My name is Jeroen Geurts (age 43, Netherlands) and I am a biochemist by training. After my obtaining my master’s degree in chemistry, I pursued my PhD thesis in rheumatology entitled “Gene therapy for rheumatoid arthritis” at the Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) until 2009. After several positions as postdoctoral scientist and lab head at the University Hospital Basel (CH), I am a principle investigator at the Department of Rheumatology of the Lausanne University Hospital (CH) since 2019.
I wear several hats in my professional life: 1) I am a research group leader focusing on the molecular and cellular regulation of bone and marrow adipose tissue remodelling in human osteoarthritis. 2) I am a clinical study coordinator responsible for multiple studies in rheumatic disorders (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s disease). 3) I am an associate editor for basic science at the journal Osteoarthritis & Cartilage.
I strongly believe that the networking is essential at all career stages of the modern scientist to overcome the challenges we are facing due to increasingly competitive funding schemes and publication policies. Before getting involved with ECTS and its Academy I have served as co-chair of the Young Investigator committee of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI, 2014–2018) and the European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS, 2017–2022). Within these committees I ran several webinars, meet-the-mentor sessions and pre-congress workshops. At present, I am executive board member of the Swiss Bone and Mineral Society and international Bone Marrow Adiposity Society.
I thoroughly enjoy(ed) the interactions with the members of all these societies, which have led to a broad professional network and good academic friends! Having served on boards and committees of several societies, I can only confirm that the ECTS and the ECTS Academy are unique in terms of support for early career investigators.
ECTS Academy & New Members 2023
The ECTS Academy currently has 32 active members from 11 countries (AU, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, FR, NL, IT, SRB, TR) and 33 alumni, offering an extensive network of experts and future leaders in basic, translational and clinical bone research all across Europe. Since its inception in 2015 the Academy has developed a solid and varied programme both at the annual meeting (New Investigator session & lounge, workshops, charity events, synergy sessions) and throughout the year (mentoring chat, newsletter, webinars). More importantly, the networking activities within the ECTS Academy have led to several joint publications, scientific collaborations and acquisition of funding. The new ECTS Academy members that have started their term (2023-2027) at the recent Annual Meeting in Liverpool are Drenka Trivanović (SRB), Guilia Battafarano (IT), Verena Fischer (DE), Franziska Lademann (basic/translational) and Giovanni Adami (IT), Jakob Starup Linde (DK), Anne Sophie Sølling (DK) (clinical).
The challenge ahead of the ECTS Academy is not how to continue its successful programme, but how to improve interactions between translational and clinical disciplines at the society level and to create research consortia within the academy and pursue large European funding opportunities. For this, Alex Ireland (co-chair) and I are reviewing the activities of the Academy and liaising with committee chairs to see how to promote interdisciplinary discussion, rather than having separate basic and clinical sessions at the annual meeting. Together with the intra-academy working group (Liesbeth Winter, Barbara Hauser, Gonzalo Sanchez-Duffhues) were are focusing on leveraging the expertise of our alumni to learn the nuts and bolts about EU funding (COST Action, Twinning Projects, MSCA Doctoral Networks). It is a great honour to shape the future of the ECTS Academy as Co-Chair and we are very open to discuss challenges and opportunities with any ECTS member.