The EUSTAR Young Investigators Group is a subgroup of EUSTAR members, first founded in 2007 and lead by young emerging experts in the field of Scleroderma, Dr. Ingo Turner and Dr. Christian Beyer. Now, ten years after its foundation, the EUSTAR Board has chosen Dr. Vincent Sobanski from the University of Lille and Dr. Cosimo Bruni from the University of Florence to be the new co-chairs, aiming at re-building the group and giving it a scientific and prospective role in the field of scleroderma research and communication.

The new EUSTAR Young Investigators Group has so far enrolled new members (all under forty) from EUSTAR centres since Dr. Sobanski and Dr. Bruni took over on May 2017. During their first official meeting at the EULAR Congress 2017 in Madrid, the aims of the Young Investigators Group were outlined and different subgroups were created in order to cover all spectrums of interest in the scleroderma field. First of all, education will be a strategic focus point for this group, aiming at identifying outstanding clinical, epidemiological and basic science news in the field of scleroderma during international congresses and disseminating to the whole scleroderma community, through the use of the Internet and social media. Another important objective of the group, will be to increase the visibility of EUSTAR and help gather more people devoted to scleroderma patients. Moreover, the Young Investigators Group will also have members focussing on previously unexplored areas to create possible future research projects in both basic, transitional and clinical science, and is dedicated to promoting young emerging researchers’ ideas. The Group will be instrumental in helping different EUSTAR centres communicate and share data through the MEDS-online registry, which represents the largest international database of scleroderma patients to date.

Given this new structure and aims of the Group, the EUSTAR Young Investigators Group is working to endorse education, communication and scientific output of the future systemic sclerosis experts.

The EUSTAR Young Investigators Group is welcoming new members continuously! Feel free to contact Dr Dr Cosimo Bruni ( for further info.

I am a senior lecturer working at Lille University Hospital (France). I have obtained my MD in 2015 and a PhD in Immunology in 2017. I worked as a clinical research fellow at the Royal Free Hospital, University College London in 2012. We studied pulmonary arterial hypertension associated to connective tissue diseases. My main objective of research is to develop tools to better diagnose and phenotype rare diseases, especially autoimmune connective tissue diseases. This is in line with my medical practice in the internal medicine and clinical immunology department. I have a strong interest for the role of auto-antibodies in predicting the clinical phenotype of patients with connective tissue disease as well as in promoting fibrosis in these conditions. I am also fascinated by information and communication technologies for health.

I am a senior rheumatologist working at Bordeaux (CHU de Bordeaux, France). I have a PhD in Immunology and I work in an immunology lab at Bordeaux University (Immunoconcept, I was in Geneva for 2 years as a research fellow in Carlo Chizzolini’s lab. My clinical job is shared between general rheumatology and systemic sclerosis. My research job is dedicated to systemic sclerosis and we built with Cécile Bordes (an immunologist) a group working on SSc physiopathology hypotheses in the autoimmunity group of Patrick Blanco in the lab. I also like to share my knowledge and teach classes with students or other physicians. That’s a big part of my job. I believe that understanding of scleroderma is not only important at the research level, but also at the general public level. Raising awareness of the disease is an indirect way to improve the time needed for diagnosis, but also to interest public authorities and perhaps to finance research!

BMedSci BMBS PhD FRCP Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and University of Bath, UK. Dr John Pauling is a Consultant Rheumatologist and Senior Lecturer. John qualified from Nottingham University Medical School in 2002. In 2009 he was awarded the Dando fellowship, jointly funded by the Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association and Royal College of Physicians, which enabled John to develop his clinical and academic interests in Raynaud’s phenomenon and systemic sclerosis. John is interested in outcome measures in SSc research, particularly in relation to peripheral microvascular dysfunction. John is interested in non-invasive methods of measuring tissue perfusion such as infra-red thermography and laser-derived imaging. John is a member of the EULAR Microcirculation study group and is contributing to current initiatives of the UK Scleroderma Study Group. He chairs the SCTC Vascular Working Group and is currently developing new methods for assessing RP. John heads the Reviews and Recommendations section of the EUSTAR YIG.

Dr Cosimo Bruni completed his medical training in 2010 at the University of Siena (Italy) and finalized his Rheumatology specialty training with Prof Matucci Cerinic in 2017 at the University Hospital of Florence, Rheumatology Department. During his training Dr Cosimo Bruni developed a special interest in Systemic Sclerosis clinical research and he was awarded with the EULAR travel bursary, attending the Royal Free Hospital Clinic in London under Professor Christopher Denton for 7 months. Dr Cosimo Bruni is currently in the PhD program of the University of Florence, still focussed on clinical research in scleroderma, in particular clinical outcome measure for cardiac, lung and vascular involvement. He is co-chair of the EUSTAR Young Investigators group, aiming at increasing collaboration of young clinicians and researchers in the scleroderma field.

