registry, and a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


Emre Bilgin, MD


Emre is an internist and rheumatology fellow-in-training at Hacettepe University Hospitals in Ankara, Turkey, where he is planning to have a master class in Clinical Epidemiology. His major research interests are biologic drug registries, data science and epidemiology in musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently participating in three journals as an editor (Medicine, Journal of Turkish Society for Rheumatology, Acta Medica) and three journals as an editorial board member (Rheumatology, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and BMC Rheumatology). Emre is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


Giacomo Cafaro, MD, PhD


Giacomo is Assistant Professor of Rheumatology and Consultant Rheumatologist at the Rheumatology Unit of the University of Perugia and Perugia University Hospital, Italy. He recently completed his PhD program in Translational Medicine with a project on interactions between platelets and T cells in rheumatoid arthritis, and is involved in other research projects on Sjögren’s syndrome, psoriatic arthritis and ultrasonography, representing his main research interests. He is also responsible for the synovial biopsy unit at Perugia University Hospital, Italy. He was PARTNER fellow at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow. He is a member of the Italian Society of Rheumatology. Giacomo is a member of the Newsletter Sub-committee.


Francesca Crisafulli, MD


Francesca is a rheumatologist at the Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Unit of the ASST Spedali Civili of Brescia, Italy. She is attending a PhD program at the University of Brescia. Her major interests include reproductive health in patients with rheumatic diseases, connective tissue diseases (in particular Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), and autoinflammatory diseases. Francesca is a member of the ERN ReCONNET young working group. She is the past EMEUNET Country Liaison for Italy and San Marino (2019-2022). Francesca is a member of the Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee. 


Enrico De Lorenzis, MD


Enrico graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 2014 and specialized in Rheumatology in 2019 at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. He is now a PhD candidate in Biomolecular Medicine at the University of Verona. He is currently working as visiting clinical research fellow at the Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal disease in Leeds (UK). His research activity has been focused on scleroderma and cardio-pulmonary involvement related to connective tissue disease, with specific interests in pathophysiology and prognosis prediction. He is a member of the EUSTAR young investigator group. He is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


Stefan Cristian Dinescu, MD, PhD


Stefan is a rheumatology specialist at the Department of Rheumatology of the Emergency County Hospital in Craiova and lecturer at the Department of Rheumatology of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Craiova. In 2018 he finalized his PhD focused on the use of salivary gland ultrasonography in the assessment of Sjögren’s syndrome. His major research interests include musculoskeletal ultrasonography and axial spondyloarthritis. Stefan is a member of Romanian Society of Rheumatology (SRR), and has been an EMEUNET member since 2021. Stefan is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


Serena Fasano


Serena is a Consultant/Research Fellow in Rheumatology at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy. Her main research interests are observational studies and methodology. Her main clinical interests are systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, myositis and systemic sclerosis. She likes to travel, eat Asian food, read books, sing and dance. She is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


Dálifer Freites Núñez, MD, MSc


Dálifer is a consultant rheumatologist at Hospital Universitario Clínico San Carlos in Madrid, and PhD candidate at Complutense University. She also collaborates as a rheumatologist in Hospital Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Madrid. She has participated in various research projects, some of them with a European scope. Her projects are related to the optimization of biological agents and predictive models of therapy response in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. She has participated as a sub-investigator in diverse clinical trials and shares a special interest on rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease epidemiology, rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis. Dálifer is a member of the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


Tsvetoslav Georgiev, MD, PhD


Tsvetoslav works as a rheumatologist and assistant professor at the University Hospital “St. Marina”, Varna and Medical University, Varna, respectively. He graduated in medicine in 2012 and defended his PhD thesis on osteoarthritis in 2018 at the Medical University, Sofia. His areas of interest are osteoarthritis, imaging of musculoskeletal disorders and COVID-19 in the context of rheumatic diseases. Tsvetoslav is practicing musculoskeletal ultrasound and holds an intermediate-level certificate (EULAR). Since 2019, he has been an associate editor of Rheumatology International. Since 2017, he has been a frequent reviewer for influential journals in the field of rheumatology and medicine. He participates in many Bulgarian and international courses in musculoskeletal ultrasound and imaging. Tsvetoslav is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


