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James V Byrne MD, FRCS, FRCR, is Professor of Neuroradiology at the University of Oxford, UK, and current President of ESMINT. He was a founding member of the Society in 2008 and enjoyed his role as the first General Secretary.

James Byrne belongs to the ESMINT ExCom

James Byrne has been practicing Interventional Neuroradiology as an independent consultant to the National Health Service (NHS) since 1988. He trained with Dr. Brian Kendall at the National Hospital for Nervous Disease and undertook Visiting Fellowships at UCSF and UCLA. He also worked with Dr. Guglielmi and pioneered the introduction of the Guglielmi detachable coil in Europe. Since moving to Oxford in 1991, James has conducted both applied and pure research in endovascular techniques and now heads the Oxford Neuroradiology and Neurovascular Research Group.

He was Editor-in-Chief of NEURORADIOLOGY from 2005-2010 and is Director of the only university-based degree course (Master of Science) in Endovascular Neurosurgery and Interventional Neuroradiology. James Byrne also loves Opera and hosts an annual Christmas carol sing-off at the December Teaching Course and the good news is that everyone, including audience members, wins a prize!

James Byrne about his presidency

I first proposed a Pan-European society for the organisation of training and education to the Neuroradiology and Neurosurgical communities in 2005. It was initially proposed as a virtual society and potential members were invited to register their interest electronically on a website []. The society was called the European Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (ESITN) and 105 people expressed an interest or registered on the site.

Over the next 2 years, I learnt the difficulties in starting and funding an independent society. Discussion with ESNR to work as a subsidiary group failed to reach a joint position because a membership-based society open to all interested individuals from within and without neuroradiology, e.g. neurosurgeons undertaking endovascular treatments etc, was not accepted.

In collaboration with Daniel Rufenacht, we held a meeting of interested people at Val D’Isere in January 2007 and at the LINNC Congress in Paris. These resulted in the society name being changed to EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF MINIMALLY INVASIVE NEUROLOGICAL THERAPIES (ESMINT), the first ESMINT teaching course which was held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2007 and an agreed mission statement.

The following year an Executive Board was formed, with Jacques Moret first President, Daniel Rufenacht the Treasurer, me the General Secretary and Mike Iliopoulos as Executive Officer. I drafted the Articles of Association, and these were agreed at the first formal General Assembly held in Oxford on 15 December 2008. It was clear by this stage that a large-scale annual meeting was needed to provide cohesion to the Society’s activities and the Hotel Radisson in Nice was chosen for the first annual meeting in 2009. The final step was the registration of ESMINT as a legal entity which took place in Switzerland in August 2009. I was elected President the following year.

During my tenure as President, the membership grew rapidly. The was also true of the attendance numbers at annual meetings and required us to move to larger venues culminating in the Acropolis Convention Centre in Nice. The teaching course moved to Barcelona and the Executive Committee emerged as the driving force of the Society, recruiting leaders of the European INR community as well as Neurosurgeons and Industry representatives.

The Society started to represent a wider range of professionals than traditional professional societies. Our true ‘raison d’être’. Plans to establish the on-line journal, EJMINT and the incorporation of the foundation EFMINT were pursued. The former proving difficult because of the rapid evolution of medical publishing but the EFMINT is now a real strength and support to ESMINT.