I am delighted to welcome you to the Philips Avent Scientific Symposium 2018. The event is a two-day global expert forum that takes place at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of March 2018.

The symposium will explore a wide variety of topics regarding the science of nutrition and sleep. Consisting of a series of inspiring plenary meetings, knowledge sharing panel discussions, a poster session, and stimulating networking opportunities.

Our unique international audience and speakers will foster dialogue and provide new perspectives and strategies in infant and maternal nutrition and sleep.

I look forward to welcoming you in Amsterdam.

Dr. Victoria Davies, Philips Avent
Director Medical and Clinical Programs

Reserve your place

Details on the event


The Scientific Symposium will take place from Friday the 16th of March to Saturday the 17th of March 2018.

An optional visit to Philips Research and Development headquarters in Eindhoven is planned for Thursday the 15th of March 2018.

Program details

The program of the Philips Avent Scientific Symposium will consist of a series of plenary meetings, knowledge sharing panel discussions, a poster session, and stimulating networking opportunities.

Pre-event, Thursday 15th of March 2018

Optional visit to Philips Research and Development facilities.

  • 9:00 Bus from Hotel Arena in Amsterdam to High Tech Campus in Eindhoven
  • 11:00 Welcome and introduction from Mirko Cartei, Innovation Leader Philips Mother & Child Care
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 13:00 Guided tour around various locations at Philips Research and the Mother & Child Care Innovation site
  • 16:00 Bus from High Tech Campus in Eindhoven to Hotel Arena in Amsterdam

Day 1, Friday 16th of March 2018

A half day of plenary meetings, to discuss the latest thinking on parental and infant sleep.

11:00 - 13:00 Registration and lunch reception
13:00 - 13:15 Dr. Victoria Davies and Chair Prof. Atul Singhal Opening ceremony
13:15 - 13:45 Prof. Atul Singhal Developmental origins of health and disease; where are we now
13:45 - 14:30 Dr. Erin Leichman General aspects of sleep for mother and infant
Break: 30 minutes
15:00 - 15:45 Dr. Desaline Joseph Infant sleep and infant feeding - the key is in the circadian clock
15:45 - 16:30 Prof. Dieter Wolke Early crying and sleeping of infants and their consequences
16:30 - 18:00 Panel discussion Building healthy sleep routines
Break: 1 hour
19:00 - 19:30 Drinks in the chapel of Hotel Arena
19:30 - 22:00 Dinner in the chapel of Hotel Arena

Day 2, Saturday 17th of March 2018

A full day of panel discussions, plenary meetings and a poster session to explore the science of feeding during pregnancy and infancy.

8:30 - 8:45 Opening session including recap of Day 1
8:45 - 9:15 Prof. Jaap Seidell Lifelong impact of nutrition in the first thousand days after conception
9:15 - 10:00 Dr. Valerie Flaherman The impact of breast milk expression on maternal experience
10:00 - 10:30 Speaker to be confirmed Physiological and functional aspects of feeding
10:30 - 11:00 Ms. Marloes Lagarde, MSc. Aspects of neonatal feeding
Break: 30 minutes
11:30 - 12:15 Dr. Catherine Forestell Early flavor experiences and their adaptive role during weaning and beyond
Lunch & Poster session: 1 hour
13:15 - 14:45 Panel discussion The role of digital data in facilitating professional to parent care
14:45 - 15:10 Drs. Silvia Caruso Non-nutritive sucking and and importance of pacifer use in the first year of life: a retrospective study
15:10 - 15:30 Ms. Elmira Boloori, MSc. Oral health during pregnancy
Break: 30 hour
16:00 - 16:20 Prof. Meng Mao Lead the trend: the first evidence-based breastfeeding guideline for 0-6 months infants in China
16:20 - 16:45 Ms. Nika Daňková, BSc. Increasing breastfeeding rates through education
16:45 - 17:15 Poster winner and closing

Poster session

You are invited to display your own research in our poster session and participate in the competition. You can indicate your participation in the poster session in the registration.

The poster session has some specific guidelines to keep in mind, these guidelines can be downloaded here.


CME accreditation is pending for Dutch midwives and Dutch pediatricians. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Hotel & Venue


KIT Royal Tropical Institute
Mauritskade 63
The Netherlands
View on Google Maps

Hotel Arena

's-Gravesandestraat 55
The Netherlands
View on Google Maps


If there are any questions, inquiries or remarks do not hesitate to contact us by email via info@philipsavent-symposium.com.

Philips Avent

If you wish to receive additional information regarding Philips Avent, please continue to the Philips website.

Philips Avent

Registration has been closed

The registration for the Philips Avent Scientific Symposium has been closed. If you do have any questions regarding your registration please send an e-mail to info@philipsavent-symposium.com.

