ERS Vision – live panel discussion

Living with rare respiratory diseases through the COVID-19 pandemic

23 March, 2021

19:00–20:00 CET – Online

This event is the second in a series of live panel discussions available on the ERS Respiratory Channel. The event is completely free to access but registration is required.


In a time of extreme difficulty, with unprecedented pressure on health systems, this live discussion will focus on the experiences and learnings of specialists and patients in the fields of IPF, pulmonary hypertension, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis since the emergence of COVID-19.

The discussion areas will include:

  • How the pandemic has affected follow-up and highly specialised care; a patient’s perspective.
  • The results of a survey on European cystic fibrosis patients with COVID-19.
  • Recent events in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.
  • The severity and outcomes of COVID-19 in patients with IPF.
  • The impact of COVID-19 infection in patients with rare forms of pulmonary hypertension.

Participants will have the opportunity to submit their questions to the panel after each presentation.


Marc Humbert - profile image
Marc Humbert
ERS President Elect

President-Elect of the European Respiratory Society, Marc Humbert, MD, PhD, is Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Director of the Inserm Unit 999 at the Université Paris-Saclay in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France. He is the Director of the Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, French Pulmonary Hypertension Reference Centre and Severe Asthma Clinic, Hôpital Bicêtre, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, France. Marc Humbert was the Chief Editor of the European Respiratory Journal from 2013 to 2017 and he is currently Section Editor in charge of Pulmonary Vascular Medicine. He is a Fellow of the European Respiratory Society (FERS Foundation Fellow) and has received several distinctions including the 2006 Cournand Lecture Award, the 2009 Descartes-Huygens Award from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the 2016 Rare Disease Award of the Fondation de France, the 2018 ERS Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, the Excellence 2019 Award from the Fondation du Souffle, and the 2020 American Heart Association’s 3CPR (Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation) Distinguished Achievement Award. Since 2017, Marc Humbert is the vice-coordinator of the European Reference Network for rare and low prevalence respiratory diseases (ERN-LUNG). Clarivate Analytics listed Marc Humbert as one of the world's highly cited researchers in the field of Clinical Medicine.

James Chalmers - profile image
James Chalmers
ERJ Deputy Chief Editor

Professor James D. Chalmers is the GSK/British Lung Foundation Chair of Respiratory Research at the University of Dundee, Scotland and an honorary consultant physician at Ninewells Hospital. His clinical and research interests are in difficult airways diseases, particularly bronchiectasis and COPD. In particular his group examines the interaction between bacteria and neutrophilic inflammation in the airway, using mechanistic, translational and clinical approaches. He is chair of the European Bronchiectasis Registry (EMBARC) and chaired the recent European Bronchiectasis Guidelines. He is also chair of the respiratory infection group (10.01) of the ERS and the respiratory infection speciality advisory group of the British Thoracic Society. He was appointed deputy chief editor of the ERJ in 2018.


Pisana Ferrari - profile image
Pisana Ferrari
Patient Advocate for Pulmonary Hypertension and Organ Donation/Transplant

Pisana Ferrari has a background in Political Science and International Law. After a few years' experience in the European Parliament and in EU Affairs, she has worked in PR, communication and event organisation since 1986. After her double lung transplant in 2002 she has also been active as a patient advocate for pulmonary hypertension (PH), and for organ donation and transplant, in her own country, Italy, and at European level. She is Past President and Member of the Board of AIPI, Italian Pulmonary Hypertension Association, which she founded with other PH patients in 2001, and has collaborated with PHA Europe, the European Pulmonary Hypertension Association, for over thirteen years. For both organisations, Pisana contributed to the coordination of awareness and advocacy campaigns, the organisation of conferences and events, the production of educational materials and hands-on guides for patients, and the dissemination of information via web and social media channels. Pisana has co-authored a number of articles for scientific journals on the impact of PH on the lives of patients and carers and on patient empowerment and self-management. She has been invited to present the patient perspective at events organised by patient associations, professional societies, NGOs and industry, including ERS, ESC, ESOT, EURORDIS, EUDONORGAN, WSPH and DIA meetings. She has also been invited to provide the patient input in EMA scientific procedures, and has served on different task forces within the WSPH, ERS and EURORDIS.

Isabelle Fajac - profile image
Isabelle Fajac
President of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society (ECFS)

Isabelle Fajac is a doctor in respiratory medicine and a professor of Physiology at the University of Paris, France. She has worked on cystic fibrosis for nearly 30 years, in the clinics following adult patients and in the lab when completing her PhD on cystic fibrosis gene transfer. The Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Cochin Hospital where she works cares for more than 500 adult cystic fibrosis patients and is the largest Cystic Fibrosis Centre in France. She has been involved in all the clinical trials that brought personalised medicines to patients with cystic fibrosis. She has been the Chair of the clinical trials network supported by the European learned Society on cystic fibrosis, the ECFS, and is currently the ECFS President.

Clémence Martin - profile image
Clémence Martin

Clémence Martin is an assistant professor in respiratory medicine and a member of the adult cystic fibrosis centre, and is in charge of a 10-bed hospital unit in the respiratory medicine department of the Cochin Hospital in Paris, France. She has expertise in the field of cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis and COPD. She is implicated in clinical research as principal investigator or co-investigator of many clinical studies in the field of CF and non-CF bronchiectasis, and is in charge of the relationship with the clinical trial centre of Cochin Hospital (Pr. I. Fajac) for patient selection and follow-up. She is active in biological research as a member of the team “Acute and chronic pulmonary infections”, Institut Cochin UMR 1016 and responsible of the murine model of persistent airway infection with P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.

