Vulnerability to brain and mental diseases is affected by both sex and gender, i.e. both organic differences between the two sexes as well as differences in psychosocial risk factors related to the feminine or masculine role in society.

Biologically, women are not only at higher risk of developing several disorders (including depression, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain and stress-related disorders), but they also manifest different disease trajectories and response to treatment. The need for personalized, sex and gender-oriented management of brain and mental disease patients is however not yet taken into proper consideration by clinical science, drug development and policy makers at large.

From a psychosocial perspective, gender imbalance in mental health represents a critical humanitarian need as well as an enormous loss for the society globally. The vast majority of victims of psychological violence are women, who also often have less access to proper medical and psychological assistance worldwide. Representing 70% of unpaid caregivers, women are more likely to suffer from psychological stress and leave their jobs. The high rate of women working part-time for family reasons, in addition to lower education, contribute to a higher likelihood of poverty in women, particularly in old age due to lower pensions. As poverty is inextricably linked to mental disease, gender-friendly measures should be seriously considered by society.

Location & Tickets






List of speakers

Scientific advisory board

  • Andrea Pfeifer – EPFL, Switzerland
  • Annemarie Schumacher – University of Applied Sciences, St.Gallen, Switzerland
  • Ewelina Biskup MD – Shanghai University of Medicine and Science
  • Florencia Iulita – Université de Montréal, Canada
  • Harald Hampel – Sorbonne University, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France
  • Lynn Posluns – Women's Brain Health Initiative, USA
  • Maria Teresa Ferretti – University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Meryl Comer – Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative
  • Niall Boyce – The Lancet Neurology, UK
  • Nicoletta Iacobacci – Singularity University, Geneva
  • Tania Dussey-Cavassini – Former Swiss Ambassador for Global Health, Switzerland
  • Tracy Laabs – Wyss Center, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Valerie Bruemmer MD – Medical Advisors, Eli Lilly


  • 08:00 – 08:30
    Welcome and registration
  • 08:30 – 09:00
    Opening keynotes
  • 09:00 – 09:15
    Coffee break
  • 09:15 – 10:45
    Panel Discussion 1.

    Sex effects on the regulation of brain function and disease manifestation – Towards gender medicine in neuroscience

    Chair: Elena Becker-Barroso, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet Neurology

  • 10:45 – 11:00
  • 11:00 – 12:30
    Panel Discussion 2.

    Psychosocial aspects of female caregivers' brain and mental health. Socio-economic gap and female caregivers' burden.

    Chair: Meryl Comer, President & CEO, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative

  • 12:30 – 13:30
    Lunch break
  • 13:30 – 15:00
    Panel Discussion 3.

    Sex and gender in clinical trials for brain and mental diseases – Reconsidering the way we test drugs

    Chair: Raj Long, vice-chair, World Dementia Council

  • 15:00 – 16:30
    Panel Discussion 4.

    Digital biomarkers and new technologies – New tools to support women's brain health

    Chair: Prof. Nicoletta Iacobacci, Singularity University Geneva

  • 16:30 – 17:00
    Keynote and Concluding remarks
  • 17:00 – 18:00
    Apero and entertainment by Sylvia Day (WBP ambassador)

Forum Speakers & Moderators


    Adriana Bishop

    As a freelance journalist I recently interviewed Annemarie Schumacher Dimech about Women’s Brain Project. However, my interest in WBP is also personal. My mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago and I have found that reading and learning more about this condition is helping me cope with my mother’s illness. My mother lives in Malta so I carry the added burden of guilt at not being present enough to look after her and to assist my father who cares for her. I have thus become a remote carer, travelling back home every few weeks to check in on both of them, and every time wondering if she would still recognise me.


    Angela Abela

    Angela Abela is a Professor and founding Head of the Department of Family Studies at the University of Malta where she teaches clinical psychology and family therapy trainees. She chairs the National Centre for Family Research of the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. She is a consultant for Parliament and the Maltese government and is lead author of the Strategic Policy on Positive Parenting for Malta launched in 2016. Angela has served as an expert for the Council of Europe in the area of children and families for many years. Her research projects include studies on marital satisfaction, couple conflict and family violence, families living in poverty, families where one of the members faces mental illness, lone parent families, parenting, and children in out-of-home care. In 2014, she co-edited Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World with Wiley-Blackwell and co authored Intervening after violence, Therapy for couples and families with Springer (2017). She is an associate editor of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, an international advisory editor of Contemporary Family Therapy. As a clinical psychologist, family therapist and systemic supervisor she runs a small private practice and supervises practitioners working with couples, children and families.


