Scientific Program

Sex & Gender Differences in Mental and Neurological Disease: The gateway to precision medicine

This two days interactive event will convene over 200 international leaders from the global community to reflect on and discuss about the women’s brain predisposition to specific neurological and mental diseases as well as talk about possible solutions for the benefit of the all society. In particular, the sex and gender effects on clinical trials, pre-clinical research, socio-economic factors predisposing to mental and neurological diseases will be thoroughly discussed. Finally, the influence of sex and gender on the development of novel technologies and algorithms will be also analysed. The Forum will include the voice of scientists, policy makers, health care professionals, patients, care-givers, activists, artists, futurists, philosophers, media and humanoids. The participation of the lay public is also envisioned with an expected final audience doubled in comparison to the 1st Forum*. The Forum’s outcome will include the publication of several position papers aimed to divulgate its content, vision and scope with the public.

The Forum will comprise of two main formats: keynote lectures and 8 panel discussions.

Keynote presentations will include a focused input on a specific topic by a prominent scientist or researcher.

The panel discussions will involve an interactive debate between internationally acclaimed experts in a particular topic.


Master of Ceremony:
Sylvia Day, WBP Ambassador & Actress, Switzerland
Fagun Thakrar, WBP Global Forum Ambassador, Film Director/Actress/Producer, Activist, UK

DAY 1 – Saturday, 8 June 2019

08:30 – 09:30

09:30 – 09:35

09:35 – 09:40



Opening Remarks

Opening of Registrations

Annemarie Schumacher Dimech, President, WBP, Switzerland

Beatrice Beck Schimmer, Vice President Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland

09:40 – 09:50 Key-Note: Brain-immune interactions in development and beyond:  why sex matters

Staci Bilbo, Director of Research, Lurie Center for Autism Mass General Hospital for Children, Boston, USA

09:50 – 11:20 PANEL 1: Hot Topics in the Basic Science of Sex Differences in the Brain
Moderator Staci Bilbo, Director of Research, Lurie Center for Autism Mass General Hospital for Children, Boston, USA
Speakers Liisa Galea, Department of Psychology University of British Columbia, Canada

Roberta Brinton, Director, Center for Innovation in Brain Science, University of Arizona, USA

Murali Doraiswamy, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine, Duke University Health System, USA

Thorsten Buch, Director, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland

11:40 – 13:10 PANEL 2: The Effect of Gender on the Communication of Diagnoses & Treatment
 11:40 – 11:45 Introduction Cheri Ballinger, Actress/Film Producer, activist on Traumatic Brain Injury; WBP Ambassador, USA
Moderator Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Founder and CEO of Forestay River Consulting Ldt, Switzerland
Speakers Michael Craig, Clinical Lead, National Female Hormone Clinic, Maudsley Hospital, UK

Jennifer Payne, Director, Women’s Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA

Nouchine Hadjikhani, Director of Neurolimbic Research, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

Sara Rubinelli, President, European Association of Communication in Health (EACH)

14:15 – 16:00 PANEL 3: Socioeconomic Risk Factors Through the Gender Lens 
 14:15 – 14:20 Introduction  Ladina Caduff, Director Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Switzerland
Moderator Amanda Kayne, CNN Money Switzerland
Speakers Tarun Dua, World Health Organization

Elina Suzuki, Health Policy Analyst at OECD, France

Wendy Weidner, Research and Policy Project Lead Alzheimer’s Disease International, UK

Stefania Ilinca, Atlantic Fellow, Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Rajendra Dhamane, Winner of the THE ONE International Humanitarian Award, Founder of The Mauli House, India

16:30 – 18:00 PANEL 4: Migraine: A Sex & Gender Case Study 
16:15 – 16:20 Introduction Elena Ruiz de la Torre, European Migraine & Headache Alliance, Executive Director
Moderator Laura Campo, International Corporate Affairs, Pain Platform and Alzheimer’s disease, Eli Lilly and Company, USA
Sponsored by:

Speakers Patricia Pozo Rosich, Head of the Headache & Craniofacial Pain Unit at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Quirón Hospital, Barcelona, Spain

Joke Jaarsma, President, European Federation of Neurological Association (EFNA), Netherland

