• Farewell to EMEUNET Committee and Sub-Committee members

    Farewell to EMEUNET Committee and Sub-Committee members

    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

    Experienced EMEUNET Sub-Committee members



  • Experienced EMEUNET Sub-Committee members 2023-2024

    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.


  • New Members of the EMEUNET Sub-Committees

    New Members of the EMEUNET Sub-Committees

    Links to other EMEUNET Sub-Committee membership posts:

    Welcome to the EMEUNET Committee and Sub-Commitees issue

    EMEUNET Committee members

    Experienced EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

    Farewell to EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

    Lisa Christ, MD


    Lisa is a physician and clinical scientist at the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Inselspital, University Hospital, in Bern, Switzerland. Her research interests include vasculitis, in particular giant cell arteritis, cancer immunology and Sjögren’s disease.

    She conducted a proof-of-concept study in giant cell arteritis, the GUSTO trial, and translational research on biomarkers. She is a founding member of the Vasculitis Association Switzerland (VASAS). She is a member of the EMEUNET Visibility and Global Affairs Subcommittee.


    Claudia Cobilinschi, MD, PhD


    Claudia is a specialist in Rheumatology working in the Department of Internal Medicine and Rheumatology in Sfânta Maria Clinical Hospital, in Bucharest. She combines clinical activities with teaching as an assistant lecturer at Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy. She presented her doctoral thesis in the field of spondyloarthritis and immunogenicity. Claudia actively attended numerous international conferences and workshops, while being involved in research.

    Her latest interest is in body composition techniques in patients with autoinflammatory diseases, being a member of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN). She is also involved in the Romanian Society of Rheumatology (SRR), EUSTAR Young Investigator Group and Autoinflammatory Disease Alliance AIDA Network. Claudia is a new member of the Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


    Jelena Čolić, MD, PhD


    Jelena is an internal medicine specialist and trainee in rheumatology at the Institute of Rheumatology in Belgrade. She is being elected to the position of teaching assistant at the School of Medicine University of Belgrade. In 2023 she defended her PhD thesis in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, focused on digital ulcers in systemic sclerosis. Her primary interests include systemic sclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, hemostasis disturbance, microparticles, immunology, and therapy strategies.

    Jelena is a member of the Serbian national rheumatology society (RAS), EUSTAR YIG member, and PhD representative at the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Medicine University of Belgrade. She was several times Secretary of the organizing committee and secretary of the Scientific Committee of the Annual Serbian Congress of Rheumatologists. She is a social media coordinator for both EUSTAR and RAS. Jelena is the EMEUNET Country Liaison for Serbia and is a member of the Peer-Mentoring Sub-Committee.


    Rositsa Dacheva, MD


    Rositsa is a consultant rheumatologist. She graduated from the Medical University of Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013. In 2020 she completed her rheumatology residency in the Department of Rheumatology in UMHAT “St. Ivan Rilski” in Sofia.

    Her main interests include inflammatory arthritis, interstitial lung disease, systemic sclerosis and musculoskeletal ultrasound. Rositsa is the Country Liaison for Bulgaria. She is a member of the Newsletter Sub-Committee.


    Bohdana Doskaliuk, MD


    Bohdana is a PhD fellow at Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, focusing her research on pulmonary involvement in systemic sclerosis and its potential correction. Her primary scientific interests revolve around the intricate relationship between systemic autoimmune disorders and pulmonary involvement. Bohdana actively contributes also as a reviewer and editor. In 2019 she received Publons Peer Review Award in Clinical Medicine.

    Bohdana serves as an Associate Editor for Rheumatology International and is a member of the Editorial Board for Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease. She is also a member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and European Respiratory Society (ERS). Bohdana is a Subcommittee member of EMEUNET and participates in Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


    Sarah Dyball, MBBS, MRCP


    Sarah is an MRC clinical research fellow at the University of Manchester and a rheumatology registrar at the Kellgren Centre for Rheumatology. She has a research interest in stratified medicine and targeted therapeutics in systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Sarah is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.


    Olivier Fakih, MD, MPH


    Olivier is a rheumatology resident at the Department of Rheumatology of Besançon University Hospital in France. His research interests include the epidemiology of inflammatory rheumatic diseases, in particular mortality and comorbidities in spondyloarthritis. Olivier is a member of the French Society of Rheumatology and the society’s young rheumatologists section (REF). He is a member of the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Bayram Farisogullari, MD


    Bayram is a rheumatologist in Turkey and a clinical research fellow at the University College London (UCL) in the UK. Main clinical interests of Bayram include inflammatory arthritis, particularly spondylarthritis (SpA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), autoinflammatory diseases, and ultrasound and injection. Furthermore, his main research interests are remission and imaging in SpA, biologic treatment in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), imaging and fatigue in RMDs.

