2022 Young Scientist Award Winner Andrea Spiri

The 2022 ABCD Young Scientist Award, funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health goes to Dr Andrea Spiri (33), of the Zurich University Department of Clinical Diagnostics.

Congrats to Andrea Spiri (University of Zurich), this year’s laureate of the ABCD & Boehringer Ingelheim Young Scientist 2022 award! Andrea’s work focused on the host immune response following vaccination against feline calicivirus and challenge. Andrea accepted her award in person at the ISFM congress in Rhodes in June.

Andrea Spiri: Feline Calicivirus Shedding And Vaccine Immunity

Andrea’s study looks at the vaccine immunity and environmental contamination in feline calicivirus infection. ‘Anti-FCV antibodies do not fully depict the immune status of the cat, and the heterologous cellular immune response after FCV F9 vaccination should be taken into account, explains Andrea Spiri.

Her study also investigated the environmental contamination with FCV after experimental infection due to shedding. ‘FCV RNA was found on all items tested in the environment of the cats – for a long period of time – including in the ventilation filter, suggesting the possibility of viral transmission by aerosol’.

Dr Karin Moestl, vice president of the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) congratulated the laureate, commenting: ‘Andrea has performed an extensive study using a broad range of methods, which have led to new insights into various aspects of FCV infection and immunity, with practical relevance.’

Cat-Friendly Sample Collection

Dr Regina Hofmann-Lehmann, ABCD member and supervisor of Andrea’s PhD thesis, added that she had integrated refinement (3R) measures during all her experimental cat studies. ‘Andrea trained all her study cats with positive reinforcement for blood and sample collection, so that all collections could be conducted without anaesthesia or physical restraint throughout the entire studies’.

In doing so, ‘the daily interactions between the animal care takers as well as veterinarians and the study cats were playful, more relaxed and stress-free and, in turn, the quality of the interaction for both, cats and humans, was significantly more valuable and beneficial’.

Andrea Spiri is member of the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) working group on rehoming of animals used for scientific purposes and education.

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 this year’s winners 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 Young Scientist Award, created in 2008, is presented annually to young scientists in veterinary or biomedical sciences, who have made an original contribution in the field of feline infectious diseases and/or immunology.

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.

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