Valeri Akhalkatsi 

Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia

Valeri Akhalkatsi, MD, PhD graduated from the University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine, specialty – General Medicine and sub-specialty - Sports Medicine. Since then he has been working at various medical positions such as: emergency doctor, regional head of the tuberculosis service. As a sports medicine specialist, he has worked in leading Georgian football clubs and the National Team. Till this day, he is medical consultant of the Georgian National Olympic team. Since 2008, Director of the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinical Center of Tbilisi State Medical University, at the same time, teaching both Bachelor and Master students at the Faculty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. From 2004, an active member of Georgian Sports Medicine Association and its president between the years 2012 and 2018 while at present time occupies the position of the General Secretary.

Major professional and research interests include rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system in post-traumatic and post-operative patients. Currently, actively involved in the research directed at developing contemporary methods of managing knee arthrofibrosis.


Mati Arend

University of Tartu, Estonia

Mati Arend graduated from the University of Tartu as a physiotherapist in 2011 and has been working in private practice and clinical setting mainly with chronic low back pain patients.

In Tartu University Hospital Mati is working in group therapy sessions delivering Pain Neuroscience Education designed for chronic pain patients.

Mati also teaches sports physiotherapy and manual therapy at the University of Tartu. Mati has been involved in organizing international sports, manual therapy and chronic pain related courses in Tartu during the past six years.

This autumn Mati is defending his doctoral thesis regarding inspiratory muscle warm-up and athletic performance in rowers.


Martin Argus

University of Tartu, Estonia

Martin Argus is a Ph.D. student at the University of Tartu and a physiotherapist specializing in occupational health and pain conditions. His Ph.D. thesis is focused on work-related musculoskeletal pain and he is lecturing pain science for physiotherapists, coaches, and physical education teachers at the University of Tartu. He is a board member at the Estonian Physiotherapy Association working on developing better primary care physiotherapy, and an advisor on evidence-based physiotherapy education. In recent years he has developed an interest in metascience and mountain biking.


Kadri Englas

Haapsalu Neurorehabilitation Centre, Estonia

Kadri Englas is physiotherapist by education, having obtained MSc from the University of Tartu. Her professional passion belongs to paediatrics, especially working with infants. Her career has taken her away from hands-on physiotherapy, though, towards issues like patient-centred service delivery and development, evidence-based practice, and goal-oriented rehabilitation for people with neurological conditions. Kadri has graduated from the master’s programme in Physiotherapy and Management at the University of Brighton in UK, with qualitative research about goal setting. She is currenlty pursuing a PhD in the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, trying to reason how to conduct better research on the  rehabilitation of brain-injured patients. For the past 14 years Kadri has been working in Haapsalu Neurological Rehabilitation Centre in Estonia, holding different positions there, including quality and development manager and CEO. Now she is concentrating both on parenting her baby boy and making progress in the PhD studies.


Aave Hannus

University of Tartu, Estonia

Aave Hannus, PhD has an extensive background in cognitive and health psychology, and sport sciences. Expertise in sport and exercise psychology has led her to the current role at the University of Tartu where she is responsible for research in sport and exercise psychology, and for supervising master’s and doctoral students in their research. Aave also teaches several courses in sport, performance and exercise psychology, including a variety of courses for coaches in their continuing professional development. 

Her current research projects include studying the early development of exercise-related health behaviour in young children and psychological risk factors for maltreatment of athletes.

Aave can bring over 20 years of experience in practicing sport psychology to her researcher´s role. In her private practice she works with both youth and elite athletes, coaches, and sport parents. This background enables her to work as a scientist-practitioner and her approach to scientific research is throughout practice-oriented.

Outside of the lab and office, Aave enjoys gardening, and both inline- and speed skating.


Rita Gruodytė-Račienė

Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania

Rita Gruodytė-Račienė is an Associate Professor at the Department of Physical and Social Education of Lithuanian Sports University. Her doctoral degree in biomedical sciences is acquired at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her research interests are pediatric bone health, physical fitness, physical literacy, Physical Education teacher education (PETE), physical activity and healthy lifestyle. Over a past decade she is involved in a number of national and international projects (both study and science) as coordinating team member or participating partner (to name a few: Erasmus+ or NordPlus projects are PAL(C), SPEACH, SUGAPAS, NBLEMA, etc.). She is a co-author of the recommendations for preschool education: two compilations of 9-10 books for early years and 3-6 years of age children have been published as one of the intellectual outcomes of an extensive project “Innovations in kindergartens” (2018-2021), funded by the National Agency for Education - an educational assistance institution founded by the Ministry of Education, Sport  and Science of the Republic of Lithuania.


