The Nikolas Symposium research program is organized by a dedicated Steering Committee. Members of the Steering Committee are elected for a five-year term and include the Chairman of the Histiocyte Society, as ex-officio, and the Chairman of the Histiocytosis Association.
Τhe current Steering Committee is:
The Nikolas Symposia have spearheaded the scientific effort in finding a rational treatment for Histiocytic diseases. Pioneering discoveries are made possible by creative thinkers, intrepid researchers, and dedicated doctors and scientists.
Such committed individuals from all over the world have honored the Symposia with their contributions.
Professor Ralph Steinman
(1943-2011, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)
“I realize that to move forward, we need to mobilize support for the kind of research in patients that leads to discovery”
Ralph Steinman served on the Nikolas Symposium Steering Committee for the last eight years of his life until 2011. A Nobel Prize laureate, he identified the cell type that is almost singularly responsible for commanding the efforts of all other immune cells: the dendritic cell.
He was a professor at Rockefeller University and appointed director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, he was an editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, an advisory editor at the Journal of Clinical Immunology, the Journal of Immunologic Methods and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Steinman’s dynamic personality and boundless energy allowed him to build collaborations with immunologists and scientists all over the world. Sadly, he passed away just three days before the Nobel Prize was announced. The Nobel Committee made an unprecedented decision that his award would stand.
Professor Robert Arceci
(1950 – 2015)
Research by definition is a risk — we won’t cure cancer without it!
Robert Arceci served as director and professor of pediatric oncology at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Children’s Center for Cancer, Blood Hematology and Oncology. He was the co-director of the Ronald A. Matricaria Institute of Molecular Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona. An international expert in pediatric cancer research, Dr. Arceci promoted education of the public around the reality of childhood cancer. He was the editor of the medical journal “Pediatric Blood & Cancer” and was particularly involved in the development of novel methods to improve cancer therapy results while reducing their side effects.
His aim was to bring together teams of multidisciplinary groups in order to develop a treatment. One of those groups was the Nikolas Symposium. He served as chairman on the Steering Committee until his passing away/untimely death in 2015. The symposium is indebted to him for his leadership and guidance. He was fearless and passionate, a man who never stopped developing interesting ideas towards finding a cure..
Dr. Jon Pritchard
He had a very inquiring mind and would come up with off the wall ideas
Dr. Pritchard was one of the founders and driving forces behind the Nikolas Symposium. A physician to Nikolas himself, he is the one who encouraged the Kontoyannis family to set up an annual symposium dedicated to the study of Histiocytic diseases.
Α pediatric oncologist, Jon Pritchard graduated from Cambridge and trained at St. Thomas’ hospital in London. After a year working in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), he returned to the UK to work at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool and afterwards Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. He was instrumental in introducing the drug Cisplatinum, which at the time was a new and radical approach to treatment.
Dr. Pritchard was passionately devoted to his patients and their families, and included parents as honorary members of the treatment team. The Child Death Helpline for example was initially comprised almost entirely by parents whose children had been treated by him. Dr. Pritchard helped form the Sick Children’s Trust, The Neuroblastoma Society and held strong links with Helen House, the first children’s hospice founded in Oxford. He further contributed personally to charities and initiatives that supported his projects, including Histio UK (formerly the Histiocytosis Research Trust, established in 1991) and the Artemis Association of Greece in 1994.
Professor Barrett Rollins
Scientific Chair (US)
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Barrett Rollins graduated from Amherst College and received his MD and PhD from Case Western Reserve University. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and then served a clinical fellowship in medical oncology at DFCI and a postdoctoral research fellowship with Dr. Charles Stiles and has worked in the area of white blood cell trafficking and the interactions between inflammation and cancer.
He is the recipient of the Association of American Physicians award (2004), the American Society for Clinical Investigation award (1996) and the Scholar, Leukemia Society of America award (1995). Currently Professor Rollins is a Linde Family Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and the Chief Scientific Officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He co-chairs the Nikolas Symposium Steering Committee along with Professor Maarten Egeler.
Professor Maarten Egeler
Scientific Chairman (Europe)
Retired University of Leiden, Leiden – The Netherlands & University of Toronto, Toronto - Canada
Maarten Egeler is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment and research of stem cell transplantation, histiocytic diseases, and bone tumors. He graduated from the University of Leiden and completed his residency in Paediatrics in Amsterdam. His PhD was on “Langerhans cell histiocytoses and other histiocytic disorders” and he has served as an Associate Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Southern Alberta Children’s Cancer Program of the University of Calgary, Canada and as a former Director of the Division of Pediatric Immunology, Hematology, Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplantation and Auto-immune disease at the Leiden University Medical Center.
Professor Egeler is the current Head at the Stem Cell Transplantation section within the Division of Hematology and Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. He is a member of the Garron Family Chair in Childhood Cancer Research and a professor at the University of Toronto. He has authored and co-authored more than 225 manuscripts and chapters in national and international journals, with highlights in Blood, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Nature Reviews and Nature Medicine and has served for a decade as Board Member of the Pediatric Diseases Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT).
He has been President of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP), the President of the international Histiocyte Society (Board-member for 12 years), and President of the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group (DCOG) (active Board-member for 10 years). Currently he is active within the Oncology Disorders Strategy Group and the Cellular Therapeutic Strategy Group of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC). Maarten Egeler co-chairs the Nikolas Symposium Steering Committee along with Barrett Rollins.
Professor in Cancer Immunology and Director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai School
Dr. Miriam Merad, M.D., Ph.D., is the Mount Sinai Endowed professor in Cancer Immunology and the Director of the Precision Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Merad also co-leads the Cancer Immunology program at The Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute and is the Director of the Mount Sinai Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC). Dr. Merad’s laboratory made seminal discoveries that contribute to our understanding of the development and functional identity of tissue resident dendritic cells and macrophages during homeostasis, and examined how these regulations are changed in cancer and inflammatory diseases. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a recipient of the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology, the President-elect of the International Union of Immunological Societies, and was elected in 2020 to the National Academy of Sciences. Read more about Dr. Merad here (https://icahn.mssm.edu/profiles/miriam-merad).
Professor Christopher K. Glass, MD, Phd
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Professor of Medicine
Dr. Glass’ primary interests are to understand the mechanisms by which sequence-specific transcription factors, co-activators and co-repressors regulate the development and function of macrophages. A major direction of his laboratory has been to define the genome-wide locations and functions of these proteins through the use of assays that are based on massively parallel DNA sequencing. The combination of these technologies with molecular, genetic, lipidomic and cell-based approaches is providing new insights into mechanisms that regulate macrophage gene expression and function that are relevant to inflammatory diseases that include diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Over the years, the Nikolas Symposium has invited many participants from all over the world. Some of the scientists, clinicians, and researchers that have attended former Symposia are: