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News & Press: Member Spotlights

Interview with 2017 Ippen Award winner: Johanna Painer

Wednesday 2 May 2018   (0 Comments)
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Hi Johanna, can you start by telling us a bit about your career to date and the research work that contributed to you winning the Ippen Young Scientist Award in 2017?

 

 

I fulfilled my dream of studying veterinary medicine in 2003 in Vienna. As an undergraduate student I specialised in conservation medicine and participated in some amazing practical training e.g. on the Scandinavian Brown Bear project and the Przewalski’s horse project. I was given the chance to publish two peer-reviewed articles during that time, which was a key to me getting a PhD position at the IZW-Berlin on “Eurasian & Iberian lynx female reproduction”. Four years filled with adrenalin and learning followed and I had the opportunity to work with inspiring veterinarians from all over the world. My PhD research explored the unique reproductive cycle of lynx: they have evolved a mechanism to be mono-oestrous by having physiologically persisting corpora lutea all year round. Examinations we carried out at projects such as the Iberian Lynx Conservation Breeding Programme, contributed to the better understanding of the reproductive peculiarities of this endangered species.

After my PhD I stayed for a post-doc at the IZW and worked mainly against the illegal wildlife trade with the animal welfare organisation Four Paws International. We accompanied rescues and confiscations, and studied the effects of inappropriate husbandry on large carnivores. Long-term pain management, therapies of chronic, geriatric diseases and anaesthesia protocol developments on critical wildlife patients were my main focus areas during this time.

In 2016 I decided to move back to my home-country Austria where I work in the wildlife medicine group at the Veterinary University of Vienna. We are working on a broad spectrum of practical wildlife medicine topics and perform research in wildlife anesthesia, wildlife diseases and ecophysiology. I am also still working as consultant for Four Paws and for zoos on reproduction problems.

 

What do you feel was key to your selection as the 2017 Ippen Award winner?

I think knowledge exchange is the most important thing if you want to become a better doctor/researcher. To date, I have published 16 peer-reviewed articles and have made over 30 conference contributions. I won the award because of the number and quality of these publications.

You also have to be extremely flexible and sometimes very non-demanding when it comes to working abroad. Being sensitive towards other cultures and ethnicities, being friendly and helpful, are my personal goals.

 

What are your career aspirations going forwards?

My current career goals and research interests are to contribute to making wildlife anaesthesia safer (particularly blood pressure regulation and protocols for food producing wildlife), to work against wildlife crime (especially bile-farming bears), to train young veterinarians in countries without wildlife education possibilities and to discover biomimetic effects between humans and wildlife. Our latest publication on “Novel treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease. An insight into the animal kingdom”, was published in NATURE Reviews Nephrology and opened the field of Biomimetics to me – how veterinarians and human doctors can learn from each other.

 

You have been a member of EAZWV since 2010 – how has your membership contributed to your career?

I am grateful to have met so many amazing colleagues, who are always supportive with their advice and sharing experiences. The EAZWV network is one of the most valuable tools to me, and meeting at the annual conference is the best opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues from all over the world. Thanks to the EAZWV!

 

Do you have anything further you would like to say to potential Ippen Award candidates?

Working in wildlife research is sometimes a huge challenge, mentally and physically, however, if you love what you are doing, and you work within a great team, you will have the power to move mountains! Don’t give up fulfilling your dreams and contributing to wildlife medicine, research and conservation!

 

Thank you Johanna - all the best for your wild future too!

 

CLICK HERE for more information on the Rudolf Ippen Young Scientist Award


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