Birdcage Walk lecture Theatre

30 May 2014

The conference begins at 08.55 on Friday 30th May 2014.
Times and presentations are subject to change and Invest in ME/Invest in ME Research accept no responsibility for cancellations or changes of presentations or the timings



Conference Schedule

The agenda below contains a provisional agenda with working titles and is subject to change


    Registration - early morning coffee/tea available



Conference Opens


Invest in ME Dr Ian Gibson


Keynote Speech


Professor Jonathan Edwards


Finding Antibodies in Neurological Diseases


Professor Angela Vincent

10.10 Infection-induced autoimmunity in ME


Professor Jonas Blomberg


    Refreshment Break



Pathogen Discovery in ME


Professor Mady Hornig
11.40 EBV and ME/CFS


Professor Carmen Scheibenbogen

Gut Microbiome and ME/CFS


Professor Simon Carding




13.25 Innate and Adaptive Immune Cells in ME


Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik

14.05 Brain Imaging and ME


Professor James Baraniuk

14.45 ANS and ME


Professor Julia Newton


 Refreshment Break



Markers of Post-Exertional Malaise in ME


Professor Maureen Hanson


Diagnosis/Treatments and ME in USA

Dr. Andreas Kogelnik


Diagnosis/Treatments and ME in UK

Dr. Amolak Bansal

Diagnosis/Treatments and ME in Clinical Practice - Panel Discussion

Dr. Andreas Kogelnik / Dr. Amolak Bansal / Dr. Saul Berkowitz /


17.05 External View of ME Research Strategy Dr Julian Blanco
17.20 Plenary Session


Dr Ian Gibson






Conference Chair

Dr Ian Gibson

Former Dean of Biological Sciences, UEA
Dr Ian Gibson, former Labour MP for Norwich North, worked at University of East Anglia for 32 years, became Dean of the school of biological sciences in 1991 and was head of a cancer research team and set up the Francesca Gunn Leukaemia Laboratory at UEA. In 2011 Dr Gibson received an honorary doctorate of civil law from UEA.

Conference Speakers

Professor Jonathan EdwardsProfessor Jonathan Edwards

Emeritus Professor of Connective Tissue Medicine University College London (UCL)
Professor Jonathan Edwards, of UCL's Department of Medicine, announced a highly original new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in October 2000. His team has conducted trials of a new combination of drugs on patients who have suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for as long as 20 years; all but two of the 22 patients have so far shown marked improvements in their symptoms of the disease.

More information

IiME/UCL Rituximab Clinical Trial for ME
Professor Edwards has been the charity's advisor. He has played a major part in initiating the IiME/UCL rituximab clinical trial which IiME and UCL are beginning - click here

Professor Angela VincentProfessor Angela Vincent

Emeritus Professor of Neuroimmunology, University of Oxford
Professor Vincent is Emeritus Professor of Neuroimmunology at the University of Oxford, and an Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College. She holds an Honorary Consultant position in Immunology and runs the Clinical Neuroimmunology service which is an international referral centre for the measurement of antibodies in neurological diseases.

Together with colleagues she collaborates with neurologists worldwide.

She was formerly Head of Department of Clinical Neurology (2005-2008), and is a Past President of the International Society of Neuroimmunology, and an Associate Editor of Brain.

She was a co-applicant and group leader of OXION, the Wellcome Trust-funded Integrative Physiology Initiative "Ion channels and Diseases of Electrically Excitable Cells".

She is a member of Faculty of 1000 (Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Disease and Regeneration)

Her major interest is in the role of autoimmunity in neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis and auto-antibody mediated ion channel and receptor disorders.

Recent advances have included (a) the discovery that maternal antibodies to different fetal proteins can cause rare neuromuscular disorders, and may be involved in some forms of autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders; (b) the definition and characterisation of a new form of myasthenia gravis associated with antibodies to a receptor tyrosine kinase, MuSK, that performs an important maintenance role at the neuromuscular junction; and (c) the recognition that some central nervous system disorders, involving memory loss, seizures, movement disorders, can be caused by antibodies to potassium ion channels and to various receptor proteins.

In these, and several other conditions, new ways are being devised to measure the pathogenic antibodies for better clinical diagnosis, and establishing model in vitro and in vivo systems for investigation of the pathophysiology of the diseases. Her group also works, in collaboration with Profs David Beeson and Nick Willcox, on the genetics of myasthenia and the factors that determine autoimmune responses to the main target, the acetylcholine receptor.


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Associate Professor Mady HornigProfessor Mady Hornig

Center for Infection and Immunity (CII), Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health New York, USA
Mady Hornig, MA, MD is a physician-scientist in the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health where she serves as Director of Translational Research and is an associate professor of epidemiology.

Her research focuses on the role of microbial, immune, and toxic stimuli in the development of neuropsychiatric conditions, including autism, PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection), mood disorders and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).


She is widely known both for establishing animal models that identify how genes and maturational factors interact with environmental agents to lead to brain disorders and for her work clarifying the role of viruses, intestinal microflora and xenobiotics in autism and other neuropsychiatric illnesses that may be mediated by immune mechanisms.

