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Invited Speakers

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Amanda Ali, PhD

Assistant Scientist, Bone and Joint Center,

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,

Henry Ford Health

Assistant Professor, Physiology,

College of Human Medicine,

Michigan State University

Adjunct Assistant Professor,

Center for Molecular Medicine & Genetics,

Wayne State University

United States of America

Dr. Shabana Amanda Ali is an Assistant Scientist in the Bone and Joint Center in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Henry Ford Health, with Assistant Professor affiliations at both Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Dr. Ali earned a PhD from the University of Toronto (2014) and completed Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Western Ontario (2017) and the University Health Network (2019). Leveraging 16 years of experience in osteoarthritis research, her current research program aims to identify novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for osteoarthritis, with a key focus on microRNAs.

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Nidhi Bhutani, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,

Stanford University

Affiliated with the Cancer Biology Program, the BioX Program and the Children Health Research Institute at Stanford University

United States of America

Dr. Bhutani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Stanford University and is affiliated with the Cancer Biology Program, the BioX program and the Children Health Research Institute at Stanford ( Dr. Bhutani’s research interests broadly encompass the molecular mechanisms regulating regeneration and repair of skeletal tissues. Her research has identified a key role for epigenetic regulation through DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in cartilage homeostasis and Osteoarthritis. Utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells and single cell-based approaches, her multidisciplinary group has identified novel regenerative and pathogenic subpopulations that drive regeneration or degeneration in skeletal tissues. Dr. Bhutani has received the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) research scholar award, American Federation for Aging Research, AFAR/ANRF scholar award and an Innovative Research grant from Arthritis Foundation. Her research is funded by NIAMS/NIH, NSF and Department of Defense (DoD). 

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Terence Capellini, MPhil, PhD

Professor, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology,

Harvard University 

Associate Member, 

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University

United States of America

Terence D. Capellini is a recently tenured Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His undergraduate education was at Binghamton University where he was an Anthropology major focusing on human skeleton evolution. This was followed by his Masters Degree research at Kent State University, where he studied archaeological assemblage formation, and human skeletal evolution. He acquired his MPhil and Ph.D from the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (C.U.N.Y) working in the laboratory of Licia Selleri (Weill Cornell Medicine) on the development of the skeleton, and then performed his post-doctoral research in the laboratory of David Kingsley (Stanford University) on the genetics of skeletal evolution. His interdiscipinary lab at Harvard bridges functional genomics and genetics, developmental biology, medical genetics, and paleoanthropology. His lab is currently focusing on how gene regulation shapes different bones of the skeleton, how interbreeding with Neandertals facilitated human skeletal adaptations, and how alterations to gene regulation during human evolution have influenced the modern world-wide risk of bone diseases, especially joint-specific osteoarthritis. 


Jeroen Geurts, PhD

Head of Translational & Clinical Research,

Senior Lecturer,


Department of Musculoskeletal Medicine,

Lausanne University Hospital,



Dr. Jeroen Geurts is a principal investigator for translational research and  clinical study coordinator at the Rheumatology Unit of the Lausanne  University Hospital in Switzerland. He is also associate editor for basic science at Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. His research focuses on the role of subchondral bone marrow adipose tissue in regulating pathological bone remodeling in human osteoarthritis. He is the co-chair of the European Calcified Tissue Society Academy and executive board member of the Swiss Bone and Mineral Society and international Bone Marrow Adiposity Society.

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Rik Lories, MD, PhD

Full Professor, KU Leuven 

Chair, Division of Rheumatology.