    Bayram is also an ASAS (Assessment of Spondylarthritis International Society) fellow to conduct MRI assessment in the ASAS-MRI cohort and a researcher of Versus Arthritis (UK) to establish fatigue evaluation in RMDs. Bayram is a member of the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Alejandro Gómez-Gomez, MD


    Alejandro is a rheumatologist at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. He was trained as a resident at Hospital Clínico San Carlos and later worked as a rheumatologist at Infanta Sofía Hospital, both located in Madrid. His current clinical and research activities are primarily focused on Sjögren’s Syndrome and the application of omics in immunomediated diseases. Other areas of clinical and research interest include crystal-induced arthritis and uveitis. In fact, he is close to presenting his thesis on the immunosuppressive treatment of non-infectious uveitis.

    He has served as a board member in the Society of Rheumatology of the Community of Madrid and is currently one of the coordinators of the Crystal-Induced Arthritis Study Group within the Spanish Society of Rheumatology. He is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Rebecca Hasseli, MD


    Rebecca is a rheumatologist and deputy head of the Section of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at University Hospital Münster, Germany. She is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Münster and the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany. She initiated and coordinated the German COVID-19 registry for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (www.COVID19-Rheuma.de). In addition to COVID-19, her main interests include infectious diseases associated with inflammatory rheumatic diseases, vaccinations, inflammatory arthritides, systemic sclerosis and neuropathies in inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

    Rebecca is a member of the German Society of Rheumatology (DGRh) and the German Society of Internal Medicine (DGIM), a board member of the German Myositis Network (Myositis-Netz e.V.) and a lecturer in capillaroscopy. She is the EMEUNET Country Liaison for Germany and a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Shalaleh Karkon

    Canada, Ireland

    Shalaleh Karkon is a PhD researcher in Trinity College Dublin. She is a psychologist by training, however; she is currently in the occupational therapy department focusing on non-pharmacological interventions and self-management strategies for individuals with inflammatory arthritis. Her major interest includes patient participation and patient – health care provider discussions.

    She is currently a member of Irish Psychological Association (PSI), Association of Occupational Therapist Ireland (AOTI) and as part of her role she sits in the Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disorders Advisory Group, Mental Health Advisory Group and AOTI conference planning committee. Shalaleh is also a EMEUNET Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee member.                              



    Victoria Konzett, MD


    Victoria is a physician researcher and PhD fellow at the Division of Rheumatology of the Medical University of Vienna, focusing mainly on clinical and translational research in inflammatory rheumatic diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis (RA, PsA). She is doing her PhD in medical informatics and statics, with the aim of applying tools of conventional statistics and modern data science to different fields of outcomes research and epidemiology in RA and PsA research. In a translational research project, she further works on building a PsA at risk cohort to forward understanding of factors and mechanisms that drive the transition from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis.

    Victoria is an active member of the young division’s working group of the Austrian Society of Rheumatology (JOEGR). She is a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.


    Stephanie Ling MBChB, MRes, PhD, MRCP (UK) 


    Steph is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, carrying out her research at the University of Manchester, and undertaking her rheumatology and general internal medicine training in Manchester, UK. Her research interests are focused on analysis of multi-omics methods to define predictors of treatment response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as pharmacological modelling and simulation.

    She is a member of the British Society for Rheumatology. She is currently an author for the EULAR Online Course on Rheumatic Diseases. Steph is a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.


    Clementina López-Medina, MD, PhD 


    Clementina is a Rheumatologist at the Department of Rheumatology of the University Hospital Reina Sofía from Córdoba, and a post-doctoral researcher at the Maimonides Biomedical Research Institute of Cordoba (IMIBIC), Spain. In 2018, she finished her PhD on comorbidities in Spondyloarthritis, and then she spent 3 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Cochin Hospital in Paris (France).

    Her major interests include epidemiology and real world data in Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Clementina is a member of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER), Spanish group of interest in Spondyloarthritis (GRESSER) and a full member of the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS). Clementina is a member of the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Cristina Macía-Villa, MD, PhD


    Cristina is a clinical rheumatologist at the Department of Rheumatology of the Ramón y Cajal Universitary Hospital in Madrid, Spain. In 2021 she finished her PhD on ultrasound in psoriatic arthritis. Her main interests include psoriatic disease and spondyloarthritis.