    Antonella Santuccione Chadha

    Dr. Antonella Santuccione Chadha is a medical doctor with profound expertise in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mental disorders. Dr. Santuccione Chadha joined the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products in Bern as a Specialized Clinical Reviewer in psychiatric disorders in 2014. Previously, she was trained within the General Directorate for Health and Food Safety at the European Commission. She worked as Postdoctoral Fellow and Resident with Swiss, Italian and German universities, gained experience in medical affairs for pharma industry, and was a founder of the Non Profit Organization Women's Brain Project She worked several years in a specialized ward for patients living with dementia. She also studied possible mechanisms underlying AD and immunotherapy for AD. She is an editor for the scientific journal “Matters” and author of several scientific publications. Her current scientific interest is about the influence of sex and gender factors on mental disorders and how to take them into account when designing diagnostic and treatment solutions.


    Carol Brayne

    Carol Brayne CBE is a Professor of Public Health Medicine and Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in the University of Cambridge. She is a medically qualified epidemiologist and public health academic. Her main research has been longitudinal studies of older people following changes over time with a public health perspective and a focus on the brain. She is lead principal investigator in the MRC CFA Studies and other population based studies and has played a lead role in teaching and training in epidemiology and public health at Cambridge University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a NIHR Senior Investigator and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours this summer.


    Christin Bexelius

    Christin Bexelius (PhD) is working as an International Payer Strategy Leader for Alzheimer’s disease at Roche in Basel, Switzerland. In her current position she is supporting Alzheimer’s disease clinical development programs and teams on payer related insights and activities, and is leading evidence generation activities to support discussions with external stakeholders. Prior joining Roche, she was working as a health economist in Stockholm, Sweden. Christin holds a master in Biomedicine and a PhD in epidemiology from Karolinska Insitutet in Stockholm, Sweden.


    Dhamane Rajendra

    He is from India. Education: M. D. (Homoeopathy), M. A. (Clinical Psychology), PGDEMS (Post graduate diploma in emergency medical services), NTMC (National trauma management course)

    Name of Organization: Mauli Seva Pratishthan, Designation- Chief Functionary / President

    Work: Working for wondering, homeless mentally ill women and their children found on road. Providing Lifelong care and home. Taking care of pregnant women who are abused mentally and physically. Conducting labor of such homeless, destitute pregnant women and taking lifelong care of them and their children. Currently thre are 110 women and 17 children which are born in MAULI. Taking care of destitute women having dreadful diseases and critical illnesses, such as tuberculosis, HIV AIDS, venereal diseases, cardiac and metabolic diseases. Running and managing first of its kind intensive care unit for homeless, destitute women who are abandon by their families on road to die. Construction of 600 bed MANGAV project is going on where 500 homeless mentally and physically ill women will get lifelong home and 100 bed super specialty hospital for critically ill and dying who are found on road.


    Elena Becker-Barroso

    Dr Elena Becker-Barroso became Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Neurology in July 2012 after serving as Acting Editor for 1 year, 2 years as Deputy Editor, and 3 years as Senior Editor for the journal. The Lancet Neurology ranks first among more than 190 journals in the clinical neurology category (Journal Citation Reports®, Thomson Reuters). Elena earned her PhD in molecular biology from the Instituto de Microbiologia-Bioquimica, CSIC-Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain) and did her postdoctoral training at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University (New York, NY, USA). She resides in London, UK, but divides her time between the City of London and Barcelona, Spain.


    Else Charlotte Sandset

    Else Charlotte Sandset is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Neurology, Oslo University Hospital, Norway and is the Chair of the Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers Committee of the European Stroke Organisation.

    She received her undergraduate medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in 2006, and her PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway, in 2012. Her main area of interest is stroke, with special emphasis on haemodynamic variables, such as blood pressure. She was the trial manager of the Scandinavian Candesartan Acute Stroke Trial (SCAST) and the first author of the publication of the trial results in the Lancet. After a year as a visiting fellow at The George Insitute for Global Health in 2016 she has become increasingly interested in sex differences in stroke and recently co-authored a review paper on the topic published in Nature Reviews Neurology.


