INVEST IN ME RESEARCH
10th International Biomedical Research into ME Colloquium
2 - 3 June 2021
The 10th Biomedical Research into ME Research Colloquium is taking place on 2 - 3 June 2021.
This year, due to the pandemic, the event will be held as a virtual event.
Bringing Researchers Together
BRMEC10 Colloquium - New format, New ideas
A new format for the Colloquium is being made this year due to the pandemic. A virtual meeting replaces the annual physical meeting and a new approach is planned to bring forward discussions and assist in future research. We hope this will aid in linking the jigsaw pieces together.
In replacing the annual London event with a a virtual event we are using the different opportunities
presented by this format to bring forward new ideas to stimulate discussions between researchers.
Every Colloquium has aimed to improve understanding, collaboration and cooperation.
With developments around research into Long Covid and with the similarities of some symptoms to those experienced by people with ME then this topic will be also added to the agenda.
For BRMEC10 we will present a new approach and a new format to the meeting in order to try to make a step-change in thinking and aid everyone
Working with Invest in ME Research will be the European ME Research Group (EMERG) who have been tasked with forming the agenda.
A number of hypotheses will be proposed concerning ME - all leading back to the aetiology of the disease.
This will be augmented by reference to long covid.
The hypotheses will be discussed by researchers.
Welcome to BRMEC10
Day 1 of the Colloquium.
BRMEC10 is the tenth Biomedical Research into ME Colloquium organised by the charity.
All delegates to BRMEC10 will have received instructions on joining the meeting via email beforehand including information
about the topics under discussion.
Each day will begin promptly at the published times.
The Colloquium begins with an overview of the current status of research and has presentations from different areas.
Speakers are to be announced.
Epidemiology of ME (and Covid)
This section will look at the epidemiological evidence related to ME as well as reviewing the recent accruement of knowledge from COVID-19 research.
Hypotheses discussed include historical evidence for infectious agents including environmental and endogenous viruses and
bacteria being associated with the onset and “outbreaks” of ME/CFS
in relation to COVID-19, genetically susceptible individuals are at increased risk of developing ME/CFS after SARS-CoV-2 infection resulting in an increase of symptoms fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of ME/CFS amongst infected individuals.
Speakers will represent these hypotheses which will then be discussed by delegates.
Professor Markku Partinen
Professor of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
Professor Partinen is a neurologist and an internationally well-known opinion leader and expert in sleep research and sleep medicine.
He is currently working as Research Director of the Helsinki Sleep Clinic, Vitalmed Research Centre.
He works also at Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, and at Akademiska Sjukhuset, University of Uppsala.
His expertise covers sleeping, nutrition (what to eat), and other aspects of modern life and well-being.
His current research projects include narcolepsy, Parkinson's disease, insomnia, traffic accidents and daytime sleepiness.
He has published more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, several books and chapters.
He was recently (Now 2015) elected as the new President of the Finnish Parkinson Association. Professor Partinen is also a member of the European ME Research Group (EMERG) and European ME Clinicians Council (EMECC).
Professor Friðbjörn Sigurðsson
Dr Friðbjörn Sigurdsson is Program Director Internal Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital in Rejkjavik, Iceland.Friðbjörn
- Program Director Internal Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital (since October 1 2013)
- Attending Medical Oncology, Landspitali University Hospital (since April 1 2001)
- Attending Hematology, Landspitali University Hospital (part time since May 2009)
- Medical Oncology and Hematology, Akureyri Hospital (part time since June 2010)
- Chief Internal Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital
- Chief Medical Council Landspitali University Hospital, Iceland
- Attending, Oncology, Landspitali Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
- Attending, Internal Medicine, Reykjavik City Hospital, Iceland
- Læknasetrið – private practice, Reykjavik, Iceland
- Chief Internal Medicine, Neskaupstadur Hospital, Iceland
- Chief Internal Medicine Vestman Islands Hospital, Iceland
- Stykkishólmur, heilsugæsla og sjúkrahús.
