Luminex prize for 2nd best poster


In March 2019 our PaP Student Melissa Stas has received the Luminex prize for 2nd best poster at the Spring School on Immunology, organized by the German Society for Immunology and held in Ettal, Germany. Congratulations!


5th Symposium of the PaP-Graduate School of the Veterinary University of Vienna

The Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP) held its annual symposium on April the 4th and 5th, beginning with a reunion of PaP participants and supervisors with the scientific advisory board over a smorgasbord luncheon. The Symposium was opened with an encouraging overview from the programme director Anja Joachim which indicated the geographical breadth of the graduate schools intake and the various career trajectories of its alumnae, therefore highlighting the scope of the programme as it has grown since 2013. This was followed by an appeal from the Vice-Rector for Research and International Relations, Otto Doblhoff-Dier, for PhD candidates to contribute to the quality of scientific establishments outside of academia by considering careers within them.

Senior students, namely Janna Frömbling, Marina Nees, Sonia Villanueva-Hernández, Jemma Milburn, Selma Schmidt, Carlotta De Luca, Julia Lagler, Eleni Vatzia, Daniel Ruhnau and Sophia von Buchholz, gave short oral presentations about their research, followed by the opportunity for questions to each candidate.

Faculty members and those on the scientific advisory board, hopefully somewhat reinvigorated after a coffee break, took the opportunity to hold a closed session and then reassembled with the members of the PaP for traditional Austrian cuisine in the historically steeped wine cellar of Brezlgwölb.

The second day commenced in the Panoramasaal with Sina Bagheri, Marcelo Ramires, Victoria Drauch, Anna Feix, Alexandra Kiesler, Emil Lagumdzic, Marlene Mötz, Stelli Stancheva, Spencer Sawyer and Melissa Stas, all first year students, who gave poster presentations. Following a formal introduction of their poster, each candidate was offered questions and discussion with the earnestness typical to novel PhD projects.

A key function of the annual symposium is for the scientific advisory board to meet with Faculty members and students separately to discuss the programme. This is a particular merit of the PaP organisation, that student feedback is encouraged and acted upon. The student closed session assured the advisory board that all is in order and opportunities for additional training courses were also discussed. Another strength of the PaP Graduate School is the diversity and breadth of medical disciplines assimilated within it, ergo giving students a solid overview of research outside of their direct thesis. Nevertheless, there is a strong sense of identity and research unity among faculty. This was highlighted at the closure of the Symposium in the summary given by Sabine Schüller, who commended the progress and growth of the PaP graduate school as a whole over its years and particularly the growing thematic trajectories and collaborations between institutes.

Group picture of students, faculty members and the scientific advisory board after a successful wrap up session.
Poster walk on the 5th of April at the university’s panorama hall.
The presented research was lively discussed by participants of the session.

5th Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP)


PaP Retreat – November 2018

On the 29th and 30th of November 2018 PaP students, faculty members and the Vice-Rector for Research and International Relations, Otto Doblhoff-Dier, assembled once more for the annual Retreat of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP). The chosen location for this 5th Retreat was the beautiful town of Retz, situated in the Waldviertel region.

Once everyone had settled into their rooms at the Hotel Althof Retz, formerly the castle of Retz, the meeting started with an informal introduction of students and supervisors. As head of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry, Anja Joachim gave an introduction to the PaP and the accompanying coursework. As part of the students’ responsibilities the new position of a student speaker of the PaP was announced. This student representative shall assist the head of the PaP and facilitate communication with the faculty.

After a nourishing lunch break all first year students (Anna Feix, Emil Lagumdzic, Jemma Milburn, Marlene Mötz, Spencer Sawyer, Stelli Stancheva, Melissa Stas, Sophia von Buchholz, Sonia Villanueva) were given the opportunity to introduce their projects. This was followed by separate sessions where the students worked out expectations regarding their upcoming PhD work and possible improvements for matters directly related to the PaP graduate school while the supervisors discussed changes to the PaP course work. Later on, the students presented their views to all re-assembled participants and a fruitful discussion ensued. 

The day was rounded off with a guided tour through the city’s multi-layered underground passageways including a wine tasting of local grapes.

The second day started with presentations of the advanced students who outlined the progress of their respective projects. Subsequently the discussion over course work and improvements to the PaP from the previous day was continued and brought to a successful conclusion. 

