01-18-2013 - On 1 January 2013 Florien Jenner became Head of Equine Surgery at the Vetmeduni Vienna. Jenner is both an experienced veterinary surgeon and an internationally recognized researcher. She has big plans for her time in Vienna.
Although she was born in Innsbruck in the Austrian province of Tyrol, Professor Florien Jenner has spent a large part of her professional career outside Austria. She studied veterinary medicine in Munich before working for many years in the USA and most recently she worked in Ireland. On 1 January 2013 she took on the challenge of heading the Division of Equine Surgery at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna).
Students as customers
From 2006 Jenner worked at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University College Dublin, where she covered all aspects of surgery and orthopaedics, including lameness, respiratory tract disorders and colic. Her plans for Vienna are largely based on her experiences in the USA and Ireland. “Especially in the USA, but also to some extent in Ireland, university hierarchies are fairly flat and we view our students as our customers. I would like to transfer applicable aspects of these international equine clinic and University structures to the Equine University Hospital Vienna,” she says.
Private practices are important partners
The Division of Equine Surgery works almost exclusively with animals that are referred to the Vetmeduni Vienna for treatment. Therefore Jenner would like to strengthen communication and collaboration with the referring vets. “The referring vets are important to us,” she explains. “We work on the basis of referrals and return each patient to its referring vet after treatment, accompanied by a detailed report by ‘phone and in writing.” Jenner would also like to expand the range of consultation and further education services the Clinic offers to its veterinary colleagues.
Clinically inspired research
Jenner‘s primary research interest are joints and articular cartilage. “Like humans, horses frequently suffer from arthritis, i.e. inflammations and wear of the joints. My work in the clinic provides the inspiration for my research. It’s extremely frustrating to see an animal suffering and not to have any way of treating it.”
Jenner‘s interest in articular cartilage was also the basis for her PhD. She has been investigating how cartilage is formed in growing horse embryos, hoping to develop a method for regenerating damaged cartilage that is based on the natural development of cartilage in the embryo. In the future, the results could potentially be applied to man. The field of stem cell research is currently experiencing a rise in popularity, both in Austria and further afield. “But before we are able to exploit the mechanisms of cartilage generation for the treatment of joints we need to understand them a great deal better,” Jenner notes.
Florien Jenner also has personal reasons for coming to Vienna. “My husband and I are keen opera-goers and are really looking forward to experiencing the range of culture that Vienna has to offer.” She was accompanied to Vienna by her two daughters, aged one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half, and by two horses that she acquired in the USA and Ireland, both of which were formerly her patients. The two horses, an American racing horse and an Irish retired police horse, are already settling in to life in Vienna.
Sticking to a plan
Jenner was born in Innsbruck and, despite many years in English-speaking countries, when she speaks German her accent still reveals her Tyrolean origin. She decided on her future profession at an unusually young age. “I first saw a cow giving birth when I was four and at that moment I decided to become a vet,” she says. Unlike other children she never changed her mind but pursued her goal with single-minded intensity.
After finishing school she studied veterinary medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, completing the course in the shortest possible time and with excellent marks. Armed with her diploma she took up a position as Research Fellow at Tufts University in Massachusetts, after which she completed an Internship and a Residency at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time as Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Minnesota Jenner successfully passed the board examinations to become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) and also finalized her doctoral thesis.
In 2006 she took up a position as Lecturer for Equine Surgery at the University College Dublin’s School of Veterinary Medicine and obtained her Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS). Most recently she completed her PhD on joint development and its implication for tissue engineering of articular cartilage, before taking over the leadership of the Division of Equine Surgery at the Vetmeduni Vienna in January 2013.