Professor Leonard Jason, DePaul University, Chicago,USA
Professor Leonard Jason has been among the most prolific of all ME/CFS researchers. For more than a decade, Dr Jason and his team at DePaul University’s
Centre for Community Research in Chicago have worked to define the scope and impact of ME/CFS worldwide. Dr Jason
has been a key driver of ME/CFS research since 1991, and is
uniquely positioned to support collaboration between ME/CFS researchers, patients, and government decision makers. His studies have shown
that the direct and indirect costs of ME/CFS amount to $20 billion in the U.S. each year, and more than 1 million people suffer from ME/CFS as
opposed to the estimated 20,000 people originally reported by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Dr Hilma Hólm, Head of Cardiovascular, DeCode Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland
Hilma received her medical degree from the University of Iceland in 2000.
She completed her internal medicine training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and her clinical cardiology training at Emory University in Atlanta.
She then pursued research training in cardiovascular genetics at deCODE in Iceland.
Hilma has been on faculty at deCODE since 2008 and currently leads the company´s cardiovascular effort.
She is actively involved in a wide range of cardiovascular research, including lipids and atherosclerosis, conduction and arrhythmias, congenital heart disesae and heart failure.
Hilma also completed training in clinical echocardiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 2014, and is actively involved with patient care at Landspitalinn,
the National University Hospital.
ANS and Autoimmunity
Hypothesis: Autonomic dysfunction and autoantibodies
Dr Jesper Mehlsen
Research Director, Coordinating Research Centre, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Denmark
Co-chair European ME Research Group
Autonomic nervous system; Heart rate and blood pressure control; Cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology;
HPV vaccines and -complications
Main research areas Methods for the study of autonomic cardiovascular control; Mathematical modelling of cardiovascular control; Autoimmune response to vaccination; Mathematical modeling of the neuroinflammatory reflex
Current research Mathematical analysis of hemodynamic adaptations to the upright posture.
Mathematical analysis of hemodynamic response to Valsalva manoeuvre
Dynamic T-wave alterations and the autonomic nervous system
Mathematical analysis of cytokine response to LPS in humans
Autoimmunity in patients with possible side effects to HPV vaccination
Hypothesis: Mitochondrial metabolic dysfunction in ME
During this session, we will discuss potential causes of this mitochondrial metabolic dysfunction in ME, how it may relate to PEM and fatigue, and if attempts to revert it by pharmaceutical and diet manipulation will reverse or worsen ME symptom burden.
Associate Professor Rikke Katrine Jentoft Olsen
Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark
Our research group has a longstanding interest in inborn errors of mitochondrial metabolism with special focus on fatty acid oxidation disorders. We integrate genetic diagnostics of affected families with research into cell pathological mechanisms and novel treatment modalities in the form of mitochondrial vitamins/co-factors and anaplerotic compounds for the tricarboxylic acid cycle. In recent years, we have initiated research programs to understand the role that mitochondria may play in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
Besides science, Rikke KJ Olsen is an active member of the Neonatal Screening Program for inborn errors of metabolism in Denmark and board member of international scientific organisations within fatty acid oxidation disorders and ME/CFS.
Professor Karl Johan Tronstad
Professor Tronstad completed his graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Bergen (UiB) in 2002. As postdoc at the Haukeland University Hospital, he studied bioactive compounds with the potential to modulate mitochondrial functions in cancer cells. In 2005 he was recruited to the Department of Biomedicine, UiB, where he started his research group to investigate metabolism and mitochondrial physiology. His laboratory seeks to better our understanding of how defective mitochondrial homeostasis may disturb cell physiology, and how this may be involved in mechanisms of cancer and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
Karl was involved with the recent paper to come from Bergen - Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.
The Tronstad Lab investigates cell metabolism and mitochondrial biology.
Metabolism, Cell biology, Mitochondria, Biochemistry
Dr. Bhupesh K Prusty, Principal Investigator, Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Würzburg, Germany
Dr. Bhupesh Prusty is Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany
Dr. Bhupesh Prusty finished his Doctoral studies in New Delhi, India and afterwards started his professional scientific life in Germany in 2006 with Prof. Harald zur Hausen.
Afterwards he started his own research group in 2014 and since then he has been involved with herpesvirus research. As an independent researcher, he has made significant discoveries to understand molecular mechanisms of HHV-6/HHV-7 latency and reactivation. His major achievements include identifying molecular mechanism of HHV-6 reactivation by telomeric-circle formation, the finding of HHV-6A infection in neuronal Purkinje cells of bipolar patients and the characterization of mitochondrial dysfunction in ME/CFS.
