Medical Advisory Board

Since the early days of the World Alliance of Pituitary Organizations, it was a wish of the Board of Directors to collaborate with a Medical Advisory Board (MAB), where Health Care Professionals could share their knowledge and contribute in supporting the WAPO Member Organizations.

In 2018,  while developing the concept, we invited the first 3 advisors, with whom we had already collaborated on several occasions. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were not able to introduce everyone in person at the 2020 Summit which was cancelled. Therefor the official introduction was held during the online AGM on May 29, 2021.

We are honored to officially welcome Chris Yedinak, Debora Katz, Elena Valassi, Diego Ferone, Federico Gatto and Garni Barkhoudarian as our medical advisors.
Since 2021 we have already collaborated on various occasions and projects.

Chris Yedinak, DNP, FNP-BC, MN, RN

Dr. Yedinak completed her undergraduate training in Australia and post graduate master’s degree, nurse practitioner and doctoral studies at Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland Oregon, USA. She also has a graduate diploma in tertiary education from the University of Southern Queensland and is board certified in USA as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Dr. Yedinak is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Oregon USA. She was instrumental in the development of the NW Pituitary Center at OHSU and continues clinical practice in all phases of treatment for patients with pituitary diseases. Her ongoing clinical research is focused on short and long term outcome studies for patients with pituitary tumors and diseases including Cushing’s disease, acromegaly and adrenal disorders.

Her scholarly accomplishments include: a doctoral thesis focused on the development of an instrument to measure Quality of Life for patients with pituitary tumors; co-editor of the first textbook for advanced practice in endocrinology; authorship of numerous book chapters and peer reviewed publications related to pituitary pathology and outcomes. She has been an invited speaker at a number of scientific meetings regionally, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Yedinak serves as the president of the Endocrine Nurses Society and is president and co-founder of the Federation of International Nurses in Endocrinology. She also serves as medical advisor to the World Alliance of Pituitary Organizations and has ongoing collaborations with Adrenal Insufficiency United and Adrenal Alternatives.

Federico Gatto, MD, PhD

Federico Gatto is Associate Medical Director (Dirigente Medico) at the
Endocrinology Unit of the IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (Genoa, Italy). This University Hospital is a certified European Reference Center for pituitary diseases (, and Dr. Gatto is responsible of the outpatient clinic of pituitary diseases, with particular focus on acromegaly.

He graduated at the University of Genoa on July 2007 and obtained the Specialization in Endocrinology and Metabolism on March 2013 (magna cum laude), at the Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties (Endocrinology Unit) of the same athenaeum.

From September 2010 he worked as Research Fellow and then as Researcher at the Endocrinology Unit of the Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Leo J. Hofland. As a results of his studies, in 2015 Dr. Gatto obtained the title of PhD from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, defending a thesis about the molecular mechanisms involved in the resistance to somatostatin analog treatment in pituitary adenomas.

Since January 2018 Dr. Gatto is Associate Medical Director at the IRCCS Ospedale San Martino of Genova (Genoa, Italy), and in September 2018 he obtained the National Scientific Qualification as Associate Professor in Endocrinology.
Dr. Gatto research work is primarily focused on studies involving neuroendocrine diseases. Particularly, he is currently responsible for clinical and translational projects aimed to investigate the biological and biochemical mechanisms of the available medical therapies for acromegaly and Cushing’s disease. More recently, Dr. Gatto is directly involved in research projects aimed to evaluate the potential impact of telehealth in the (self)management of patients with acromegaly.

From July 2012 to December 2020 he served as elected member of the ENEA (European Neuroendocrine Association) Young Research Committee (EYRC), and in 2015 he has been appointed as member of the Teaching Committee of the Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE). In 2017 Dr. Gatto was awarded by the Italian Society of Endocrinology as “Best Young Researcher”.
Dr. Gatto has leaded projects on pituitary diseases that produced results presented in national and international congresses, as well as published in international high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

Prof. Diego Ferone, MD, PhD

Diego Ferone is Full Professor of Endocrinology at the Department of Internal Medicine & Medical Specialties at the University of Genova, Director of the Post-Graduate School of Endocrinology & Metabolism and chief of the Endocrine Unit of the Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research (CEBR) of this University, Director of the Endocrinology Unit, IRCCS Policlinico San Martino.

He is senior member of the Italian Endocrine Society (where he also served as Treasurer and General Secretary), past-secretary of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine, member of the Advisory Board of the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society, past member of the ExCo of the European Neuroendocrine Association, and member of several Editorial Boards, Associate Editor for the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation and past associate editor for Clinical Endocrinology. Diego Ferone, after the degree in Medicine and the postgraduate degree in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the “Federico II” University of Naples, received the PhD degree in Neuroendocrinology in Rotterdam at the Erasmus University, where he spent more than 4 years in the laboratory of Steven Lamberts and Leo Hofland.

He has been awarded by the Italian Society of Endocrinology as best young investigator in 1999, best senior scientist (career award) in 2011, and he also received an award as best Italian researcher in the field of Neuroendocrine Tumors and MEN in 2010. Dr. Ferone has been constantly involved in studies on the physiopathology and treatment of pituitary and neuroendocrine tumors, physiopathology of somatostatin and dopamine receptors in the immune and neuroendocrine systems, medical therapy of acromegaly, Cushing disease, neuroendocrine tumors and hypopituitarism, and is author of more than 290 peer reviewed articles. Moreover, he presented more than 600 lectures in international and national meetings, and is author of 40 chapters of book (total impact factor over 560; h-index 46).