Tania Gudu, MD, PhD


Tania is a Rheumatology Consultant currently working at Ipswich Hospital (ESNEFT), UK and a Visiting Fellow at the Psychology Department of University of Essex, UK.  She undertook her rheumatology training in Bucharest (Romania) and Paris (France). Her major interests are psoriatic arthritis/spondylarthritis, patient reported outcomes/patient perspective, education and musculoskeletal ultrasound. She completed her PhD in 2018 on the topic of the impact of psoriatic arthritis. Tania is a member of the Steering Committee of the British Psoriatic Arthritis ConsorTium (BritPACT), of the Young Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA) and of the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR). Tania is a member of the EMEUNET Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


Halbert Hernández Negrín, MD, MSc


Halbert is an internist, Master in Autoimmune Diseases from the University of Barcelona and predoctoral researcher at the Systemic Autoimmune Diseases Unit of the Internal Medicine Service of the Regional University Hospital of Malaga and Biomedical Research Institute of Malaga (IBIMA-BIONAND Platform) and PhD student at the University of Malaga. His research interests focus on epidemiological and translational research in systemic autoimmune diseases, specifically in systemic lupus erythematosus. He is currently collaborating in the European project 3TR – Taxonomy, Treatment, Targets and Remission – SLE Study and in the International Multicenter Registry of patients with monogenic and polygenic autoinflammatory diseases (AIDA Project). He is a member of the European Lupus Society and a predoctoral fellow of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Halbert served on the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee and he is now a member of the Newsletter Sub-Committee.


Pierre-Antoine Juge, MD, PhD


Pierre-Antoine is a clinical research fellow at the Rheumatology department, Bichat Hospital, APHP, Université de Paris Cité. His major interests are the pulmonary manifestations of connective tissue diseases and particularly, rheumatoid arthritis-associated interstitial lung disease. He also participates in innovative educational programs in his university, such as the ECOS (Examen Clinique Objectif et Structuré) which is a situational exercise that assesses the skills and knowledge of medical students. Pierre-Antoine is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


Féline Kroon, MD, PhD

The Netherlands

Féline is a rheumatologist-in-training at Zuyderland Medical Center in Heerlen (The Netherlands). She carried out her PhD on treatment and outcome measurement in hand osteoarthritis at the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden. She has participated in several task forces for EULAR management recommendations, and is a member of the OMERACT Technical Advisory Group. Féline is a member of the Visibility & Global Affairs Sub-Committee.


Gozde Kubra Yardimci, MD


Gozde is currently working as a clinical and research fellow at the Vasculitis Clinic Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. Gozde completed her rheumatology fellowship at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty in Ankara, and then started her VCRC-Vasculitis Foundation Fellowship under the supervision of Dr Pagnoux. Her major interests are vasculitis, and pregnancy and rheumatic diseases. Gozde is a member of the Vasculitis Foundation, the Turkish Society of Rheumatology, Hacettepe Society of Rheumatology, and is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


Jean-Guillaume Letarouilly, MD, PhD


Jean-Guillaume is a fellow in rheumatology at the Department of Rheumatology at the University Hospital of Lille. He will do a one-year fellowship in the Oxford Psoriatic Arthritis Centre at the University of Oxford, starting November. In 2023, he finalized his PhD on the effect of tofacitinib on adipose and bone tissues in rheumatoid arthritis. His major interests include inflammatory rheumatic diseases, in particular, spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Jean-Guillaume is a member of French Society of Rheumatology (SFR), Section of Young Rheumatologists of SFR. Jean-Guillaume is a member of the Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee.


Anastasia Madenidou, MD, MSc, MRCP, MAcadMEd


Anastasia is a clinical research fellow/PhD student at the University of Manchester and the Kellgren Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary. Her major interests are connective tissue diseases and precision medicine. Anastasia is the Deputy Chair of the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR) Trainee Committee and a member of the Newsletter Sub-Committee.


Cathy Melong

Switzerland, Cameroon

Cathy Melong is an internist and rheumatologist in final training from Cameroon, currently working in Switzerland. Her main research interests are systemic lupus erythematosus and gout, and patient-oriented clinical epidemiology (risk factors for mortality, effectiveness of treatments). Cathy is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.


Aleksandra Opinc-Rosiak, MD, PhD


Aleksandra is a trainee in rheumatology at the Department of Rheumatology with Internal Diseases Subdivision of the USK-WAM Hospital in Lodz and a research and teaching assistant at the Department of Rheumatology of the Medical University of Lodz. In 2022, she finalized her PhD on cardiovascular involvement in the course of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. Her major interests include idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, in particular, anti-synthetase syndrome, autoinflammatory diseases and autoantibodies. Aleksandra is a member of Polish Rheumatology Society (PTR), Section of Young Rheumatologists of PTR, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), MYONET and the treasurer of the Lodz branch of PTR. Aleksandra is the EMEUNET Country Liaison for Poland and a member of the Newsletter Sub-Committee.


