Dr Roel Mulder, representing The Netherlands Branch, presented the 2004 WPSA Scholarship Awards to Dr Frank Robinson from the University of Alberta (left) and Dr Irit Davidson from Israel (right).
Photo: Jackie Linden, Poultry International
To mark the success of the 1992 World’s Poultry Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Branch of the World’s Poultry Science Association established a series of special scholarships awards.
The awards, worth € 11,000 are normally made in each of three categories representing the WPSA’s three main areas of activity: Research, Education and Industry/Organisation.
Award recipients or leaders of the group or organisation must have been members of the WPSA for at least two years prior to the World’s Poultry Congress at which the awards are presented.
The WPSA Scholarship Awards Committee, under the chairmanship of Dr Piet Simons, the Secretary of the WPSA, announced the third group of winners of these awards for 2004 at the XXII World’s Poultry Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Awards Committee decided that the Research Award should go to Dr Irit Davidson from Israel.
Dr Davidson’s scientific interest since 1981 has been the avian oncogenic viruses, that include the causal herpesvirus of Marek’s disease (MDV) and several retroviruses: lymphoid and myeloid leucosis (ALV and ALV-J), reticuloendotheliosis (REV) and lymphoproliferative disease (LPDV). These viruses cause economic losses to the poultry industry because of their oncogenic and immunosuppressive properties. The research is important for agriculture, but has added importance because these viruses also serve as excellent experimental models for human and animal virology, because they cause tumours within a relatively short period in their natural host. Lately, an additional immunosuppressive virus, the chicken infectious anaemia virus (CIAV) was added to the scientific attention of Dr Davidson.
Dr Davidson’s contribution in the virology field has been recognized in the scientific community, by citations in publications, review manuscripts, nomination as evaluator and head on two scientific committees, the KVI and the BARD. She also received special invitations to international Meetings, served as a member of the international Committees of three Symposiums in the MDV field, session chairperson, and keynote speaker. She Co-organized (The MDV section) the 3rd International Workshop on the Molecular Pathogenesis of Marek’s disease and The Avian Immunology Meeting, Cyprus, 2002. The scientific activities also include supervision of two Ph.D., one M. Sc. and of 6 undergraduate students. Dr Davidson’s publications include 83 articles and 88 meetings abstracts.
The Research Award will be dedicated to the continuation of research in additional systems that mimic the standard procedures of raising poultry. In particular, a novel system will be explored, that is the in ovo vaccination with MD vaccines. The proposed approach is novel and original, and no previous research or conceptual possibility has been dedicated until now to that aspect, although the fact that the system is the most recently development in terms of poultry vaccinology.
The Education Award went to the Alberta Poultry Group from Canada.
Drs Frank Robinson, Rob Renema, Doug Korver, Gaylene Fasenko, Lynne McMullen and John Feddes of the University of Alberta, and Mr. Zuidhof of the Alberta government participated to form the Alberta Poultry Group. Working together since the late 1980s, these educators and researchers have made the University of Alberta the premier site for poultry research and education in Canada.
In Canada, academic advancement is dependant on publishing research results in scientific journals, and the Alberta Poultry Group has excelled at this. But members of the Group have not been content to publish and advance academically, and have made technology transfer central to the Group’s programmes. Through their research, members of the Group have become world leaders on nutritional management of broiler breeders and are regularly invited to present their findings and recommendations to industry groups within Canada and around the world. Within Canada the Group has actively supported the Alberta and Canadian poultry industries. Its members are sought after by industry groups and annually give between 10 and 20 presentations to provincial poultry marketing boards or feed industry conferences.
The Alberta Poultry Group has had remarkable and widely recognized research achievements, but it shows real pride in its educational programmes. These efforts have been recognized by 15 significant teaching awards at the University, provincial, national, and international levels, including 12 awards in the past five years. The Group has won three “Teaching Award(s) of Merit” from the agriculture students at University of Alberta and four “Teacher of the Year” awards in a row from the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics. The fundamental reason that the Alberta Poultry Group has received this recognition for teaching is because they believe in education, they believe in poultry, and they delight in both.
Currently the Alberta Poultry Group is working on a series of eight videos describing the poultry industry for use in University degree and diploma courses, for student recruitment, and by individual poultry producers in Canada and internationally. A WPSA Education Award would be used to forward this project. In North America, there are fewer but larger production units and there is a great demand for relevant current information to support the industry. Along with the rationalization of poultry production, there has been a decrease in poultry teaching and research programmes in North America. These videos will allow alternative and distance delivery of information on poultry production and processing to eliminate accessibility problems brought about by distance or concerns for biosecurity.
No awards were made this year in the Industry/Organisation category.