Organising Team

Forum's organising and scientific team is made up members with significant practical and theoretical experience in organising international scientific events:

International Scientific Committee

Elīna Dimiņa

Development Manager at Children's Clinical University Hospital

Public health expert with interest in infectious diseases epidemiology, infection control and antimicrobial resistance. I believe that data and technologies are still underestimated resources for promotion of public health.

Sandra Lejniece

Prof. Sandra Lejniece, MD, PhD is a multiple awarded, certified haematologist and expert of the Latvian Science Council with over 30 years of experience in field of haematology and oncology. Prof. Lejniece is currently Dean at the Department of Doctoral Studies, professor at Department of Internal Disease, Riga Stradins University and Chief of Chemotherapy and Haematology Clinic at the Riga Easte University Hospital. She graduated from Faculty of General Medicine in Riga, Latvia in 1987 and obtained haematology certification at Latvian Academy of Medicine in 1990. Following completion of her traineeship and obtaining PhD degree in 1998, prof. Lejniece held several positions including those of Head of Study Programme ‘’Medicine’’, Head of the National Centre of Haematology and Head Haematologist in Riga, Latvia. Prof. Sandra Lejniece, MD, PhD was a lead of numerous research projects in fields of biomedicine, haematology, and oncology. She published 8 monographs and books, 217 scientific publications, edited and reviewed journals in her field of interest. Prof. Lejniece participated in numerous clinical trials (phases Ib – IV) as a Principal Investigator. Her main research interests are focused on risk factors in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, bleeding disorders, rare haematological diseases, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Liene Ņikitina - Zaķe

Liene Ņikitina-Zaķe, MD, PhD is the director of the Research Department of Rīga Stradiņš University. Her duties include the implementation of RSU's research strategy and science policy. Liene has received the annual grant For Women in Science of L’Oreal Latvia, Latvian National Commission for UNESCO and Latvian Academy of Sciences for genetic studies of rheumatoid arthritis. She has improved her management skills by running the Laboratory of genetic testing. In addition to her work as a manager, she has also developed several diagnostic tests, which are currently widely used in diagnostics. Ņikitina-Zaķe is the co-author of more than 60 scientific articles, a certified geneticist, a member of the board of the Latvian Association of Human Genetics. Ņikitina-Zaķe obtained her degree of Doctor of Medicine at Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Zanda Daneberga

Zanda Daneberga leads the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, at the Institute of Oncology, Riga Stradins University and is an Associate Professor in Medical Genetics at the Department of Biology and Microbiology, Riga Stradins University. She is also a member of the European Registered Clinical Laboratory Geneticists (ErCLG) board. Zanda  received her MSc in Biology with a specialisation in Molecular biology at University of Latvia and defended her doctoral degree (Dr.med.) at Riga Stradiņš University in in medical genetics. Her research interests are focused on personalized medicine in cancer treatment, including biomarker analysis such as ncRNAs, CNVs, transcriptome analysis, as well as hereditary cancers.  She also has expertise in molecular diagnostics and biochemical genetics.

Lars O. Baumbusch

Dr. Lars O. Baumbusch is a molecular biologist working as a senior scientist and project group leader at the Dep. of Pediatric Research, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, Norway. In his career, he investigated genomic instability, molecular signatures of circulating and disseminated tumor cells (DTCs), and long non-coding RNAs in breast cancer applying modern molecular biology methods and applied bioinformatics. Since 2012, he is working at the Dep. of Pediatric Research, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet on the molecular biology of oxidative stress and childhood cancer. Together with colleagues and his team, he examines genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and epigenomic changes using animal models of perinatal asphyxia and patient samples. During the last years, he focused on the characterization of the genomic profiles of primary tumors and DTCs of high-risk neuroblastoma patients applying different single cell and sequencing techniques. In addition, he was engaged as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Oslo from 2006 to 2010 and as an associate professor/professor at the Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway from 2018 to 2021. Perspectives: Progress in medical research requires sample collections like the Norwegian Childhood Cancer Biobank (NCCB). These modern biobanks provide the opportunity to combine clinical information with state-of-the art biotechnology and analytical techniques enabling a translation research approach. For more details about the scientific projects, publications, and perspectives of LOB please see https://ous-research.no/baumbusch.

Baiba Vilne

Baiba Vilne, PhD, is a bioinformatician and performs analysis and integration of genome, transcriptoma, microbiome and other omics data with clinical, as well as environmental and lifestyle information.  This type of analyses is currently highly relevant in the context of personalized medicine, which aims at tailoring the diagnostics and therapy to each individual's needs. She is the head of Bioinformatics Lab at Rīga Stradiņš University. Baiba performs analysis and integration of genome, transcriptoma, microbiome and other omics data with clinical, as well as environmental and lifestyle information.