    Gillian Einstein

    Gillian Einstein is The Wilfred and Joyce Posluns Chair in Women’s Brain Health and Aging, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and Guest Professor of Gender and Health at Linköping University. She has published in vision, Alzheimer disease, sex differences, hormones and mood. Her research is on the effects of estrogens and culture on women’s biologies specifically, cognitive and brain changes in women who have had their ovaries removed before natural menopause. The overarching question is: How do both sex and gender mediate women’s brain health?


    Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc

    Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc, is the Executive Director of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Vice Chair for Research in the BWH Department of Psychiatry, and the Paula A. Johnson Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School. She directs the Women’s Hormone and Aging Research Program which is jointly affilitated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School.

    Dr. Joffe is an experienced clinician and NIH-funded clinical translational researcher in field of women’s mental health. Her work focuses on the course, mechanisms, and treatment of menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue in healthy women and breast cancer patients. She studies the neural, hormonal, and autonomic basis of menopause-related symptoms, the impact of menopause on metabolism and well-being, and the best approaches to treating these symptoms and sustaining adherence to breast cancer adjuvant therapies that affect quality-of-life. Dr. Joffe’s research is conducted in affiliation with the Connors Center and Department of Psychiatry at BWH, and with the Breast Oncology Center and Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at DFCI. In recognition of her contributions to women’s health research, she was awarded the Thomas Clarkson Outstanding Clinical & Basic Science Research Award from the North American Menopause Society.

    Dr. Joffe received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, and her Masters Degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her psychiatry residency training at McLean Hospital and a fellowship in Reproductive Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.


    Professor Harald Hampel, MD, PhD, MA, MSc

    After a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Health (Bethesda, USA), he became professor of psychiatry and founding director of the Alzheimer Memorial Center at Munich University before being appointed professor and chair of psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin.

    In 2010, he was appointed as professor & chair of psychiatry at the University of Frankfurt and in 2013 as full professor and AXA Research Fund Chair at Pierre and Marie Curie University, Department of Neurology. He is Scientific Director of the Institut for Memory and Alzheimer’s Disease (Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital) in Paris, France.

    His major research interests and contributions include the discovery and development of multimodal genetic, biochemical, neurodynamic and neuroimaging biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases. This includes the validation of multimodal biomarker candidates in mono- and multi-site studies for progression, prediction, detection, diagnosis and classification of AD at different disease stages. His major objective is to transform Neurology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience embracing Precision Medicine based on Complex Systems Theory using Systems Biology and Neurophysiology, Big Data Science and Biomarker-guided Integrative Disease Modeling for improved Detection, Classification and Therapy Development in Neurodegenerative Diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.

    Towards this end, he initiated the Alzheimer Precision Medicine Initiative (APMI) and the APMI cohort program as well as the UPMC Clinical Research Group on Alzheimer Precision Medicine.

    Dr. Hampel published more than 650 peer-reviewed research papers and edited 8 books, won multiple awards for his research focusing on brain health & disease, biomarker and therapy discovery in Alzheimer’s disease. He holds international research grants and is principal investigator of research consortia. He is chairing the International Cholinergic System Working Group and is senior Associate Editor of the journal of the Alzheimer Association, Alzheimer’s & Dementia.


    Joanna J. Bryson

    Joanna J. Bryson is a transdisciplinary researcher on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence. Her research covering topics from artificial intelligence, through autonomy and robot ethics, and on to human cooperation has appeared in venues ranging from a reddit to Science. She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh, and Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT. She has additional professional research experience from Princeton, Oxford, Harvard, and LEGO, and technical experience in Chicago's financial industry, and international management consultancy. Bryson is presently a Reader (associate professor) at the University of Bath, and an affiliate of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy.


