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News & Press: Member Spotlights

2018 Ippen Award Winner: Kathryn Perrin

Friday 4 January 2019   (0 Comments)
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EAZWV has been a key component in the development of my career since I attended the Bussolengo meeting in 2012. The first ever student-mentor-mixer (Vienna, 2013) was where I met my future mentor and residency/PhD supervisor, Mads Bertelsen. A year later, as a first year zoo resident, I attended the Warsaw meeting where Imke Lüders received the Ippen Young Scientist Award. This was the first time I became aware of this award, and I was inspired by the acknowledgement of scientific achievement within a primarily clinical career.

I consider myself extremely fortunate for the opportunities that I have had in zoo medicine to date. Having completed three years (2013-16) of residency training in zoological medicine and pathology at the Copenhagen Zoo, I achieved Diplomate status in the American College of Zoological Medicine in November 2018. Currently, I am in the final year of a PhD, which arose from one of my residency cases, a fatal case of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) in 2014. While I have always aspired to become a clinical zoo veterinarian, a PhD was not something I anticipated in my career. However, evaluation of this case, and recognition of the dearth of information on the pathophysiology and successful management options for this disease, led me naturally towards a PhD program.

Briefly, this project is looking at why some Asian elephants survive early exposure to EEHV, develop latent infections and survive to adulthood, whereas many other elephants become infected in their juvenile years, and develop an acute and rapidly fatal haemorrhagic syndrome. I’m lucky enough to be an ‘industrial’ PhD student, where I (try to!) straddle the world of academia (University of Copenhagen) and industry (Copenhagen Zoo). My university supervisor, Annemarie Kristensen, has been fantastic in supporting my ambitions as a ‘clinician researcher’, contributing to the field of evidence based zoological medicine. I think it is fascinating to identify a clinical problem, investigate it and (hopefully) come up with answers to improve our patients care. Applying the results of your own research is very satisfying! I believe that the combination of clinical specialisation in zoological medicine, and further training in research, are what made me a strong candidate for this award. I plan to return to a more clinical position once the PhD is completed, and look forward to continuing with research throughout my career.

I would like to thank the Ippen award jury for acknowledging me with this award. For me to be in a position to receive such an award, is a result of the support and opportunities offered to me by the Copenhagen Zoo, the Annie and Otto Detlefs’ Foundation, Innovation Fund Denmark and the University of Copenhagen veterinary school. Special thanks to my mentor, Mads Bertelsen, who has invested so much in the residency program at Copenhagen Zoo. My advice to aspiring zoo clinicians and researchers is to look for a good mentor who can guide you, challenge you and open doors for you, they are worth their weight in gold! 

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


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