Public Release: 

EULAR honors outstanding contributions to rheumatology

Professors Barry Bresnihan and Jean-Michel Dayer receive Meritorious Service Award

European League Against Rheumatism

EULAR today announced the recipients of the 13th annual Meritorious Service Award at the opening of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress. The award recognises a lifetime of achievement for Professors Barry Bresnihan, Ireland, and Jean-Michel Dayer, Switzerland, for their services to rheumatology, and was bestowed upon Professor Bresnihan posthumously.

Professor Maxime Dougados, President of EULAR said, "since its inception in 2000, the Meritorious Service Award has been given to rheumatologists that have been judged by the EULAR Executive Committee to have served rheumatology in an outstanding way. Over the years Professors Bresnihan and Dayer have demonstrated unwavering dedication to advancing the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, and conducted pivotal research that has substantially improved the lives of patients."

Professor Barry Bresnihan, Ireland

Professor Bresnihan's primary clinical research interest was systemic lupus erythematosus, with a particular focus on anti-neuronal antibodies and their effect on the nervous system.

However, he dedicated his life to the immunopathology of rheumatoid arthritis through studies of the synovial membrane, the key organ involved in the disease.

During a 30 year tenure at St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Professor Bresnihan developed the Rheumatology Unit into the foremost academic unit in the field in Ireland, and one of the most notable in Europe. A prolific researcher, Professor Bresnihan authored more than 200 original publications, as well as writing editorials, reviews, chapters and books.

In addition to his academic and professional achievements, Professor Bresnihan founded The Arthritis Foundation in 1980. In his capacity as Chairman, Professor Bresnihan re-energised and rebranded the organisation, an undertaking that led to the formation of Arthritis Ireland and the first fully endowed Chairs of rheumatology in the Republic of Ireland.

Prior to a remarkable career in rheumatology, Professor Bresnihan was proud to represent his country as part of the British and Irish Lions Rugby team in 1968. An impressive international rugby player, Professor Bresnihan won 25 caps with Ireland, and was twice selected for the British Lions, touring South Africa and New Zealand with the team.

Professor Jean-Michel Dayer, Switzerland

Professor Dayer, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Centre Médical Universitaire, pioneered the field of pro- and inflammatory cytokines in chronic inflammatory disease, and was among the first to establish a link between the immune system, cytokines and matrix degradation. As well as describing the role of acute proteins, such as apolipoprotein-A1, in cell-cell interaction and cytokine regulation, Professor Dayer identified factors IL-1 and TNF - therapeutic targets of immense significance for the management of rheumatic disease.

The biological relevance of biomarkers has been investigated by Professor Dayer in numerous clinical studies, and supported by the publication of almost 300 original papers, as well as books and review articles.

A Master of the American College of Rheumatology - a distinction awarded to physicians for outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through scholarly achievement and/or service to their patients, students and the profession - Professor Dayer has served on numerous journal editorial boards and scientific committees, and has been the President of the European Cytokine Society, the International Cytokine Society and the Swiss Society of Allergy and Immunology.



For further information on this award, or to request an interview with Professor Dayer, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress Press Office in room A10:14 of the Congress Centre during EULAR 2013 or on:


EULAR Press Office

Onsite tel: +44 (0) 20 7331 5364 / 5380 / 5318 / 2305


  • The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations of people with rheumatic diseases throughout Europe
  • In line with the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), EULAR defines rheumatology as including rheumatic diseases of the connective tissue, locomotor and musculoskeletal systems.
  • EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatic diseases
  • With 45 scientific member societies, 36 People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) organisations and 11 health professionals associations, EULAR underscores the importance of combating rheumatic diseases not only through medical means, but also through patient care.
  • EULAR 2013 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with over 14,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals and related audiences in attendance from more than 110 countries. Over the course of the congress there will be more than 320 oral and 1,800 poster abstract presentations, and 750 lectures with 330 invited speakers
  • To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit:

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