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Special Lectures of the ESC

Special-named Lectures given each year during ESC Congress

The ESC chooses renowned scientists who, through original contributions and qualified investigation, are accepted by their peers as leading experts in their fields of knowledge.

They cover the areas of Clinical Cardiology, Interventional cardiology, Population Science and Basic Science. 

ESC Congress 2019 Named Lectures

C R Bezzina (Amsterdam, NL)

ESC William Harvey Lecture on Basic Science

When genetic burden reaches threshold

Connie Bezzina Photo.pngConnie Bezzina graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Malta in 1992 and obtained her PhD in Genetics from the same university in 1998. Thereafter, she joined the Department of Experimental Cardiology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center and was appointed Professor of Molecular Cardiogenetics in 2012. She conducts research on genetic factors underlying inherited cardiac disorders, focusing mainly on primary electrical disorders associated with sudden cardiac death. Her work considers the broad spectrum of genetic complexities of these disorders, ranging from monogenic to polygenic, and has pioneered the concept of polygenic inheritance in the rare rhythm disorders such as Brugada syndrome. To enable such studies, she established international consortia of researchers from all over the world, bringing together hundreds of patients. In an integrative approach her group also studies the identified genetic factors in induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes and gene-targeted mice in order to understand the causative mechanisms and identify preventive and therapeutic strategies. She has authored over 170 publications. In 2017 she was appointed a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

S James (Uppsala, SE)

ESC Paul Hugenholtz lecture for innovation

Creating a learning health care system of evidence generation by linking clinical registries, trials and biobanks

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Stefan James is Professor of Cardiology at Uppsala University, Scientific Director of Uppsala Clinical Research Center and a senior Interventional Cardiologist at Uppsala University Hospital Sweden. He is the president of the Swedish society of Cardiology and a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology. Professor James co-chaired the previous and current 2017 ESC guidelines for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, co-author of several of the recent European guidelines on ACS and revascularization.

Stefan James has served on executive steering committees for numerous international trials in cardiology. He has long served as the chairman of the Swedish Coronary and Angioplasty registry and a member of the steering committee of SWEDEHEART.  He has pioneered the concept of registry based randomized clinical trials. His research has been published in 400 peer-reviewed cardiology journals, and he is an associate editor of Circulation and an editorial board member for the European Heart Journal. Last year, he was named by Thomson Reuters as a ‘Highly Cited Researcher’, ranking him among the top 1% most cited in clinical medicine.


R Mehran (New York, USA)

ESC Andreas Grüntzig Lecture on Interventional Cardiology

The evolution of dual antiplatelets therapies/antithrombotic regimens in interventional cardiology: a thirty year journey

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Roxana Mehran, MD, FACC, FACP, FCCP, FESC, FAHA, MSCAI; Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is an internationally renowned clinical research expert in the field of interventional cardiology. As Director of the Center for Interventional Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials at Mount Sinai, she has built a globally-respected academic research center focused on developing randomized clinical trials, outcomes research projects and high impact academic publications. A prolific researcher, she has served as principal investigator for numerous global studies, developed risk scores for bleeding and acute kidney injury, participates regularly in developing clinical guidelines, and has authored >900 peer-reviewed articles. She is a founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) and recently founded Women as One, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing opportunities for women in medicine. Very active within professional organizations, Dr. Mehran has been the Chair of the Interventional Council for the American College of Cardiology (ACC); Program Chair of the 2016 Annual Scientific Sessions of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), where she is also a co-founder of the Women in Innovations (WIN) Committee; and is a member of the American Heart Association's (AHA) Go Red for Women Scientific Advisory Group. Prior to Mount Sinai, Dr. Mehran held appointments at Columbia University Medical Center and Washington Hospital Center. She completed fellowships in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Mehran is a recipient of the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


K Sliwa-Hahnle (Cape Town, ZA)

ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Sciences

Heart Failure - Can affect everyone

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Karen Sliwa is widely recognised as a world expert in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), with a particular interest in reducing mortality in women with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in maternity. She has contributed to better understanding on the pathophysiology, treatment options and awareness of peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), a global disease particularly prevalent in African populations. 

She leads several inter-Africa research projects, which have had a major impact for creating knowledge about CVDs common in Africa, leading to changes in policy.   Her considerable experience in setting up simple, cost-effective registries and web-based data entry platforms have had a major impact on planning several innovative research projects and has facilitated the training of physicians from several African countries, including Mozambique, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and Tanzania. Her research from bed-to-bench-to-bedside population studies have led to a much better understanding of CVDs in pregnant women and to improved care.

