CHAIR

Professor Jong M. Rho MD

University of California, Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, USA.

Dr. Rho is a Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology at the Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. He received an undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, and an M.D. from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Rho has held prior faculty appointments at the University of Washington (Seattle), the University of California at Irvine, the Barrow Neurological Institute (Phoenix), and most recently, the University of Calgary. Dr. Rho’s main research interests are the mechanisms underlying the anti-seizure and neuroprotective effects of metabolism-based treatments such as the ketogenic diet.

His research activities have been sponsored by research grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Brain Canada, and a variety of intramural and extramural public and private sector sources.

VICE CHAIR

Professor J. Helen Cross OBE
MB, ChB, PhD, FRCP, FRCPCH

The Prince of Wales’s Chair of Childhood Epilepsy and Head of the Developmental Neurosciences Programme at UCL Institute of Child Health, as well as an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Neurology at Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, London and Young Epilepsy, Lingfield, UK.

Professor Cross’ research has been targeted at improving outcomes in early-onset epilepsy, specifically in assessing the role of surgery and ketogenic diet. Professor Cross is the elected Treasurer of the International League Against Epilepsy, Clinical Advisor to the National Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service, and Clinical Advisor to the update of the NICE guidelines for Childhood Epilepsy 2018-2021.

She was also instrumental in setting up the European Reference Network for Rare and Complex Epilepsies called EpiCare of which she is the joint co-ordinator. She was awarded ILAE/IBE Ambassador for Epilepsy in 2007, and is the recipient of the American Academy of Neurology Sydney Carter Award, The International Child Neurology Association Frank Ford Award and the American Epilepsy Clinical Research Award.

Professor Cross was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015, and most recently has been elected as President of the International League Against Epilepsy for 4 years starting in 2021.

SECRETARIAT

Emma Williams MBE

Founder/Ceo – Matthew’s Friends Charity
Director – Matthew’s Friends Clinics.

Emma set up the Matthew’s Friends Charity in 2004 after her son Matthew responded so positively to the ketogenic diet.

She is now one of the world’s leading advocates for ketogenic therapies and has worked full time in this field for over 17 years, as well as being a single mum to her 2 children. Not only does she have over 6 year’s personal experience of managing her own son with these diets, she has supported thousands of other families through the charity. She has written numerous magazine articles, featured in many television/radio interviews and co-authored several papers on the Ketogenic therapies with some of the leading Ketogenic medical experts from around the globe.

Emma is invited to speak at a considerable number of International meetings and was the pioneer behind Nutricia’s global ‘Cooking with Ketocal’ Campaign. With branches of Matthew’s Friends now registered in New Zealand and Canada, she works with her Country CEO’s to make sure that the mission of Matthew’s Friends is continued so that ketogenic therapies are available to all those who may need them and could benefit from them. 2013 saw her awarded an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen for her services to Children with Epilepsy.

Jim Abrahams

Executive Director, The Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies.

Father to Charlie Abrahams, Executive Director and Founder of The Charlie Foundation. Film Maker, Director, producer and writer. Made the film ‘First do No Harm’ about the Ketogenic Diet and starring Meryl Streep.

Dr. Marisa Laura Armeno

Staff physician at the Department of Clinical Nutrition in Hospital
Nacional de Pediatria JP Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Marisa Armeno is a Staff physician at the Department of Clinical Nutrition in Hospital Nacional de Pediatria JP Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires at the School of medicine. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the National Pediatric Hospital (Hospital Garrahan) and a 3 year fellowship in Child Nutrition in 2009, she has remained there on faculty of Staff at the Nutrition Department since 2012.

She became Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Team of the Ketogenic Diet for Refractory Epilepsy in 2013 working together with the Neurology Dtp, Epilepsy center held by Dr. Caraballo in Hospital JP Garrahan.

Dr. Armeno has been working with dietary treatments for epilepsy and other metabolic disorders since 2011 and started on her PhD at UCA Biomedical Science in 2017. Her main research interest is the clinical and long term aspects of ketogenic diet in refractory epilepsy patients.

Professor Stéphane Auvin, MD, PhD, FAES

Professor, Université de Paris, Pediatric Epilepsy & Child Neurology, Reference Center for Rare Epilepsies. Child Neurology Department & INSERM NeuroDiderot, DHU Protect Robert-Debré University Hospital, Paris, France.

Stéphane Auvin is epileptologist and Child Neurologist. Full professor at Robert Debré University Hospital & Université de Paris, Paris, France.

He is conducting the Epilepsy program and the center for rare epilepsies at Robert Debré University Hospital, APHP, Paris. He is also conducting experimental research works in the INSERM U1141, Paris.

His clinical and research activities are focused on pediatric epilepsy and its treatments and his research team is working on inflammation-epilepsy, on the ketogenic diet and antiepileptic drugs in the developing brain. The Epilepsy program at Robert Debré Children Hospital, Paris, is involved in antiepileptic drugs development and clinical trials (PK, Phase II, Phase III and Phase IV). He is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers or book chapters.