Incoming Director of Internal Medicine,

University Hospitals Leuven 

Chair, Department of Development & Regeneration,

Director, Skeletal Biology & Engineering Research Center 

Board Member,

Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)

Scientific Chair

Foundation for Research in Rheumatology (FOREUM)


Dr. Rik Lories is Full Professor at KU Leuven. He is the Chair of the Division of Rheumatology and incoming Director of Internal Medicine at University Hospitals Leuven. He is also the Chair of the Department of Development and Regeneration and director of the Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center that includes the Laboratory for Tissue Homeostasis and Disease that he is leading together with Prof. Silvia Monteagudo. His research focuses on endogenous tissue responses in the joint with specific attention towards translational questions in chronic arthritis, in particular osteoarthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. He obtained his medical degree summa cum laude in 1996. He subsequently started specialty training in internal medicine and rheumatology. In 2003, he was certified as rheumatologist. In 2003, he also obtained a PhD in biomedical sciences at KU Leuven. He received PhD (4 years) and Postdoctoral fellowships (6 years) from the Flanders Research Foundation. Since 2010 he holds a position as BOF research professor at KU Leuven. Dr. Lories is a board member of OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International). He is also currently Scientific Chair of FOREUM (Foundation for Research in Rheumatology), Europe’s leading international rheumatology research funder. As past chair of the EULAR (European Alliance of Associations Against Rheumatism) Standing Committee on investigative rheumatology, he was a member of EULAR’s Executive Committee from 2014 to 2017. Currently, he is EULAR Chair of the Translational and Basic Research Subcommittee. He is also board member of the Royal Belgian Society of Rheumatology and Scientific Chair of the Rheumatology Research Fund Belgium. Currently, he serves as associate editor for the journals Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. He has (co-)authored > 210 publications, including original research reports or reviews in Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Communications, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, Nature Reviews Rheumatology, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and Arthritis and Rheumatology.


Tom Appleton, MD, PhD, FRCP

Chief, Rheumatology,

St. Josephs Health Care, London

Associate Professor

Department of Medicine 

Department of Physiology & Pharmacology

Western University



Dr. Tom Appleton is passionate about rheumatology research and clinical care. He was recruited to Western University in 2016 as a clinician-scientist and appointed Chief of Rheumatology at St. Joseph’s Health Care London in 2020. He is the founder and lead Principal Investigator of the Western Ontario Registry for Early Osteoarthritis (WOREO) Knee Study and the Synovial Translational Biology Laboratory at Western, studying the resolution of inflammation and discovering biological targets for disease modifying OA therapies. Dr. Appleton is a past director of the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA) and past chair of the Canadian Rheumatology Association Scientific Committee. He currently serves as clinical advisor to the Arthritis Society of Canada and chair of the ORA Informatics Committee.

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Cindy Boer

Assistant Professor,

Science Integrity Portfolio Manager,

Department of Internal Medicine,

Erasmus MC, University Medical Center,


Dr. Cindy Boer mainly focuses her work on (gene)omics research for osteoarthritis. Such as her work in the genetics of osteoarthritis consortium and her work on microbiome and osteoarthritis. She is passionate about science and highly values scientific integrity, thus when she encountered fake osteoarthritis publications (papermills) in her field, she decided to track and report them. Cindy works as assistant professor and science integrity portfolio manger at the department of internal Medicine at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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Yenisel Cruz-Almeida, MSPH, PhD

Tenured Associate Professor & UF Term Professor 2019-2022

Associate Director, Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence

Leader, Pilot & Exploratory Studies Core, Older American Independence Pepper Center

