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IMI welcomes new experts to its Scientific Committee


For immediate release

  • New members are leading experts in genetics, cancer, health economics, molecular biology, rheumatology, pharmacology, and bioinformatics.
  • The members are based in Germany, France, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland
  • 12-strong committee already boasts experts on cancer, health technology assessment, regulatory affairs, stem cell research, and drug discovery

BRUSSELS, 29 November 2013 – Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) welcomes seven new members to its Scientific Committee. The experts, who come from across Europe, were nominated by IMI’s States Representatives Group and appointed by the Governing Board.

The Scientific Committee’s role is to provide the IMI Governing Board and Executive Office with strategic, scientific advice, for example on the IMI research agenda, the annual scientific priorities (which form the basis of the Call topics), and the composition of peer review committees. They also promote IMI by acting as ‘ambassadors’ for the organisation.

In addition, the Scientific Committee participates in the consultations on new topics for Calls for proposals, and plays an active role in reviews of ongoing IMI projects.

The new members of the committee are:

  • Johan Askling, Professor of Rheumatology and Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. Professor Askling’s expertise includes chronic inflammatory diseases and the safety of biological therapies.
  • Janusz Bujnicki, Professor of Biological Sciences at Warsaw’s International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Poland. Professor Bujnicki’s work includes theoretical and experimental research on DNA and proteins.
  • Maria Beatriz Da Silva Lima, Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmacotoxicology at Lisbon University in Portugal. Professor Da Silva Lima’s expertise includes metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes.
  • Pierre Laurent-Puig, Professor of Oncology at the Paris Descartes Medical School in Paris, France. Professor Laurent-Puig’s research focuses on the molecular biology and genetics of cancer, among other things.
  • Markus Perola, Research Professor in the Institute for Health and Welfare at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Professor Perola’s expertise is in genetics and other risk factors for common diseases, and in public health matters and prevention.
  • Torsten Schwede, Professor for Bioinformatics at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Professor Schwede’s research covers bioinformatics and knowledge management
  • Leonie Sundmacher, Professor for Health Services Management at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. Professor Sundmacher has expertise in health economics.

IMI Executive Director Professor Michel Goldman commented: ‘IMI’s Scientific Committee provides excellent, well-thought-out advice to IMI on all aspects of our work. I am looking forward to working with the new members over the coming years and am convinced that IMI will benefit immensely from their wisdom and experience.’

The new members’ mandate runs until 2015. They join five existing members who are half way through their mandates:

  • Karin Forsberg-Nilsson, Professor of Stem Cell Research, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Jens Heisterberg, Chief Medical Officer, Danish Medicines Agency, Denmark
  • Carole Longson, Executive Director, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, UK
  • Françoise Meunier,  Director General, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Belgium
  • Daniele Piomelli, Director, Drug Discovery and Development (D3) Research Unit, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT); Italy


Notes to Editors

  • Biographies of all Scientific Committee members are available in this Annex, or can be downloaded from
  • Dr Albert Jovell, Director of the Global Institute of Health Policy and Public Health at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) and President of the Spanish Patient Forum, was also appointed as a new member of the Scientific Committee. Sadly, he died on 26 November 2013. IMI sends its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. A new member of the Scientific Committee will now be selected based on the list provided by the States Representatives Group.


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Catherine Brett – Communication and Events Manager
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About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest public-private partnership in health. IMI is improving the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe by engaging and supporting networks of industrial and academic experts in collaborative research projects. The European Union contributes €1 billion to the IMI research programme, and this is matched by in kind contributions worth at least another €1 billion from the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

The Innovative Medicines Initiative currently supports 42 projects, many of which are already producing impressive results. The projects are all working to address the biggest challenges in drug development, with the goal of accelerating the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients.

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