Eero Haapala

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Dr. Eero Haapala, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä. He is affiliated also with the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland. His research focuses on paediatric sports and exercise medicine  and particularly on exploring the relationships between physical activity, dietary factors, fitness, fatness, metabolic syndrome, brain, cognition, and academic achievement among children and adolescents.



Dr. Anthony C. Hackney

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; USA

Dr. Anthony C. Hackney is a Full Professor of Exercise Physiology and Nutrition at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC, USA). His research focus is on endocrine and metabolic responses to physical stress (e.g., exercise) focusing primarily on reproductive endocrinology.  He is the author of more than 300 publications and six books in the exercise physiology and endocrinology area. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in physiology and sports nutrition. He is a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology and a three-time recipient of Fulbright Scholar awards.












Martin Hagger

University of California, Merced, USA; University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Martin Hagger is Professor of Health Psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences at University of California, Merced, and Visiting Professor of Behavior Change at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. At UC Merced, he is Chair of the Psychology Graduate Program and Director of the SHARPP Lab. He is also Adjunct Professor at Griffith University. His research focuses on the psychology of health behavior change. He is currently Senior co-Editor (Health Psychology) of Social Science and Medicine, former Editor-in-Chief of Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Stress and Health, and Health Psychology Review, and editorial board member of 12 other journals. He has received numerous awards including Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher Awards in 2021 and 2022, and the Distinguished Health Psychology Contribution Award from the International Association of Applied Psychology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, European Health Psychology Society, Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.


Dr. Lewis James

Loughborough University, UK

Dr. Lewis James, PhD is based at Loughborough University where his research examines the role of nutrition in sports performance, metabolism and energy balance. Most of his current research focusses on water and electrolytes balance for exercise performance and health, with additional work focussing on nutrition to support exercise in the heat and the effects of nutrition on appetite regulation/energy balance. Lewis has a keen interest in applied sports nutrition and over the years has provided nutrition consultancy to professional and elite athletes, particularly related water and electrolyte requirements. Lewis serves as Associate Editor for the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.


Jaak Jürimäe

Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy at the University of Tartu, Estonia

Jaak Jürimäe is a full professor of coaching sciences in the Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He earned his PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia in 1996. Currently, he is a member of Paediatric Work Physiology Group and European College of Sport Sciences Reviewing Panel. He has published three monographs and more than 200 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals. He has also supervised 18 PhD students. Being a former rower himself, his research has been focused on the monitoring of performance and training in athletes. Additional research interests include the assessment of body composition, physical activity and physical fitness during growth and maturation in children. He has a special interest in paediatric exercise science.


Sigitas Kamandulis

Lithuanian Sports University, Lithuania

Sigitas Kamandulis is Professor at Department of Sports Technologies and Head Researcher at Institute of Sports Science and Innovation, Lithuanian Sports University. 

Sigitas Kamandulis has extensive knowledge on training and function studies of human muscles. The exercise-induced muscle damage, acute and chronic skeletal muscle and tendon adaptation to training, and injury prevention are the main scientific research areas. He has co-authored about 100 articles that have been published in scholarly journals worldwide. He has also supervised several doctoral students and has extensive experience managing research projects.


Kirsi Korpi

Heart Hospital of Tampere University, Finland

Kirsi Korpi is cardiologist whose interest areas are rhytmn disorders, sports cardiology, cardiomyopathies and coronary heart disease.  Kirsi has graduated from the University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine in 2004 and specialised and worked as a cardiologist at Cardiology Clinic of Helsinki University Hospital. In 2017 Kirsi started to work at Heart Hospital of Tampere University and founded the first Sport Cardiology Clinic in Finland in 2019.