Guest speakers

More information on the guest speakers of the 2018 Philips Avent Scientific Symposium.

Prof. Atul Singhal

Atul Singhal is Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Professor of Paediatric Nutrition at University College London, Institute of Child Health, and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He graduated in Medicine from the Royal Free Hospital, London in 1986 and has been a consultant in paediatrics since 1998. Previously, he was the Director and Deputy Director of the Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health.

He has broad interests in paediatric nutrition, but his current research focuses on the influence of early nutrition for long-term health, the effects of nutritional interventions to reduce long-term cardiovascular risk, and nutritional interventions for obesity.

Dr. Erin Leichman

Erin Leichman, Ph.D., NCSP is a is a senior research psychologist at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, and the Executive Director of the Pediatric Sleep Council. She serves as the primary editor of BabySleep.com, a website dedicated to providing publicly-available information on sleep in infants and toddlers. Dr. Leichman’s research focuses on pediatric sleep in young children and their families, publishing in such journals as Sleep Medicine, Journal of Sleep Research, and Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Dr. Leichman is a licensed psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist with specialized training in behavioral sleep medicine. Dr. Leichman received her doctorate from Lehigh University, completing her internship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and postdoctoral clinical training at The Kennedy Krieger Institute at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also trained at the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Desaline Joseph

Dr Desaline Joseph is a Consultant in Paediatric Sleep Medicine and Neurodisability at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital. She qualified in Medicine in 2000 from University of Leicester UK. She has a Doctorate in Medicine and has conducted research in circadian rhythm development in newborn infants. Her research has included home based physiological measurements in infants including estimation of melatonin, cortisol and clock genes. Mothers acted as main research assistants in the studies. Dr Joseph held a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), one of the UK’s primary research grant funder, Academic Clinical Lecturer post at the University of Nottingham. She has experience in recruitment to national studies/trials and has authored research publications and conducted collaborative projects.

Dr Joseph is a past recipient of the Early Stage Researcher Award by the British Sleep Society. She is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child health and in actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education.

She come from a paediatric neurodisability background and is passionate about developing the field of paediatric sleep medicine within the UK. She is passionate about multidisciplinary working and feels parent/family engagement are key to infant, child and adolescent wellbeing in terms of sleep and general health outcomes in the paediatric population.

Prof. Dieter Wolke

Dieter studied at the University of Kiel (Germany) and University of London and obtained his PhD from the University of London, Faculty of Science. He has worked at different colleges of the University of London (Institute of Education; King’s College; Institute of Child Health) and the Universities of Munich, Hertfordshire and Bristol. Before his appointment at the University of Warwick, he worked in the research funding sector (Scientific Director of the Jacobs Foundation, Zurich, 2004-2006) while holding Visiting Professorships at the University of Bristol and University of Zurich.

Much of his research is interdisciplinary (psychology, social and medical sciences), longitudinal and in the field of Developmental Psychopathology. His major research topics are: 1. early regulatory problems (crying, sleeping and feeding) in infancy and their long term consequences; 2. how preterm birth affects brain development and psychological development and quality of life; and 3. Peer or sibling victimization (bullying): precursors, consequences and interventions. He is involved as PI/Co-PI in a range of follow-up studies in the UK and Germany including the ALSPAC cohort, EPICure Study and the Bavarian Longitudinal Study. He is joint manager of the Horizon 2020 RECAP project involving 12 countries trying to improve the lives of preterm children. He works with several charities and has been involved in a number of intervention studies ranging from how neonatal discharge can be improved (e.g. midwife training), how to deal with excessive crying and infant regulatory problems or virtual intervention to deal with bullying victimization. He is currently collaborating in a trial of managed transition from adolescent psychiatric services into adult psychiatric services (EU wide project: Milestones). He received an honorary doctorate (Dr rer nat h.c.) from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, in 2014 for his contribution to Psychological Science.

Prof. Jaap Seidell

Prof. Jacob C. Seidell was appointed as full professor (2002-present) and head of the Institute for Health Sciences (2003-2013) at the VU University in Amsterdam. Since 2013 he is appointed as one of the two distinguished ‘university professors’ at the VU University and co-director of Sarphati Amsterdam, a multidisciplinary research institute that focuses on healthy development of children through healthier lifestyles and environments.