    Kathryn Goetzke

    Kathryn Goetzke is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, strategic consultant and global depression advocate. She is the entrepreneur and innovator behind Mood-litesTM, a brand that achieved over 35 million dollars in retail sales. As her role as Chief Mood Officer at The Mood Factory, her goal is to ‘Improve Moods’ by teaching consumers how to get in the present moment through engaging senses. Armed with an MBA in International Marketing, an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and over 20 years of experience with small and Fortune 100 companies, she aims to do just that with her new line of product based on how scents impact moods.

    read more:



    Khaliya is a neuro-technologist, public health specialist and leading expert on the future of mental health. A Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria from 1999-2001, Khaliya did her B.A. at New York University and holds a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. For five years she worked for, and sat on the board of, the world’s largest private development agency, the Aga Khan Development Network. Prior to that, she worked at an AIDS hospital in India as well as the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. For her humanitarian work, she’s received multiple awards, including the Middelthon-Candler Peace Prize in 2016 and the Clare Boothe Luce Award for International Service in 2017.

    Khaliya sits on the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare and is also involved with a range of mental health initiatives via Falkora, the non-profit she cofounded in 2013. She’s a frequent public speaker, whose appearances include the Obama White House-sponsored United State of Women Summit, the UN General Assembly, Web Summit, Near Future Summit, Katapault, WEF Family Business Summit, Clinton Global Initiative, and Wired Health.

    She’s currently writing a book on the future of mental health, as well as a case study on psychedelics for the World Economic Forum. Her Op-Ed, “Drop Acid, Not Pills, For Your Mental Wellbeing,” was published in the September 2017 Issue of WiredUK. She can be found on Twitter at @Khaliya, where over 250,000 people follow her for the latest news on psychedelics, neurotech, and the future of mental health.


    Liisa Galea

    Liisa Galea is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, and a member of the Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. Her research investigates how sex hormones influence brain health and disease in both females and males. The main goal of her research is to improve brain health for women and men by examining the influence of sex and sex hormones on normal and diseased brain states such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Galea obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario in 1994 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York City until 1996. She has been an invited speaker and a keynote speaker at numerous international conferences over the past 10 years. Dr. Galea is a Distinguished University Scholar, has held a Michael Smith Senior Scholar Award, an Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) – Discovery Accelerator Supplement, Cattell Sabbatical Award and won the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction award (Technology, Science and Research). She was recognized as a Fellow at International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) and the Kavli Foundation. She has over 130 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and has over 7000 citations with over 600 citations per year since 2013. Dr. Galea is the chief editor of FiN (Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology IF: 9.425), an editor of eNeuro, past section editor of Neuroscience and and serves / served on the editorial boards of Endocrinology, Hormones and Behavior, and Neuroscience. Dr. Galea serves / served on a National Institute of Health (USA) peer-review study section and on peer review panels for the major federal agencies: Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and NSERC. She has held operating grants from CIHR, NSERC and Alzheimer Society of Canada and has secured over $6M as the principal investigator and $2.5M as co-principal investigator PI in operating grants over her career.


    Lynn Posluns

    Lynn Posluns is Founder and President of Women's Brain Health Initiative, the only organization dedicated solely to improving women's brain health. Since the charity launched in Canada in 2012, Women's Brain Health Initiative has made tremendous strides in raising awareness about the inequity in brain aging research for women, in funding that research, and in creating compelling education programs to help women protect their cognitive vitality. Lynn has held a number of executive positions within the Retail and Fashion industries, and throughout her career, has raised millions of dollars for many philanthropic causes, focused primarily in the healthcare industry.

    Lynn has received numerous awards for her work in philanthropy and giving back to the community. Just to highlight a few; Lynn received the Baycrest Award for Foundation Leadership, the ICRF Women of Action award for Philanthropy, Women's Executive Network's prestigious Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award, the Top Ten High Achieving Women Award for social impact from the Rotman School of Management and most recently Rotary International's Paul Harris Fellowship award.


    Malou Cristobal

    Dr. Malou Cristobal, PT, DPT – has been a Physical Therapist for over 15 years with primary interest in orthopedic and neurological cases . Specializes on Vestibular disorders and Traumatic Brain injuries. – currently the program coordinator of the Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy and the Polytrauma / Traumatic Brain Injury Program at the US Department of Veterans Affairs New York healthcare System(Manhattan Campus) – Completed Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy in Manila , Philippines – Doctorate in Physical Therapy in New York – Specialized and Educator on brain neuroplasticity, blast/ blunt head trauma in relation to cervical spine and vestibular disorders .