    Cristina is the treasurer of the Spanish Rheumatology Society (SER), and a member of the Young-GRAPPA group. Since 2023 she is a member of the EMEUNET Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


    Renske Meijer, MD

    The Netherlands 

    Renske is a Rheumatology trainee at the rheumatology department of Erasmus medical centre Rotterdam. Aside from working as a medical doctor, she is engaged in quality control for the educational program for rheumatology in the Netherlands. This includes discussing the curriculum and visiting hospitals to evaluate their local programs. 

    After medical school, she worked in Emergency Rooms. After a short period of 3 months in Namibia, working as a first responder on a farm, she started her way to rheumatology. First, she worked for the Internal medicine wards in a small hospital in Nijmegen and after that she moved to Rotterdam to start the residency. Renske is part of the Social Media EMEUNET Sub-Committee. 


    Wan Lin Ng, MB BCh BAO 


    Wan Lin is a final year rheumatology trainee in Ireland. She is a recipient of the Strategic Academic Recruitment (StAR) Doctor of Medicine (MD) scholarship from RCSI and the Irish Society for Rheumatology (ISR) Rheumatology Patient Initiative Fund. Her clinical interests include connective tissue disease and musculoskeletal ultrasound.

    Wan Lin is the lead representative for rheumatology trainees in Ireland, a board member of the Irish Society for Rheumatology and a Licentiate member of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Wan Lin is part of the EMEUNET Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee. 


    Alexandros Panagiotopoulos, MD, MSc, PhD candidate


    Alexandros is a resident in rheumatology at the First Department of Propaedeutic Internal Medicine of Laiko Hospital in Athens and a PhD candidate of the Medical University of Athens. In 2022 he finalized his MSc on Rheumatology-Musculoskeletal Health, with a thesis on Health-Related Quality of Life in patients with ANCA vasculitides. His current research area of PhD is Long-term Outcomes in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. His major interests include infections, cardiovascular risk and comorbidities in inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

    Alexandros is a member of Greek Society of Rheumatology (ERE), social media ambassador of Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology (MJR). He is a member of the Country Liaison Sub-Committee.


    Valentina Pucino, MD, PhD

    Italy, UK

    Valentina is a Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Clinical Research Fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford. She obtained her PhD in 2019 supported by the Versus Arthritis – Clinical Research Fellowship at the William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI), Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). In 2022 She joined the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at University of Oxford. Her research focuses at assessing the role of immunometabolism in the pathogenesis of immune mediated inflammatory disorders (RA, SpA, Sjogren) for the identification of new biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets.

    She is Associate Editor for Frontiers Immunology and Inflammation (Springer-Nature). Valentina is a member of the British Society of Immunology, British Society of Rheumatology, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). She is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Ana Isabel Rebollo-Giménez, MD 

    Spain, Italy

    Ana is a clinical and research Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow at Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy and a PhD student at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid , Madrid, Spain. Her research revolves around juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis and paediatric musculoskeletal ultrasound.

    Her main clinical interest is paediatric musculoskeletal ultrasound in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She also participates in the ongoing projects of the International Paediatric Rheumatology Trials Organisation (PRINTO). Ana is part of EMERGE Global Affairs and a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.


    Jan Henrik Schirmer, MD, PhD


    Jan is a rheumatology consultant and clinician scientist at the Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology of the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel. His major interests include systemic vasculitis, hypereosinophilia and the relationship of nutrition and microbiota with inflammatory diseases. He is leading author of two German national vasculitis guidelines (ANCA-associated vasculitis and Large Vessel Vasculitis) and worked as research fellow with a EULAR task force to create the 2022 update of the EULAR guidelines for ANCA-associated vasculitis.

    Jan is a member of the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh) as well as it’s young rheumatologist working group. He is part of the Visibility and Global Affairs Sub-Committee.


    Rudresh Shukla, MRCP(UK)(London), MSc (Clin Res)


    Rudi is a trainee in rheumatology at Health Education England-North West Deanery and currently undertaking his PhD as an NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre clinical research fellow within the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research (CfMR) at the University of Manchester. His PhD focuses on multidimensional analysis of early rheumatoid arthritis phenotypes and cardiovascular disease with a focus on clinical, ultrasound measures and omics techniques. His major interests include early and refractory inflammatory arthritis, ultrasound and synovial biopsies, and cardiovascular disease across immune mediated inflammatory conditions.

    Rudi is also a member of the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and locally has been the joint secretary of the Manchester Rheumatology Afternoon which is a highly popular monthly educational rheumatology meeting for the North West of England. He is a member of the EMEUNET Social Media Sub-Committee.