The retreat was wrapped up with the students electing their speakers by anonymous vote. The office is now being held by Carlotta de Luca over the course of one year with Emil Lagumdzic as vice-speaker. And thus everyone returned home with a sense of achievement including some with a bottle of wine or two. 


4th Symposium of the PaP-Graduate School of the Veterinary University of Vienna

Between the 15th and 16th of February 2018 the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP) once again held its annual symposium. It was as implemented in former years open to the public and gave the students an excellent platform to present the progress in their projects and was a place of lively discussion between students, supervisors, faculty members and the scientific advisory board. 

The welcome speech was given by Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier the universities vice rector for research and international relations. As the new speaker of the Graduate school Prof. Anja Joachim gave insight into PaP-activities, this included once again a general overview on the college, its structure, members and achievements of previous years. 

After the introductory session Prof. Andrea Ladinig head of the University- Clinic for Swine gave her presentation as the keynote speaker on the topic “Pathogenesis and immune responses in the reproductive form of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection” 

The keynote lecture was followed for the first time by a session with two presentations from current post-docs about their ongoing projects. First up was Dr. Kerstin Mair from the University Institute of Immunology with her lecture on “The natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp46 in a nutshell: peculiarities of its expression in the pig”.

 The second talk was given by Dr. Wageha Awad from the University clinic for Poultry and Fish Medicine on her ongoing work in “Campylobacter colonization in chickens: Consequences on gut physiology and bacteria translocation”. 

This session was followed by a coffee break and the afternoon was concluded with the presentations of four PhD-students. Barbara Freudenschuss, Christiane Hundehege, Julia Lagler and Eleni Vatzia were chosen to present their projects and the current outcome. The session was chaired by Prof. Armin Saalmüller. After every session there was time for a round of questions and the topics were further discussed. 

The day was concluded with dinner at a traditional Viennese restaurant close to the Prater amusement park. The participants were once again presented with delicious Austrian cuisine and the evening progressed with lively conversations and laughter. 

The second day started bright and early at 8:30 in the morning with a poster-walk of the new members of the PaP-Graduate School where they introduced the outline of their project and first results. Seven posters were presented in total (Carlotta De Luca, Jemma Milburn, Marina Nees, Daniel Ruhnau, Selma Schmidt, Sonia Villanueva-Hernandez, Sophia von Buchholz) interrupted by a short coffee break.

After the conclusion of the poster-walk the Scientific Advisory Board once again invited all students and this time also recent graduates of the PaP-School for a closed discussion. The students had the opportunity to give constructive criticism about their time in the PaP graduate school, this lead to a very interesting discussion. 

After this session the final wrap up speech was given by Prof. Anja Joachim and the Symposium ended with lunch at the Mensa of the University.

The 4th Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry was a wonderful opportunity for the members of the graduate school to present their work and also gave platform to the new students to give insight into their PhD-projects. 


PaP Symposium - February 2017

The Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP) once more held its annual symposium, bringing together students, supervisors, faculty members and the college’s scientific advisory board. The symposium, as usual, was open to all members of the university and the general public and therefore offered a good platform for the students to present their progress in science and constructive discussions. 

After a welcome speech by the university’s vice rector for research and international relations, Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier, the speaker of the graduate school, Prof. Michael Hess, proceeded to give a report about PaP activities, including a general overview on the college, its structure, members and achievements so far. He also introduced new faculty members, students and projects followed by an outlook on the future plans for PaP.

This introductory session was followed by the first keynote talk given by Prof. Christoph Baums from the Institute of Bacteriology and Mycology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University Leipzig, on the fascinating topic of  “Immune evasion mechanisms of Streptococcus suis”. He explained the function of a bacterial protease and how this can be used to control this important pathogen by vaccination. 

After this, it was time for the PaP students to present their research. For this year’s symposium students in the second or final year of their PhD or doctoral studies (Franziska Feichtner, Barbara Freudenschuss, Janna Frömbling, Barbara Gaußmann and Janine Gruber) were chosen to present results of their projects. The presentations were grouped into two sessions, chaired by Prof. Hennig-Pauka and Ass.-Prof. Andrea Ladinig. The two sessions were interrupted by a coffee break for refreshments and time for lively discussions.