Department of Community Dentistry & Behavioral Science, College of Dentistry

Departments of Neuroscience, Epidemiology, College of Medicine

University of Florida

United States of America

Yenisel Cruz-Almeida, MSPH, PhD is a tenured Associate Professor in the Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry in the Departments of Community Dentistry & Behavioral Science, Neuroscience and Epidemiology. She is also the Associate Director of the Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence, serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute on Aging and is a member of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory part of the McKnight Brain Institute. Her Phenotyping & Assessment In Neuroscience (PAIN) laboratory applies multiple clinical and translational research methods including surveys, behavioral measures, quantitative sensory testing, multi-modal neuroimaging and blood biomarkers related to endocrine and immune function as well as the study of human epigenetic mechanisms. This focus stems from her previous multi-disciplinary research training across the fields of Epidemiology and Systems Neuroscience within the context of translational pain research. She is currently PI of multiple NIH funded awards focused on musculoskeletal pain and her body of work is documented in >100 peer-reviewed publications across the translational research continuum. She is the chair of the Neurobiology of Pain and Itch study section at the NIH Center for Scientific Review, Associate Editor of one of the top ranked pain journals (i.e., Journal of Pain) and serves on the Executive Board of Directors as Treasurer of the US Association for the Study of Pain, the leading organization for pain researchers in the US. Dr. Cruz-Almeida also has a strong commitment to training the next generation of scientists. She oversees the training and career development of post-doctoral and pre-doctoral trainees, supporting biomedical careers for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. At the national level, she also serves on the Executive Committee of the North American Pain School, where she organizes and brings together leading experts in the fields of pain research and management to provide a unique educational and networking experience for training the next generation of clinical translational pain researchers. Further, she mentors several early-stage investigators, and she is a certified “Master Mentor” and has earned certificates in multicultural mentoring.

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Igor Jurisica, PhD, DrSc

Senior Scientist, 

Osteoarthritis Research Program,

Division of Orthopedic Surgery,

Schroeder Arthritis Institute

Scientific Director,

World Community Grid 

Professor, Departments of Medical Biophysics & Computer Science,

Professor, Faculty of Dentistry,

University of Toronto 


Dr. Igor Jurisica is a Senior Scientist in the Osteoarthritis Research Program, Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Data Science Discovery Centre for Chronic Diseases, Krembil Krembil Research Institute. He is also a Professor at the University of Toronto and a Visiting Scientist at IBM CAS. Since 2015, he has serve as Chief Scientist at the Creative Destruction Lab, Rotman School of Management, and since 2021 he is the Scientific Director of the World Community Grid. His Research focuses on integrative informatics and the representation, analysis and visualization of high-dimensional data to identify prognostic/predictive signatures, determine clinically relevant combination therapies, and develop accurate models of drug mechanism of action and disease-altered signalling cascades. He has published extensively on data mining, visualization and integrative computational biology, including papers in Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Methods, J Clinical Oncology, and J Clinical Investigations. He has been included in Thomson Reuters 2014, 2015 and 2016 lists of Highly Cited Researchers, and The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2015 & 2014 Reports. In 2019, he has been included in the Top 100 AI Leaders in Drug Discovery and Advanced Healthcare list (Deep Knowledge Analytics).

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Douglas Phanstiel, PhD

Associate Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology,

Thurston Arthritis Research Center,

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

United States of America

Dr. Douglas Phanstiel is an associate professor of Cell Biology & Physiology and member of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin where his work focused on proteomics of human ES and iPS cells. He did his postdoctoral research at Stanford where he studied the role of 3D chromatin structure in gene regulation and cellular differentiation. His lab at UNC uses genomic and bioinformatic approaches to understand the genetics of human diseases including acute myeloid leukemia, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoarthritis (OA). Specifically, they map 3D chromatin structure, chromatin accessibility, and gene expression in primary human chondrocytes responding to OA-relevant stimuli to understand the functional effects of OA risk variants.

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Laura Stone, PhD

Professor, Department of Anesthesiology,

University of Minnesota

United States of America

Dr. Stone received her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in 1999. As a post-doctoral trainee at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, she was the first recipient of the John J. Bonica Post-Doctoral Training Fellowship from the International Association for the Study of Pain. After working in both biotechnology and academia, she joined the Faculty at McGill University in 2007, where she co-founded and directed the Quebec Back Pain Consortium. In 2020, she returned to the UMN as a Professor of Anesthesiology. Dr. Stone is an inventor on 7 patents, has received funding from both the NIH and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, has co-authored over 80 manuscripts. Current research projects utilize both pre-clinical models and patient populations to investigate the mechanisms underlying low back and musculoskeletal pain, the optimization of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments and the epigenetic regulation of chronic pain.

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