Chairs and Speakers – V

Chairs and Speakers – V


Pierre Van Damme
Main position/role: Professor in Vaccinology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Prof. Dr. Pierre Van Damme obtained his MD from the University of Antwerp, in 1984 and was for more than 35 years active in vaccine research. Since 2000 he is full professor in Vaccinology at the University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Pierre Van Damme is director of the Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV, University of Antwerp), which he founded in 1994. The CEV is a WHO Collaborating Centre for the WHO European Region for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. Pierre Van Damme has authored more than 550 peer-reviewed papers and obtained several awards: the Research Award of the University of Antwerp, the Belgian Social Medicine Award ‘Jean Van Beneden’ for his work on the introduction of universal hepatitis B immunization programs; the prestigious Bill Marshall award of the ESPID society (2014); the ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) with the European Outstanding Leadership Award (2017); the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Foundation 2017); the Balmis distinction Award (Almeria, Spain, 2017), the AHA Antwerp Innovation award (2019) and the scientific communication award UAntwerpen (2021). He is a member of the Belgian Royal Academy of  Medicine since 2008.

Paola Velardi
Main position/role:
Full Professor of Machine Learning, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Paola Velardi is a full professor with the Department of Computer Science at Sapienza University of Roma. Her main research interests are in the areas of text processing, networks, machine learning, and knowledge-bases. Applications of interest are in the areas of social networks, e-health, e-learning, bioinformatics, recommender systems, cultural heritage. She published more than 150 papers on international journals, books and conferences, among which several top rated journals such as Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Based Systems, IEEE Transactions (TDKE, PAMI, TOC, TSE), Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Journal of Web Semantics, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, IEEE Journal on Biomedical and Health Informatics, etc. She has more than 6400 citations on Google Scholar (GS h-index 38). For a list, see my Google citations page –


Stefano Vella
Main position/role:
Italian Delegate to Horizon Europe (Health Cluster) European Commission

Stefano received his degree in Medicine from the University of Rome and subsequently achieved specialty degrees in both Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine.  Stefano is currently a member of the Italian Delegation to Horizon Europe Research Program, a Senior Consultant  to UNITAID and and Co-Chair of T20 Italy, Global Health and COVID19.  In addition Stefano holds roles as Adjunct Professor Global Health at the Catholic University of Rome,  Associate Professor Clinical Research Methodology at the University of Tor Vergata, and Research Associate, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet. In his position as Vice-President of the Friends of Global Fund – Europe,  Stefano is working for the promotion of Global Funds in the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, building partnerships/alliances with key high-level stakeholders and with political decision-makers and has also recently been appointed as Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Health for G20 / G7. 

Paolo Villari
Main position/role:
Full Professor of Hygiene, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Paolo Villari is Full Professor of Hygiene in Sapienza University of Rome. He is a MD specialized in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine. He was Visiting Scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, where he obtained his Master Degree in Public Health (1991-1993) and Guest Investigator at the Laboratory of Microbiology of the Rockefeller University (1995-1996). Paolo Villari is the President of the National Verification Committee for the elimination of measles and rubella in Italy. Paolo Villari’s scientific interests include systematic reviews and meta-analysis, health care management and molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases. He co-authored more than 200 articles (H-index = 35).rnals.

Massimo Volpe
Main position/role:
Full professor of Cardiology – Chief of the Cardiology Division, Sant’Andrea Hospital – Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Professor of Cardiology and Chairman of Cardiology at the Specialty School of Cardiology, University of Rome “Sapienza”. He is Chief of the Cardiology Division, Respiratory Science Department at Sant’Andrea Hospital – Rome, Italy. He is also Past Dean of Faculty of medicine and Psychology, University of Rome Sapienza and Pro-Rector Research Planning University of Rome Sapienza. His primary research interests are neurohormonal control of circulation and cardiovascular structural and functional abnormalities in hypertension and heart failure. He is a member of several Italian and International Societies, a Fellow of the American Heart Association (High Blood Pressure Council), and European Society of Cardiology, and Hypertension Specialist of the European Society of Hypertension. He has authored more than 900 publications in prestigious cardiovascular, peer-reviewed, international journals.