Professor Sliwa leads several high-profile special interest groups including a dedicated EORP Working Group on PPCM of the Heart Failure Association of European Society of Cardiology. Over her distinguished career she has served in many notable roles, including that of President of the South African Heart Association (2014-2016) and, currently, as President of the World Heart Federation (2019-2020).

I C Van Gelder (Groningen, NL)

ESC Rene Laennec Lecture on Clinical Cardiology

Atrial fibrillation: not just an arrhythmia

I Van Gelder Photo.pngIsabelle C. Van Gelder obtained her MD in Groningen, the Netherlands  in 1986, her PhD in 1991, completed cardiology training in 1994, and electrophysiology training in 1996. Since 1995 she is working as cardiologist at the University Medical Center Groningen. Since 2006 she is Professor of Cardiology at the University of Groningen. She is Board member of EHRA and chair of the EHRA membership pillar, Secretary/ Treasurer of the ESC Stroke Council., sand a visiting professor of the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. She was awarded with a Post Doc Netherlands Heart Foundation grant in 1994, an Interuniversity Cardiology Institute Netherlands post doc grant in 1995, and the Bert Talen medal in 2016 by the Netherlands Heart Rhythm Association. She received > €15 million research grants for atrial fibrillation research, published >300 peer reviewed papers, and is a promotor of > 15 PhD students. She is PI of >20 trials including the RACE trials and steering committee member of >15 international trials including EAST, AXAFA, ASSERT, RASTA-AF and STEEER AF. She is Task Force member of the ESC AF 2020 guidelines and Associate Editor of Europace. Her research focuses on understanding the susceptibility to atrial fibrillation and it adverse outcomes, and explores novel management strategies to prevent adverse outcomes in order to improve atrial fibrillation management.

Distinguished keynotes

G A Mensah (Bethesda, USA)  

The 2019 Bongani Mayosi memorial lecture: cardiovascular health research, training, and capacity building in low-income and middle-income countries

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Professor Mensah is Director, Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the US National Institutes of Health. He leads an effort to advance translational research and implementation science to address gaps in prevention, treatment, and control of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.  His goal is to maximize the population health impact of advances made in basic, clinical, and population science research.  Prof Mensah is an honors graduate of Harvard University.  He obtained his medical degree from Washington University and trained in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Cornell. His professional experience includes more than 25 years of public health service, direct patient care, teaching, and research at Cornell, Vanderbilt, and Medical College of Georgia. He is a Visiting full professor at the University of Cape Town. He has been admitted to fellowships at AHA, ACC, and ESC. He is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa.

H Ross (Toronto, CA)

ESC Awards Inspirational Career Lecture

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Heather Ross, MD, MHSc, FRCP (C), FACC, FCCS is the Head, Division of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is the Site Lead for the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and currently holds the Loretta A. Rogers Chair in Heart Function and the Pfizer Chair in Cardiovascular Research. She received her MD from the University of British Columbia, her Cardiology training at Dalhousie University, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiac Transplantation at Stanford University, California. She earned her MHSc in Bioethics from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Ross has had numerous leadership roles including President of the Canadian Society of Transplantation in 2005, Executive of the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation (ISHLT 2002 – 2005) and ISHLT Secretary Treasurer 2007-2010.   She has served 11 years over two terms on the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Council, and is a past president of the CCS. She spent 6 years on the Board of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy. She served 4 years on the Executive of the Heart Failure Society of America. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. She is the past Ted Rogers and Family Chair in Heart Function 2010-2017. She has published over 300 peer reviewed articles and won numerous teaching awards including the University of Toronto Teacher of the Year (2017), and the UHN Department of Medicine Michael Hutcheon Mentor Award (2017). In 2015, she was named by Canadian Geographic as one of the top 100 modern day explorers.

E Olson (Dallas, US) 

Eric Olson Photo.jpg Inspirational Lecture in Translational Science

Eric Olson is Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor and Chair of Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center where he is currently Professor and Chair.  He and his trainees discovered many of the key genes and mechanisms that control heart and muscle development and disease.  His most recent work has provided a new strategy for correction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using CRISPR gene editing. Dr. Olson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to design new therapies for heart muscle disease.