    Maria Houtchens

    Dr. Maria Houtchens is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Dr. Houtchens received her M.D. degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine and completed her neurology residency at Harvard. She also received a Masters of Medical Sciences degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Harvard School of Public Health. She finished a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelinating Diseases at Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Dr. Howard Weiner) and established herself as an independent clinical researcher and an expert in the field of Women’s Neurology as it relates to MS patients.

    She is a neurologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a Director of Women’s Health Program at Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases/Partners MS Center. She is well known nationally and internationally for her work on women’s health, and has published numerous research and review articles on subject of pregnancy management and women’s health in multiple sclerosis, as well as trained numerous residents and fellows in this field.


    Mary Mittelman

    Mary S. Mittelman is research professor of Psychiatry and Rehabilitative Medicine at NYU School of Medicine and the director of the NYU Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Family Support Program, which was launched in 2016 with funding from New York State to provide comprehensive services to family caregivers of people with dementia. Trained in psychiatric epidemiology, she has been developing and evaluating psychosocial interventions for people with cognitive impairment and their family members for three decades.

    Dr. Mittelman was Principal Investigator of a randomized controlled trial of the NYU Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI), funded for 20 years by the National Institutes of Health, the results of which have been published widely. The study demonstrated that the NYUCI, a program that includes individual and family counseling, can improve the well-being of family caregivers and thereby help them to postpone nursing home placement of their relatives with dementia. The NYUCI has been replicated in additional studies and community translations in the United States, England, Australia, France and Israel. A model of the potential cost savings associated with the NYUCI led directly to funding of caregiver support programs throughout New York State, including the one directed by Dr. Mittelman at NYU. More recently, Dr. Mittelman has expanded her research focus to interventions that include the person with dementia with the caregiver. She conducted an evaluation of the Meet Me at MoMA program, and is the founder of The Unforgettables, a chorus for people with dementia with their family members which rehearses and gives regular concerts in New York City.


    Meryl Comer – President & CEO, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative

    Meryl Comer is President and CEO of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative, which promotes early diagnosis, virtual innovation challenges, m-health technologies and national public service campaigns like Geoffrey Beene's Rock Stars of Science™.

    A co-founder of Women Against Alzheimer's and founding partner of The Global Alliance on Women's Brain Health, she is the recipient of the 2016 BrightFocus Public Advocacy Award, 2015 Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation “Great Ladies” Award, 2015 International Book Award, 2014 Wertheim Global Medical Leadership Award (FIU), 2007 Proxmire Award and 2005 Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award. Ms. Comer has provided testimony before Congress on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association and served on the 2008 Alzheimer's Study Group, charged with presenting a National Strategic Plan to Congress in March 2009. In 2012, she led the formation of the 21st Century BrainTrust® (21CBT), a non-profit partnership to advance mobile health technologies and brain health. Comer is also co-principal investigator for the PCORI Alzheimer's Patient / Caregiver Research Network in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, UCSF's Brain Health Registry, and USAgainstAlzheimer's Networks.

    A former Emmy-award winning veteran broadcast journalist, Comer has been the subject of primetime news stories by ABC's Nightline, and the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Her New York Times and Washington Post bestseller, Slow Dancing with a Stranger, an unflinching account of the couple's 20 plus year battle with her husband's early onset Alzheimer's disease serves as a “much-needed wake-up call for an honest dialogue about this fatal neurodegenerative disease.” One hundred percent of proceeds from Slow Dancing with a Stranger (HarperCollins) supports Alzheimer's research.


    Myshkin Ingawale

    Dr Myshkin Ingawale is a startup executive and researcher.

    He's currently leads the Emerging Worlds research group at Facebook, India.

    He has served as the Chief of Staff at Xiaomi India, a fast-growing mobile internet company, helping set up the India business for Xiaomi over 2014-2015. Prior to this, he co-founded Biosense, an internationally recognized med-tech company designing and building innovative, disruptive healthcare technologies. In the past, Myshkin has worked at Mckinsey & Company, on client engagements across the Banking, Technology, Pharma and Healthcare sectors. He has been a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was part of the team that conceptualized and built the Copenhagen Wheel. He has also been a co-founder of I2U2 (consumer robotics startup, now a part of Milagrow Humantech) and senior domain expert at I4C (social venture accelerator).

