Hosts & Speakers 28. February 2021

Presenter: Sumi Somaskanda

Sumi Somaskanda is an American journalist living and working in Berlin since 2008. Sumi is currently a senior news anchor at DW News (Deutsche Welle), Germany's international broadcaster. She covers politics, breaking news, society, and economics for various international publications, including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, Global Post, and USA Today. Previously, she hosted "Studio Berlin," a current affairs show on KCRW Berlin, the city's NPR affiliate, and served as an editor of the Berlin Policy Journal at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). She is a member of the BMW Responsible Leaders Network and speaks German, Spanish, and Tamil in addition to her native English.

Speaker: Dr. Andrin Oswald

Andrin Oswald serves as CENTOGENE’s Chief Executive Officer.

He was most recently the Delegate for COVID-19 Vaccines and Immunotherapies for the Federal Government of Switzerland, helping develop response and procurement strategies while advising the Swiss government on key decisions. Prior to that, Andrin was Director of Life Science Industry Engagement and Partnerships at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before taking on this role, he oversaw business integration at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to joining GlaxoSmithKline, he spent more than 10 years in a variety of leadership roles at Novartis, including serving as Assistant to the Chairman and CEO of Novartis International AG; Country President for Novartis South Korea; Head of Global Development Franchises and a member of the Executive Committee for Novartis Pharma; and ultimately, CEO/Division Head of Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics and a member of the Novartis Executive Committee, based in Boston. Andrin began his career in 1999 with McKinsey & Company, where he worked in various roles managing relationships and supporting projects with leading pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies in Europe and the U.S.

Throughout his career, Andrin has also served on several boards, including the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development in Basel, Switzerland; the Global Health Innovation Technology Fund in Tokyo, Japan; and the Global Health Investment Corporation, where he was also a founding member.

Speaker: Christina Sartori

Christina Sartori is a graduate biologist who works as a freelance science journalist in Berlin. She studied biology with a focus on cell biology in Berlin, the USA and France. After completing her postgraduate studies in science journalism, she began internships at the Berliner Tagesspiegel, rbb Fernsehen and Voice of America.

From 2002 to 2010 she was editor in the science editorial department of WDR in Cologne, responsible for the topics of medicine and health. Christina Sartori works as reporter for public radio, TV and Online (Deutschlandfunk, WDR, ARD, Deutschlandfunk Nova) and she hosts radio broadcasts and events.

Speaker: Alba Ancochea

With a decade planning and implementing policies, programs and socio-health projects in the field of rare diseases, Alba Ancochea became CEO of the Spanish Federation of Rare Diseases (FEDER) covering over 380 patient organisations in 2013. Her team of almost 50 people are working on 25 specialized projects improving the quality of life of people living with a rare disease.

Alba Ancochea joined the EURORDIS Board of Directors in May 2017 representing FEDER on its Council of National Alliances, as well as the Council of Rare Diseases International. Alba is Advocacy Advisor for ALIBER, the Ibero-American Alliance of Rare Diseases and Representative of Patients Group at the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC). As part of her international activities, Alba is a key player in the development of the Rare Barometer Voices research developed by EURORDIS focusing on the affects of COVID-19 - a second barometer is foreseen.

Speaker: Dr. Luca Sangiorgi

Luca Sangiorgi, Director of Department of Rare Skeletal Diseases, is the coordinator of the Rare Diseases Centre of Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna (Italy) and responsible for four National Registers of Rare Disease. He is the coordinator of the European Reference Network on Rare Bone Disorders – ERN-BOND, one of the networks most involved in research on the impact of COVID-19 on rare disease patients. Moreover, Dr. Sangiorgi and colleagues set up a 24-hour Hotline to respond to patient concerns during the pandemic and is now developing an app to serve ongoing needs and future telemedicine functions.

Dr. Sangiorgi is also coordinating the BIOGEN, diagnostic and research genetic biobank, and Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks. He has co/authored more than 75 articles in medical journals.

