Interim Secretary General 2021 and Chair Francis Fontan Fund 2017-2021
Dr Rafael Sádaba graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain) and completed his basic and advanced training in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at the Leeds General Infirmary and East Yorkshire Hospitals in the UK, and the Sir Charles Gardner Hospital in Perth (Australia). During his training, he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Science by the University of Leeds. Subsequently he was awarded a PhD degree by the Public University of Navarra for his work on degenerative aortic valve disease. Dr Sádaba is currently working in the Dept of Cardiac Surgery at the "Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra" in Pamplona (Spain), where he is Coordinator of Cardiovascular Research and Innovation, and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Navarra. He is the former Secretary of the European Board of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Dr Sádaba is a Fellow in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. As member of the European Society for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, he holds leadership positions in this association as Council member, Chair of the Education Committee and Chair of the Francis Fontan Fund. He is also member of the Spanish Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Heart Valve Society, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He is Associated Editor of the journal “Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery” and lead clinician in the “Translational Cardiology Research Group” at NavarraBiomed Foundation. His research interests have focused on the surgical pathology of the aortic valve and myocardial regeneration therapy.
Sigrid Sandner graduated from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, in 1999. Following a research fellowship in transplant immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital - Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School from 2000 to 2003, Dr. Sandner completed her clinical training in cardiac surgery (2011) and vascular surgery (2016) at the Medical University of Vienna. Currently, Dr. Sandner is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna and Director of the Coronary Revascularization Program at the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Vienna General Hospital - Medical University of Vienna.
Konstantinos Tsagakis graduated in 1998 as a medical doctor at the University of Vienna, Austria. After his basic medical practice, he moved 2001 to Germany as resident in cardiac surgery in Heart Center North Rhein Westphalia in Bad Oeynhausen and since 2004 in West German Heart and Vascular Center of the University Hospital of Essen. In 2009 he performed the board exams for cardiac surgery and he continued as staff surgeon in Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery in Essen. His specialization focused on open and endovascular thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic repair and reconstructive aortic valve surgery. He habilitated as private lecturer in medical University of Duisburg-Essen in 2018. Currently, he is the Section Head of Aortic Surgery in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital of Essen.
Alicja Zientara graduated in 2010 as a medical doctor at Hannover Medical School, Germany, with a doctoral degree (Dr. med.) in 2012. From 2011 until 2018, Alicja spent her residency in cardiac surgery at the University hospital and Triemli hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, including rotations in vascular surgery and intensive care. Since 2018, she continues her education as a senior clinical fellow at the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospital in London, UK. Her area of interest includes off-pump coronary artery bypass graft, minimal invasive surgery and interventional heart valve procedures. Alicja contributed from 2016-2018 as the chairwoman of the Young Swiss Cardiac Surgeons Club (YSCSC) and since 2018 as a member of the EACTS residents committee to foster and support young surgeons.
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