MAI Award 2024

MAI Award 2024

MAI Award Winners

The award ceremony will take place during the Plenary 3 session on Monday, 20 May 2024

First Prize Winner

Luca Navarini

Dr. Luca Navarini is a Researcher in Rheumatology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Italy, and a Rheumatologist/Clinical Immunologist at Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy. His research focuses on pain mechanisms in rheumatic diseases, cardiometabolic comorbidities in inflammatory arthritis, lipid mediators in autoimmunity and autoinflammatory diseases, and vascular and fibrotic pathways in systemic sclerosis. Following his MD graduation in 2010 and the Allergy and Clinical Immunology residency program in 2016 at Campus Bio-Medico University, Italy, he worked as a Volunteer Researcher at the Tissue Homeostasis and Disease laboratory, Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center, KU Leuven, Belgium. From 2016 to 2019, he worked as a Rheumatology Research Fellow at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Italy. Thanks to a grant from the Italian Society of Rheumatology, in 2021, he completed a master’s Program in Epidemiological Methodology and Biostatistics for Clinical Research at the University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy. In 2023, he was awarded two research grants from the Italian Ministry of University and Research as a local Principal Investigator. He is currently a member of the Italian Society of Rheumatology (SIR, and the Gruppo Italiano di Ricerca in Reumatologia Sperimentale e Clinica (GIRRCS, Dr. Navarini has authored more than 100 papers (

Second Prize Winner

Charmaine van Eeden

Dr. Charmaine van Eeden is a Research Associate at the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. van Eeden obtained a PhD in Medical Virology from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) in 2014 and worked thereafter as a senior medical scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg (South Africa) investigating the antibody repertoire in HIV infection and vaccination. After moving to Canada, Dr van Eeden completed a post doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta (Canada) in 2018, where she refined her biostatistics skills. Dr. van Eeden joined the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Alberta (Canada) in 2019, under the leadership of PI’s Dr. Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert and Dr. Mohammed Osman.  Her current research focuses on understanding the mechanisms governing chronic fatigue in systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, with a focus on systemic sclerosis, ANCA-associated vasculitis and ASIA (Shoenfeld’s syndrome).

Third Prize Winner

Omar Javier Calixto

Omar-Javier Calixto, M.D., has been a Research Fellow in Rheumatology at Rheumazentrum Rhurgebiet, Herne, Germany since 2023. Additionally, he works as research physician at Universidad El Bosque.

Dr. Calixto graduated from the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada School of Medicine. He later pursued a specialty in Epidemiology at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia, where he worked as a research assistant at the Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research (CREA). Subsequently, he completed his residencies in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at the Hospital Militar Central in Bogotá.

His research has primarily focused on spondyloarthritis. Specifically, he has explored the impact of spondyloarthritis on healthcare and its economic burden, including healthcare-related costs of biological therapy for axial spondyloarthritis and the effects of cost optimization strategies on the national healthcare system. Additionally, he has shown a strong interest in translational medicine and basic research, particularly in analyzing differences in gut microbiome composition between patients with spondyloarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and healthy controls. This research aims to evaluate the impact of the microbiome on disease activity and treatment modifications, with the support of members of the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Group (InmuBo) and the Bacterial Molecular Genetics Laboratory.

The Application is Closed

The Mosaic of Autoimmunity – MAI Award, is a bi-annual award established to encourage progress in autoimmunity research.

Three young scientists will be awarded with Research Grant funding to their institutions for scientific projects in order to further develop their contribution to the field of autoimmunity through outstanding, creative and independent research.

The award ceremony for the MAI Award 2024 will be held during the 14th International Congress on Autoimmunity in Ljubljana on 17-20 May 2024. Selection is made by an International Scientific Committee comprised of well-established authorities within the autoimmunity disease fields.

Main Prize: up to $30,000 and an invitation to present a lecture at Autoimmunity 2024 Congress.

Two Additional prizes: up to $10,000 and an invitation to present a lecture at Autoimmunity 2024 Congress.

This award is supported by the industry. For further information please click here.

Application start: 1 October 2023

Application deadline: 15 January 2024

Please note that the candidate should submit the abstract and be registered to the congress.

Criteria for Selection

  • Quality and impact of scientific publications (= H index)
  • Is the planned research in the forefront of international efforts?
  • The quality and level of independence of the previous and planned research
  • Candidates must be up to the age of 40 as of 1 October 2023
  • Canidate should submit the abstract for AUTO24 Congress

Guidelines for Application/Nomination

You can either apply for yourself or nominate somebody with his/her consent regarding the nomination and submission of personal data as described below. The candidate should not yet be an established scientist (not a head of department or professor).

Your application / nomination must include the following personal details:

  • ​Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Institute/Hospital
  • Department
  • Full address
  • Phone
  • Fax
  • Mobile phone
  • E-mail
  • Present official title/profession/position
  • Degree

You will also be asked for the following:

  • A motivational cover letter (half a page) why you / nominee should be a candidate for the Award.
  • A list of all the candidates’ publications, divided into originals and reviews.
  • Highlight  3–5 of his/her most important articles.

Add a description of the Research Project including estimated detailed budget:

  • Introduction with background on the relevance of the research
  • Project objectives
  • Descriptions of methods
  • Milestones, expected timeline and use of budget
  • Expected impact on the scientific and medical field of autoimmunity and how the research will impact patients with autoimmune diseases quality of life
  • Ethical approval
  • References

The application needs to be endorsed by the Institution which will be the recipient of the Award payment.

Add the Institution name, contact details and bank account details of the Institution that will receive and administer the Award money.

The Award is granted under the conditions:

  • Winner and his/her Institute/Hospital enters into a Research Grant Agreement with the supporting company
  • Winner reports about use of the Award funding
  • Unused funding is returned or used for other approved Research Grants.