His current research interest involves studying molecular biology of HHV-6/HHV-7 encoded small non-coding RNAs and their potential role in human diseases.
Professor Tom Wileman, Quadram Institute, Norwich,UK
2007- present Director, Biomedical Research Centre, University of East Anglia
1997-2005 Head of Department of Immunology and Pathology, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, Woking, Surrey.
1994-1997 Head, Virus Cell Biology Group, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright Laboratory, Woking, Surrey.
1991-1996 Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston USA.
1991 - 1994 Assistant Professor, Division of Immunology, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
1988-1992 Claudia Adam's Barr Investigator in Cancer Research, Fellow of the Medical Foundation of the Charles King Trust and Basil O'Connor Scholar Award of the March of Dimes Research Foundation, Dept Molecular Immunology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
1982-1988 BBSRC NATO Fellow and Fellow of the Parker Francis Pulmonary Research Foundation. Department of Cell Biology, Washington University Medical School, St Louis.
The Wileman group at the Quadram Institute studies how viruses activate autophagy during cell entry and replication.
Dr Amolak Bansal
Consultant Immunologist, Spire Hospitals, Surrey, UK
Previously, Consultant in Immunology/Allergy and CFS/ME, Department of Immunology and Allergy, St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, Surrey.
Professor Aletta D. Kraneveld
Chair Interdisciplinary Translational Pharmacology| Division of Pharmacology | Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences | Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University , Netherlands
Aletta Kraneveld, full professor Interdisciplinary Translational Pharmacology at the Faculty of Science and the faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Utrecht University
has published over 100 papers (H-index: 35).
Besides science, she is an active member of several (advisory) boards of national and international scientific organisations.
The Kraneveld group is focused on research into the role of the gut-immune-brain-axis in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders including the interaction of microbiota and their fermentation products with the immune and nervous system.
Professor Elisa Oltra, Head of the Genetic Expression and Immunity group of the Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain
Elisa Oltra currently works at the Catholic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Elisa does research in Cancer Research, Cell Biology and Genetics.
Professor Kristian Sommerfelt, Paediatric Neurologist at Haukeland University hospital in Bergen, Norway
Professor Kristian Sommerfelt is a paediatric neurologist at Haukeland University hospital in Bergen, NorwayKristian Sommerfelt
Professor Sommerfelt wrote the national guidelines (2019) for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of ME/CFS children/ young people for the website NEL (Norsk Elektronisk Legehåndbok) - which is a web-based methods used the most by general practitioner doctors and also used extensively in hospitals. Over the last eight years he has given lectures and presentations at courses and conferences for health professionals and others in addition to teaching medical students.
Professor Maureen Hanson, Cornell University, USA
Maureen R. Hanson is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics. She received a B.S. degree at Duke University and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. After completing an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, she joined the faculty of the Biology Department at University of Virginia. She moved to Cornell as Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor in 1991. She is presently a member of the graduate Fields of Genetics and Development, Plant Biology, and Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology. She has previously served as Associate Director of the Cornell Biotechnology Program and Director of the Cornell Plant Science Center. She is currently Director for the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease.
Dr Linn Skjevling
Doctor and research fellow
Research and Education Unit
SUMMARY - DAY 1
Day 1 summary
Welcome to BRMEC10
Day 2 of the Colloquium.
OVERVIEW of DAY 2
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Hypothesis -Immune and Immune genetic factors drive the development and progression of ME/CFS
Hypothesis: Host microbe interactions that affect the gut brain axis can predispose to ME/CFS
Hypothesis: Therapeutic strategies should target the triggering and subsequent signalling events that cause the hallmark clinical symptoms of ME.
SUMMARY - DAY 2
Day 2 summary
Research tools for ME/CFS-related data and biospecimens
Two new research tools developed by RTI International, the Data Management and Coordinating Center for the NIH-funded
ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) Network, are now available to help advance ME/CFS research by allowing researchers
to access and share data and biospecimens.
An online data sharing platform that allows researchers to discover, share, and access data from multi-omic studies.
The platform was initially developed to support the ME/CFS Network CRCs that employ a variety of research methods (e.g., microbiome screens, RNA sequencing, mitochondrial assays, metabolomic assays) to identify potential biomarkers and study the underlying cause(s) of ME/CFS. mapMECFS allows researchers to search the contents of data sets across multiple studies, quickly compare results for specific molecules or markers of interest, and download relevant data to be used for exploration or validation studies. Additionally, mapMECFS encourages and facilitates sharing of new data by capturing key study metadata to make results easier to find.
