Scientific, Clinical and Patient-oriented
“This symposium highlights not only the importance of sex and gender in research, but also addresses patients’ diversity, and promotes diversity among researchers and clinicians.”
Prof. Dr. Dr. Anette Melk is a Professor of Pediatrics and Interdisciplinary Experimental Transplantation Medicine at Hannover Medical School. Dr. Melk’s work on pathways leading to impaired regeneration in the pathogenesis of kidney and cardiovascular diseases includes basic findings and concepts from cell and animal models to clinical applications. She has pioneered the idea that cellular senescence is crucial for the insufficient regenerative capacity of donor organs and an important target in therapeutic approaches.
Dr. Melk’s clinical research projects aim to further decipher factors leading to cardiovascular and renal comorbidity in transplant recipients. She initiated the largest longitudinal clinical study assessing cardiovascular health in children and adults after solid organ and stem cell transplantation (4C-T, cardiovascular comorbidity in children with chronic disease and transplantation). Dr. Melk’s holistic view on optimization of patient and graft survival lead her build the first German research consortium that deals with sex- and gender-related differences in kidney transplantation.
She is speaker of the center for gender-sensitive medicine at MHH, advocating a sex and gender-sensitive medicine in research, clinic, patient and science communication as well as teaching. She is the chair of the DFG-funded Young Academy – PRACTIS (PRogram of hAnnover medical school for Clinician scienTISts). Dr. Melk received her MD at the University of Giessen (Germany) and her PhD from University of Alberta (Canada). She trained as a Pediatric Nephrologist at the University of Heidelberg Children’s Hospital. Dr. Melk serves on several national and international boards. She has received numerous awards, one of which is the prestigious Rudolf-Pichlmayr-Preis of the German Transplantation Society.
„Foster and strengthen collaboration between transplant clinicians and female recipients to raise awareness and improve the standard of care for current and future female patients.“
Louise Lerminiaux, MBA has spent 30 years in program management in a variety of industries across Canada and the USA, the last 14 years in life sciences and transplant diagnostics. She is the second generation of female transplant recipients in her family due to polycystic kidney disease. She received her unrelated living kidney at UC San Diego, California in Nov 2008 and was fortunate to avoid dialysis. Her mother endured dialysis for 10 years starting in 1976, before receiving her related living kidney donation in 1986 in Saskatchewan Canada. Her mother lived an additional 20 years with her transplant. Louise’s younger sister tolerated dialysis for 1.5 years before receiving her deceased donor kidney 5 years ago also in Canada. A niece has been diagnosed with PKD while her 3 young children have not yet been tested. In her semi-retirement, Louise is a vocal advocate for patients and changing the standard of healthcare based on her own personal transplant experience and her family members. She specifically speaks out about the challenges she and other female recipients navigate because of their immune suppression and medication side effects. She also advocates for home solutions especially for patients who live in remote areas like her family to broaden access to quality care.
„In the past 5 years there has been growing interest in the impacts of sex and gender on access to transplantation, transplant outcomes, and patient experience in transplantation. This meeting with bring together experts on this topic from around the world, including patient partners, to review and discuss the state of the art in the field of sex and gender in transplantation and identify the most important research questions to be addressed in the next 5-10 years.“