Under her direction, proteomic analyses of umbilical cord samples are identifying potential birth biomarkers for autism in a prospective study in Norway, the Autism Birth Cohort (ABC).


She established that there was no association between intestinal measles virus transcripts and autism, and, with Brent Williams and W. Ian Lipkin at CII, has found altered expression of genes relating to carbohydrate metabolism and inflammatory pathways and differences in the bacteria harboured in the intestines of children with autism. She also leads projects examining the influence of immune molecules on brain development and function and their role in the genesis of schizophrenia, major depression, and cardiovascular disease comorbidity in adults, and directs the Chronic Fatigue initiative Pathogen Discovery and Pathogenesis Project at CII.


In 2004, Dr. Hornig presented to the Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Review Committee and testified twice before congressional subcommittees regarding the role of infections and toxins in autism pathogenesis. Her work in ME/CFS is establishing immune profiles and helping to identify pathogens that may be linked to disease.

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Professor Sonya Marshall-GradisnikProfessor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik

Griffiths University
Professor Marshall-Gradisnik is one of Australia's foremost researchers in the area of neuroimmunology and has been instrumental in establishing the Public Health and Neuroimmunology Unit (PHANU) at Bond University.

Much of her work relates specifically to autoimmunity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and she is regularly asked to speak to community groups on behalf of Queensland Health and NSW Health.

Her research in the area of exercise immunology has also contributed to the body of knowledge relating to the effect of doping in sport and she serves as Sports Medicine Australia's national spokesperson in this area. The vital research conducted by Professor Marshall has attracted more than $1 million in grant funding and she has produced 21 peer-reviewed papers, five book chapters and one provisional patent.


In 2008 Dr Marshall was joint leader of the Bond University team responsible for developing the the BioSMART program. The team was awarded a prestigious Australian Teaching and Learning Council Award (formerly known as the Carrick Award) for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and for the quality of student learning over a sustained period of time.


Professor Marshall-Gradisnik is also leading The National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED),  a research team situated at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. The team focuses on  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

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Professor James BaraniukProfessor James Baraniuk

Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Centre
James N. Baraniuk was born in Alberta, Canada, south of Banff. He earned his honours degree in chemistry and microbiology, medical degree, and unique bachelor's degree in medicine (cardiology) at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Thereafter, he moved to Akron, OH, USA, for his internship and internal medicine residency at St Thomas Hospital.

After another year of internal medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, he trained with Dr C.E. Buckley, III, in allergy and clinical immunology.


He moved to the laboratory of Dr Michael Kaliner at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD, and there began his long-standing collaboration with Dr Kimihiro Ohkubo.


After 2 years studying neuropeptides, he joined Dr Peter Barnes' laboratory at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, UK.

Dr Baraniuk returned to Washington, DC, and Georgetown University, where he is currently Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Medicine.

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Professor Julia NewtonProfessor Julia Newton

Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Physician, Royal Victoria Infirmary, UK
Professor Newton's research programme focuses upon the integrity of the autonomic nervous system in health and disease, specifically the role of autonomic dysfunction in the pathogenesis of fatigue and its clinical consequences, namely cognitive impairment.


Examining the integrity of the ANS in humans is established in her physiology laboratory using relatively simple, inexpensive, non-invasive technologies that allow evaluation of a wide range of parameters that will within the foreseeable future be readily transferable into therapeutic interventions for patients.


Developing and validating novel methodologies to determine subtle abnormalities in autonomic dysfunction and its consequences is the major aim of her research.

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Professor Carmen ScheibenbogenProfessor Carmen Scheibenbogen

Professor for Immunology and Deputy Chair Institute of Medical Immunology Berlin Charite, Germany
Group leader of a Tumour Immunology Laboratory and Attending Physician at the Dept. of Haematologie, Onkologie und Transfusionsmedizin, CBF, Charite 2/1997 Venia legendi for Internal Medicine "Habilitation" 1990 - 1998 Residency at the Med. Klinik und Poliklinik V, Haematologie, Onkologie und Rheumatologie, Universitaet Heidelberg 1988 - 1990 Postdoctoral fellowship at the Med. Klinik, Dept. of Haematologie und Onkologie, Universitaet Freiburg 1982 - 88 Medical school at the Universities of Bonn, Marburg and Denver

Recent paper

Professor Maureen HansonDr Maureen Hanson

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor, Cornell University
Maureen Hanson is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Previously she was on the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, where she also completed her Ph.D. degree.


While most of her prior research has concerned cell and molecular biology in plant cells, she began a research program on ME/CFS after noting at a 2007 IACFS meeting the paucity of molecular biologists studying the illness.

Her lab was part of the 2012 multicenter study organized by Ian Lipkin's group at Columbia University to assess the actual role of XMRV in ME/CFS.

Dr. Hanson has a current project to examine the microbiome of ME/CFS patients and controls, in collaboration with Dr. Ruth Ley (Cornell Microbiology) and Susan Levine, M.D. (Manhattan, NY).


Dr Levine is also collaborating with Dr. Hanson on an immune cell gene expression project that involves Dr. Fabien Campagne and Dr. Rita Shaknovich at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York City.