The official agenda of the first day was concluded by the second key note talk by Dr. Sabine Schüller, Executive Director of the German Animal Health Industry Association in Bonn, regarding the interesting subject of “Bringing Veterinary Medical Products (VMPs) to the market”. In the presentation it was demonstrated that an idea is just the start of a possible  product with numerous tasks to be considered during development until licensing. 

The speakers’ and attendants’ efforts were rewarded when the day ended in a convivial evening spent at a traditional Viennese restaurant near the Prater. Excellent traditional Austrian cuisine was accompanied by companionable chats and laughter.

On the second day of the symposium the students were allowed to sleep in, as the first point of the agenda was a meeting of the Principal Investigators (PIs) and the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for an internal discussion on the progression of PaP.

After this was wrapped up, the students joined the PIs and SAB and, invigorated by coffee and pastries from a buffet, all continued to a poster walk where the new members of the PaP student community introduced the outline and first results of their PhD projects (Christiane Hundehege, Julia Lagler and Eleni Vatzia). 

The symposium commenced with a presentation (Tanyia Mitra and Aruna Shresta) of the PaP evaluation form which the students had previously developed in the course of last year’s PaP retreat.

Before the joint final discussion and wrap up speech by Prof. Hess, the SAB once again invited the students for a closed discussion with them, giving the students the chance to offer constructive feedback on their time in the PaP graduate school.

 The 3rd annual Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine was a once again a great opportunity for the students and all members of the graduate school to share their work and progress.


3rd Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP)

Invitation and Programm 15.02.2017


PaP Retreat - October 2016

On the 13th and 14th of October 2016 students, faculty members, associate faculty members and the Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier, met for the 3rd Retreat of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP). This year, the event took place at the Hotel Wende, in Neusiedl, on the northern shore of the Neusiedler See, part of the Burgeland region.

Prof. Michael Hess kicked off the meeting by welcoming all attendees, being followed by the introduction of the new students - Julia Lagler and Christiane Hundehege – who had the opportunity to outline their tandem PhD projects involving close collaboration within the PaP Graduate School.

The scientific lecture of the first day was presented by Prof. Monika Ehling-Schulz who gave a talk about:”Photonics meet veterinary medicine: FTIR Spectroscopy in microbial diagnostics and beyond”.

Since the 3rd PaP Retreat coincided with the end of cycle for many PhD students, the workshop session of the first day intended to provide an internal assessment of the PaP Graduate School. Thus, the PhD students developed an evaluation form for the PaP Graduate School program, while faculty members, associate faculty members and Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier met to discuss the future of the PaP project.

The day ended in a cosy environment at the winery Preschitz, with a wine tasting where all Retreat attendees had the opportunity to taste excellent wine from the Burgenland region and to visit wine cellars.

The second day started with a lecture by Prof. Dr. Anja Joachim who addressed the topic “Vaccines against pig parasites”. Subsequently, in a very fruitful session, the students who were in an advanced stage of their PhDs were challenged to present possible ideas regarding the future of their projects.

The Retreat ended with a personal reflection of each student on the perspectives of their future careers, which also characterized the atmosphere of this Retreat: moving forward to the future while learning with the past.