    He holds a PhD in Management Information Systems and a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering.

    He is an Aspen New Voices Fellow 2014, TED Senior Fellow 2013, TED Fellow 2012, Unreasonable Fellow 2011 and the 2012 winner of the Anjani Mashelkar Inclusive Innovation Award. He has co-authored a book, published by Penguin, on the entrepreneurial journeys of 'unreasonable' social entrepreneurs. Alongside his work, he loves to travel – especially on his folding bicycle!


    Nicoletta Iacobacci

    Head of Strategy and Future Media at the European Broadcasting Union until November 2014, she earned a Ph.D (summa cum laude) in 2015, focusing on Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

    Member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, she's a BAFTA guru and a Senior Advisor at Singularity University. International speaker and event moderator, she has curated five editions of TEDxTransmedia and nine European Broadcasting Union Summits. On December 2017 she will curate and host the first edition of TEDxCarouge.

    Currently, she studies the future, she works on ethics and emerging technologies, she teaches “Emerging Media” at Webster University Geneva and is visiting professor, at Jinan University, in Guangzhou, China, teaching Virtual reality storytelling and VR journalism.

    CURRENT FOCUS: I have investigated and written on the topic of ethics and exponentially growing technologies in both my Ph.D. thesis and in my ongoing book, entitled Exponential Ethics. Here's an article I wrote on the subject. Ethics must keep up with the exponential progress of technology; it must leapfrog and facilitate public debates among influential contemporary thinkers, scientists, artists, engineers, philosophers, and science-fiction authors. This will be the most pioneering decade in history. Exponential technologies will lead to exponential innovation. We should strive to take this journey, conscious of the risks we are facing, and raise a call to action for openly discussing the social repercussions these technologies could have if left only to their “makers”—a call to action to “Reboot Ethics.”


    Nikolaos Mavridis

    Dr. Nikolaos Mavridis, PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is an academic and creator of cutting-edge Intelligent Systems and Robots. He is the founder of IRML (the Interactive Robots and Media Lab), which achieved wide publicity for “Ibn Sina”, the world’s first Arabic-Language Android Robot, as well as “FaceBots”, Microsoft-award-recipient Social Robots. During his PhD at MIT, he created “Ripley”, a language-learning robot with abilities comparable to those assessed by the token test, a test administered to 3-year-old children. He has served as faculty in numerous institutions, including NYU AD and NCSR Demokritos, as member of the Cognitive Systems Coordination Action "EU Cognition", as a TEDx speaker four times, and is the vice-chair of the Hellenic AI Society, founding chair of the IEEE UAE Robotics and Automation Society, and judge for the Dubai Prime Minister's Office "Drones for Good" and "AI and Robotics for Good", among numerous other positions.


    Raj Long – Regulatory Development & Access Strategy Expert, Deputy Director, Integrated Development – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, London, UK

    Raj is a senior executive with over 20 years of experience in drug development. Raj brings a unique strategic expertise blending private heath and public heath sectors including having worked with the EU EMA, US FDA, China CFDA, India DCGI and other regulatory authorities. She is currently a Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Previously, she was the Global Head of Regulatory GEHC-MDx in the UK, Head of Regulatory International AGL in Novartis, Switzerland and Vice-President – Regulatory International at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, USA. Additionally, Raj serves as an expert with the EC Innovative Medicines Initiative 2, UK Innovative Medicines and Medtech Review Advisory Group, UK NICE Expert Advisory Group (EXAG), advisory role to WHO on R&D to Access and the Vice-Chair of the World Dementia Council. Raj has a double Masters in Psychology and in N. Ed. (Psychology) from the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland respectively.


    Suzana Petanceska PhD – Senior advisor for strategic development and partnerships, National Institute on Aging

    Dr. Petanceska is a senior advisor for strategic development and partnerships and a program director for systems biology and systems pharmacology at the Division of Neuroscience of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). During her tenure at the NIA she has been overseeing and developing a number of research portfolios and innovative programs in basic and translational research for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Her recent program development efforts have been focused on developing systems biology and systems pharmacology capabilities for AD research and drug development within an open science framework. Dr. Petanceska was instrumental for the development of NIA's AD Translational Research Program and leads NIA's open-science, systems biology programs for target and biomarker discovery: the AMP-AD Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation Project and the M2OVE-AD Consortium.