Dr. Hanson's third project concerns analysis of blood samples from individuals performing a two-day cardiopulmonary exercise test at Ithaca College under the supervision of Dr. Betsy Keller.

Link to Dr. Hanson's department faculty webpage

Professor Simon CardingProfessor Simon Carding

Leader, Gut Health and Food Safety Programme Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, UK
Professor Simon Carding Professor of Mucosal Immunology at University of East Anglia and Institute of Food Research. Following his PhD at London he held postdoctoral positions at New York University School of Medicine, New York and at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA. He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA as Assistant and later Associate Professor. He joined University of Leeds as Professor of Molecular Immunology in the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1999. His scientific interests are in understanding how the immune response in the gut functions and in particular, is able to distinguish between the commensal microbes that reside in the gut and environmental microbes that cause disease, and in the mechanisms by which the body's immune system no longer ignores or tolerates commensal gut bacteria and how this leads to immune system activation and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Professor Jonas BlombergProfessor Jonas Blomberg

Emeritus Professor of Clinical Virology, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
Professor Jonas Blomberg is an MD and PhD, graduating at the University of Gothenburg. Has worked with Lipids at the department of Medical Biochemistry 1965-1972 as a Clinical Virologist in Gothenburg 1972-1979 and as a postDoc at John Stephensons Lab at NCI Frederick on retroviruses 1979-1981. He then worked as a Clinical Virologist in Lund, Sweden 1981-1995 and then as a professor of Clinical Virology in Uppsala 1996- to the present.

His main fields of interest are: Retrovirology, Bioinformatics, Clinical Virology and broadly targeted and multiplex methods for detection of microbial nucleic acid.

He also is interested in evolution and Infection biology.


Professor Blomberg is on the editorial board of Journal of Virology

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Dr Andreas KogelnikDr Andreas Kogelnik

Director of the Open Medicine Institute, USA
Dr Andreas Kogelnik Dr Andreas Kogelnik is the Founding Director of the Open Medicine Institute, a collaborative, community-based translational research institute dedicated to personalized medicine with a human touch while using the latest advances in medicine, informatics, genomics, and biotechnology.

The Institute works closely with the Open Medicine Clinic and other clinics to conduct research and apply new knowledge back into clinical practice. Dr. Kogelnik received his M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and his Ph.D. in bioengineering/bioinformatics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Subsequently, he completed is residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Stanford University and its affiliated hospitals.

Following his clinical training, he remained at Stanford with NIH funding to engage in post-doctoral research in microbiology, immunology and bioinformatics with Dr. Ellen Jo Baron and Dr. Stanley Falkow, where he explored host-response profiles in severely ill patients. Together with Dr. Jose Montoya, he was instrumental in the conception, design, and execution of the EVOLVE study - a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of a subset of chronic fatigue syndrome patients with evidence of viral infection.

Dr. Kogelnik worked with Dr. Atul Butte in translational informatics to determine patterns that indicated a high risk for adverse events in paediatric patients at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. He is the Medical Director of the Open Medicine Clinic - a community-based research clinic focussed on chronic infectious diseases, neuroimmune disease, and immunology. Dr. Kogelnik has published numerous scientific papers and book chapters, is an Editor of Computers in Medicine and Biology, and is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University.

With the Open Medicine Institute, he has led the formation of CFS and Lyme Registries and Biobanks as well as creating an infrastructure for providers to collect better data and implement clinical trials across a network of sites.


Dr Amolak BansalDr Amolak Bansal

Consultant Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust Surrey, UK
Dr. Bansal trained in immunology and allergy from 1989 to 1993 at St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester and at Hope Hospital in Salford. From here he spent five years (1993-1997) as Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Clinical Immunology in the Department of Medicine at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.


From 1997 to the present date Dr. Bansal has worked as a Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology at Epsom and St Helier University Hospital. Dr Bansal's key interests lie in allergy, autoimmunity, CFS/ME and immunodeficiency.

Dr Bansal is involved in the gut microbiota study at UEA, the IiME/UCL rituximab clinical trial and Autoimmunity and ME, a study involving the hypothalamus - all projects funded by Invest in ME.


Research from Dr Bansal

Dr Saul BerkowitzDr Saul Berkowitz

Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, London, UK
Dr Berkowitz is one of two full-time consultants at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. He graduated from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1989, and from Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in 1993. He was the first doctor in the UK to complete a joint training program in both orthodox and complementary medicine, and have recognised postgraduate qualifications in Alllergy, Western herbal medicine (phytotherapy), acupuncture and homeopathy. Dr Berkowitz treats patients with a wide range of mostly chronic medical problems.


Dr Julian BlancoProfessor Jonas Blomberg

Leader of the Irsi Caixa Research Institute's Cell Virology and Immunology Research Group, Barcelona, Spain
The IrsiCaixa Institute for AIDS Research IRSI Caixa works alongside the most prestigious international research centres, and its publications are among those with the most impact in their field.

Dr Blanco has vast experience in HIV related research but has also been involved in ME/CFS research as in 2013 his group published the paper , Screening NK-, B- and T-cell phenotype and function in patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Curriu et al. Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11:68.


Research from Dr Blanco