Before her career in medicine she was a speed skater at national team level and has worked as a doctor for the Finnish Olympic team at the Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018 and as a team doctor for the Finnish Premium division (Veikkausliiga) men`s football team HIFK and for the speed skating national team.

Since 2016 Kirsi has worked as a medical advisor for the company PulseOn and has been developing a device for detecting rhythm disorders from the wrist. In 2019 Kirsi won pitching session at the European Society of Cardiology world congress in Paris.


Anna Książek

Wrocław University of Sport and Health Sciences, Poland

Anna Książek obtained her PhD degree in Physical Culture Science in 2018. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Biological and Medical Basis of Sport of the Wroclaw University of Sport and Health Science (Poland). From 2014 she is the Nutritionist at Miedź Legnica Football Club. She is the (co-) author of about 16 publications appearing in international journals and 3 book chapters. She is a member of the European College of Sport Science. Her main scientific fields of interest are vitamin D and physical performance in athletes, sports nutrition and supplementation.


Tommy Lundberg

Karolinska Institutet; Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden

Tommy Lundberg is currently a lecturer and researcher at the Division of Clinical Physiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. He has an MSc degree in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University in the UK and completed his PhD in Sports Science from Mid Sweden University in 2014. There he examined the effects of concurrent aerobic and strength training on muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. In contexts such as athletic performance, health, aging, and disease, his current research focuses on acute and chronic adaptations to exercise, with a particular focus on skeletal muscle. As part of this work, he is also investigating the effects of cross-sex hormone therapy in transgender individuals undergoing gender-affirming treatment. He has co-authored a literature review on the effects of testosterone suppression in transgender women and has consulted with sports organizations on the topic of transgender inclusion in sports.



Krista Lääne

Viljandi Hospital, Estonia

Krista Lääne is a rehabilitation medicine doctor and has been working in Viljandi County Hospital since 2015. A year ago she started family medicine residency at the University of Tartu. Her special interests are sports medicine, rehabilitation after injuries, and nutrition.

The COVID-19 issue appeared in the everyday work of doctors more than 2 years ago. Soon after that a good colleague of Krista´s suggested to her that she should launch a special rehabilitation programme for post-COVID patients in the hospital where they are working. For acute COVID-19 patients regular physiotherapy was conducted as a routine but during the pandemic the need for dealing with post-COVID cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neurological complications increased drastically. Therefore, it was possible to set up a multidisciplinary post-COVID rehabilitation team.

Now we know that a great number of athletes are also affected by post-COVID syndrome. Scientists all over the world are trying to find more evidence to treat this condition and prevent further health concerns. As there are still many uncertainties concerning the post-COVID syndrome, collaboration between medical specialists is essential.


Lela Maskhulia

Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia

Professor Lela Maskhulia, MD, PhD, AFAMEE, is Dean of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Faculty of Tbilisi State Medical University (TSMU), Head of the Physical Medicine Department. As the Dean and department head, professor Lela Maskhulia is directly involved in the development of educational programs, leadership and management practice of the Faculty and TSMU, responsible for the critical issue of framing the learning and teaching, improvement and renewal of the several first and second cycle physical therapy programs. She is AMEE (Association for Medical Education in Europe) Associate Fellow and involved in development and strengthening the medical education and health care in Georgia.

Major professional and research interests include cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation, pre-participation screening of athletes for identification of cardiovascular disease at risk of sudden death during sports activity, use of imaging techniques for diagnosis of cardiomyopathies in athletes. Another field of interest is related to the overtraining syndrome in athletes and oxidative stress, sports injury prevention and overuse injuries in athletes.


Ronald J. Maughan

St Andrews University, United Kingdom

Professor Ronald J. Maughan obtained his BSc (Physiology) and PhD from the University of Aberdeen. After three years in Liverpool, Ron Maughan returned to Aberdeen and was based in the Medical School there for almost 25 years. He is now Visiting Professor in the School of Medicine at St Andrews University. He spent much of his career trying to understand the physiological and metabolic responses to exercise and the nature of fatigue, but has included many digressions along the way. He chairs the Nutrition Working Group of the Medical and Scientific Commission of the International Olympic Committee. He is a director of the IOC Diploma programs in Sports Nutrition, Sports Medicine, and Sports Physical Therapies. He has published extensively in the scientific literature and is author or editor of a number of books on sports nutrition and exercise biochemistry.