An online, interactive search tool that allows researchers to query and request available biospecimens (e.g., DNA, RNA, urine, plasma, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells) based on specific demographic and clinical characteristics. The initial cohort, the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, was a research study supported by the Hutchins Family Foundation. Biospecimens and associated data were collected from 201 individuals with ME/CFS and 200 matched controls. The biospecimens are housed at the NINDS’ biomarker repository at Indiana University, and the data are hosted by RTI International. Investigators may also request access to just the clinical data for analysis. Additional cohorts’ biospecimens and datasets will be available in the future.
this section is open to all delegates to discuss the preceding presentations
To be announced
To be announced
To be confirmed
To be confirmed
Dr Aimée Parker, Research Associate, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norwich, UK
Dr Stefano Romano, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norwich, UK
Assistant Professor Bradlee Heckmann, University of South Florida, Health, Neuroscience Institute, Byrd Alzheimer's Center, USA
Bradlee L. Heckmann is an American biologist and neuroimmunologist who is currently an investigator at the Byrd Alzheimer's Center and USF Health Neuroscience Institute and assistant professor in molecular medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Prior to his faculty appointment, Heckmann held the John H. Sununu Endowed Fellowship in immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Heckmann's research is focused on understanding the regulation of inflammatory processes in the central nervous system, with particular emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's Disease and the role of the autophagy machinery in this setting. Source: Wikipedia
Dr. Gerd Wallukat, UMax-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin, Germany
Dr. Wallukat led the research team that discovered the role of autoantibodies in dilated cardiomyopathy. He has been instrumental in investigating the role and function of autoantibodies in heart disease and other conditions at the Max-Delbrück-Center of Molecular Medicine in Berlin.
Dr. Wallukat also co-founded Affina Immuntechnik GmbH to to develop an adsorber for the new therapeutic option of immunoadsorption.
He is currently researching new ways to neutralize pathogenic autoantibodies without immunoadsorption.
Dr. Wallukat studied biology in Berlin and Leipzig and began his scientific work at the Institute of Cardiovascular Research of the Academy of Sciences with Prof. A. Wollenberger. After the unification of Germany he worked as head of a working group at the Max Delbrück Center of Molecular Medicine examining the immunology of cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Avindra Nath, Clinical Director / Senior Investigator, Section of Infections of the Nervous System, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), USA
Dr. Nath received his MD degree from Christian Medical College in India in 1981 and completed a residency in Neurology from University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, followed by a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and Neurovirology at the same institution and then a fellowship in Neuro-AIDS at NINDS.
He held faculty positions at the University of Manitoba (1990-97) and the University of Kentucky (1997-02).
In 2002, he joined Johns Hopkins University as Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections.
He joined NIH in 2011 as the Clinical Director of NINDS, the Director of the Translational Neuroscience Center and Chief of the Section of Infections of the Nervous System.
His research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of retroviral infections of the nervous system and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for these diseases.
- Nath A. Neuroinfectious diseases: a crisis in neurology and a call for action. JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(2):143-4.
- Uzasci L, Auh S, Cotter RJ, Nath A. Mass spectrometric phosphoproteome analysis of HIV-infected brain reveals novel phosphorylation sites and differential phosphorylation patterns. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2016;10(2):126-35.
- Li GH, Anderson C, Jaeger L, Do T, Major EO, Nath A. Cell-to-cell contact facilitates HIV transmission from lymphocytes to astrocytes via CXCR4. AIDS. 2015;29(7):755-66.
- Johnson TP, Patel K, Johnson KR, Maric D, Calabresi PA, Hasbun R, Nath A. Induction of IL-17 and nonclassical T-cell activation by HIV-Tat protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(33):13588-93.
- Douville RN, Nath A. Human endogenous retroviruses and the nervous system. Handb Clin Neurol. 2014;123:465-85.
- Long-Haul COVID
Dr. Brian Walitt, Medical Officer, Symptom Management Branch, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Nursing Research, USA
Dr. Brian Walitt’s research seeks to better define the nature of chronic symptoms. His expertise in epidemiology allows for the characterization of symptom disorders and their impact
As NINR’s Medical Officer, Dr. Walitt collaborates with the scientists in the Division of Intramural Research to understand the biological mechanisms for a wide array of symptoms, including their effects on patients and how patients respond to interventions.
