Iwan Burgener, new Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at Vetmeduni Vienna

Iwan Burgener succeeded Johann Thalhammer as professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine with the beginning of August. (Photo: University of Utrecht)

Burgener  1

Iwan Burgener from Switzerland has been newly appointed Professor to the Clinical Unit of Small Animal Internal Medicine from 1 August 2016. Having had positions in Leipzig, Germany, and Utrecht, Netherlands, Vienna is the third chair for the small animal internist. Burgener’s special focus in his clinical work is on the canine metabolism.He is a Diplomate of the American as well as the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Burgener, who comes from the Swiss canton of Valais, started his studies in his home country at the University of Bern. Having completed his doctoral studies with a thesis in neuroimmunology, he did a rotating internship, followed by a four-year international residency at the University of Bern and the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, USA, to become a veterinary specialist of small animal internal medicine. Being a Diplomate of the American and European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Burgener has since then held two international certificates as a veterinary specialist.

From Bern via Leipzig and Utrecht to Vienna

Later, Burgener was a senior veterinarian at the Small Animal Clinic of the University of Bern. At the same time, he worked on his PhD in the gastroenterology research group at the Vetsuisse Faculty of Bern. In 2011, he finished his habilitation with a thesis on chronic enteropathies in dogs and cats. In the same year, he was appointed Professor in Leipzig, Germany, where he became the head of the newly founded Unit of Small Animal Internal Medicine. In 2014, Burgener got the chance to become a Professor at the prestigious University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. Like in Leipzig and now Vienna, he was deemed to be the best candidate and appointed Professor and head of the Unit of Small Animal Internal Medicine.

Specific biomarkers to combat hepatic diseases

For the Swiss researcher it was important to learn about the scientific background of his clinical work and understand it. Thus, for example, he worked with antibodies, protein detection and cell cultures. One of his projects was the identification of biomarkers that allow for a sensitive detection of damaged liver cells in dogs. “We found so-called microRNAs in serum samples: highly conserved, short RNA sequences which are relevant for the regulation of gens,” explained Burgener. “They are a specific indicator for a hepatic disease. Thus, they also help to distinguish liver diseases.”

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