In 2013 I completed my training as a rheumatologist and became staff member at the Rheumatology department in Leiden, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. In 2014 I became medical director of the clinical care pathway for patients with systemic sclerosis. In this care pathway, clinical care including detailed evaluation of current disease stage and extent of organ involvement, is combined with multidisciplinary team care provided by different medical specialists, trained nurses, and paramedics, all during a 2-day day-care based program. My research is focussing on biomarkers that can better discriminate systemic sclerosis patients with worse prognosis and high risk for severe organ involvement. Specifically, the pathophysiological role of disease-specific autoantibodies is of my interest. Apart from being a rheumatologist, I also enjoy to spend a lot of time with my family which is sometimes even more demanding with four children!

I am attending my second year of residency in Rheumatology at University of Verona (Italy). I have studied and obtained my Medical Degree in Ferrara, Italy (2015). I have focused my first year of residency on clinical aspects of connective tissue diseases, especially of systemic sclerosis. Now I am approaching clinical research which is mainly focused on clinical aspects of connective tissue diseases. I am interested in clinical communication because I think it is the right cornerstone to delve into the patient’s disease to reach better results in the everyday clinical practice. I have experienced volunteering medical service, even abroad. I really like discovering new horizons by travelling and I play different sports or free-time activities.

I am a clinical fellow working at Cochin University Hospital in Paris (France). I have obtained my MD in 2015 and a PhD in Immunology in 2017 focusing on systemic sclerosis. I currently work at the National referral Center for Systemic Sclerosis and Vasculitis as a fellow and take part in the Groupe Francophone de Recherche sur la Sclérodermie. I have the great opportunity to work as a clinician and a researcher dedicated to systemic sclerosis. As a researcher, I focus on fibroblasts and auto-immunity in the context of systemic sclerosis. I have a very strong interest in biopharmaceuticals and clinical trials. My main objectives of research are to understand the mechanisms of fibrosis and to find new target for systemic sclerosis. As a clinician, I work in the internal medicine and clinical immunology department in Cochin Hospital where we collectively care for patients with systemic sclerosis.

I am a PhD student at Oslo University Hospital, Norway. I finished my MD degree in 2013 and started doing research on systemic sclerosis in 2016. I’m interested in novel treatment strategies in systemic sclerosis, and my focus is the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and interstitial lung disease. I am also involved in the study of intestinal microbiota and fecal microbiota transplantation in patients with systemic sclerosis.

I am a working at Hospital Universitario HM Sanchinarro (Madrid, Spain), EUSTAR center number 169. I have obtained my MD in 2011 and my PhD in 2017 in cardiovascular risk assessment in systemic sclerosis. My areas of interest are autoimmune connective tissue diseases and their clinical aspects, overall in scleroderma where I have done my recent research.  I have a strong interest in ultrasound in rheumatology, and I would like to apply it to scleroderma fibrosis and skin conditions.


I am a Consultant Rheumatologist (BSc (Hons) MBBS MRCP (UK) (Rheumatology) MSc PhD) at Sheffield University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is a tertiary referral centre for SSc, and a major UK centre for pulmonary hypertension and haematology transplantation medicine. I have a keen interest in SSc-associated digital vascular disease, including microvascular imaging, with a particular focus on outcome measure development for clinical trials. My doctoral (PhD) research fellowship, supervised by Professor Ariane Herrick (University of Manchester) investigated the outcome measures of treatment efficacy, pathophysiology, and local treatments for SSc-DUs. I have published extensively including both clinical and basic sciences, review articles and book chapters. I have contributed to the production of SSc treatment guidelines and recommendations, including the British Society of Rheumatology SSc guidelines (second author) and the UKSSG consensus best practice pathway for digital vasculopathy (first author). I am currently leading on an international initiative (funded by the SCTC) to develop a novel PROM for SSc-DUs.

I am a young Rheumatologist working at Brescia University Hospital (Italy). I have obtained my MD in 2012. My clinical research and my everyday practice are focused on connective tissue diseases, including Systemic Sclerosis. I am particularly interested in auto-antibodies and their clinical correlations and also in the complex relationship between autoimmunity and cancer. I am a woman who likes to take care of other women: since I was a medical student, I have been attending the Pregnancy Clinic of our Rheumatology Unit, in which we collaborate with expert Gynaecologists, to offer the best care to young patients with different autoimmune diseases who would like to have a pregnancy or are pregnant. I am also interested in technology, fascinated by every form of art and travel addicted.

I’m a portuguese trainee in rheumatology working at Santa Maria Hospital, Lisbon (Portugal). I finished my course in Medicina in 2015 and started worked at January 2016. In this moment, I’m in 2nd year as trainee in rheumatology. I have a big interest in diseases like scleroderma but also in other connective tissue disorders. In my personal projects I hope start a doctoral programme in 2-3 years probably in scleroderma, and have the possibility to study the role of auto-antibodies, the role that complementary exams could have in the prediction of the disease severity and new therapies that could help the patients prognosis. I think that this group could be very good for everybody, because we can share ideas, discuss many topics and also have exchange programmes.

Since 2017 I am working as a Rheumatologist and PhD candidate at University Medical Center Utrecht (The Netherlands). I am currently studying autologous stem cell transplantations in systemic sclerosis and started a program to promote early detection of connective tissue diseases. Furthermore, I’m involved in a very exciting nation-wide project (called ARCH) that aims to improve the quality of care for patients with systemic autoimmune diseases, by building a network between caregivers and patients that supports communication, shared care, patient education and information exchange.

