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ISG gathering to highlight range of the specialty

By Mindo - 19th Nov 2023

ISG gathering

The upcoming Winter Meeting of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology will feature specialist symposiums on bariatric surgery, exercise, and IBD

The Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG) Winter Meeting 2023 will take place in Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare, on 7-8 December. The event is one of the ISG’s annual keynote meetings.

On Thursday 7 December, proceedings will commence with sessions on the best clinical and scientific abstracts submitted for the meeting.

Obesity and bariatric surgery

This will be followed by the opening symposium, which is on the topic of obesity and bariatric surgery.

Prof Helen Heneghan, Professor of Surgery, University College Dublin (UCD), will deliver the opening address. Her talk is entitled ‘Home and away – the bariatric surgery episode’. She is Consultant Bariatric and General Surgeon in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, and became UCD’s first female Academic Professor of Surgery in 2020.

Prof Heneghan is a graduate of the University of Galway and completed basic surgical training in Galway University Hospital.

Prof Heneghan completed the RCSI higher surgical training scheme in general surgery in 2016. During her training, she spent two years in the Bariatric Metabolic Institute in Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, US. She completed her training with a bariatric Fellowship in the UK.

Prof Helen Heneghan

Prof Carel le Roux is the next speaker in the symposium and the title of his presentation is ‘How the gut talks to the brain’. He is Professor of Experimental Pathology, UCD.

Prof le Roux graduated from medical school in Pretoria, South Africa, and completed his specialist training in metabolic medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospitals and the Hammersmith Hospitals in the UK. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College London where he later took up a faculty position. Prof le Roux moved to UCD for the position of Chair in Experimental Pathology and he is now the Director of the Metabolic Medicine Group. He is the coordinator of the Innovative Medicine Initiative SOPHIA project and previously received a President of Ireland Young Researcher Award, Irish Research Council Laurate Award, Clinician Scientist Award from the National Institute Health Research in the UK, and a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellowship for his work on ‘how the gut talks to the brain’.

After establishing the research group he published numerous high impact papers over the years that have influenced his field. In particular, his translational research on the understanding of the physiological role and pathological changes in appetite control and the impact of bariatric surgery on diabetes has been widely acknowledged. He has also been appointed to a variety of editorial positions of peer reviewed journals. The focus of his research is primarily concerned with increased mortality and morbidity associated with obesity and diabetes.

The title of the final talk of the symposium is ‘Endobariatrics – endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty and beyond’. It will be delivered by Mr Jamie Kelly, Consultant General Surgeon, Spire Southampton Hospital, UK.

Mr Kelly has a specialist interest in laparoscopic and minimal access surgery. This is demonstrated in his approach and personal development of weight loss surgery.

Mr Kelly has received extensive obesity training in the UK and abroad, specialising in gastric banding, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional procedures.

After completing his surgical training, Mr Kelly spent two years on an Australian surgical Fellowship, returning to the UK in 2007. In 2008 he was appointed to his current position in Spire Southampton Hospital.

After the symposium, premier poster sessions will take place, after which there will be a break for lunch.

Exercise and movement

The second symposium will be held in the afternoon. It is on the topic of exercise and movement.

Prof Mike Trenell, Professor of Metabolism and Lifestyle Medicine, Newcastle University, UK, will deliver the opening talk of the symposium. The talk is entitled ‘Lifestyle and liver disease: Worth spending energy on?.’

Prof Trenell was appointed to Newcastle University in 2006. He was Deputy Director of the MRC Centre for Ageing and Vitality and led work looking at lifestyle and chronic disease, co-designing service pathways and understanding the clinical impact of self-care behaviour. Through this work, Prof Trenell has supported, with colleagues, the deployment of scalable digital health services for the management and prevention of long-term conditions in the UK and across Europe.

The second day of the ISG Winter Meeting will commence with a symposium focusing on emerging approaches in inflammatory bowel disease

In 2016 Prof Trenell was appointed founding Director of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Innovation Observatory, which is hosted by Newcastle University. The team provides strategic insight to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Department of Health, NHS England, NIHR, academia, and industry.

Prof Karen Boland, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Keith Siau, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, UK, are the other two speakers in this symposium.

Prof Boland’s presentation will address the topic of lifestyle medicine in relation to gastrointestinal conditions, while the title of Dr Siau’s talk is ‘Ergonomics for the endoscopist’.

At the end of the first day, there will be a satellite meeting, sponsored by Pfizer, on JAK inhibitors for ulcerative colitis.


The second day of the ISG Winter Meeting will commence with a symposium focusing on emerging approaches in inflammatory bowel disease.

The first speaker is Dr Kerri Novak, Consultant Gastroenterologist, University of Calgary, Canada. Dr Novak will deliver a talk entitled, ‘Intestinal ultrasound in inflammatory bowel disease: What’s all the hype about?.’ Dr Novak pursued training in intestinal ultrasound (IUS) in Germany in 2012. She returned to Calgary to establish the first IBD clinic in Canada to provide routine IUS for patients with IBD. IUS uses ultrasound technology to directly visualise the gastrointestinal tract. It can be performed at the bedside in clinic by trained gastroenterologists as a low-cost, non-invasive monitoring tool for patients with IBD.

Prof Marietta Iacucci

Dr Novak has also developed a research programme for IUS to better understand its use and impact and provides IUS training to trainees. ‘Changing concepts in managing dysplasia associated with IBD’ is the title of the talk of the following speaker, Prof Marietta Iacucci. Prof Iacucci is Professor in Gastroenterology, University College Cork. Prof Iacucci qualified in medicine from the University of Rome and obtained her PhD in 2009. She trained and did research in Germany, the UK, and Japan, and previously held permanent faculty positions at the Universities of Calgary, Canada, and Birmingham, UK.

Prof Iacucci is a leading researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and a pioneer in ‘endo-omics’ that fuses endoscopic and histologic information with ‘multi-omics’ data.

The final talk of the symposium will be given by Prof Peter Irving, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK. Prof Irving will speak about de-escalation of treatment in IBD.

Prof Irving trained in medicine at Cambridge University and The London Hospital Medical College, UK.

He is internationally known as an expert in IBD and leads the IBD service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, where he also runs a large research and clinical trial programme.

The symposium will conclude with a ‘meet the experts’ session on difficult IBD cases featuring all three speakers.

After the symposium, an awards presentation will take place, which will bring this year’s Winter Meeting to a close.

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