ESC Congress 2018 Named Lectures

SJ Connolly (Hamilton, CA)

ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Sciences

Prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation: 3 decades of progress - Where next?

 Stuart Connolly is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at McMaster University and cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton Ontario Canada. He has a Masters in philosophy from Fordham University and an MD from McGill University in Montreal. He received his specialist training in Cardiology at the University of Toronto and Stanford University.

Dr. Connolly is recognized internationally for his research specialising in the evaluation of treatments for heart rhythm disorders and prevention of stroke, particularly by means of large global randomised controlled trials. He has published more than 335 scientific articles over his career, including more than  30 articles in the New England Journal of Medicine.

MB Leon (New York, US) 

ESC Andreas Grüntzig Lecture on Interventional Cardiology

The interventional paradox: when more is more and when less is more

Martin B. Leon, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy (CIVT) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Previously, Dr. Leon was also the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and currently he serves on the Executive Board of the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Heart Valve Center.  Dr. Leon was the Founder of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) symposium and Chairman Emeritus of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) in New York City and is currently CRF’s Co-Director, Medical Research and Education Division.  TCT is the largest dedicated interventional cardiology meeting in the world and CRF is the largest independent not-for-profit cardiovascular research center in the world.

A distinguished pioneer in interventional cardiovascular medicine, Dr. Leon has been the national principal investigator for over 50 clinical trials that have helped shape the field including STRESS, STARS, Gamma-one, SIRIUS, ENDEAVOR, RESOLUTE, and most recently, the PARTNER trials, studying the value of transcatheter valve therapy for patients with aortic stenosis.  He has co-authored almost 2,000 peer reviewed scientific publications and abstracts, which have appeared in the most prestigious medical journals.  As a practicing interventional cardiologist, Dr. Leon has performed over 10,000 procedures during his career. 

He is the Founder and Director of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT), the world’s premier scientific symposium dedicated to interventional cardiovascular medicine, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. He has also been the Director or Co-Director of more than 100 international educational programs in the field. Dr. Leon has received 20 international career achievement awards and was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Athens.

Dr. Leon was previously the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Education at the Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute in New York as well as Director of Clinical Research at the Washington Cardiology Center at the Washington Hospital Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. He also served as a Clinical Associate, Senior Investigator, and Director of the Catheterization Laboratories in the Cardiology Branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He was a founder of the Washington Cardiology Center and the Cardiology Research Foundation in Washington, DC.

Dr. Leon received his medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine internship and residency as well as a cardiology fellowship at the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

F Maisano, FESC (Zurich, CH)

ESC Paul Hugenholtz lecture for innovation - Read more

Innovation in CV Medicine: Together we win

Francesco Maisano is the head of the Heart Center and Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at University Hospital of Zurich. He is a cardiac surgeon with large experience in standard cardiovascular treatments and innovative technologies, as well as  cross-trained in interventional cardiology, with specific focus on structural interventions.

He covers different international academic and scientific advisory roles, membership in professional associations, review and editorial boards activities. His main area of interest is structural heart disease, ranging from surgical to catheter-based therapies, with experience in the implementation of innovative therapies in clinical practice, focusing on training and education.

As inventor and innovator, he has filed more than 20 patents, and founded multiple start-up companies in the field of cardiovascular medicine. He has collaborated with multiple industry partners to  contribute to the research and development of a number of surgical and interventional devices currently available for clinical use.

D Newby, FESC (Edinburgh, UK)

ESC Rene Laennec Lecture on Clinical Cardiology

Cardiovascular imaging for the future: it’s chalk and cheese

David Newby is British Heart Foundation John Wheatley Chair of Cardiology at the University of Edinburgh. He is Director of Edinburgh Clinical Research and Imaging Facilities and a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He has major interests in experimental medicine and the advanced imaging of cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease, aortic stenosis and heart failure. He has been involved in several multicentre trials and has played a major role in the conduct of the SALTIRE (British Heart Foundation funded Scottish Aortic stenosis Lipid lowering Trial, Impact on REgression) and 3CPO (Health Technology Assessment trial of non-invasive ventilation for acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema) trials. He is Chief Investigator for the SCOT-HEART trial funded by the Chief Scientist Office; a national multicentre randomised controlled trial of computed tomography coronary angiography. He has recently developed the use of positron emission tomography in a range of cardiovascular diseases.

