Scientific Advisory Board


Gianni Gromo (Chair)

Dr Gianni Gromo is a Partner with Versant Ventures. Gianni previously served as a Senior Executive with several pharmaceutical companies, most recently Hoffmann-La Roche, where he successfully lead research and development teams.  Gianni’s roles at Roche included Research Head of Global Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, where he was responsible for all discovery and development activities in the CV, Renal and Metabolic areas; Head of Discovery Research, Basel Site; Global Head of the Metabolic and Vascular Disease Business Unit; and more recently Head of  the Roche China R&D center, Shanghai.  

Prior to Roche, Gianni was Assistant Professor (tenure track), Immunobiology Research Center, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Research Director at Italfarmaco SpA, Milano, Italy; and Director of Biology-Cardiovascular-Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

He has served as a Scientific Advisor to CSIRO (Australia), Baker Institute (Australia), Integra (Yissum/ Hebrew University, Israel) and Momentum Fund (Ramot / Tel Aviv University). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Novira Therapeutics (USA), Aprea ( Sweden),   Piqur (Switzerland) and Nouscom ( Switzerland) 

Gianni received his MD and PhD in Clinical and Experimental Hematology at University of Milano, Italy.


Jan Tack

Professor Jan Tack is the Head of Clinic in the Department of Gastroenterology, Professor of Internal Medicine and Head of the Department of Pathophysiology at the University of Leuven and a Principal Researcher in the Center for Gastroenterological Research at the University of Leuven

He graduated summa cum laude in 1987 from the University of Leuven and specialized in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the same institution. He spent two years as a research fellow in the Department of Physiology at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, from 1989 to 1990. Following this he returned to the University of Leuven as a research fellow at the Center for Gastroenterological Research.

Jan's research lies in the field of neurogastroen­terology and motility, and includes diverse topics such as the pathophysiology and management of gastrointestinal functional and motor disorders (including GERD, FD, gastroparesis, dumping syndrome, chronic constipation and IBS), the physiology and pharmacology of the enteric nervous system, GI hormones and the control of satiation and food intake.

He has published more than 280 articles and 35 book chapters on various aspects of scientific and clinical gastroenterology. He is the Past-President of the European Society of Esophagology, President-Elect of the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus, editor of Neurogastroen­terology and Motility, section editor for Gastroenterology and associate editor of Digestion.


Walter Reinisch

Dr. Walter Reinisch, MD, graduated from the Medical University of Vienna (MUV), where he finished his training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. After initial scientific studies in oncology at the MUV and the National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, he decided to focus his research interest on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Dr. Reinisch is a founding member of the European Crohn’s & Colitis Organisation (ECCO) and was assigned as honorary member after having contributed in various positions. He was previously active in the Scientific and Public Affairs Committee of the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) and headed the Austrian IBD Study Group. Dr. Reinisch is a member of the International Organization For the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD). Dr. Reinisch was appointed to hold the Audrey Campbell Chair in UC Research at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada from 2013 to 2016. Following this he returned to the MUW.

Dr. Reinisch is an expert in designing, conducting and interpreting the results of clinical trials in IBD. He envisions a customized management of IBD utilizing the innovations of translational medicine. He advocates the implementation of a "common language of inflammatory bowel disease" to improve the communication with patients and between physicians for better care and more robust research outcomes.


Jerry Turner

Dr. Jerry Turner is Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Senior Pathologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  His research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which mucosal barriers are established and maintained, defining the impact of barrier regulation on physiological function and disease pathogenesis, and developing novel therapeutics that restore normal mucosal function.  This has led to new paradigms of mucosal barrier regulation and contributions to physiology and pathophysiology.


Gareth Sanger

Professor Gareth Sanger is Professor of Neuropharmacology, Neurogastroenterology Group, Queen Mary University of London.  

Professor Sanger received his PhD and DSc from the University of Manchester before conducting Post-doctoral research with Professor Alan Bennett (Kings College Hospital Medical School. Prior to joining Queen Mary in 2009 he held senior roles in Drug Discovery and Gastrointestinal Research at GlaxoSmithKline. Gareth has experience in all phases of drug discovery and was directly involved in taking 7 novel compounds into clinical development, including granisetron (now an anti-emetic drug).

His research achievements have include the proposal that a novel receptor mediated the ability of 5-HT to increase gastrointestinal motility, later named by others as the 5-HT4 receptor. Identification of the role of the 5-HT3 receptor in the mechanisms of emesis, which led to the development of new drugs and a major change in the treatment of cancer. He was jointly awarded the 1998 Discoverer’s Award by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Gareth current research interests are focused on translational science using human tissue and include understanding the effects of different hormones released from the gut during fasting or after eating, on human gastrointestinal function and effects related to changes in gastrointestinal motility, BMI, appetite and nausea.

His work has been highly commended by NC3Rs for promoting a 'culture shift' in the use of human tissues in basic research. He is a Fellow of the British Pharmacology Society, has published over 120 peer-reviewed research papers and teaches modules on gastrointestinal neurobiology, emesis and drug discovery.