PaP Symposium - January 2016

The faculty for Pig and Poultry medicine (PaP), set up to strengthen postgraduate education and to continue the existing specialization within the curriculum at the Vetmeduni Vienna, has been undergoing scientific events since being established in 2013. In continuation of this, the school has successfully undergone the second symposium, at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, in Vienna, Austria, on 27th and 28th of January, 2016. Similar to the previous symposium, the event was attended by the PaP students, faculty members, associate faculty members, assistant members, and scientific advisory board members of PaP. As an openly announced event, various participants within the University also took part in the gathering.
The symposium was officially opened with a welcome speech by Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier. Prof. Michael Hess, speaker of the graduate school, then proceeded with presenting previous PaP events briefing the audience about past activities such as the PaP retreat (2015), successful PaP graduates who completed their PhD or doctoral studies as well as prospective events that might be of high relevance for the PaP consortium.
The program was studded with further activities: a key note speech given by one of the scientific advisory board members, Prof. Thomas Göbel, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, on “Cytotoxic Responses in the Chicken”, bridged to the next program. Then, a recent graduate with other nominated PaP students ( Imtiaz Hussain, Miguel Matos, Rounik Mazumdar, Taniya Mitra, Elena Sassu, Aruna Shrestha, Bettina Wöchtl and Xinquan Zhang) presented their research. The sessions were divided into two parts, chaired by Prof. Anja Joachim and Dr. Ivana Bilic, accompanied by a refreshing break in between. The evening was spent in a restaurant 'EsterhazyKeller' whereby the participants intermingled and chatted while enjoying the exquisite interiors of the restaurant and scrumptious dishes.
The second day (28th of January) was mainly filled by students' poster session. Nine students (Franziska Feichtner, Barbara Freudenschuss, Barbara Gaußmann, Janine Gruber, Fana Alem Kidane, Andreas Monoyios, Leonie Sinn, Stephanie Talker and Angelika Zloch) exhibited their research on posters which were then individually presented and extensively discussed. This once again created an important platform to steer discussions and exchange knowledge between the presenters, members of the faculty, the scientific advisory board and participating guests.
Finally, the advisory board took the chance to get feedbacks from the students on the progress and flow of the PaP program. The opinions were then communicated to the faculty members to reach to a ground where strengths would be continued and possible bottleneck identified for revision. The symposium was then winded up with a short closing speech by Prof. Michael Hess, acknowledging the audience for making the gathering highly educative and vibrant.


2nd Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP)


PaP Retreat - September 2015

The 2nd Retreat of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP) took place at the Hotel Kartause Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September, 2015. The PaP students, faculty members, associate faculty members and the Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier participated in the event. The hotel is located in the vicinity of Gaming, a quiet municipality in Lower Austria and is partially possessing the premises of a former Carthusian monastery. The restored monastery was established in the year 1330 and is considered to be the landmark of Gaming.
The event began with Vice-Rector Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier providing feedback to the Graduate School and transferring the messages of the Scientific Advisory Board Members who attended the 1st PaP Symposium on January 2015. Subsequently, Prof. Isabel Hennig-Pauka gave a talk with the title: Challenges in Porcine Health. Afterwards, PhD students of the Graduate School presented their projects and work in speed talks. Each talk was followed by a constructive discussion.
After a fulfilling lunch, the Publication Strategies workshop began with an introductory lecture by one of the PhD students (Rounik Mazumdar). During this session, the participants formed four groups and each group discussed one of the following topics: (1) authorship (2) submission process (3) types and quality of journals (4) review process.
In late afternoon, the Graduate School was given a tour of the monastery premises, museum and library. The tour ended in the restaurant, where the group had the chance to taste a variety of home-brewed beers produced at the Kartause. The day finished with a heartwarming dinner and with a short walk through Gaming.
On the second day (29th of September), faculty members summarized the discussion of the Publication Strategies workshop and supplemented additional information on the subject. After this, Prof. Tillmann Rümenapf  proceeded with his talk on virus diseases of pigs. Students who enrolled recently (Barbara Freudenschuss , Barbara Gaußmann) and a student at the end of his studies (Imtiaz Hussain) presented their work. Immunofluorescence applied in immunohistology and achieved by external training, was presented by another PaP student (Stephanie Talker).
The retreat concluded with a feedback session between the faculty members and the students. Positive feedback was received from the participants with additional suggestions for improvements. Participants went home with a homebrewed bottle of beer carrying the logo of the Graduate School and the overall impression that the retreat, in combination with the location, was an additional milestone in PaP.

 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Pictures of the 2nd PaP Retreat


PaP Symposium - January 2015

The first symposium of the 'Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine' (PaP) was held at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria on 28th and 29th January, 2015. The two day event was attended by the PaP students, faculty members, associate faculty members, assistant members, and honorary scientific advisory board members (Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier (Vice-Rector for the Research and International relations, University Of Veterinary Medicine Vienna); Prof. Thomas Göbel (Professor for Veterinary Immunology, Institute for Animal Physiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich); Dr. Sabine Schüller (Executive Director of the German Animal Health Industry Association, Bonn); Prof. Fiona Tomley (Head of Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology at the Royal Veterinary College, London)). External guests and staff from the Veterinary University completed the audience.