  • EMEUNET Committee 2023-2024

    EMEUNET Committee 2023-2024

    Links to other EMEUNET Sub-Committee Membership posts:

    Welcome to the EMEUNET Committee and Sub-Committees issue

    New EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

    Experienced EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

    Farewell to EMEUNET Sub-Committee members

    EMEUNET Chairmanship

    Tue Wenzel Kragstrup, MD, PhD


    Tue is currently working as a part-time Associate Professor in immunology and pharmacology and a part-time rheumatology fellow in Aarhus and Silkeborg, Denmark (finishing training in Jan 2024). The Kragstrup lab focuses on the immunological mechanisms of inflammatory arthritis with special interest in building in vitro models and bioinformatics pipelines for drug discovery, target validation, personalized medicine and drug repurposing. Tue graduated from the medical school at Aarhus University in 2010, also spending time at Sydney University Hospital. He did his internship in Copenhagen and PhD at the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University and Department of Immunology at Stanford University. Tue is currently enrolled in the Personalized medicine masters program in Denmark. Tue is EULAR EMEUNET Committee Chair and was previously Danish Country Liaison, Working Group member and Education Subcommittee leader.


    Kim Lauper, MD

    Switzerland, UK

    Kim is a consultant rheumatologist and senior clinical associate at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland, and a clinical research fellow at the Centre for Epidemiology Versus Arthritis at the University of Manchester in the UK. Her research focuses on rheumatoid arthritis, (pharmaco)-epidemiology, real-life evidence, vaccination and methodology of observational studies. She has contributed to the Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment chapter of the 16th and 17th EULAR Online Course on Rheumatic Diseases. She is a member of the Rheumatoid Arthritis scientific committee of the Swiss register of rheumatologic diseases (Swiss Clinical Quality Management in Rheumatic Diseases, SCQM). She is the Past-Chair of the EMEUNET Committee.


    EMEUNET Sub-Committee Leadership Team

    Diego Benavent, MD


    Diego is a consultant rheumatologist at Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, where he is currently doing his PhD on axial spondyloarthritis. He also collaborates as Medical Expert in Savana, a company working on artificial intelligence in medicine. Aside from his activities regarding healthcare technology, his major interests are spondyloarthritis, patient-reported outcomes and musculoskeletal epidemiology. Diego is the chair of the Newsletter Sub-Committee.


    Alvise Berti, MD, PhD


    Alvise Berti, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Rheumatology at University of Trento and a Consultant in the Rheumatology Unit, S. Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy. He had the opportunity to work at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, USA) during his education for a total of 2 years as VCRC-VF physician (Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium – Vasculitis Foundation). In addition to his clinical work in the Rheumatology Unit, he conducts clinical and translational research within the field of Rheumatology, with a focus on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, particularly in vasculitides and connective tissue diseases. Alvise is the chair of the Peer-Mentoring Sub-Committee.


    Ertugrul Cagri Bolek, MD


    Ertugrul received his M.D. and Internal Medicine specialist degrees from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. He is currently clinical fellow-in-training in the Division of Rheumatology at the same university. Also, he is simultaneously in the education program of Immunology MSc. His past work was about clinical features and disease course of Neuro-Behcet’s Disease. He is planning to focus on translational research about immuno-rheumatology and mechanisms of rheumatism (especially vasculitis and rare diseases). He is an active member of ORPHANET-Tr in Health Institutes of Turkey. Ertugrul is the chair of the Country Liaisons Sub-Committee.


    Mrinalini Dey MB BChir, MA (Hons) Cantab, MRCP (Rheumatology), FHEA


    Mrinalini Dey is an academic rheumatology registrar working in London, UK. She is the Co-Lead of the EMEUNET Social Media Subcommittee. She developed her interest in academic rheumatology as a student at the University of Cambridge and subsequently as an National Institute for Health and Research-funded Academic Clinical Fellow. Her research interests include epidemiology and the impact of socioeconomic factors and comorbidities in rheumatic diseases. Mrinalini is on the Editorial Board and social media committee for Rheumatology journal and is a previous presenter for EULAR TV at the EULAR Congress and RheumNow. She sits on the EULAR Advocacy and PARE Committees. From October 2023, Mrinalini will embark on a Clinical PhD at King’s College London, focussing on socioeconomic and comorbidity burden in inflammatory arthritis. Mrinalini is the co-chair of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Latika Gupta, MD


    Dr Gupta is a consultant rheumatologist and honorary senior lecturer working at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Manchester, UK, with an interest in myositis, equity and digital health. Dr Gupta currently serves as the  IMACS mentorship lead and is the co-chair for  EMEUNET social media and APLAR Young Rheumatology. Besides medical teaching, Dr Gupta enjoys travelling and photo painting. She is the co-chair of the Social Media Sub-Committee.