Maria Teresa Ferretti, Chief Scientific Officer, WBP, Switzerland

18.00 – 18:10 Key-Note: the lesson learnt from NIA – funding sex and gender research for improving drug development and prevention
Suzana Petanceska, Program Director, Neuroscience Division, National Institute on Aging (NIA), USA
18:10 – 18:15 Day 1 – Closing remarks
Antonella Santuccione Chadha, CEO, WBP; Roche Diagnostics, Switzerland

DAY 2 – Sunday, 9 June 2019

08:15 – 08:30 Opening Remarks Maeve Cusack, European Institute for Women’s Health (EIWH)
08:30 – 10:00 PANEL 5: Enrolment and Retention of Women in Clinical Trials
08:30 – 08:35 Introduction Sofia Petersson, a patient living with Alzheimer’s disease & WBP Ambassador, Sweden
Moderator Maya Dusenbery, Author of the book “Doing Harm”, USA
Speakers Erin South, Senior Pharmacist at the FDA Office of Women’s Health, USA

Anke Salmen, Consultant in Neurology, Deputy head of Ambulatory University Neurocenter, Head of Ambulatory Infusion Unit, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland

Mercé Boada, Medical Director, Fundacio’ ACE, Barcelona Alzheimer Treatment & Research Center, Spain

Angela O’Neal, Director of Women’s Neurology, Clinical Director of the Neurosciences Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA

10:30 – 11:55 PANEL 6: How Sex & Gender Impact Efficacy of Drugs
10:30 – 10:35 Introduction Katrin Rauen, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Moderator Laurina Waltersperger, Journalist, NZZ am Sonntag, Switzerland
Speakers Charlotte Cordonnier, Vice-President of the European Stroke Organization, University of Lille, France

Hadine Joffe, Executive Director, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology & Vice chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, USA

Cassandra Szoeke, Director of the Women’s Healthy Ageing Project (WHAP), Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia

Valentina Mantua, CNS working party member EMA

11:55 – 12:00 Personalised nutrition for female brains of all ages
Priyanka Dutta-Passecker, Global Sales and Business Development Director, Bioseutica group
13:00 – 13:10 Key-Note: The Women Challenge: The Brain Health Monitoring 
Rhoda Au, Director of Neuropsychology at the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, USA
13:10 – 14:30 PANEL 7: Towards Digitalization & AI Interpretation of Biomarkers
13:10 – 13:15 Introduction  Antonella Santuccione Chadha, CEO, WBP; Roche Diagnostics, Switzerland
Moderator Thomas Brenzikofer , DayOne Basel, Switzerland
Speakers Mira Katan, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

Panayiotis Vlamos, Founder Research Center for Computational Biomarkers, BiHELab, Greece

Petranka Krumova, Digital Endpoints Development, Roche, Switzerland

Christoph Ebell, Senior vice President of Neuroscience-20, Verticai Consulting and Ventures, Switzerland

14:50 – 16:30 PANEL 8: Leveraging AI to Address Gender Bias
14:50 – 14:55 Introduction Tracy Laabs, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, Switzerland
Moderator Nicoletta Iacobacci, Singularity University, Switzerland
Speakers James Hughes, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Trinity College in Hartford, USA

Antonella Santuccione Chadha, CEO, WBP; Roche Diagnostics, Switzerland

Silvina Catuara Solarz, Telefónica Innovation Alpha, Spain

Stephanie Creff, Co-Founder, Ellpha Project, EU

Nikolaos Mavridis, Director, Interactive Robots and Media Lab MIT, USA

Sophia, Advanced Humanoid, Hanson Robotics, Hong Kong

Mara Hank Moret, Philanthropist

16:55 – 17:00 Closing remarks
Maria Teresa Ferretti,  Chief Scientific Officer, WBP, Switzerland

Scientific Committee:

    • Dr. Ewelina Biskup, Associate Professor at the Shanghai University of Medicine and Science

    • Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Founder and CEO of Forestay River Consulting Ldt, Switzerland

    • Annette Dumas, ASDM Consulting, Director EU Affairs

    • Dr. Liisa Galea, University of British Columbia, Canada

    • Kathryn Goetzke, Chief Mood Officer, The Mood Factory

    • Dr. Hadine Joffe, Executive Director Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry Brigham and Women’s Hospital

    • Dr. Else Sandset, Oslo University Hospital

    • Bejal Joshi, Founder/CEO International Women in Science, CEO Plush Communique Limited, Switzerland

    • Dr. Katrin Rauen, University of Zurich, Switzerland