On May 17th, 2024, Aesku. GROUP’s “Aesku.Award for life contribution to autoimmunity” was awarded during the Opening Ceremony of the Congress.

Dr. Torsten Matthias, founder, and CEO of AESKU.GROUP, presented the awards to the prizewinners during the opening ceremony of the “14th International Congress on Autoimmunity”, which took place in Ljubljana from May 17th to 20th, 2024.

Also in 2024 AESKU.GROUP was following the tradition, three distinguished personalities have been chosen to receive the “Lifetime Contribution to Autoimmunity Award” in 2024. The recipients of the Lifetime Contribution to Autoimmunity Awards was honoured during the Autoimmunity 2024 Congress. The AESKU.Award is presented every two years at the Autoimmunity Congress as a recognition to individuals who have contributed in a significant way to the field of autoimmunology.

This Year's Recipients:

Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert MD, PhD

Dr. Cohen Tervaert obtained his MD in 1981 at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He subsequently specialized in Internal Medicine, Nephrology, Clinical Immunology, and Rheumatology.

In 1990, he obtained a PhD (cum laude). The title of his dissertation was: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA): a new class of autoantibodies in vasculitis and glomerulonephritis. Subsequently, he worked as a visiting researcher at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, as a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in the University Medical Center Groningen, as a professor of Internal Medicine and Immunology and Chair of the Division of Clinical and Experimental in Maastricht University Medical Center, as the Research Director in the Sint Franciscus Hospital, Rotterdam and as a Professor of Medicine, in the University of Alberta in Edmonton (Canada), where he was from 2017 – 2023 the Director of the Division of Rheumatology.

Working during his PhD thesis together with Dr.Goldschmeding, the group discovered in 1987 MPO-ANCA and PR3-ANCA. Since then his research focuses on vasculitis and other autoimmune diseases such as systemic sclerosis and foreign body induced rheumatic diseases such as ASIA (Shoenfeld’s syndrome).

He is a founding member of the International Autoimmunity Consortium and of the North American Vascular Biology Organization. From 2002-2006, he was a member of the WHO committee assessing autoimmunity associated with exposure to chemicals and since 2020 he is a member of the expertise panel on medical devices of the European Union.

He has been a board member of the Dutch Federation of Nephrology and the Dutch Society of Immunology. Furthermore, has been a member of the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Minister of Health on health care coverage, the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Kidney Foundation and Chairman of the scientific advisory board of the Dutch Arthritis Foundation.

He is (co) author of more than 580 scientific articles. His work is cited > 38000 times and his Hirsch factor per 01-10-2023 is 102.


Christopher John Edwards, Professor

Prof. Christopher John Edwards medical degree was awarded by Kings College London. During his undergraduate training he spent a year making monoclonal antibodies against DNA and several months on an exchange scheme in Chicago. His formal rheumatology training was at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London followed by a research degree whilst a Lecturer at Charing Hospital and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. Having completed his certificate of training in rheumatology he worked as a consultant Rheumatologist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore for one year.

Prof. Edwards has been a Consultant Rheumatologist for 23 years at University Hospital Southampton and a Professor of Clinical Rheumatology at the University of Southampton for 9 years. The University Hospital Southampton is a 1000 bed hospital which provides specialised services to a large population in the South of the United Kingdom. He is Director of the Southampton Musculoskeletal Research Unit, a recognised EULAR Centre of Excellence (2015-20 & 2020-25). He supervises several clinics per week, takes part in the on-call rota and reviews inpatients on the ward. He has an interest in inflammatory rheumatic diseases and set up Lupus/connective tissue disease (CTD), early arthritis and complex biological therapy clinics. The Lupus clinic has been recognised by Lupus UK as a Centre of Excellence. This was particularly pleasing as the assessment criteria included many factors of importance to people with RMDs. He serves as a clinical advisor to charities supporting individuals with RMDs including Lupus UK and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).

He is Co-Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF). The CRF employs >100 colleagues and provides physical space and expertise for early phase, ATIMP and experimental medicine studies across all medical specialities in Southampton. In this role he chairs the early phase safety committee and supervises research degrees undertaken by both rheumatology fellows and Health Professionals in Rheumatology. This has also led to him undertaking Chief investigator roles and membership and chair of several national and international trial steering and safety committees. He organises the annual Ten Topics in Rheumatology meeting in London with colleagues and is the past Chair of the EULAR Education Committee.


Eli Rasin

Born in Israel in 1947 to Itshak and Rina, Eli embarked on his professional journey by joining his father’s business after completing his military service.

Over the years, he has significantly expanded and diversified the business into areas such as real estate development, hospitality, and mining, extending their operations across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Known for his down-to-earth nature and being a people’s person, Eli’s connection to autoimmunity research grew through his and his father’s acquaintance with Professor Schoenfeld.

This relationship blossomed into a deep and lasting friendship, through which Eli and his family have been privileged to support several of Professor Schoenfeld’s initiatives in the autoimmunity field.