Vice-Rector, Prof. Otto Doblhoff-Dier, officially started the symposium with a welcome speech, followed by Prof. Michael Hess who presented details about the organization and research focus of the graduate school. The course structure and its associated benefits for the students were briefed by Prof. Anja Joachim. Afterwards advisory board member Prof. Fiona Tomley presented a key note speech entitled "Parasites and Poultry: Importance and problems for food security". After a well deserved coffee break, some nominated students (Surya Paudel, Leonie Sinn, Angelika Zloch, Andreas Monoyios, Stephanie Talker and Fana Alem Kidane) presented their research in a separate session moderated by associate faculty members Dr. Dieter Liebhart and Dr. Wilhelm Gerner.

A pleasant evening in a typical Viennese restaurant 'Heuriger' finalized an interesting first day. An unexpected performance was given by a hunting horn group which brought traditional Austrian culture to the international community.

The second day (29th January) was mainly dominated by students' poster session. Nineteen students presented their research by posters which were individually discussed. This provided an excellent ground to exchange scientific views/knowledge between the students, faculty members, the scientific advisory board members of PaP and interested guests.

Afterwards, students had closed session with the advisory board members which were intensively used by the students to give feedback on the PaP programme. Discussions were completed between faculty members and the scientific advisory board members focusing on future developments of PaP graduate school.

The Conference culminated with the adoption of the final declaration for the next PaP retreat on 28th and 29th September, 2015 and also 2nd PaP symposium on 27th and 28th January, 2016.


1st Symposium of the Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine (PaP)


PaP retreat - September 2014

Twenty nine attendees from the Graduate School of Pig and Poultry Medicine at University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna convened in Maria Taferl for the first retreat in September 2014. The two days event provided a forum for scientific exchange along with social interaction among the faculty members, associate faculty members and students in one of most famous pilgrimage sites of lower Austria, located on the northern shore of the Danube.

Vice rector for research at Vetmeduni, Otto Doblhoff-Dier, welcomed all the participants and briefly elucidated the challenges and scope of this unique set up at the university. Michael Hess and Armin Saalmüller who are among the faculty members of the graduate school, highlighted on current challenges in poultry and porcine immunology respectively. All the students contributed with a scientific talk, additionally summarized in individual poster, each of which followed by lively discussions among the participants. On the second day, associate faculty members, Dieter Liebhart, Ivana Bilic and Wilhelm Gerner and selected students presented technical aspects on methods and tools that are currently being used in the projects covered by the PaP doctoral college.

The retreat was closed after collection of feedback from the participants. It was apparent that all the attendees found the event quite successful from scientific as well as social aspects thus it will be continued with the same momentum in the future. The next gathering in the set up will be at the PhD symposium 28th-29th of January at the Vetmeduni.

Programme schedule 37

 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Pictures of the 1st PaP Symposium


Kick-off Meeting, 12 November 2013 

On 12th of November 2013, the kick off meeting provided the floor to officially launch the “Graduate School for Pig and Poultry Medicine” at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria. Students from different projects funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Industry or by some dedicated scholarships and the Vetmeduni gathered for this event. The primary goal of the graduate school is to strengthen postgraduate education by combining basic and applied research in a unified platform for pig and poultry medicine. The team is lead by a panel of internationally visible scientists, faculty members, associate faculty members and assistant members. Students get an opportunity to continue their postgraduate degree with the specialized doctoral and PhD program, remaining adhered on the academic curriculum of the Vetmeduni.
At the beginning, Otto Doblhoff-Dier, vice rector of research at Vetmeduni delivered his welcome speech. Then, Michael Hess, speaker of the graduate school, briefly introduced the structure and the strategic aims of the program. Anja Joachim elucidated on academic curriculum and requirements of the PhD program for students. Then the other faculty members namely, Monika Ehling-Schulz, Isabel Hennig-Pauka, Tillmann Rümenapf and Armin Saalmüller introduced themselves and their research interests. The session was further extended with the introduction of associate faculty members (Dr. Ivana Bilic, Dr. Wilhelm Gerner and Dr. Dieter Liebhart) and the currently enrolled students. Dr. Dagmar Suppin explained the features and contents of the homepage for the graduate school which was followed by a discussion and suggestions for the improvements of the webpage.

The meeting ended up with vote of thanks and closing remarks from Michael Hess to all who contributed to the establishment of this unique setting.