He also serves on the ILAE (International League Against Epilepsy) as the chair of the Pediatric commission (2017-2021) and as Associate Editor for Epilepsia (Journal of ILAE, IF: 5.295) (2017-2021). He is a member of the board of the ILAE French Chapter and the president (2019-2022) of the French Pediatric Neurology Society.

Dr. Anita Devlin

Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at the Great North Children’s Hospital and Associate Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University.

Anita Devlin is Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at the Great North Children’s Hospital and Associate Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University. She is regional lead for paediatric epilepsy. A graduate of University College London in 1988 she trained in neurology in Aberdeen, Great Ormond Street and Newcastle. Anita leads the complex epilepsy service including the VNS and Ketogenic Dietary Therapy service that she set up in 2012.

Anita was a founder member of the group that developed the BPNA Paediatric Epilepsy Training Courses 16 years ago and course directed on the international launches of these courses in South Africa and New Zealand. In collaboration with a Matthews Friends and colleagues she developed and revises course materials for “KetoCollege” an international multidisciplinary teaching course about ketogenic dietary therapy to treat children and young people with epilepsy and metabolic disorders. Anita receives invitations to speak nationally and internationally on paediatric epilepsy, publishing and peer reviewing articles for publication.

Julie Fountain

Trustee/Deputy CEO Matthew’s Friends Charity, Director – Matthew’s Friends Clinics.

Julie is a Founding Trustee of Matthew’s Friends Charity (since 2004) and oversees the general management of the charity’s activities, including fundraising, corporate relations, social media and events management, including the hosting of three Ketogenic Diet Global Symposiums held in the UK to date; Edinburgh 2010, Liverpool 2014 and Brighton (hybrid) 2021.

Julie is co-founder and Director of KetoCollege, a 3-day MasterClass in medical Ketogenic Dietary Therapies for health care professionals. Held annually in-person in the UK since 2016, additionally held in Melbourne Australia in 2017 and most recently in the UK + Online for global access.

Beth Zupec-Kania, RDN, CD

Registered Dietitian & Nutritionist The Charlie Foundation, USA.

Beth Zupec-Kania is a Registered Dietitian & Nutritionist who has specialized in ketogenic diet therapies (KDTs) since 1991. She’s managed KDTs in medical disorders including epilepsy, autism, endocrine disorders, multiple sclerosis, migraine headache, cancers, and, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Beth has authored multiple education guides for patients and professionals including Ketogenic Diet Therapy for Neurological Disorders: Pocket Guide.

She’s co-organized three global symposiums and is the designer of KetoDietCalculator, webbased program for calculating diets. She’s spoken at conferences globally, has provided training to over 300 medical centers and is a consultant to The Charlie Foundation.

Professor Jörg Klepper

Chief Physician, Children’s Clinic, Aschaffenburg Clinic, Germany.

Professor Klepper is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities in the area of Glut 1 Deficiency and speaks at many international conferences.

His main field of work are disorders of brain energy metabolism such as GLUT1 deficiency syndrome or pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency. Both disorders are associated with intractable epilepsy and respond to the ketogenic diet. Research interests are mechanisms and adverse effects of the diet, as well as establishing international protocols for the use of the diet in epilepsy and metabolic disorders. Since 01/07: Medical Director of Aschaffenburg Children’s Hospital.

Professor Klepper is on the MF Glut 1 Medical Advisory board and works with Dr. Archana Desurkar in the MF Glut 1 clinic.

Professor Eric H. Kossoff, MD

Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Dr. Kossoff is a Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He received his medical degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine in New York, followed by a residency in pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. He completed a fellowship in child neurology and then pediatric epilepsy at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has been at Johns Hopkins since 1998.

His research and clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of childhood seizures and epilepsy, particularly ketogenic diet therapy. Currently the Medical Director of the Pediatric Ketogenic Diet Center at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kossoff is one of the world experts on ketogenic dietary therapy for neurologic disorders and developed the Modified Atkins Diet for children and adults in 2003.

He is dedicated to bringing the use of diet therapies for neurologic disorders to the entire world and was recently the leader of a Task Force within the International League Against Epilepsy to help achieve this goal. He is a coauthor of The Ketogenic and Modified Atkins Diets: Treatments for Epilepsy and Other Disorders, now in its 7th edition, and helped organize both the 2008 and 2018 expert consensus guidelines on ketogenic diet management. Dr. Kossoff is also very involved in teaching and mentorship, and is the Director of the Child Neurology Residency Program at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Susan Masino

Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College and a joint appointment in Neuroscience and Psychology.

Dr. Masino is the Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College and a joint appointment in Neuroscience and Psychology. Her research focuses on promoting and restoring brain health through metabolic therapy. She has a particular interest in adenosine, and the ongoing relationship among metabolism, brain activity and behavior.

