24 November 2016

Veterinary Science Day once again a great success

Spectacular conclusion with pioneering space voyage by André Kuipers

Closing keynote speaker André Kuipers.

Last Thursday, the latest edition of the annual Veterinary Science Day was held in Antropia conference centre in Driebergen. Around 200 people listened to a series of fascinating presentations by fellow researchers, then had the opportunity to visit the science market and the poster presentations around the conference centre located on the Reehorst estate. The conference literally went out with a bang with André Kuipers’ ‘space voyage’ at the end of the afternoon. The ultimate proof that pushing the boundaries of our knowledge can result in a beautiful journey. 

‘Basics and Beyond - from bench to barn and bedside’ was the theme for the event. In choosing the title, the organisers aimed to highlight the importance of translational research and the One Health principle. Wouter Dhert, who as faculty Dean was responsible for opening the Veterinary Science Day 2016, emphasised the importance of multi-disciplinary cooperation within the Life Sciences. “Creating impact on human and animal health.”

Winner of first ROELEN-PENNING medal Robert Favier, presented by Louis Penning.

Science is primarily about asking questions and finding new answers. In order to encourage young researchers to ask as many questions as possible, Bernard Roelen (Farm Animal Health) and Louis Penning (Companion Animal Health) created the ‘ROELEN PENNING’ medal. The competitive element had the intended effect, because the researchers (some of whom could only be considered young at heart) literally had to elbow their way to the microphone.

Mother’s milk and miscarriages
The day began with a series of presentations, in which various researchers talked about their research. Riccardo Levato (Equine Health) led the way by showing the possibilities presented by stem cells and bioprinting to repair cartilage defects. Hélène Verheije spoke about the importance of research into viruses and how they enter their host cells. Martijn van Herwijnen dealt with the potential presented by certain molecules (extracellular vesicles (EV)) in mother’s milk, Ronald Jan Corbee talked about chronic vitamine-A toxicosis in felines, Gerrit Koop introduced the discovery of a new leukocidin (a substance that destroys white blood cells) to fight the common bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, and Marilena Rizzo discussed miscarriages in older pregnant mares.

Market and poster presentations
After these presentations, the attendees had the opportunity to visit the market and take in the poster presentations. In small, intimate rooms, people had a chance to ask the faculty’s researchers questions. After lunch, the second series of presentations began with Susan van Aalst talking about vaccines, Hedwig Kruitwagen discussing liver organiods, and Sara Burt telling about research into ‘pests’. Frances Bach provided a glimpse into the field of regenerative medicine in orthopedics, Tom Driedonks spoke about dendritic cells and Karen Uhde told about microRNA.

The members of the jury found it difficult to choose from among the high-quality presentations and posters, but in the end Anouk Platteel and Ruixue Yuan took home the second and first prizes for the poster presentations, and Susan van Aalst and Martijn van Herwijnen won second and first place for the oral presentations. In addition to the prestigious award, they also received a monetary prize to use to attend a scientific conference.

Photo organisation committee (from left to right): Anna Tellegen, Felipe Serra Braganca, Laurien Jansen, Ben Gorissen, Ronald Jan Corbee, Peter Reinink, Rogier Bodewes (not pictured), Bart Spee and keynote speaker André Kuipers.

Bart Spee, chairperson of the organising committee: “It was a successful day with plenty of interaction, high-quality presentations and a pleasant atmosphere.” On the keynote speaker: “This year, the organisers decided to conclude with an ‘out of the box’ speaker, and I think that André Kuipers was the figurative icing on the cake to what was already a very successful event. The Veterinary Science Day 2016 is over now, but you can already reserve the third Thursday in November 2017 in your agenda!”

Text: Myrna Tinbergen and Bart Spee
Photography: Lisanne van der Voort