Lydia Makaroff

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Lydia Makaroff is the Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition. She has over ten years' international experience in non-communicable disease research and policy development in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and the non-profit sector. She conducted medical research during her PhD at the Australian National University and as a senior post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington. After working in Global Market Access at a pharmaceutical company, she joined the International Diabetes Federation as their Epidemiology and Public Health Manager. She has experience quantifying the impact of non-communicable diseases, monitoring national governments' commitments to health, providing tools to Member Organisations, writing policy papers, and working with the European Institutions to advocate for change. Lydia holds a PhD in immunology and a Masters' degree in Public Health, and is also a Board member of Pancreatic Cancer Europe and an Associate Researcher at the Translational Immunology laboratory at the University of Leuven. She is an Australian-Belgian dual national who speaks English and has a good knowledge of French.


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Isabelle Manneh-Vangramberen
Head of Health & Research Programmes

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Isabelle is ECPC's Head of Health & Research Programmes and is the appointed executive body for our research activities from industry to EU funded projects participating in several European Union's Research and Innovation framework programmes in addition to working on 3 principal EU Policy files: the European Cross Border Health Directive, the General Data Protection Regulation, and Health Technology Assessment. She holds a double Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, a Master degree in Public Health, in addition to a post-master in European Studies specialising in EU Policy & Project Management. Isabelle is a USAID Training Future Leaders Scholarship recipient, a Golden Key International Honour Society member, and a EUPATI Scholar who has dedicated the past 10 years of her life to patients. She has previously worked with the United Nations (UN) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), among others around the globe. Isabelle is an active member of the General Assembly of the Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) Consortium, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the European Commission's Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Stakeholder Pool, the Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi), and the BBMRI-ERIC Stakeholder Forum, as well as, an elected representative of the European Patient Group (ePAG) for the European Refrence Network (ERN) on rare adult solid tumours. Isabelle is Romanian and identifies as a citizen of the world. She speaks fluent English, Romanian, Arabic, a good knowledge of French and has  basic understanding of Spanish and Italian.


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Anna Rek
Community & Communications Manager

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Anna is ECPC's Community & Communications Manager. She holds one Bachelor's degree in European Studies, another in Political Science, and a Master in Contemporary European Studies and European Politics from the University of Sussex in Great Britain. She gained her professional experience and obtained a deep understanding of the healthcare sector while she worked for two worldwide pharmaceutical companies followed by a practice in a Public Relations agency, where she was responsible for developing and implementing health and disease awareness campaigns accompanied by proactive and reactive media relations. Anna has a substantial experience in supporting patient organisations throughout the Europe. Anna is responsible for the ECPC Annual Congress, which brings together over 170 European stakeholders, and is Europe's largest gathering of cancer patient organisations. As part of her work in managing the ECPC community of patient organisations, Anna is an active member of the Union for International Cancer Control, the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, Pancreatic Cancer Europe, the Make Sense of Head & Neck Cancer campaign, the Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm, and Antibiotic Awareness Day. She connects the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to cancer patient organisations throughout Europe. She also coordinates ECPC's Working Group on Bladder Cancer, newsletter, annual report, website, media relations, and social media channels. Anna is a positive and committed Polish national, who speaks fluent Polish, English and has a good knowledge of French.



Jiska Bolhuis
Financial Officer

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With more than ten years of experience in the field of communication and project management (especially in the field of public policy contracts), Jiska has a large amount of experience in managing and coordinating budgets, contracts, people and events. As a Dutch national, she speaks Dutch and English fluently and has a good knowledge of German, French as well as some basic knowledge of Spanish.


Alex Filicevas
Head of EU Affairs
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Alex is the Head of EU Affairs at the European Cancer Patient Coalition. In his role, Alex leads on ECPC advocacy activities and policy initiatives. He does so by drawing on his comprehensive knowledge of the EU health policy landscape and his experience of having worked on several award winning public affairs campaigns, with a strong focus on policymaker and Member State stakeholder engagement. He has supported a number of private and non-governmental organisations in successful advocacy efforts at the EU level on a range of disease areas and issue-specific public health challenges. Alex owes his inspiration for bettering public health in Europe to the Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. Next to gaining working experience in the Cabinet of the Commissioner, he also developed an in-depth understanding of interinstitutional relations and EU policy making, and manifested his passion for healthcare. He has also worked in public relations and public affairs agencies in London and China before moving to Brussels. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the University of Westminster, London and a Master's degree in International Communication from the Communication University of China, Beijing. Originally from Vilnius, Lithuania, Alex speaks native Lithuanian, English and Russian fluently, and has a basic understanding of French.

Eleonora Varntoumian
Congress and Communications Intern

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Eleonora Varntoumian is ECPC’s Congress & Communications Intern. She has obtained a BA Degree in International and European Studies from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece. After she completed her studies in precisely four years she started her Internship in Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation where she continued working as an Office Administrator for the Vice Governor of her city. Working in a Non-Profit Organisation such as Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation gave her the opportunity to get accustomed to many European Programs such as the Silk Road Project and UNWTO Affiliate Members and meet many journalists, politicians and travel agents from abroad. During her previous working experience, she also had the idea and creation of the website ‘’Youth Thessaloniki’’ which is the first official destination Portal in the acquisition of an Organisation that is exclusively dedicated to its youth and is considered an asset for Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation. Her key strengths are organizing various events such as Conferences, Congresses, Festivals and Networking Events and her administrative and communicational skills. Eleonora speaks native Greek - Armenian, Proficient English, with a good knowledge of Italian and a basic knowledge of Russian and French.


Elena Alberti
Communications Intern
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Elena joined ECPC in October 2017 as Communications Intern. She holds a Master's Degree in Mass Media and Politics and a Bachelor's in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Bologna. She has previous professional experience in Communication, Public Relations, Policy research and analysis, both in the private and public sectors, and deep knowledge about European, sub-national and national levels of government and administration. She is currently applying her skills in assisting the implementation of advocacy and awareness campaigns, but also drafting contents for different platforms, liaising with national cancer-patients' organisations across Europe, contributing to events and media relations. Elena was born and grew up in Italy but spent several years studying, volunteering and working in different countries. She speaks fluent Italian, English and French, and has a basic understanding of Spanish, German and Chinese.

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Marco Nicastro
Projects Intern
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Marco Nicastro joined ECPC in 2017 as the Projects Intern. He holds a Master’s degree in Law from University of Salerno and a post-master in European Studies from Universite' Catholique de Louvain. Marco has a strong interest in EU policy and current affairs. He has gained professional experience in Communication and Policy Analysis by working at both national and European levels, in addition to acquired knowledge in Project Management within the EU umbrella. Currently, he assists in drafting project materials and proposals in the field of cancer and non-communicable diseases, as well as, in the implementation of ECPC's EU Projects and Policy files. Marco is an Italian Native, he speaks fluent English, and has a basic understanding of French. 
Rafal Swierzewski
Associate Consultant
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Rafal Swierzewski has been involved in patient advocacy for ten years as both a scientist and cancer survivor. He earned his PhD in 2006 by examining the physical and chemical properties of new chemotherapy compounds. He served on ECPC's Board from 2013 to 2016. He currently represents the European Cancer Patient Coalition in the European Medicines Agency (AMA) together with the Vice-President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition. Through the European Medicines Agency, he has been involved in various projects, such as Adaptive PathwaysADVANCE and WEBRADR. Rafal also represents patients' interests in the European Union’s clinical trial portal and database of stakeholder groups created within the European Medicines Agency to construct new systems for implementing European regulations on clinical trials and clinical data. Rafal speaks Polish and English.