Pärt Prommik

University of Tartu, Estonia

Pärt Prommik is an early-career rehabilitation researcher. His research focuses on prioritizing rehabilitation by identifying effective and non-effective real-world rehabilitation practices and pathways. This will be achieved by combining extensive, real-world, population-wide administrative health data and policy-relevant outcome measures and implementing sophisticated modelling techniques.


Inese Pontaga

Latvian Academy of Sports Educatuin, Latvia

Inese Pontaga, MD, PhD is Professor and head of the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Biomechanics, Hygiene and Informatics of Latvian Academy of Sport Education, Riga, Latvia.

She has developed study courses: Normal Physiology, Developmental Physiology, and Sports Physiology in professional first level coaches’ program; Bachelor programs “Sports Science” and “Physiotherapy;” and Master program “Sports Science.”

She graduated from he Faculty of General Medicine of Latvian Medical Academy with the diploma of physician and specialized in internal medicine.

Inese Pontaga continued with Doctoral studies in Medical Biomechanics in the Laboratory of Biomechanics of the Latvian Scientific Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics.

She has Doctoral degree (PhD or Dr.Med.) in Medicine, Physiology. PhD thesis „Investigation of functional adaptation peculiarities of human bone tissue by ultrasound” was defended in the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine of Latvian University.

Scientific interests include Clinical and Sport Biomechanics of musculoskeletal system and  Sports Physiology (performance evaluation of athletes).

Latvian Council of Sciences research project coordinator “Effect of Sport Training on Development of Musculoskeletal System in Adolescents and Young People.”



Mati Pääsuke

University of Tartu, Estonia

Mati Pääsuke received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Tartu (Estonia) in 1987. He is currently Professor of Kinesiology and Biomechanics at the University of Tartu. Professor Pääsuke teaches undergraduate courses in basic human physiology and kinesiology, and graduate courses in motor control and exercise physiology. He is author of more than 130 referred papers in the neuromuscular physiology, kinesiology, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, and gerontology area. He is recipient of a number of grants supported by the European Union, as well as state grants and projects. Professor Pääsuke is supervisor of 17 defended doctoral and 82 master´s theses. Professor Pääsuke is honorary doctor of the Lithuanian Sports University. He serves as the Editorial Board Member for the Baltic Journal of Sport and Health Sciences, Journal of Exercise, Sports and Orthopedics, Journal of Clinical Research of Foot and Ankle, Rehabilitation Sciences, LASE Journal of Sport Science. He is member in the evaluation committee of PhD theses at the Lithuanian Sport University and the Latvian Academy of Sport Education.


Madis Rahu

Tartu University Hospital; University of Tartu, Estonia

Dr. Madis Rahu, PhD, is Lecturer and  Orthopaedic Surgeon specialized in sports trauma in  the Department of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at Tartu University and at Tartu University Hospital. He is also working as Orthopaedic Surgeon in the Hospital of Orthopaedics and in the North Estonia Medical Centre in Tallinn.

He is grounder and member  of Estonian Arthroscopy and Sports Trauma Society (EASTS)  and  International Society for Sports Traumatology of Hand (ISSPORTH); a member of ESSKA (European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy) since 1994; member of Board of Education Committee ESSKA 2010 – 2014; Ambassador of EASTS by ESSKA since 2017.

His professional interest and research focuses on sports injuries, especially on shoulder instability, throwing shoulder injuries and knee ligament injuries.


Michael Skovdal Rathleff

Aalborg University, Denmark

Michael Skovdal Rathleff is a physiotherapist and Professor at the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University and at the Center for General Practice at Aalborg University. Michael is head of the Research Group “Musculoskeletal Health and Implementation”. The mission of MSK-Health is to generate research and conduct implementation research on how to best support people to manage their musculoskeletal health, and stay active, throughout the life span. Research and implementation are conducted in collaboration with clinical practice, end-users, and stakeholders, with the goal to support patients and clinicians. Ultimately, this knowledge will be used to develop effective models of care to support an efficient health-care sector capable of supporting life-long musculoskeletal health.