SG Priori, FESC (Pavia, IT) 

ESC William Harvey Lecture on Basic Science

Genetic engineering to mend the Heart

Professor Priori received her Degree in Medicine in 1985 at Milan University, her specialization in Cardiology in 1989 at Milan University and her PhD in Cardiovascular Pathophysiology at Milan University. She is Global Scientific Director of Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri (ICS MAUGERI) SpA SB, Full Professor of Cardiology since 2014 in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of Pavia (Italy), Director of the Molecular Cardiology Unit at the Centro National de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) Madrid Spain and at the ICS MAUGERI in Pavia, Italy. She is best known for her work on genetics and pathophysiology of genetic cardiac arrhythmias and, in the last years, for Genetic Therapy of these diseases. The translational research conducted in her laboratories ranges from molecular studies in induced-pluripotent stem cells derived myocytes used as a disease model to functional investigations in transgenic animals and to the development of gene therapies. On the clinical and several landmark studies in the field of inherited arrhythmias have identified novel therapies, developed risk stratification schemes and contributed to the definition of clinical management for patients with inherited arrhythmias.

ESC Congress 2017 Named Lectures

The Named lectures take place in the corresponding villages on Sunday 27 August. This year the Named Lecture is followed by the Young Investigator Awards session on the same topic.

S Capewell, FESC (Liverpool, UK)

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08:30 ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Sciences 

Can we eradicate premature cardiovascular deaths?

Simon trained in general, respiratory and cardiovascular medicine in Newcastle, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Oxford. He was appointed as the first Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in the University of Liverpool in 1999.

Simon enjoys facilitating multidisciplinary research teams, mentoring colleagues and writing papers and grant applications. He manages a research programme mainly involving cardiovascular disease (CVD) and food policy, with well over three hundred publications and funding thus far totalling over £25 million from EU, NIH, BHF, MRC & NIHR. Simon is Vice President (Policy) for the UK Faculty of Public Health, previous President of the Society for Social Medicine and a Trustee for the FPH, for the UK Health Forum, and for Heart of Mersey.

He has recently chaired/participated in a dozen national /international policy and prevention committees, including Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (Obesity), Obesity Health Alliance,  NICE, American Heart Association, European Society of Cardiology and WHO.

C Boileau (Paris, FR)


14:00 ESC William Harvey Lecture on Basic Science 
PCSK9: a journey of discovery from genetics to clinical trials

Professor Catherine Boileau is current Head of the Genetics Department at Bichat University Hospital in Paris, and Professor of Medical Genetics at University Paris Diderot. She is also Director of Research of the Northern Paris University hospitals (AP-HP). She has headed INSERM research teams since 1994. Presently she co-heads the “Structural cardiovascular diseases” Team at INSERM U1148 (Laboratory for Vascular Translational Science). Her research interests focus on identifying the genetic component of vascular diseases, through the identification of disease genes, susceptibility factors and modifier genes in two models of inherited diseases: familial hypercholesterolemia and inherited thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection.

Professor Boileau has authored more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed international journals. Professor Boileau headed for 5 years the Scientific Advisory Board of the French Rare Diseases Foundation and is an active member of the French National Atherosclerosis Society, the European and American societies of Human Genetics and Cardiology. She is also a member of the Directoire (Governing board) and the CME (Medical Board) of the Paris University Hospitals (AP-HP).

MC Morice, FESC (Massy, FR)

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14:00 ESC Andreas Grüntzig Lecture on Interventional Cardiology 
The revolution in the treatment of patients with aortic stenosis


Dr Morice is an interventional cardiologist with more than 30 years of experience as Head of the highest-volume PCI centers in the Greater Paris Area (CCN, ICPS). A fellow of the ESC and the ACC, Honorary Professor of the Universidad Del Salvador in Buenos Aires and a Senior Consulting Adviser to EuroPCR, she is a guest lecturer and chairperson at all major international Cardiology scientific sessions. Dr Morice has been involved in multiple landmark research trials such as RAVEL and SYNTAX as a Primary Investigator and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. She is the President and Medical Director of the European Center for Cardiovascular Research (CERC). In 2013,  Dr Morice  was designated Best  Interventional Cardiologist in France and in 2014 she received the CHIEN award during ASIA PCR and the  Geoffrey O. Hartzler Master Operator Award at TCT 2014 for her career achievements.

GA Derumeaux, FESC (Creteil, FR) 

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14:00 ESC Rene Laennec Lecture on Clinical Cardiology 
Adipose tissue and myocardial ageing


More on the named lectures