Mert Oztas, MD


Mert is a consultant rheumatologist in Istanbul Research and Training Hospital. His main interests are autoinflammatory disorders and large vessel vasculitis. Mert is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.


Daliya Pencheva, MD


Daliya is a PhD fellow at the Medical University of Sofia and a rheumatology resident at the Clinic of Rheumatology, University Hospital „St. Ivan Rilski”, Sofia, Bulgaria. Daliya is also an assistant professor of pathophysiology at the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Medical University of Sofia. Her major interests include systemic lupus erythematosus, quality of life, patient-reported outcome measures, treat-to-target therapy. In 2021, as part of the SLEuro bursary programme, Daliya completed a two-month training at the SLE centre Policlinic of Rheumatology & Hiller Research Unit, Heinrich Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany. Daliya is a member of the Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


Barbara Russo, MD, PhD

Italy, Switzerland

Barbara obtained her MD-PhD at the University of Geneva in 2020 after completing her specialty training at the Università Degli Studi Della Campania in Naples in 2016. Her research focuses on autoimmune diseases and the mechanism of skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis. In October 2021, she also obtained a master in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University Milano-Bicocca. She recently undertook a second training in dermatology. Barbara is a member of EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


Juan C Sarmiento-Monroy, MD, MSc


Juan C is a Rheumatologist and clinical research fellow at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Spain. He is an epidemiologist (Universidad del Rosario, Colombia) and has a Masters in Autoimmune Diseases (University of Barcelona). His main research interests include the validation of biomarkers in rheumatoid arthritis-interstitial lung disease and the utility of ultrasonography in systemic autoimmune diseases. He undertook a 3-month observership at Service De Rhumatologie Hôpital De Hautepierre (Strasbourg, France), thanks to a grant from SLEuro. He has participated in real-world studies on biologics/biosimilars and JAK inhibitors in rheumatic diseases, including the National Spanish registry BIOBADASER. Juan C is a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.


Muhammad Shipa, MD


Muhammad is a senior rheumatology trainee in London Deanery, UK and is currently pursuing his PhD in B cell depletion therapy in lupus nephritis at University College London. His major interests include connective tissue diseases like lupus and has been working as a key collaborator in clinical trials in lupus. For his research contribution, he won the prestigious Gordon Davies silver award in 2017. Muhammad is a member of the Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee.


Cristiana Sieiro Santos, MD, MSc


Cristiana is a rheumatologist and clinical researcher at Complejo Asistencial Universitario de León. She is currently working on her PhD on immune responses to vaccination in rheumatic diseases. She has a Masters degree in epidemiology and pediatric rheumatology and an expert title in autoinflammatory diseases. She is a Young Investigator at EUSTAR and the current coordinator for JOVREUM (the young rheumatologist interest group from the Spanish Rheumatology Society). She is currently involved in several national and international research projects about SSc, SLE and idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, including the EUSTAR Cohort and the My PACER project. Cristiana is a member of the Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


Jeroen Smeele, MD

The Netherlands

Jeroen is a medical doctor/researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and is currently working on a PhD thesis on rheumatoid arthritis. His major interests are rheumatic diseases before and during pregnancy, and epidemiology. He has been a scientific translator since 2018. Jeroen is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.


Zoran Veličković, MD


Zoran is a resident in internal medicine/rheumatology at the Institute of Rheumatology, University of Belgrade. He is in his last year of PhD studies with an approved thesis title. His main interests include fibromyalgia, gait and balance assessments, as well as wearable sensors and digital rheumatology. Zoran is a member of the Rheumatology Association of Serbia (RAS) and the Rheumatology Section of the Serbian Medical Association. Zoran is a member of the Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


Vincenzo Venerito, MD


Vincenzo is assistant professor of Rheumatology at the University of Bari (IT). His main research interest is the investigation of diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers in inflammatory arthritis through synovial biopsy. Additionally, he is involved in the application of machine learning methods in rheumatic diseases. Vincenzo also has a vivid interest in biostatistics and epidemiology. He is a member of the Education Sub-Committee.


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