One day per week he works at Aalborg University hospital where he continues to be closely involved in clinical research and knowledge translation. Michael has published more than 190 peer-reviewed papers within the field of primary care, sports medicine and physiotherapy.


Leho Rips

Tartu University Hospital, Estonia

Leho Rips, MD is senior arthroscopic and sport traumatology surgeon at Tartu University Hospital, President of the Estonian Arthroscopy and Sports Traumatology Society, ESSKA member.


Sandra Rozenštoka

Latvian Sports Medicine Association, Latvia

Sandra Rozenštoka is sports medicine physician and specialist in electrocardiography and exercise testing, President of the Latvian Sports Medicine Association. She is also Director of the Sports Laboratory in Riga, Latvia which has a very important status – the FIMS Collaboration Center in Sports Medicine. Dr. Rozenštoka has been elected as a Board member of the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations. She has great experience as a National and International Classifier in Para-sports and is Programme director of Sports Medicine Residency in Riga Stradinš University.



Saulė Salatkaitė-Urbonė

Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuania

Physiotherapist Saulė Salatkaitė-Urbonė, PhD, is working in the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas Clinics, Department of Sports Medicine.

She is physiotherapist of Lithuanian Women´s National Basketball Team and Lithuanian Youth National Basketball Teams, and runs private practice. She is co-author of scientific articles published in various medical journals.

Her scientific area of interest is studying when and how are made the decisions for athletes to return to play after sports injuries and operations, based on functional tests. Her professional interests are in sports and orthopaedic physiotherapy: assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of orthopaedic (pre-, post-surgery) and sports-related conditions, acute and chronic joint pain treatment, returning to sports after injuries, sports injuries prevention and recovery.


Kerry Stephen Seiler

University of Agder, Norway

An American living in Norway for over 25 years, Professor Seiler is past Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation and past Dean of the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway.  Seiler has served as research consultant and scientific advisor for a research foundation, elite sports teams, a regional hospital, technology companies, the Norwegian Olympic Federation and Adidas.  He is past Executive Board member of the European College of Sport Science and currently advises the Norwegian based Uno-X professional cycling team.  Seiler is internationally recognized for his research and lectures on the training organization and intensity distribution of cyclists, rowers, XC skiers, orienteers, triathletes, and distance runners. His work has influenced and catalyzed international research around training optimization, intensity distribution and stress and recovery processes.  Most recently, he has developed crowd-sourced research approaches that enable endurance athletes globally to contribute to research studies linking science and practice. 


Ben Waller

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Ben Waller, PhD is a researcher and lecturer in sport and exercise physiotherapy at JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland. He has a special interest in promoting the role of aquatic exercise in health, rehabilitation, and sporting performance. His initial research focused on the effect of aquatic resistance training on cartilage health in people with knee osteoarthritis, which progressed to investigating optional prescription of deep water running. Clinically, he established a successful aquatic therapy service supporting particularly athletes and people with chronic pain during their rehabilitation process and beyond.

More recently, his focus of interest has been the role that digital rehabilitation has in maintaining health in our society and developing new user-centered digital solutions such as computer vision and virtual assistants. Recently, he has co-founded a company focused on using novel technology to deliver cost effective and assessable aquatic rehabilitation in leisure centers.

The most important role in Ben´s life is as father to three beautiful girls and telling really good dad jokes while they have their friends over. Occasionally, he can be seen on the golf course looking for a little white ball, which, like himself, seems to be attracted to water.


Dalia Woznica

Polish Chamber of Physiotherapy, Poland

Dalia Woznica, PT, PhD is physiotherapist and has 18 years of clinical experience in the field of children's spine deformities and posture failures, with special interest in Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders. Recently she has also been involved in occupational health and ergonomics. She is member of Occupational Health and Ergonomics Physiotherapy Group Poland and expert in the area of international cooperation by the Polish Chamber of Physiotherapists. Scientifically, Dalia Woznica is engaged in studying the global PT markets and their dynamic development. She is co-owner and a manager of a medical clinic in Gdansk. She lectures at Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, and is Managing Editor of a scientific journal - Physiotherapy Review.

Dalia Woznica has graduated from Gdansk Medical University in Physiotherapy and taken postgraduate studies in Management of Medical Entities.