    Daniele Mauro, MD, PhD

    Italy, UK

    Daniele is a medical doctor who completed his PhD in Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology at the Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology at Queen Mary University of London (UK). He focused his study on the involvement of ubiquitination pathways on the immune system, and their impact on autoimmune rheumatic diseases, mainly systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. Since 2018, he has been a trainee in Rheumatology in Italy, where he is expanding his interests to the mucosal immunology and innate lymphoid cells in spondyloarthritis, working between the Universities of Palermo and Naples in Italy, and the Queen Mary University of London. Daniele is the chair of the Visibility & Global Affairs Sub-Committee. 


    Luis Fernando Perez, MD, MSc

    Mexico, the Netherlands

    Luis Fernando is academic rheumatologist and a PhD candidate at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His major interest is Reproductive Rheumatology, with an specific interest on the male perspective. He is participating in the development of national and international guidelines on the use of immunosuppressive treatment in female and male patients diagnosed with rheumatic diseases before conception, during pregnancy and during lactation. Luis Fernando is the leader of the Education sub-committee.


  • [EULAR HL 2023] SLE & APS 

    [EULAR HL 2023] SLE & APS 

    Author: Mert Oztas

    Schett et al. (OP0141presents the long-term clinical efficacy and safety data of the first seven SLE patients (median follow up of 13 months) receiving autologous CD19-directed CAR-T cell therapy. All patients had active kidney disease. All patients met lupus low activity state (LLDAS) usually within the first three months after CAR T cell therapy.To date, no SLE flare occurred despite complete cessation of treatment.

    Van Vollenhoven et al. (OP0138) assessed the efficacy and safety of telitacicept in SLE patients in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. In this study, 335 active SLE patients who were receiving stable standard therapy and a SELENA-SLEDAI score ≥8 were randomized 1:1 to receive telitacicept 160 mg (N=167) or placebo (N=168) subcutaneously weekly for 52 weeks. The primary endpoint at Week 52 was met, with significantly greater proportion of patients in telitacicept 160 mg group vs placebo group achieving SRI4 response (82.6% vs 38.1%).

    Gomez et al. (OP0052presented a post-hoc analysis of four phase 3 trials of belimumab. The main objective was to identify  predictors of renal flares in patients receiving treatment for active extra-renal SLE.  SLE  patients with current or former renal involvement at baseline displayed a >9-fold increased hazard to develop a new renal flare (HR: 9.4). In the pooled study population, baseline serum albumin , proteinuria and low C3 levels were robust determinants of subsequent renal flare occurrence; similar associations were found in the belimumab and placebo subgroups. 

    Scafati et al. (OP0231aimed to compare the presence of non-criteria non-thrombotic manifestations of APS in patients with SLE and APS. Neurological and hematological manifestations were frequently observed in patients with secondary APS compared with SLE patients with negative antiphospholipid antibodies. 

    Park et al. (OP0228) disclosed  the coexisting  tubulointerstitial inflammation / tubulointerstitial damage was associated with a higher risk for CKD progression: adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.677, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.333, 5.335), p = 0.006 for lupus nephritis patients. 

    Arnaud et al. (OP0046presented a nation-wide population-based study which aimed to analyze the use of oral corticosteroids (OCS) in French patients with SLE. Among 32,178 patients, 48.2% were treated with OCS. The proportion of patients treated with high-dose OCS ≥ 7.5mg/day was 6,1%. Strikingly, 14.2% of those receiving more than 7.5 mg per day were not treated with antimalarial drugs, immunosuppressives or other biologic treatments for SLE. 


    Mert Oztas


    Mert is a Rheumatology consultant at Istanbul Research and Training Hospital,Turkey.

    Mert is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.

  • [EULAR HL 2023] Basic and Translational Research I 

    [EULAR HL 2023] Basic and Translational Research I 

    Author: Giacomo Cafaro

    Borrego-Yaniz et al (OP0102) performed a genome-wide association study in a cohort of 3,498 giant cell arteritis patients and identified three new loci associated with the disease: MFGE8 (lactadherin), VTN (vitronectin), and CCDC25 (receptor for neutrophil extracellular traps). Additionally, drug repurposing analysis identified the vitronectin antagonist abciximab as a potential drug to be tested.

    Bruckner et al (POS1031) created a chimeric human/mouse model by implanting a piece of human cartilage surrounded by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts (RASF) on SCID mice and found that injection of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from gingival tissue or their exosomes was able to reduce the invasiveness and migration of RASF, representing a potential treatment for RA.