He has been among the organizers of the XXXI Congress of Italian Endocrine Society (Genova 2005), of the First Italian Endocrine Oncology Workshop (Udine 2009) and of the First National Congress of Endocrine Oncology: from bench to bedside (Rome 2011), of the Master Up-to Date in Neuro-Onco-Endocrinology (2010 Genova); Member of the POC of the 2010 and 2014 ENEA Meetings (Liege and Sofia) and of the 12th International Workshop on Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (Gubbio 2010), President of the POC for the 2016 ENEA Meeting (Milan, Italy).

Garni Barkhoudarian, MD

Co-Director Pituitary Disorders Center; Neurosurgery Director, Adult Hydrocephalus Center & Facial Pain Center.
Director, Skull-Base and Endoscopic Microdissection Anatomy Laboratory Vice-Chair Education, CNS Garni Barkhoudarian, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon with a focus on skull base and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery.

Dr. Barkhoudarian has particular interest and expertise in pituitary and paracellar tumors, brain tumors, skull-base tumors (including meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, chordomas and schwannomas), intra-ventricular brain tumors, colloid cysts, trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm and other vascular compression syndromes. For virtually all tumors and intracranial procedures, Dr. Barkhoudarian applies the keyhole concept of minimizing collateral damage to the brain and its supporting structures using advanced neuroimaging and neuro-navigation techniques along with endoscopy to improve targeting and lesion visualization.

Along with Drs. Marisa Chang and Daniel Franc, Dr. Barkhoudarian leads the Pacific Facial Pain Center, which offers a 360-degree approach to trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, glossopharyngeal spasm and other facial pain syndromes. This includes medication therapy, percutaneous procedures, stereotactic radiosurgery and endoscopic microvascular decompression of the trigeminal or facial nerves.

As Director of the Pacific Adult Hydrocephalus Center, he works with Dr. Daniel Franc to treat patients with various condition involving cerebrospinal fluid anomalies. This includes hydrocephalus (obstructive, acquired and normal pressure), colloid cysts, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, intracranial hypotension and idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Dr. Barkhoudarian’s research interests include evaluating outcomes of pituitary and brain tumor surgery. He is also involved in the biomarkers research program for pituitary adenomas, meningiomas and metastatic brain tumors, as well as evaluating potential mechanisms and markers of invasive and atypical tumor progression. He is an investigator in a number of clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of various medical or chemotherapies for pituitary tumors and malignant brain tumors.

As director of the Skull-Base and Endoscopic Microdissection Anatomy Laboratory, he conducts neuroanatomical analysis, advancing the procedures and technology used for minimally invasive surgery. Research fellows from around the world perform observational fellowships for periods of 3- 6 months at a time, allowing them to learn these techniques and apply them in their home countries. In collaboration with Dr. Daniel Kelly, PNI Director, Dr. Barkhoudarian also oversees the Clinical Neurosurgical Fellowship.

Dr. Barkhoudarian graduated from UCLA in 2000 and received his medical education at the University of Michigan Medical School in 2005. He completed his neurosurgical residency at the UCLA Medical Center. He completed a Pituitary and Neuroendoscopy Fellowship with Dr. Edward Laws, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2012. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the International Society of Pituitary Surgeons (ISPS) and the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS). He is the former Chair of the Self-Assessment in Neurological Surgery (SANS) committee, writing questions to help advance the knowledge of neurosurgeons in training and in practice. Currently, he is a board member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), serving as Vice-chair of the Education Committee where he works with national colleagues to improve research, education and patient care in neurosurgery.

Debora Katz – Head of Neuroendocrinology

Debora Katz graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires. She completed 2 years of basic residency in Internal Medicine at the Morón Model Clinic directed by Professors José Burucua and Roberto Iérmoli.

Subsequently, she completed the full endocrinology residency at the Teodoro Álvarez Hospital. She received the title of Specialist in Endocrinology awarded by the College of Physicians of the province of Buenos Aires. Between September 1993 and September 1994 she worked as assistant Chef de Clinique in the endocrinology service of the CHRU in Amiens (France) where she carried out an AFSA endorsed by the French Embassy in Argentina.

Upon her return, she began to dedicate herself fully to pituitary pathology in the endocrinology services of the Juan A. Fernández (1994-1995) and Clinicas José de San Martin (1996-2000).
In 1996 Debora Katz received the Award for the best Poster Presentation of the 33rd Argentine Congress of Pathology for the work “Surgical Pathology of the Selar Region: Experience of Seven Years of Multidisciplinary and Multicentre Work”.

She is a member of the Argentine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, of the Department of Neuroendocrinology of the SAEM.
Since 2000, Debora Katz coordinates the neuro-endocrinology section of FLENI.

Elena Valassi MD, PhD

Elena Valassi is Associate Professor of Endocrinology at the International University of Catalonia (UIC) and Endocrinology Consultant at the Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol de Badalona (Barcelona).

Dr. Valassi graduated from the University of Pavia (summa cum laude), obtained the Specialization in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases from the University of Modena (summa cum laude) and earned her PhD from the University of Milan.

She completed her formation as a pre- and postdoctoral fellow at the Reproductive Endocrine Unit and Neuroendocrine Unit, led by Dr. Anne Klibanski, at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. During this research fellowship, she developed clinical studies on several diagnostic and therapeutic issues in patients with pituitary dysfunctions, and carried out her PhD project on predictors of surgical outcome and delayed remission in patients with Cushing’s disease. She received the Italian “L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science” award for her studies on Cushing’s syndrome.

She received the “Juan de la Cierva” postdoctoral grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and was recently awarded two Health Care Research Fund Grant (FIS) from the Health Institute Carlos III to investigate the pathogenesis of residual myopathy and arthropathy in patients with acromegaly and Cushing’s syndrome in remission. She is currently responsible for data quality and analysis of the European Registry of Cushing’s syndrome (ERCUSYN), the world’s largest database on this condition.

Want to know more?

When you are interested to support the pituitary patient community, please contact WAPO via