Mārcis Leja

Mārcis Leja is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, University of Latvia, Head of the Dept. of Research, Riga East University hospital, and a consulting gastroenterologist at the Digestive Diseases Centre. He has served as a member of the European Cancer Mission Board from 2019 to 2021 and is a member of Research Committee member of the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) as well as the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group (EHMSG). His special interest lies in the prevention and early detection of gastrointestinal cancer. He is the principal investigator of the population-based gastric cancer prevention study GISTAR (www.gistar.eu). The other areas of research interest are related to the use of volatile organic marker (VOC) diagnostic concept in gastrointestinal cancer detection as well as for other conditions, the role of microbiota in health and disease as well as the use of large data for prevention and early detection.

Jānis Kloviņš

Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Senior Researcher of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, and Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Latvia. He has defended his PhD from Leiden University, having worked as a researcher at the Uppsala University Institute of Neuroscience in the Netherlands, studying bacterial viruses. Prof. Kloviņš has created the Genome Database of the State Population, and implemented many research projects, identifying the role of the human genome and the microbiome in causing various diseases. He is the author of more than 90 internationally quoted publications, a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.


Steering Committee

John Tully

John Tully is the Chairman of the Board of MikroTik, a Latvian-based network equipment manufacturer which has been focusing on the development of cost-effective, secure and powerful wireless and data technologies – from 60 GHz solutions to LTE, 5G, and core networking routers. Mr. Tully has also started the Genomics Data Network and the charitable non-profit Latvian Pediatric Cancer Initiative that supports free genetic testing for pediatric cancer patients in Latvia. Since 2021, he has also been serving as the President and Chairman of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia.

Valts Ābols

Valts Abols serves as the CEO of Children University hospital (CUH) in Latvia. Valts’ ambition is to build the Digitally Enabled Integrated Children Health Ecosystem that embraces all children, their families, health professionals and caregivers with the common aim to improve children health and help them to realize their full potential. Valts serves on the Board of European Children Hospital organisation (ECHO) advocating for children’s health and their access to the best quality care through the collaborative work of children’s hospitals.

Agrita Kiopa

Agrita Kiopa holds a PhD in Public Policy from Georgia Institute of Technology and is the Vice-Rector for Science at Rīga Stradiņš University. Dr Agrita Kiopa's responsibilities include development of Rīga Stradiņš University as an internationally recognised research institution, and supervision of doctoral education. Before joining the Rector’s team, she was a Deputy State Secretary and Director of the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Department at the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia. Her professional and research interests include organization theory and science human capital.

Rolands Lappuķe

Rolands is Smart Technologies Adviser to the President of Latvia.  He has a scientific background, holding a PhD in Neurosciences of the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, and has had a diplomatic career as an Ambassador to Portugal, to France and to Spain as well as representative of Latvia at the UNESCO and at the Council of Europe. Presently he is devoting his activities essentially to foster the use of technologies in Latvian medicine in a human-centered spirit. Rolans is involved in the project developing the Health Advancement centre at the Children’s Clinical University Hospital and is co-chairing a project “Improving cancer care coordination and screening in Latvia” funded by the European Commission (DG Reform).

Raimonds Lapiņš

Raimonds Lapiņš is a Deputy State Secretary on Economic Development, Business Competitiveness, and Innovation of the Ministry of Economics of Latvia. Mr.Lapiņš has more than 15 years of professional experience at the Ministry of Economics of Latvia and the Latvian Investment and Development Agency. His contribution not only as practitioner but also as visionary has been mainly related to industrial, innovation, entrepreneurship development, and planning, implementation, and supervision of EU funds programs. He’s also experienced in the private sector and the acquisition of new export markets. Mr. Lapiņš is also advising Forum’s steering comitee and helping with design of the programme according to a new governance model for institutional innovation governance and the Latvian Smart Specialisation Strategy.

Laura Dabare

After graduating Riga Stradiņš University Laura has become an innovation enthusiast and has communication background in youth NGOs, sports marketing, transport and communication. Laura currently works in Ministry of Economics as senior expert. Laura assists in organizing Forum's panels.

Alise Jakovele

Research assistant in molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics of Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre with strong skills in biological research, data collection, interpretation and management.  Passionate about participating in the exploration of the full potential of precision medicine.

Līga Hartpenga

Experienced project manager with a demonstrated history of working in the event industry. Līga currently works in the communication department at Riga Stradiņš University and her responsibilities include conducting international scientific-practical conferences and events. Līga is the Forum's project manager and assists the organising committees.