    Jara et al (POS0819) investigated the concentration of the primary miRNA (pri-miRNA)-145-5p in salivary gland tissue of Sjogren’s syndrome patients and found increased levels, suggesting accumulation due to deficient processing. Its levels correlated with interferon I score, representing an area for additional investigation to understand a potential pathogenic role in the disease.

    Li et al (POS0329) performed single-cell RNA sequencing on hand articular cartilage from patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and healthy controls. 13 cellular sub-populations were identified. They found significant enrichment of ferroptosis pathways in two cell subpopulations from OA tissue compared to controls, with higher expression of the gene FHT1. These data suggest iron metabolism may be a potential target for new drug investigation.

    Tzemach et al (OP0110) investigated myeloid cells in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) synovial fluid and found, among other results, an enrichment of a cluster of conventional dendritic cells (cDC)2 in patients non responding to bDMARDs, along with a cluster of cDC1 cells expressing inhibitory genes, typical of severely refractory patients.

    Raimondo et al (OP0106) employed a transgenic IL-23 overexpression mouse model of psoriasis expressing a photoconvertible fluorescent reporter, to evaluate cell trafficking from skin to other tissues and found CD2+ MCHII+ monocytes as the main cells escaping skin tissue and invading synovium. Their fate, however, could either be towards pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory macrophages, depending on the synovial mileu, further supporting the concept of tissue-directed inflammation.

    Natoli et al (OP0100) investigated the DNA methylation pattern of peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from patients with PsA, psoriasis and heatlhy controls. They were able to accurately tell the three conditions apart solely by the characteristics of the DNA methylation signatures, suggesting a potential application in terms of patient stratification and prediction of disease evolution.


    Giacomo Cafaro


    Giacomo is Assistant Professor and Consultant Rheumatologist at the Rheumatology Unit of the University of Perugia, Italy.

    He was PARTNER fellow at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, working on stromal immunology in tendinopathy and PsA.

    His main research interests are T cell biology in autoimmune diseases, psoriatic arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome and ultrasound in rheumatology. Giacomo is a member of the Newsletter sub-committee

  • [EULAR HL 2023] Basic and Translational Research II

    [EULAR HL 2023] Basic and Translational Research II

    Author: Ertugrul Cagri Bolek

    Dürholz et al (POS0002) investigated proinflammatory effects of microbiota-derived mediators on synovial inflammation through metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) on mice model with collagen- or serum-induced arthritis. Their data show that the SCFA propionate effectively regulates ongoing inflammation by promoting histamine secretion of the gut microbiota and subsequent H3R-mediated neuronal effector functions that drive the fast resolution of synovial inflammation.

    Singaraju et al (OP0015) explored that immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) arthritis enriched for CD38hiCD127effector CD8+ T-cells compared to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and it is suggesting an elevated interferon signature. ICI therapies directly targets CD8 T-cells in patients with ICI-arthritis to trigger another autoimmune mechanism which is different from spontaneous autoimmune arthritis prototypes.

    Izuka et al (OP0096) demonstrated immunophenotypic stratification of systemic immune-mediated diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, n=78), mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD, n=22), idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (IIM, n=63), systemic sclerosis (SSc, n=52), RA, n=20, and large vessel vasculitis (LVV, n=19)) into 3 different clusters (C1, C2 and C3) according to predominance of naïve CD8+ T cells, memory CD4+ T cells, and non-classical monocytes, respectively. SLE was predominantly located in C2 and most of the SSc patients were in C3.

    Horisberger et al (OP0186) performed immunophenotyping peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 140 patients with biopsy-proven SLE nephritis (LN) and 40 healthy controls using mass cytometry using four 48-marker panels. They identified potential and promising non-invasive biomarkers that altered naive B cell activation characterized as CD23 and CD21dim in proliferative LN and profoundly impaired circulating immunophenotype in LN patients.

    Malmhäll-Bah et al (POS0239) explored transcriptome and RNAseq analysis on CD14+ and CD4+ cells of 77 TNF-inhibitors (TNFi) naïve active RA patients and 59 inactive RA patients treated with methotrexate (MTX, n=18), TNFi (n=10) and JAK-inhibitors (JAKi, n=24), or having no DMARD (n=7). The analysis suggested differentially expressed genes (DEG)  with strong correlation to CDC42 defined the metabolic signature (MetSig) of CDC42hiCD14+ cells and they were antigen-presenting CD14+ cells migrating to joints and coordinating autoimmunity. JAKi can suppress the antigen presenting capacity of CD14+ cells and The MetSig in CD14+ cells may be useful to select candidate patients for JAKi.