He obtained his MSc (1983) and PhD (1986) at the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands. He was awarded a senior research fellowship by the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for the period 1988-1992. In this period he worked as a postdoc at Sahlgren’s Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden and the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, US. From 1992-2002 he was head of the Department for Chronic Diseases Epidemiology at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, The Netherlands

His research focuses on the understanding of determinants of food choice and the effectiveness of (policy) interventions in the context of the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases in general and of obesity in particular. He (co)-authored well over 500 scientific papers and chapters in books on these topics but he also writes columns for leading national newspapers and, together with psychologist Jutka Halberstadt, published three popular books on obesity (2011) and nutrition (2014, 2018) for the general public. He chaired numerous committees which produced dietary guidelines for the general population as well as for people with diabetes or obesity and he is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization on these matters. He has served as president-elect and as president (1992-2000) of the European Association for the Study of Obesity and was editor-in-chief of the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" (1996-2006) and “Public Health Nutrition” (2006-2014). He is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Dr. Valerie Flaherman

Valerie Flaherman, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco. Board certified in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine and as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant, she is Director of the Newborn Nursery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and provides general pediatric care and lactation support. Dr. Flaherman’s clinical research program has focused on improving breastfeeding duration for mother-infant dyads who initiate breastfeeding, with specific attention to those facing initial barriers to breastfeeding such as poor infant latch or suck or delayed onset of maternal milk production.

Ms. Marloes Lagarde, MSc.

Marloes Lagarde, MSc. is speech language therapist and PhD student in the Radboud university medical center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her clinical work is related to infants and children with a wide range of feeding and swallowing problems. Her PhD project is about the added value of instrumental measurements in the diagnosis of pediatric dysphagia.

Dr. Catherine Forestell

Professor Catherine Forestell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at William & Mary in Virginia, USA. She received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada where she conducted research on learning and memory processes in rats. Upon completion of her dissertation she worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Since her arrival at William & Mary in 2007, she has taught courses in developmental and health Psychology and Research Methods. She also conducts research that focuses on understanding how early experiences play a role in the development of flavor and food preferences and addictive behaviors in children and adults. Her research has been funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the National Institutes of Health.

Drs. Silvia Caruso

She graduated on the 24th of July, 2012 in Dentistry with "110/110 cum laude" at the “University of L’Aquila”

She graduated on the 14th of April, 2016 from post-graduate degree in Orthodontics, with “50/50 cum laude”.

In 2013, she completed the Master in Paediatric Dentistry and Interceptive Orthodontics, at the University of Pisa. In 2015, she attended a “Training Post-Graduate Course” in Orthodontics: “Guidelines to Orthodontics from scientific evidence to clinical reality”, at the Unversity of Pisa.

She is currently attending the PhD in Paediatric Dentistry at the University of L’Aquila. Active member of Italian society of Paediatric Dentistry (SIOI), European Organization of Paediatric Dentistry. She is now following research projects in Paediatric Dentistry and, in particular, in non nutritive suction.

Ms. Elmira Boloori, MSc.

Elmira Boloori graduated first as a dental hygienist at ‘Hoge school van Utrecht’. There after she achieved her masters in dentistry at Academic Center for Dentistry (ACTA) in 2013. In 2017 she graduated cum laude for specialization in periodontology and implant dentistry at ACTA.

Currently she is working in her own periodontology and implantology clinic in Rotterdam. Furthermore she is working on her PhD at the departments of periodontology and dental material sciences at ACTA, with the title “Resin composites and their effect on gingival epithelial cells”. Also she is a member of the committee ‘Pregnancy and Periodontal Health’ of the Dutch Society of Periodontology (NVvP).

Prof. Meng Mao

Professor Meng MAO is a pediatrician, Chief Physician and Supervisor of Ph.D. students in West China Second University Hospital of Sichuan University. She is current Leader of Subspeciality Group of Children Healthcare, Chinese Pediatrics Society of Chinese Medical Association. She previously chaired Pediatric Committee, Sichuan province and Chengdu Medical Association and served as a member of Humanitarian Rescue Committee, International Pediatric Association. Between 2001 and 2010, she served as President of West China Second University Hospital of Sichuan University; between 2011 and 2014, she served as President of Chengdu Women’s & Children's Central Hospital.

Professor Mao has been committed to clinical practice and research on growth and development, nutrition and nutritional diseases in early childhood. She has been in charge of more than 10 national research projects and has published nearly 200 papers, compiled and translated more than 10 medical monographs. Meanwhile, she is Supervisor more than 40 Ph.D. students. She has won several Science and Technology Achievement Awards of provicial or ministry level. She has been elected as Expert entitled to Special Allowance from State Council and Young to Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions of Ministry of Health. She has won Sichuan Provincial Labor Medal twice.

Ms. Nika Daňková, BSc.

I am a midwife at the General University Hospital in Prague. I have been working in the perinatological unit of intensive care for more than two and half years. I´m currently working at delivery hall of the perinatology center now. We specialize in the care of the premature newborns at the border of life but mature children too.

I am an active member of Czech society of midwives, which cooperates with Czech Gynecological an Obstetrical Society. I regularly attend professional conferences and congresses. I have studied a midwifery at Faculty of Medicine in Ostrava. Currently I am adding my education in intensive and perioperative care in obstetrics and gynecology.