I am a PhD student at University of Verona (Italy). I got my MD in 2010 and specialization in Rheumatology in 2016. Apart from attending my PhD in clinical and experimental biomedical sciences, I am also working as a rheumatologist at the university hospital of Verona. Most of my clinical practice deals with patients affected by systemic sclerosis and Sjogren syndrome. I am very interested in multidisciplinary approach to rheumatic diseases, such as collaboration with ophthalmologists and gastroenterologists. I am also very keen on education and involved in training of medical students and residents.

I am a medical resident in Rheumatology and also a clinical research fellow and PhD student, working in the University Hospital Zurich / Center for experimental Rheumatology, Zurich. I have obtained my medical Bachelor’s degree in 2011 and subsequently began my Residency training, as well as my clinical research training, within the EUSTAR Center 100, Cantacuzino Hospital, Bucharest, Romania. My main areas of interest are systemic sclerosis and other connective tissue diseases, especially with respect to early diagnosis, prognostic assessment and patient-tailored medical care. I am also interested in translational science, autoimmunity and vasculopathy, in a broader sense.

I am a medical resident at Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Verona (Italy). Currently, I am working as a clinical research fellow in cardiovascular in autoimmune disease programme at the Leeds Institute for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Leeds (UK). My main objective of research is investigating cardiovascular pathology in immune-mediated (vasculitis and systemic sclerosis) and inflammatory (chronic inflammatory arthritis) diseases, and phenotyping the cardiac abnormalities with non-invasive cardiovascular imaging. I have also an interest in bone pathology in rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis, and neuro-psychological aspects of rheumatic diseases.

I am consultant working at Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona. I achieved my MD in 2013 and PhD in Medicine in 2017. I worked as honorary clinical fellow at the Royal Free Hospital, University College London in 2013. We studied the clinical characteristics of systemic sclerosis patients with coeliac disease. My research objectives are a better understanding of clinical course of systemic sclerosis, specially in lung involvement and early diagnosis of organ manifestations. I am particularly interested in new interstitial lung disease modifying strategies.

I graduated in rheumatology in 2011 and obtained my PhD in Clinical Immunology in 2015 at Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Naples, Italie. Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow at Methods Team (INSERM- Sorbonne Paris Cité Epidemiology and Statistics Research Centre) and at Centre de Référence Maladies Systémiques Auto-Immunes Rares Vascularites Nécrosantes, Département de Médecine Interne, Hôpital Cochin, Université Paris – Descartes, Paris. I conduct clinical research on connective tissue diseases and systemic vasculitis.

I work in the department of internal medicine at Rennes University Hospital (France). I plan to start a PhD in 2018 on macrophage involvement in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis. My researches especially focus on occupational and non-occupational exposures and their impact on innate immunity. My research team is based in the Research Institute in Health, Environment and Occupation (Rennes, France). I have a specific interest in the effects of crystalline silica exposure on human macrophages. I am member of a multidisciplinary working group (SILICOSIS project) depicting silica involvement in auto-immune and fibrotic disorders in an immunological, epidemiological, sociological and historical perspective. I am also deeply interested in epistemology and in exploring how classifications of diseases and the structure of medical knowledge impact our perception of auto-immune disorders and the way we understand and tackle their causes.

I’m a clinical research fellow at the Rheumatology Unit of University of Bari, Italy, directed by Prof Giovanni Lapadula. I graduated in Medicine in 2009 and then qualified as Rheumatologist in 2015 with ‘maxima cum laude’. I obtained the Master degree in Translational Research in Rheumatology at the University of Trieste ‘maxima cum laude’. I’m a dedicated physician, interested either in clinical and pre-clinical research in the field of autoimmune diseases. I’m particularly keen on studying the various aspects of Systemic Sclerosis. As a winner of a grant instituted by the Italian Society of Rheumatology, I worked in the Department of Rheumatology of the Careggi University Hospital of Florence (2015-2016), directed by Prof Marco Matucci Cerinic, where I sharpened my skills in clinical and experimental research, acquiring specific knowledge especially in the field of Systemic Sclerosis. I am an ordinary member of the Italian Society of Rheumatology, involved in the board of the young rheumatologists division of the latter society. I am interested in the impact of social network on empowering communication between colleagues and people with rheumatic diseases.

I am a lecturer of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Assiut university hospital, Egypt. I started working closely with scleroderma patients by the beginning of 2011, as my main PhD project. In 2012, I worked as a research fellow in scleroderma research at centre of experimental  rheumatology, Zurich university hospital, Switzerland. By 2014 I started working as a clinical research fellow at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. we developed few biomarkers related to vasculopathy,  worked on patient reported outcomes in GIT involvement, ultrasound characterization of skin ulcers in SSc, and developing a consensus definition of Skin ulcers  in SSc to  be able to improve uniformity of patients in clinical trials. My recent  interests are  gut  microbiome  and precision medicine.

Journal Club