Speaker: Begonya Nafria Escalera

Begonya Nafria Escalera is the Coordinator for Patient Engagement in Research and the Kids Barcelona Coordinator for the European Young Persons Advisory Group Network (eYPAGnet) at Sant Joan de Déu Children’s Hospital, in Barcelona. She is also a member of The European Forum for Good Clinical Practice (EFGCP) Children's Medicines working group and the working group of patients and families of the European Network for Paediatric Research of EMA (EnprEMA). In her role as Coordinator for Share4Rare, Nafria co-created a Registry for patients living with a rare disease and who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. This questionnaire-based study aims to better understand the effects and prognosis of this new virus.

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer, MD, serves as CENTOGENE’s Chief Genomic Officer, where he combines clinical and medical understanding in genetic testing with an excellent knowledge of the latest scientific development, based on his extraordinary experience, especially in high-throughput genetic testing using next-generation sequencing.

Peter received his board certification in Human Genetics in 2006 and headed the molecular diagnostic laboratory at the Institute of Medical Genetics and Applied Genomics at the University Hospital Tübingen. Additionally, he is Vice President of the German Society of Neurogenetics (DGNG). Peter has authored more than 140 publications in neurogenetics, oncogenetics, cardiogenetics, and sequencing technology.

Speaker: Martina Merten

Martina Merten is an award-winning healthcare journalist, health consultant and lecturer in Berlin, Germany with a focus on behavior change communication in low- and middle-income settings, health innovations around Covid-19 and medical technology markets for German healthcare industry.

Her articles are published in various trade magazines and medical journals such as The Lancet, Deutsches Ärzteblatt and DER SPIEGEL. Amongst her clients are the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Voice of German Industry. She lectures on global health issues in several universities in Germany, including the Charité University as well as the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.

Speaker: Prof. em. Dr. Huma Cheema

Huma Cheema serves as Head of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Department at the Children’s Hospital of Lahore. For many years, she has been contributing to medical progress in Pakistan and has pioneered the discipline of Pediatric Gastroenterology-Hepatology there.

Throughout her studies, Huma established a brilliant academic record – receiving recognition as a top graduate of Fatima Jinnah Med University and excelling at her examinations at Punjab University in 1984 and London University in 1995. After her studies, she trained at Guy’s Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, as well as the Great Ormond Street Hospital (formerly known as the Hospital for Sick Children) in London. Huma is also a world-renowned researcher, with more than 80 research publications & book chapters in international journals – truly spearheading medical insights for patients around the world.

Speaker: Atif Ejaz Qureshi

Atif Ejaz Qureshi is the President of Lysosomal Storage Disorders Society Pakistan, a nonprofit organization working to raise awareness for rare disorders. The organization also provides genetic counseling to affected families and campaigns for early diagnosis and effective therapies in Pakistan.

Atif got involved in the rare disease space and decided to advocate after both his daughters were diagnosed with Gaucher disease. He is currently working with a commercial bank as a full-time employee and voluntarily working on multiple projects with pharmaceutical companies and global patient groups.

Speaker: Dr. Jordi Pérez López

Dr. Jordi Pérez López serves as CENTOGENE’s Head of Patient Advice & Liaison.

Before taking on this role, he acted as Founder and Coordinator of the Rare Diseases Working Group of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine, founding President of the Association for the Development of Centres, Services and Reference Units for Adult Patients With Inborn Errors of Metabolism (ADCSUR) and member of the Expert Advisory Board of Rare Diseases for the Catalan Government in Spain. Previously, he created the Rare Disease Unit of Valle de Hebron Hospital (Barcelona, Spain), where he was responsible for the multidisciplinary coordination of patients with rare diseases and their transition to adulthood from pediatric care services.

Jordi is a Doctor of Medicine and Specialist in Internal Medicine.

Images displayed with permission to use by those featured.