2020 Young Scientist Award Winner Conor O’Halloran

Conor O’Halloran, recipient of the 2020 ABCD and Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist Awards.

Conor O’Halloran, recipient of the 2020 ABCD and Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist Awards.


The 2020 ABCD Young Scientist Award, funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health goes to Dr Conor O’Halloran (29), with a PhD of the University of Edinburgh and currently in clinical practice. The award winner will deliver a short presentation during the Boehringer Ingelheim Symposium on the occasion of the congress of the International Society of Feline Medicine, held virtually on 8 August 2020.


Margaret Hosie, president of the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) commented: ‘Conor’s work has contributed significantly to the currently available literature relating to the topic of feline mycobacterial disease and the feline immune response to them, and we congratulate him on his success.’

Conor O’Halloran: Feline mycobacterial disease

Tuberculosis caused by the Mycobacterium (M.) tuberculosis-complex (MTBC) of organisms remains one of the most prevalent and deadly infectious diseases of man and other animals. Cats are susceptible to MTBC infections and understanding of the significance and frequency of these infections has grown in recent years. Dr O’Halloran recently defended his PhD thesis on the topic. With his team he helped developed a new diagnostic PCR assay to help detect mycobacterial infections in companion animals.
He explains: ‘this novel assay specifically targeted the mycobacterial species most frequently identified by mycobacterial culture, M. bovis and M. microti, and was optimised for use with formalin-fixed tissue; necessary for the safe handling of tuberculous tissue by UK laboratories.’ The novel assay also has a quicker turnaround, higher rate of test-positive results and a significant increase in the proportion of M. microti diagnoses compared to culture results.

ABCD & Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist Awards

‘Our company is strongly committed to supporting independent research in the field of feline infectious diseases, and the Young Scientist Award represents a wonderful collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and the ABCD, said Dr Jean-Philippe Tronel, director of the global technical services for pet vaccines at Boehringer Ingelheim. ‘We warmly congratulate Dr O’Halloran and encourage everyone to check out the previous winners, most of whom are still very active researchers and contributing to the health of our beloved cats.’

The award will be officially presented to Conor O’Halloran during the ISFM International congress.

The 2019 recipient of the award was Rosina Ehmann (Germany).

The ABCD and Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist Award, created in 2008, is funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and is presented to a young scientist in veterinary or biomedical sciences, who has made an original contribution in the field of feline infectious diseases and/or immunology. Applicants should have published their findings in a journal listed in PubMed or Web of Science or have had them accepted by another recognised assessing body.

Candidates should be based in Europe, have completed a veterinary or biomedical curriculum, and be under 35 years of age at the time of application. Applications in the fields of both basic and applied sciences are welcome.


  • The European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) is an independent panel of 16 leading veterinarians (14 active and 2 consulting members) from eleven European countries, with an expertise in immunology, vaccinology and/or feline medicine. The ABCD was set up to compile guidelines for the prevention and management of major feline infectious diseases in Europe, based on current scientific knowledge. For more information, please visit www.abcdcatsvets.org
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is a global leader in the animal health industry and part of family-owned Boehringer Ingelheim, founded in 1885. The company is committed to making the industry even better at improving animal health. With over 10,000 employees worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has products available in more than 150 markets. For more information, please visit https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/animal-health/animal-health

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