Increasing scientific understanding of the nature of symptoms will provide these individuals and their families with more clarity about their symptoms and potentially translate into meaningful interventions.
Serves as the Acting Clinical Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Serves as the Medical Officer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Completed his Internal Medicine residency training at George Washington University Hospital and his Rheumatology fellowship training at the MedStar Health Washington Hospital Center
Served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University
Emeritus Professor Warren Tate, Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, New Zealand
Emeritus Professor Warren Tate
from University of Otago in New Zealand - is an internationally respected biochemist, winner of the Royal Society of
New Zealand's top science honour - the 2010 Rutherford Medal, and was also named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
His honour citation noted that Professor Tate was a molecular biologist, whose research had "revolutionised understanding" of how proteins were synthesised in living cells. His research had shown how proteins contributed to memory formation and neurological disease, and had important implications for HIV, Alzheimer's and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Emeritus Professor Warren Tate FRSNZ CNZM
• Professor Warren Tate has been an academic and researcher at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand spanning 54 years.
• He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and internationally, a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany, and was an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the United States.
• He is currently an Emeritus Professor working full time but having formally retired in 2020
• Professor Tate’s research currently has a strong interest in unexplained human diseases.
• Initially he was a discovery molecular biologist with a fundamental interest in how proteins are made in our cells, and how protein synthesis and the genetic code arose 3-4 billion years ago. He co-discovered a new rare mechanism of gene regulation, translational frameshifting.
• Professor Tate also works on mammalian memory and Alzheimer’s disease and the development of a potential therapeutic agent based on a natural neuroprotective brain protein, secreted amyloid precursor protein alpha.
• Most recently in 2012 he established a research programme on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) focussing on preclinical studies with New Zealand patients.
• Professor Tate approaches research on ME/CFS through the dual lens of an affected family of 30 years and a biomedical researcher. He has found molecular signatures for the illness supporting its biological basis and is now studying whether Post Covid-syndrome (Long COVID) long haulers who have ongoing illness from SARS-CoV-2 infection have the same molecular signatures found in ME/CFS.
Professor Tate is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry.
He has been a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany, and an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the United States.
Professor Dr. Tanja Lange, Department of Rheumatology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
After Medical School Prof. Lange combined her clinical training in Internal Medicine with basic research on sleep-immune interactions in healthy individuals in the frame of DFG-funded interdisciplinary consortia on sleep and (immunological) memory formation. After her board certification and habilitation in Internal Medicine, she started her clinical training in Rheumatology, received a professorship for psychoneuroimmunology and currently delineates brain-immune interactions in patients with systemic autoimmune diseases.
Time Conversions from Central European Time(CET)
ANS and Autoimmunity
Mitochondrial Metabolic Dysfunction in ME
Participating in BRMEC10
The annual Invest in ME Research International Biomedical Research Colloquium has been established as a closed symposium for biomedical researchers to share data and ideas.
We are interested in progressing our goals of encouraging international collaboration in investigating this disease which will lead to discovery of aetiology and/or development of effective treatments.
For biomedical researchers who are interested in attending the BRMEC* Colloquiums then please use our contact form to discuss attendance.
We also invite participation from outside the field of ME where it may assist existing researchers.
Past BRMEC Colloquiums
The Invest in ME Research public Conferences began in 2006 – providing a platform for biomedical research into ME and to allow
researchers, clinicians and patients to come together and share experiences and knowledge
In 2011 the charity decided to create a forum for researchers – a place where international researchers could meet and discuss and collaborate.
This formed our Biomedical Research into ME Colloquium – bringing together the best biomedical research from around the world and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and development of ideas around biomedical research into ME - always in the heart of London.
This would create a family of international researchers who could work together for the benefit of people with ME.
The Colloquiums continue to grow in size every year and now regularly attract researchers from fifteen countries - the largest gathering of the world's biomedical researchers for ME in London with excellent opportunities for networking amongst peers.
Bringing together researchers from around the world to bring new ideas to ME research and review implications from research into long covid
Use our website references in the sitemap to view other work performed by Invest in ME Research.