    Dr Petanceska holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from New York University. Following her postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University and Cornell University, she established her independent research career at the Nathan Kline Institute in Orangeburg, N.Y., and joined the faculty of New York University Medical Center. Her research focused on the role of disrupted sterol metabolism in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis and on the mechanisms by which estrogens and cholesterol-lowering drugs exert neuroprotection.


    Tania Dussey-Cavassini

    Tania Dussey-Cavassini combines experience in global health, management consulting, executive education, diplomacy and law enforcement. Until July 2017, she was Ambassador for Global Health and Vice-Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, in charge of International Affairs.

    From 2006 to 2012, Tania worked at IMD, ranked #1 worldwide by the FT in Executive Education. As Director of Partnership Programs, she was responsible for developing IMD’s custom programs for multinational companies, designing transformational learning and development initiatives that blend capability building with business impact. Since 2010, she is also an adviser to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Parallel to her official function, Tania helps women executives find their own voice and coaches them in career transitioning and leadership. Prior to these activities, Tania held diplomatic assignments for Switzerland in Paris, Bern, Moscow and Geneva. She started her career in 1991 as a lawyer working in the realm of international criminal matters and extraditions proceedings.

    Tania is a Harvard Fellow (2012-2013). She was educated in management at IMD (2006), in law at the University of Lausanne (1989), and music at the University of Music Lausanne (1988), Switzerland. She is a certified coach with The Actor’s Institute, New York (2010).

    Tania serves on the Board of Directors of the Here-Geneva Foundation (Humanitarian Exchange and Research Centre). She is member of the Advisory Board of The Women’s Brain Project, promoting gender-based research.


    Thorsten Buch

    Thorsten Buch is director of the Insitute of Laboratory Animal Science at the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich. The institute is the largest provider of the legally required courses for animal experimentators in Switzerland, with a new set of courses targeted towards reproducibility and quality of science. Its transgenic core facilitates basic and translational research over many disciplines. Thorsten Buch has been working since 1994 on immunological tolerance, with a strong neuroimmunological focus. In his curricular teaching he is enaging strongly also in the topic of animal ethics.


    Valerie Bruemmer

    Valerie Bruemmer has spent the majority of her career working as a clinical Geriatrician, providing primary care and consultative care to older adults with multiple chronic conditions and supporting their caregivers. She received her medical degree and postgraduate training at the University of Rochester School Of Medicine in Rochester, NY, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. Practice settings have included office, hospital, assisted living, nursing home, home care and hospice. She has also worked as a medical director in many of these settings. As an educator, she has trained and mentored medical and nursing students, residents and fellows. She has also served as a member, then chairperson of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for medical research. Advocacy work has included membership on the local Alzheimer’s Association Med-Sci Board, Central Indiana Council on Aging Medical Advisory Board, and Witham Health Services Foundation Board. She joined the Alzheimer’s team at Eli Lilly and Company in April 2016 in Medical Affairs, and continues to work toward making this debilitating disease treatable and ultimately preventable.


    Sylvia Day – Master of ceremonies

    Sylvia is an international comedian, actress, writer and all-around entertainer. Based in Zurich and born in the US to Swiss-Brazilian parents, she is fluent in five languages, has a BA in Communications & Theater, and trained at the world’s top improv schools in Chicago, New York and London.

    Sylvia’s original comedy shows have been a hit with English-speaking audiences around the world including Zurich, Chicago and Off-Broadway. Her most recent one-woman show, the political comedy “50 Shades of (Election) DAY!” premiered at Zurich’s Kaufleuten and was aired on national news - SRF1 Tagesschau.

    A TEDx speaker, Sylvia also offers communication coaching and workshops to groups and individuals and can be booked for private and corporate events.


Organization Team

  • Annemarie Schumacher Dimech, PhD

    Dr. Schumacher's training started in Malta where she read for a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then went on to study health psychology at the University of Surrey (UK) and after that spent a couple of years working with children with mental and/or physical disability. Annemarie Schumacher moved to Switzerland in 2005 and read for a PhD at the University of Bern. Since her move to Switzerland, she has mainly worked in research and teaching in the area of health and exercise psychology, her main interest being the effect of our emotions, thoughts and behaviour on our mental health.

