MAI Award 2016

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This bi-annual award is established to encourage progress in autoimmunity research. 
This is a prize awarded to a young scientist who has enriched the field of autoimmunity
through outstanding, creative and independent research.

The MAI Award 2016 will be presented during the morning Plenary Session on Friday, April 8th.

Application for the MAI Award 2018 will be open August 1 - September 31, 2017.

Selection is made by an International Scientific Committee comprised of well established authorities within the autoimmunity disease fields.


Dr. Carlo Perricone, Italy

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Carlo Perricone is a specialist in Rheumatology, PhD in Immunological, Hematologic and Rheumatological Sciences at Sapienza University of Rome. He received his Master Degree with honors in Medicine and Surgery in July 2007 at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the title of Specialist in Rheumatology at the Sapienza University of Rome in April 2012 and the PhD in Immunological, Hematologic and Rheumatological Sciences at Sapienza University of Rome on February 2016.

His scientific work has been devoted to the study of autoimmune diseases with particular emphasis of systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. His studies focused on the role of NK cells and the complement system in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and the interactions between genetic and multifactorial diseases. In addition, part of his scientific work has been focused on the study of imaging ultrasound in rheumatic diseases and on the autoimmune phenomena associated with vaccines. Teacher of musculoskeletal ultrasound for the European League Against Rheumatism and the Italian Society of Rheumatology. Founder of ReumaCamp for the Italian Society of Rheumatology.

The research activity is documented by more than 100 publications in extenso in prestigious national and international journals. He has authored and co-authored, as well as chapters in books and treatises. Referee for 50 peer-reviewed journals including Arthritis and Rheumatism and Rheumatology (Oxford). Member of the Editorial Board of the World Journal of Immunology. He has participated as investigator in clinical trials of phase III, randomized, controlled, double-blind, multicenter studies. In addition, he has participated as a speaker/chairman at numerous courses, seminars and conferences at national and international level.

 The main topic of his research concerns the detection of novel genetic variants associated with the susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, particularly SLE, and capable of influencing disease phenotype. He has already found a locus (TRAF3IP2) potentially involved in SLE pathogenesis, especially in the development of pericarditis. In a further analysis, he has discovered another genetic variant (in HCP5 gene) associated with the presence of antibodies anti-Ro/SSA. His efforts are now dedicated to the unveiling of the pathogenic mechanisms by which an abnormal function of HCP5 may alter the immune response leading to the development of such antibodies, crucial in determining specific disease phenotypes as cutaneous involvement. This may allow to find a novel potential therapeutic target in SLE. 


Dr. Joost Smolders, Netherlands

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Current position and Institute 
CWZ MS Center, Department of Neurology, Canisius Wilhelmina Ziekenhuis, Nijmegen (NL)
Academic MS Center Limburg, Department of Neurology, Zuyderland Medical Center, Sittard (NL)
Current topics of research
As a PhD-student at Maastricht University Medical Center (Maastricht,NL) and post-doctoral researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (Amsterdam,NL), Dr. Smolders investigated the association of vitamin D status with clinical and immunological disease outcomes of MS. This work resulted in intervention-studies on the disease and immune modulating effects of vitamin D supplementation in MS. Currently, he works as a neurologist in training and research fellow at the neurology department of a large general hospital. He is also part of the research group of Prof. Dr. Raymond Hupperts at the Academic MS Center Limburg (Sittard, NL). His current research is mainly focused on the interaction between environmental factors and the pathophysiology of MS. Dr. Smolders co-authored over 40 scientific publications. ​

Dr. Maurizio Farez, Argentina

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Mauricio Farez is the Director of the Center For Research on Neuroimmunological Diseases (CIEN) and an Associate Researcher in Neurology at the Institute for Neurological Research Dr. Raúl Carrea (FLENI) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mauricio received his M.D. degree with honors in 2006 and continued his training as a Research Fellow in Dr. Howard Weiner's laboratory at Harvard Medical School followed by a Master of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He has received several awards including the Bruce S. Schoenberg International Award in Neuroepidemiology of the American Academy of Neurology, the Investigator Award by the Allende Foundation the Young Investigation award of the Argentinean Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Du Pre award from the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. He is coauthor of 36 papers in international peer reviewed journals and has contributed to several book chapters.


​Award considerations are:
  • Research in the forefront
  • Quality and le​vel of independence
  • Professional implication on career
You can either apply yourself or nominate somebody. The candidate should be a not
yet established scientist (no head of departme​nt or professor).

​The Award Ceremony will be held at the Autoimmunity Congress in Leipzig ​in April 2016, where the winner of 25.000 USD will be invited and given the opportunity to hold a plenary lecture.

Application/Nomination for the award is now closed. Thank you for the applications!

Please download the application form by clicking on the following link: ApplicationNomination Prodecure.doc
Deadline for applications is 30 September, 2015. 


Information needed to be supplied when applying yourself or nominating a candidate for the Award. The applicant/nominee should be a not yet established scientist (no department head or professor).

1. The following information of the candidate is required
  • ​Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Institute/Hospital
  • Department
  • Full address
  • Phone
  • Fax
  • Mobile
  • e-mail
  • (Present) official title/profession/position
  • Degree

2. A motivation (half a page) why you/this person should be a candidate for the Award.
    The Scientific Committee will take into consideration the following:
  • Is the research in the forefront of international efforts?
  • The quality and level of independence of the research.
  • Professional implications the prize may have on the candidate’s career.

3. Enclose a list of all the candidates publications, devided into originals and reviews.

4. Highlight and enclose 3–5 of his/her most important articles.

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