In addition to her laboratory research Dr. Masino is interested in how public polices can improve brain health – with a special focus on forests – and involved in local educational and environmental issues. Recently she was named a Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Research at Harvard Forest based on a project focused on forests and brain health.

Katherine Megaw RD

Clinical Paediatric Dietitian.

Clinical paediatric dietitian with special interest in special needs and epilepsy. Qualified in South Africa and specialised in paediatrics and special needs abroad. Been in private practice for over 23 years.

Kath sits on the board for the international ketogenic society and so excited to be setting up the Matthew’s friends South Africa/ Africa branch. She has co authored numerous books of which ‘low carb solution for diabetics’ has been published both in SA and UK. Kath is passionate about seeing the tool box of ketogenic diets accessible to all families and patients across South Africa and into Africa despite resource availability! Her greatest achievement to date is as mother to three beautiful children one of whom is on a version of the ketogenic diet for her epilepsy.

Dr. Janak Nathan

Consultant Neurologist at Shushrusha Citizens Co-operative Hospital, Mumbai.Honorary Professor at Dr. DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Pune.

Asia’s pioneer of the ketogenic diet for Epilepsy, Cancers and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, PSP, progressive
multiple sclerosis and others.

He founded Epilepsy and Keto Medical Research Trust in 1996 to spread awareness on Epilepsy and Ketogenic Diet in India, South and South-east Asia.

Member executive committee of International Neuro Ketogenic Society (INKS) and Global Society of Metabolic Therapy. He has published several original articles in renowned international journals.

Dr. Adrienne C. Scheck

Associate Scientist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, USA.

Adrienne C. Scheck, PhD, is an Associate Scientist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University, and an Associate Investigator in the Cancer Biology Program at the University of Arizona.

She received her BA from the University of Rochester and her PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After a postdoctoral fellowship in viral oncology at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine she moved to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to study AIDS-related dementia. Here she began studies of brain tumors and moved to the Barrow Neurological Institute in 1989 and remained there until 2017 when she moved to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix until 2019.

Dr. Scheck is an acknowledged leader in the field of metabolic alteration as an adjunct to the standard of care to improve survival and minimize side effects for patients with malignant brain tumors. Her laboratory has been studying the use of the therapeutic ketogenic diet (KD) and metabolic ketosis for the treatment of malignant brain tumors. Their work has shown that the KD reduces the growth of malignant brain tumors through a wide variety of mechanisms, and it potentiates the effect of radiation and temozolomide chemotherapy. She is now working to extend these studies to pediatric brain tumors.

Laureate Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO MB BS
PhD FRACP FAES FAHMS FAA FRS

Paediatric neurologist and epileptologist at the University of Melbourne and Austin Health.

Laureate Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO is a physician-scientist whose work as a paediatric neurologist and epileptologist at the University of Melbourne and Austin Health has led the field of epilepsy genetics over more than 20 years, in collaboration with Professor Samuel Berkovic and molecular geneticists. This resulted in identification of the first epilepsy gene and many more genes subsequently. Professor Scheffer has described many novel epilepsy syndromes and refined genotype–phenotype correlation of many disorders.

Her major interests are in the genetics of the epilepsies, epilepsy syndromology and classification, and translational research. She collaborates on research focused on the genetics of speech and language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, cortical malformations and intellectual disability. She led the first major reclassification of the epilepsies in three decades, published in March 2017, for the International League Against Epilepsy.

She has received many awards, including the 2007 American Epilepsy Society Clinical Research Recognition Award, the L’Or al-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for the Asia-Pacific region for 2012 and the ILAE Ambassador for Epilepsy Award. In 2014, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and also as Vice-President and Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

In 2019, she is President-Elect of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She was a co-recipient of the 2014 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and she was awarded the Order of Australia in 2014. In 2018, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Robin Williams PhD

Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Royal Holloway University of London.

Prof. Williams key research focus is to improve our understanding of therapeutic treatments for epilepsy, including the development of novel drug and dietary interventions. His work has often been based in an innovative non-animal model system, with breakthrough discoveries translated to specific pre-clinical models.

He is a basic-translational researcher in the field of epilepsy and drug discovery, with special interest in ketogenic diets and the development of new treatments.

He graduated with a PhD in molecular cell biology at the University of Melbourne (Australia) in 1994, and pursed subsequent postdoctoral positions at St Andrews University and University College London (UCL) in the UK, followed by an independent Wellcome Trust Career Development fellowship at UCL.

He moved to Royal Holloway University of London in 2006, where he is now Professor of Molecular Cell Biology in the Centre for Biomedical Sciences. His expertise relates to molecular cell biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, drug development, and pharmacogenetics, where he often initiates his studies in a tractable non-animal model system, with breakthroughs translated to well-accepted pre-clinical models.

Jian Xiang Liao, MD PhD

Shenzhen Children’s Hospital Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China.

Sponsors and Patrons