Keynote speakers

Opening lecture

Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz

Professor in the Department of Production Animal Medicine at University of Helsinki.

Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz earned her DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Helsinki, Finland and after graduation she worked several years as a food animal practitioner. Simultaneously, she became involved in various research projects at the veterinary college. Inspired by her research experiences at that point, she applied to graduate school and earned her PhD in veterinary epidemiology from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA. Her doctoral research was on “Effects of diseases on milk yield and culling of dairy cows”, utilizing the Finnish dairy cattle health recording data.

After graduating with her PhD, she accepted a faculty position at the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, USA where she worked for more than 15 years. Päivi is also Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM). In the fall of 2015, she returned to her alma mater in Finland and assumed a professorship in Milk Hygiene and Cattle Health at University of Helsinki. During her career, Päivi has been actively involved in graduate education and she just recently organized a Nordic PhD course in Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at University of Helsinki. Her research interests are in dairy production medicine and udder health, especially in dry cow management.

Gareth Davies Lecture

Dr. Klaus Depner 

Federal Research Institute for Animal Health

Dr. Klaus Depner graduated in Veterinary Science from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany in 1988, and completed his doctoral thesis in virology at the same university 2 years later. He then worked in Namibia as head of the virology laboratory at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek, where he encountered African Swine Fever (ASF) for the first time.

He returned to Germany in 1993 and worked until 1997 as a Senior Scientist at the European Reference Laboratory for Classical Swine Fever (CSF) at the Institute of Virology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover. In 1998, he became head of the German National Reference Laboratory for CSF and ASF at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) on the Island of Riems. The FLI runs the German federal research institute for animal diseases dealing with basic and applied research and epidemiology as well as housing the reference laboratories for notifiable diseases.

In 2007, Dr. Klaus Depner went for 1 year to FAO in Rome to be in charge of ‘Transboundary Animal Diseases’ (TAD) in Eastern Europe and Caucasus. During that time ASF entered Georgia and spread over the Caucasus, and he did the first epidemiological investigations for ASF in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and was involved in the efforts to control and eradication of the disease.

From 2008 until 2010, he worked as a legislative officer in the area of animal health and zootechnics in Brussels at the European Commission (DG-SANCO) with responsibility for the notifiable pig diseases. His main activities were:

  • Developing policy and legislation, as well as managing existing legislation, in particular with regard to ASF, CSF, SVD and Aukeszky's disease;
  • Giving advice to veterinary authorities of Member States concerning the mentioned diseases
  • Monitoring of national programmes for CSF, AD, SVD
  • Development of eradication and control strategies for CSF in Member States concerned
  • Planning and organisation of meetings and training programmes for Member States
  • Chairing a task force on Vaccine Banks and future vaccine strategies in the EU
  • Preparing guidelines for control and eradication of CSF, AD, SVD, ASF
  • Conducting assessment missions and field visits in Member States having problems with CSF

In 2010, he returned to the FLI and became first a member and in 2014 head of the International Animal Health Team within the Institute of Epidemiology. His main activities:

  • Support of animal disease control measures in the international context.
  • Prevention and surveillance of TADs
  • Design of national emergency plans and disease control strategies for ASF, CSF, FMD
  • Training on diagnostics and epidemiology of different animal diseases, mainly ASF, CSF
  • Instruction of national and international teams in diagnostic and epidemiological methods within the countries concerned
  • Mission of the Community Veterinary Emergency Team to ASF affected countries
  • Applied research on ASF epidemiology

He has conducted several epidemiological investigations for ASF in the Baltic States, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Belorussia, Moldova and Ukraine and participated at EU level in the development of ASF control and eradication programs for the affected Member States.

Since 2012 Klaus Depner has also been member of the Animal Health and Animal Welfare Panel in EFSA involved in different scientific opinions concerning animal health.