Pippa Powell - profile image
Pippa Powell
Director of the European Lung Foundation (ELF)

Pippa Powell is Director of the European Lung Foundation (ELF). ELF works to ensure people living with lung disease have access to evidence-based information and the opportunity to influence respiratory research and guidelines at a European level. ELF has >200 patient organisations in its patient organisation network from 51 countries. It also has 13 disease-specific patient advisory groups, who provide input and advise on the priorities important to patients.

Vincent Cottin - profile image
Vincent Cottin
Coordinator of the National Reference Centre for Rare Pulmonary Diseases at the Louis Pradel Hospital and the Claude Bernard University Lyon, France

Vincent Cottin is Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Lyon in France. Since 2017, Vincent has been the coordinator of the national reference center for rare pulmonary diseases in France. His center is also part of the European Reference Network (ERN-LUNG) for ILD. He is a past chief editor of the European Respiratory Review and current Section Editor of the European Respiratory Journal for interstitial lung disease.

Katerina Antoniou - profile image
Katerina Antoniou
Head of the Molecular and Cellular Pneumonology Laboratory at the University of Crete, Greece

Katerina Antoniou is Associate Professor in Respiratory Medicine and Head of the Molecular and Cellular Pneumonology Laboratory at the School of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece. She is the Chair of Public Relationship Committee for the Medical School and was recently elected member of the Executive WASOG committee and Head of the ERS Assembly 12 for Interstitial lung diseases (mandate from September 2021). She is the ERS Secretary of Assembly 12 and member of the ERS Science Council.

Previous appointments: Co-ordinator of the 1.05 ILDs European Respiratory Society (ERS) Group (2014-2017) and ILDs Group of the Hellenic Thoracic Society (HTS, 2011-2017), In the Medical School she served as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (2015-2017) and was the Co-ordinator & member of Public Relationship Committee of University of Crete (2016-2019).

Through all her posts she emphasised in bridging disciplines from primary to tertiary care. Her main goal is prioritizing patient-centered domains into clinical care and research and improving patients’ quality of life and functional status. Dr Antoniou’s current research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis while her laboratory group is evaluating alveolar macrophage phenotypes and function, mitochondrial homeostasis, oxidation status and the inflammasomes with multiple publications in the field. Her purpose is to establish translational biomarkers useful for the diagnosis and disease progression of lung fibrosis and the most recently characterised Progressive Fibrotic Phenotype.

Dr Antoniou has received two ERS Research Fellowships and has been a prominent member of the European ILD research community, with chairing and talks in international congresses. Several ERS fellowships have been awarded to PhD students, members of her laboratory group, that have promoted and continued common research interests in collaboration with major institutions such as the Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College London and Hopital Bichat, Respiratory & Rheumatology Departments, Paris University.

Dr. Antoniou has authored more than 180 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 36, >4500 citations) on her main research interests in IPF, Sarcoidosis and Autoimmune Diseases. She has an increasing role in the generation of guidelines and taskforce statements. She is a member of ATS/ERS and International guidelines in IPF and PF-ILDs, member of the ERS Guidelines for Sarcoidosis Treatment, ERS task force in Genetics in ILDs and Co-chair of the ERS/EULAR Clinical Practice Guideline in CTD-ILDs.

She also has an active role in the provision of learning in the Respiratory Community. She was involved in the organization of several European and international conferences and seminars. In 2018 she pioneered in organizing the International Conference on Sarcoidosis and Interstitial Lung Diseases (WASOG) Conference in her home town, Heraklion.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she participated as Chair and Speaker in several Webinars, TV documentaries and newspapers invited articles about the impact of Sars- CoV2 in Chronic Respiratory Diseases. She is member of the ERS Guidelines for Treatment of COVID-19 and she is co-chairing the Follow-up ERS Statement about COVID-19. She also co-chaired several international and European Webinars for Covid-19 several national Societies from Europe, USA and Latin America, with more than 700 participants from 20 countries.

Marion Delcroix - profile image
Marion Delcroix
Head of Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University Hospitals of Leuven, Belgium

Marion Delcroix, MD, PhD, graduated from the Free University of Brussels, where she specialized in respiratory medicine. She is currently Professor of Medicine and of Respiratory Physiology at the Universities of Leuven and Kortrijk, Belgium. She is Head of the Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Program, in charge of the Respiratory High Care Unit, and Chair of the Council for Rare Diseases of the University Hospitals of Leuven. She has been involved in the routine care of over 2000 patients with PH and has participated in main pivotal trials for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Marion Delcroix was a task force member at the 3rd to 6th World Symposia on PH, a nucleus member of the Working Group on Pulmonary Circulation & RV Function of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and is a founding member of the International CTEPH Association (ICA). She has over 200 publications, with research interests focusing on pulmonary circulation and gas exchange, cardiac imaging, and the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of PAH and CTEPH. She has been associate editor of the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) and is currently deputy editor of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation (JHLT). Lastly, she was involved as core member for PH in the European Reference Network (ERN)-lung, as Assembly Head for Pulmonary Vascular Diseases of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), and as scientific board member of the World Symposia on Pulmonary Hypertension Association (WSPH). She is a fellow of the ESC and of the ERS.

Gergely Meszaros - profile image
Gergely Meszaros
Advocacy Manager at the European Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA Europe)

Gergely Meszaros is a graduated economist, tax advisor, and lawyer who has more than 17 years experience in the banking sector as an attorney at law. Gergely has been active in the pulmonary hypertension community since 2010 as a board member of PHA Europe for 2012-2013 and 2014-2015, and as a staff member focusing on advocacy work since. He plays an active role in the rare disease field, most recently as a medical steering committee member of ERN-Lung, a member of ERS CTEPH TF and ERS CRC PHAROS TF, and a member of a panel of experts of EURORDIS Rare2030 project. Gergely is a regular speaker at congresses and conferences.