The membership of the New Frontiers Committee is designed to represent an experienced cross-section of the field, including academic researchers, industry scientists, regulators and patient representatives. The committee is responsible for developing the programme of New Frontiers Meeting and for guiding the ongoing discussion the meeting is designed to stimulate.
Celso Arango, Spain, chair
Dr. Celso Arango is currently Chair of the Child and Adolescent Department of Psychiatry at Hospital Gregorio Marañón as well as Director of the Gregorio Marañón Psychiatric and Mental Health Institute, Professor of Psychiatry at the MPRC of the University of Maryland, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF in San Francisco, Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London and Tenured Full Professor at UCM. Moreover he is Past-President of ECNP and President of the Spanish Ministry of Health Advisory Board for Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Prof. Arango’s major research interests include the neurobiology of early-onset and first-episode psychoses and neurodevelopmental psychopharmacology. Dr. Arango has written more than 450 peer-reviewed articles and 9 books, is on the editorial board for 12 high impact journals and has participated in more than 77 competitively funded research projects and has been the coordinator or Principal Investigator for 10 EU-funded projects.
Gerry Dawson, United Kingdom
Gerry Dawson has considerable experience in the discovery and development of novel drugs for CNS disorders. Prior to co-founding P1vital, Gerry was Senior Director at Merck’s Neuroscience Research Centre, UK. He coordinated both clinical and preclinical in developing new drugs for the treatment of cognition and anxiety disorders. In this role Gerry developed new Experimental Medicine methods, to make rapid and cost-effective Go/No Go decisions in early drug development. More recently Gerry has co-founded a second company, P1vital Products LTD (PPL) which is developing digital healthcare products for use in industry and primary care. He has also led efforts to redesign the treatment pathway for depression in primary care that is enabled by PPLs innovative digital technology including i-Spero, an initiative that is supported by funding of €1M from Innovate UK. Gerry has over 100 scientific publications and is a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at University of Nottingham. He is a member of executive committee of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) also chair its Experimental Medicine Network. In 2016 the network successfully bid for a €16M H2020 Innovative Medicines Initiative award to developed new approaches to the treatment of Schizophrenia, Alzheimer ’s disease and Major Depressive Disorder. Gerry obtained his BSc and D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Ulster. He has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications in the field of psychology, neuroscience and health technology.
Hilkka Kärkkäinen, Finland
Social worker by profession and expert by experience. Suffered reactive depression in 2002. Has worked both for the City of Helsinki and the City of Espoo in Child Welfare for many years. Worked as a Senior Social Worker in Probation and After Care Association in Helsinki for several years. Was Executive Director of Finnish Central Association for Mental Health and has been President and Vice President of Mieli Maasta, which is a patient association for those suffering from depression. Worked for the City of Järvenpää as a Planner of Regional Mental Health Care. Retired from her job as Social Ombudsman in Sosiaalitaito in 2014. Was President of GAMIAN-Europe once before in 1999.
Martien Kas, The Netherlands
I am a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. The research of my group focuses on determinants of behavior, especially of behavioral strategies and of biological processes that are essential across species and that are affected in various neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., social interaction and sensory information processing). By means of cross-species genetic analysis of neurobehavioral traits (of mice and men) we aim to identify genotype-phenotype relationships relevant to the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. These studies will lead to our understanding of conserved gene function in regulating essential behavioral strategies and will ultimately improve therapeutic and preventive strategies to contribute to healthy aging. In addition, I am Executive Committee Board member and Secretary of the European College of NeuroPsychopharmacology (ECNP), Editorial board member of Mammalian Genome, and project coordinator of the PRISM project, a large EU Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project that aims to unpick the biological reasons underlying social withdrawal, which is a common early symptom of Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and Major Depressive Disorder.
Hugh Marston, United Kingdom
Hugh Marston is senior research fellow at Lilly’s Erl Wood research site in Surrey, UK leading External Neurodegenerative Research in Europe. Erl Wood’s research focus covers novel approaches designed to modify neurodegeneration, chronic pain and effective neurosymptomatic intervention. Having originally trained as a psychopharmacologist at Cambridge he has over 30 years’ experience in various forms of drug discovery research. Most recently as head of pharmacology at IOMet Pharma (pka TPP GD) a virtual pharma company acquired by Merck in 2016. Prior to that he lead neuropharmacology teams at Merck, Schering-Plough and Organon working on projects principally in the psychiatry area from discovery through to launch. As such he has had a long standing interest in transforming our ability to translate science to and from the clinic across the neuroscience disciplines. As part of his role at Lilly he is Project Leader of the IMI2 PRISM initiative an industry/academe EU funded consortium that is seeking to find translatable, quantitative biological phenotypes in CNS disorders. He maintains an active interest in academic research through collaboration and an honorary professorship at the University of St Andrews with 70+ peer reviewed publications and five granted patents.
Luca Pani, USA
Luca Pani is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami, and Professor of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, in Italy. He is also VP for Regulatory Strategy and Market Access Innovation at VeraSci in Durham, NC and the Chief Scientific Officer for EDRA Publishing in Milan, Italy and Inpeco SA, Total Lab Automation in Novazzano, Switzerland.
As the former Director General of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA, 2011-2016) and former member of the CHMP and SAWP for EMA in London (2010-2017), he has been recognized worldwide as an expert in regulatory science with particular emphasis on health technology assessment linked with novel strategies for the reimbursement of precision medicines.
In his roles he negotiated the world first gene therapy (Strimvelis®) and implemented advanced Managed Entry Agreements linked to regulatory validated registries for real life data follow-up and further evaluations based on bioinformatics principles.
His current interests lie in virtual reality assessment tools to detect early signs of mental disorders and designing decision tree algorithms to price drugs under conditions of uncertainty by using clinical and sensor generated data to continuously populate the unknown variabilities of effectiveness and by linking them to outcome values and avoidable costs.
Stephane Pollentier, Germany
After obtaining a medical degree in Leuven, Belgium, he completed his training as psychiatrist, neurologist and behavioural psychotherapist in Bonn and Cologne, Germany. He started his industry career in 1994 as medical advisor for Solvay-Duphar in Hanover, Germany, and joined Boehringer Ingelheim in 1996, where he held several functions within CNS clinical research and, at corporate level, in project management. From 2002 onwards he assumed responsibility for all global clinical development activities in CNS, and in this function also supported preclinical CNS research and business development. In 2005 he was appointed as head of the medical department of the Boehringer Ingelheim affiliate in the Netherlands and thereafter in France. Since 2013 he is Head of Medicine CNS, steering an international team of clinical program leaders with global responsibility for all medical aspects of drug development in several CNS indications.
Thomas Steckler, Belgium
Thomas Steckler is Associate Director at Janssen R&D, Bioresearch Quality & Compliance, Animal Welfare Strategy Lead. His expertise and fields of interest are drug development, psychopharmacology, quality, animal care & use, and animal models.