Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Michal Schwartz is a Professor of Neuroimmunology, holding The Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial chair in Neuroimmunology, at the Weizmann Institue of Science, Rehovot Israel. Professor Schwartz’s work focuses on the role of innate and adaptive immunity in the central nervous system (CNS) plasticity in health and disease. She is the world pioneer in demonstrating that circulating immune cells, including blood macrophages and autoimmune T cell network are needed for CNS maintenance and repair. Her new view of the cross-talk between the immune and the nervous system, attributing to the immune system key role in life-long brain plasticity, led her to discover the brain’s choroid plexus as the nexus between the brain and the immune system and to identify it as a new target in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Her publications are highly cited (H factor 88; Google Scholar), and include numerous peer-reviewed articles and invited reviews, many of which appear in the most highly ranked journals (Science, Nature medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Rev. Neurology, Nature Rev. Neuroscience, Nature Rev. Immunology, Immunity, EMBO J., PlosMedicine, PNAS). Professor Schwartz has received a number of prestigious awards for her research. Professor Schwartz has been invited as a keynote lecturer at numerous international meetings, and is the elected president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology.
Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland
Britta Engelhardt obtained a degree in Human Biology at the Medical School of the Philipps -University, Marburg in Germany in 1987. She performed her PhD thesis in the laboratory of Hartmut Wekerle (Max-Planck Clinical Research Group for Multiple Sclerosis, Würzburg and Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Martinsried, Germany) and obtained a PhD in Human Biology (Dr.rer.physiol.) in January 1991. After a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Eugene C. Butcher at Stanford University, California, she set up her own research group at the Max-Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany in the department of Werner Risau (†December 13th, 1998) in 1993. In 1998 she obtained the Venia Legendi for Immunology and Cell Biology from the Medical Faculty of the Philipps University Marburg, Germany. From 1999 to 2003 she headed her research group as a senior group leader at the same institute and the Max-Planck-Institute for Vascular Cell Biology, Münster, Germany. Since November 2003 Britta Engelhardt is Professor for Immunobiology at the University of Bern and the Director of the Theodor Kocher Institute.
Britta Engelhardt is an expert in blood-brain barrier biology with a special focus on neuroinflammatory processes at the BBB. She has pioneered the use of intravital microscopy of the spinal cord microcirculation allowing to study leukocyte/BBB interaction in real time in live mice. For this work she has received the Herrmann-Rein Award of the Society for Microcirculation and Vascular Biology in 2001. She has published over 120 peer-reviewed papers in addition to almost 80 reviews, commentaries or book chapters on this topic.
Britta Engelhardt currently coordinates the Horizon 2020 funded ITN BtRAIN focusing brain barriers research. She is the elected Chair of the Gordon Research Conference Barriers of the CNS in 2018. Furthermore, she is the current president of the Swiss Society for Microcirculation and Vascular Research (SSMVR) and of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Swiss MS Society.