    Chirivi et al (OP0293) presented in vivo and vitro results of novel bivalent monoclonal antibody (CIT-013) with high affinity for citrullinated histones (H2A and H4) which targets neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) pathway and reduces tissue NET burden. The data revealed that CIT-013 not only inhibits NETs release but also enhances phagocytosis and clearance of NETs.


    Ertugrul Cagri Bolek


    Ertugrul has recently completed his post-doc in Vasculitis Translational Research Program at National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    He is currently focusing on translational research about vasculitides and rare rheumatic diseases in Turkey.

    Ertugrul is the leader of the EMEUNET Country Liaison SubCommittee.

  • [EULAR HL 2023] Rheumatoid Arthritis I- Clinical (non-therapeutic)

    [EULAR HL 2023] Rheumatoid Arthritis I- Clinical (non-therapeutic)

    Author: Sytske Anne Bergstra

    Li et al. (OP002) developed a deep learning AI-method that automatically analyzed extremity MR scans, in order to predict RA at an early stage. Using data from 1247 early onset arthritis (EAC) patients, of whom 538 developed RA, and 727 clinically suspect arthralgia (CSA) patients, of whom 113 developed RA, they developed a model that performed close to the level of human experts: area under the curve (AUC) AI model 0.683 in the EAC group and 0.727 in the CSA group, compared to reported AUCs of 0.74 and 0.69 in human experts.

    Stefano et al. (OP0301) used data from a cohort of 749 patients with 24 months follow-up to study which thresholds of the patient global assessment were capable of identifying sustained suppression of inflammation and physical functioning in early RA related to autoantibody status. The best cut-off values of the patient global assessment capable of predicting persistence of remission and normal function was a stringent threshold of ≤10 in autoantibody positive patients, but ≤20 in autoantibody negative patients.

    Kimbrough et al. (POS1067) examined associations between 55 morbidities with serious infections (SI) in 911 RA patients. Each additional comorbidity increased the risk of SI with 11% to 16%. 26/55 comorbidities were associated with the risk of SI, which were not completely accounted for in previously developed risk scores.

    Zhao et al. (POS0054) investigated the association between socioeconomic deprivation and outcomes in 17,117 RA patients receiving TNFi treatment. The 20% most deprived patients had 0.3-unit higher 6-month DAS28 scores (95% CI 0.22-0.37) than the least deprived patients and were more likely to discontinue treatment (HR 1.19, 1.13-1.25).

    Van Mulligen et al. (POS0369) investigated whether early identification and treatment of RA patients (n=431), within 12 weeks after symptom onset, resulted in a reduction of treatment related costs over 5 years, when compared to a patient group that was seen after 12 weeks after symptom onset, stratified for ACPA status. within ACPA-negative RA costs were lower in the early compared to the late group (€2877 versus €4213), β=1.46 (95%CI 0.32–3.4). For ACPA-positive patients, costs were more similar (€11631 and €10988 for the early and late group, β=0.96, 95% CI 0.52–1.8)).

    Konzett et al. (POS0980) performed a systematic literature search to compare response patterns of the ACR 20, 50 and 70 response in phase 3 b/tsDMARD trials. The ACR20 response was most discriminative between active treatment and placebo at early timepoints, whereas the discriminative capacity of the ACR50 and 70 definitions increased over time.


    Sytske Anne Bergstra


    Sytske Anne works as a post-doctoral researcher at the department of rheumatology of the Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands.

    She also works as a project coordinator for the METEOR registry.

    Her main research interests are in the field of rheumatoid arthritis. Sytske Anne is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.

  • [EULAR HL 2023] Rheumatoid Arthritis II- Clinical- Therapeutic

    [EULAR HL 2023] Rheumatoid Arthritis II- Clinical- Therapeutic

    Author: Lise Verhoef

    Cope et al. (OP0130) evaluated the feasibility, efficacy and acceptability of 52 weeks of abatacept compared to placebo in 213 individuals at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the APPIPRA study. They found this treatment to be feasible, with acceptable safety profiles. T cell co-stimulation modulation with abatacept for 52 weeks showed a reduction in the development of RA over two years. There were no new safety signals.

    Aymon et al. (OP0219) presented results from the JAK-POT study, a large multi-country real-world population, to assess the incidence of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACE) in RA patients treated with JAKi compared to other biologic agents. Data from 50,325 treatment initiations and 34,932 patients with a mean follow-up of 2.8 years showed no significant difference in the incidence of MACE between JAKi vs TNFi (IRR = 0.87 (95% CI 0.56; 1.35)), and OMA vs TNFi (IRR = 1.05 (95% CI 0.74; 1.49).

    Van Herwaarden. (OP0131) presented the 10-year follow-up results from the DRESS study on TNFi dose tapering. Out of 170 patients, 161 attempted dose reduction and 119 tapered until full discontinuation. A stable low disease activity and halved TNFi dose was found. Overall, the study shows effectiveness of disease activity-guided dose optimization of TNFi in RA up to 10 years.

    Van Ouwekerk et al. (OP0220) compared glucocorticoids (GCs) use over time between RA patients in clinical trials randomized to treatment with or without initial GCs bridging using data from the BeSt, CareRA and COBRA trials. Mean DAS28 improved more rapidly in bridgers in the first 6 months, but the decrease was similar in both groups thereafter. Disregarding the initial bridging schedules there was no difference between the two groups in cumulative dose, 365 mg (95%CI -62; 793).

    Emery et al. (POS0307) presented a Phase II trial on peresolimuab for adults with RA. They showed that peresolimab, a PD-1 receptor agonist, was superior to placebo at Week 12 for several key endpoints in RA. Safety events were similar between treatment groups.

    Mohammad Ariff (OP0293) showed data from a one-year UK prospective cohort study of RA patients initiating a biological drug showed that patients who were adherent to methotrexate, assessed biochemically, at 6 months after starting biologic therapy had better response to treatment.


    Lise Verhoef

    Lise is senior researcher at the Sint Maartenskliniek,  Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

    Her main research interests are in the field of bDMARD treatment strategies and eHealth.

    Lise is a member of the Peer Mentoring Sub-Committee.

  • [EULAR HL 2023] Spondyloarthritis I – Clinical (Non-therapeutic)

    [EULAR HL 2023] Spondyloarthritis I – Clinical (Non-therapeutic)

    Author: Gizem Ayan

    Marques et al. (OP005) searched the sustainability of a baseline diagnosis of axSpA when reviewed after 2 years and showed that most of the patients can be reliably diagnosed at their first visit in 555 patients. Approximately one third of individuals who were newly diagnosed with chronic back pain and seek consultation with a rheumatologist exhibit clear evidence of axSpA. The majority of these patients can be accurately and consistently diagnosed during their initial evaluation. While no single symptom related to spondyloarthritis is sufficient on its own for diagnosis, medical imaging techniques prove to be the most effective means of distinguishing this condition.

    Marques et al. (OP0054) explored the yield of repeated assessments of Spondyloarthritis (SpA) features over 2 years to make a definite axSpA diagnosis from the SPACE cohort. 552 patients (175 and 166 patients with definite axSpA at baseline and at 2 years respectively) were analyzed. When the diagnostic course was explored, the yield of repetitive evaluation of SpA characteristics in SPACE cohort was moderate for newly diagnosed definite axSpA. Most of the characteristics were present at baseline however imaging findings and response to NSAIDs were emerging findings over the disease course to diagnose patients. From the same cohort.

    Navarro-Compan et al. (OP0055) developed a consensus definition for `early axSpA`. “early axSpA” was definedas a duration of ≤2 years of axial symptoms (that includes spinal/buttock pain or morning stiffness) which should be considered by a rheumatologist in relation to axSpA.

    Torgutalp et al. (OP0057) investigated factors that are associated with disease activity/ remission achievement in early pSpA from GESPIC cohort. Overall, 115 patients were analyzed and multivariable analyses showed, psoriasis history, negative HLA-B27, steroid intake, higher NSAID intake were associated with higher activity scores. The lower odds of remission achievement were linked to longer symptom duration, psoriasis history, steroid, TNFi, higher NSAID intake, higher CRP.

    Rausch Osthoff et al. (OP0090-HPR) assessed the association of grip and core muscle strength both in axSpA patients and healthy controls. 160 healthy people, 122 axSpA patients were assessed. In all (planes, core strength was lower in axSpA patients compared to healthy controls. However, all correlations were small to moderate for grip strength showing that grip strength is not appropriate measure to be used a s a proxy for core strength endurance in both axSpA patients and healthy people.

    Poddubnyy et al. (OP0187) searched for the regional differences in clinical phenotype of AxSpA patients using International Map of Axial Spondyloarthritis (IMAS). Overall, 5557 patients participated the online survey from Europe, North America, Asia, Latin America and Africa. In Latin America, patients were less commonly HLA-B27 positive and showed spinal stiffness. Family history is mostly present in Europe and diagnostic delay was more prominent in South Africa. Overall results have shown a great heterogeneity of patients.


    Gizem Ayan


    Gizem is a rheumatology fellow at Hacettepe University Medical Faculty in Ankara.

    Her major research interests are inflammatory arthritis particularly spondyloarthritis and outcome measures in rheumatic diseases.

    Gizem is a member of the Educatıon Subcommittee.