Board of direction
Among the nine founding members of the GRIN2B Europe association, six members were elected to form the board of directors:
President : Christian Brander Vice president : Alann Renault Treasurer : Nino Nelissen Vice Treasurer : Marita Sandnes Secretary : Sandra Silva Arrieta Vice Secretary : Amela Huskic Topic
Christian Brander – President
I am the father of a girl with a GRIN2B variant and live with my wife and a second daughter in Barcelona, Spain. I am the current president of the GRIN2B Europe Association and member of different Spanish associations for GRIN-pathologies and Neurotransmitter diseases (De Neu), respectively. I am originally from Switzerland and have lived many years in the Boston area before moving to Spain in 2008. I am an immunologist by training and involved in biomedical research and vaccine development, working at an academic institution as well as in a biotech company that is focused on clinical testing of therapeutic interventions. Both, my wife and I attempt to use our own research background to foster collaborations between local research groups that share their interests in GRIN variants and function. We enjoy good books and even better food, and whenever possibly, plan on travels with the entire family, to test and overcome obstacles that get sometimes into the way of living and caring for a child with special needs.
Alann Renault – Vice president
I am the happy father of two boys, the youngest of whom is carrying a gene mutation GRIN2B. I had to wait 3 years in a medical desert to get this diagnosis for my son Arthur. The endless waiting and the feeling of loneliness linked to rare diseases motivated me to invest in the creation of the association GRIN2B Europe. I come from France and work as an engineer in a university acoustics laboratory and prepare a PhD on the auditory hypersensitivity of the autistic child. With my wife, we love to travel, discover new landscapes, new cultures, and we look forward to sharing this passion with our children.
Nino Nelissen – Treasurer
Together with Gilianne, I am parent of three kids, amongst which one lovely girl that happens to have the Grin2B mutation. We live in Amsterdam, and I am an international tax lawyer, assisting multinational companies with all issues in the field of global mobility. In the past, I worked in Washtington DC and Tokyo, Japan. Currently I am the owner and managing director of Executive Mobility Group (EMG), and partner in Vydenz, a company focussing on business expansion services.
Besides these day to day activities, I am forum lead of the Global Forum with the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council, and is one of the leaders of the Dutch chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Marita Gunn Sandnes – Vice treasurer
Sandra Silva Arrieta – Secretary
I have two beautiful daughters, the younger has a GRIN2B point mutations which was diagnosed 6 years ago in Barcelona, Spain, where we currently live. I was born in Lima, Peru, but did all my higher education in the USA, where I lived for 17 years. After obtaining my degree in Biology and working doing biomedical research, I obtained my degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). I worked in a private veterinary clinic until we moved to Barcelona (1 year before our younger daughter was born). I currently work at a biomedical research foundation, focused in infectious diseases, immunology and transplantation. My husband is Swiss and as a multinational family we like to travel and enjoy great moments with our friends and families. We understand the importance of building a community to support families with a special child and hope we can reach and help many families with our activities in the GRIN2B Association.
Amela Huskic – Vice secretary
Mustafa Topic – Founding member
Zoe Costello – Founding member
I am a parent of a daughter with a GRIN2B variant. I live in the UK with my husband and 3 children. I was a co-organizer of the first European GRIN2B Conference in 2018 as well as being administrator of the GRIN2B Europe facebook page and the GRIN Research Discussion Facebook Page. My background is in Information Systems where I was a Service Operations Manager for a large Global firm, responsible for their European Business as Usual Enterprise systems. Since leaving work to care for my daughter I have been on the board of a national charity for a home visiting education service for preschool children with Special Educational Needs. I was also Secretary for a preschool charity and currently am IT Governor for my daughters Special School and run a support group for parents of children with Learning Disabilities
Gilianne Nelissen – Founding member