    She presently works as a research scientist at the Interdisciplinary Competence Center for Ageing at the University of Applied Sciences St.Gallen, where she is involved in various projects investigating psychosocial and behavioural aspects of old age. This project brings together her research interests involving various factors related to mental health as well as my personal interest relating to women’s mental health and well-being.

    Dr. Schumacher is also a founding member of the Women's Brain Project and contributes her expertise about psychosocial aspects related to gender differences.

  • Gautam Maitra

    Sweden trained chemist and regulatory affairs professional with over 14 years’ experience in two of Forbes top rank pharmaceutical companies, namely Roche and Novartis. At Novartis he was in charge of the regulatory support for both marketed and early development products.

    Since 2007 he is the Head of Regulatory and External Affairs at AC Immune (a Nasdaq listed Swiss biotech company) reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. Conducted four pre-IND meetings with the FDA and five Scientific Advice meetings (with German BfArM, Swedish Medical Products Agency, Medicine & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, UK, Finnish Medicines Agency, and the European Medicines Agency). Since 2008, regulatory department has filed a total of six clinical study applications in the EU (Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, UK and two in Finland) and one IND in the US. Supervised setting up of the Corporate Quality Management System, including finalization of approximately 30 Standard Operating Procedures, and implementation of the Annual Quality Plan, including GxP audits. He is a regular member of the Project Core Teams where he plans and presents global regulatory strategies for Alzheimer’s drug development besides giving regulatory input and liaising with Health Authorities when necessary.

    Before joining AC Immune SA, he served in a Lyon-based biotech company, OPi/EUSA, where he was the Director of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls. Gautam also served as the European Director of one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical professionals associations (Parenteral Drug Association) with over 10,000 members worldwide from the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries, health authorities and academia. During that period he developed strong relationships with major health authorities like the FDA, EMA, BfArM, ANSM, MPA, MHRA, Swissmedic etc. and also developed relationships with bodies like the ICH, EFPIA, WHO, PIC/S. He was an invited observer to the annual USP European Stakeholder Forums. He has also been a member of the Bio-Manufacturing Working Group of the EFPIA/EBE in Brussels and a member of the PDA Task Force for early Phase Clinical Trials material.

  • Maria Teresa Ferretti

    Maria Teresa Ferretti is Group Leader at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM) of University of Zurich and Zurich Neuroscience Center (Switzerland), heading the ‘Immunology of Neurodegeneration’ team. She is a neuroscientist and neuroimmunologist, with more than 10-year international experience in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. Her main research interest is elucidating the role of the innate and adaptive immune system in the progression of Alzheimer’s pathology, using both animal models and clinical samples. Since 2011 she is a postdoctoral working at University of Zurich, Switzerland, and as of 2013 she has been leading a small research group dedicated to the study of the immunological underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

    Maria Teresa has received several fellowships, awards and prices, including a prestigious ‘merit scholarship for foreign students’ from the FRNQ (PBEEE program, Quebec, Canada) and a 3-year research grant from the Synapsis Foundation (Swiss Alzheimer Association). Her results, published by several, peer-reviewed scientific journals, have been covered by the online platform Alzforum and the local press (the Sonntagszeitung and the ZNZ Gazette). She serves as ad-hoc reviewer for several journals, including ‘PLOS-one’, ‘Brain Behaviour and Immunity’ and ‘Neurodegenerative Diseases’ and has worked as grant reviewer for the Israel Science Foundation.

    In August 2016 Maria Teresa co-founded the non profit organization ‘Women’s Brain Project’. Her goal is to increase awareness and research about brain sexual dimorphism and its possible implications in brain and mental diseases.

  • Lukas Hofmann

    Master’s student in statistics at ETH Zürich with a Bachelor of Science in physics.

    Lukas is currently diving into the world of data science in projects at Migros and Helsana. He used to work as a teaching assistant at the Department of Mathematics at ETH Zürich.

    Apart from his studies, he is an enthusiastic endurance sportsman and fond of the Romance languages. He gained intercultural experiences living in the US, Argentina and Brazil.

    Lukas is the Conference Manager of the 1st International Forum on Women’s Brain Health.


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