The MVNA 2018 Call for Short-Term Missions (STM) (max 3k Euros each) and Workshops (WS) (max 10k Euros) is now open. The deadlines for applications are 13 July 2018 for STM and 20 July 2018 for WS, with results communicated by the end of the first (STM) and second (WS) weeks of September 2018.

The STMs provide funding for scientists from Med-Vet-Net Association institutes to visit other member institutes to undertake specific projects/training that will benefit the applicant’s career development and knowledgebase at their home institute. Request an application form from your institute representative or email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please note that only Med-Vet-Net Association members are eligible to apply for STM and WS funding.


Two summary reports from completed missions funded this year have been received from Clair Firth and Athena Andrea.




Athina ANDREA of Statens Serum Institut (SSI) DK-2300 Copenhagen S, and Roskilde University, RUC, Department of Science and Environment, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark, visited Professor Dr Jason P. Mansell of the University of the West of England, UWE, Bristol, UK, from the 8th January to the 6th April 2018.


OBJECTIVE: The overall aim was to explore the potential of antimicrobial coatings on medical implant material and test their biocompatibility on a human osteoblast-like cell line.

More specifically:

1. Assessing the biocompatibility of the antimicrobial peptide GN-2, the antimicrobial peptoid GN-2 and the anti-biofilm host defence peptide IDR-1018, on a human osteoblast cell line. Biocompatibility was assessed based on cell viability and cell maturation data.

2. Exploring the potential of using polydopamine (PDA) as a platform for the coating of biomaterial with antimicrobial compounds. Assessing the biocompatibility of PDA coating on an osteoblast cell line.


REPORT: Bacteria are very potent in adhering to the surface of biomaterials and develop communities (biofilms), putting the performance and longevity of a medical implant at risk. A promising antimicrobial strategy for the prevention of bacterial colonization on such surfaces, and localised delivery of antimicrobial drugs at the peri-implant area, is coating the surface of the biomaterial with antimicrobial compounds. In this study, the potential of the broad-spectrum antibacterial GN-2 peptide, GN-2 peptoid, and the anti-biofilm peptide IDR-1018 to be used as biomaterial coatings was explored. Firstly, all three compounds demonstrated good biocompatibility with an osteoblast cell line, based on cell viability and maturation data. This is an encouraging finding for the use of these compounds as coatings for orthopaedic implants. Inspired by the mussel’s strong adhesion properties, dopamine forms a poly-dopamine (PDA) layer at a variety of surfaces, by simple immersion of the object in a dopamine solution. PDA-modified surfaces are potent substrates for further ad-layer deposition of various compounds, including peptides. In this study, we showed that PDA is formed on different implant-relevant material (polystyrene, hydroxyapatite, nylon), and that PDA formation can be detected by a simple and rapid protein colorimetric detection test, based on the biuret reaction. Moreover, PDA-modified plastic showed good biocompatibility with osteoblasts, which is a positive finding for the use of PDA as a biomaterial coating platform. As a proof of concept, we showed evidence of enzyme immobilisation on PDA. Preliminary data for GN-2 peptide immobilisation on PDA, indicate antimicrobial activity, however further testing is required. 


Dr Anna Shiel, Athina Andrea and Dr Jason P Mansell in Dr Mansell's Lab, April 2018 UWE 



Clair FIRTH of The Institute of Veterinary Public Health at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, visited Kristen Reyher, DVM, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Farm Animal Science, at the School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, UK, from the 7th to the 23rd of February 2018.


OBJECTIVE: Clair aimed to:

  • attend Farmer Action Group meetings with the Bristol research group;
  • work together on aspects of ‘Motivational Interviewing’ and the stable school/Farmer Action Group concept;
  • learn how to moderate such a group without influencing the participants’ behaviour; and
  • share research findings from Austrian dairy farms and the current situation regarding nationwide antimicrobial use data collection in Austria.

This was with a view to building a participatory approach with farmers and veterinarians to reduce antimicrobial use on dairy farms.


REPORT: Over almost three weeks, I was able to visit the University of  Bristol School of Veterinary Science's interdisciplinary working group on veterinary antimicrobial use and resistance. In particular, I was interested in their farmer-led initiatives to reduce antimicrobial use on dairy farms, as well as their use of “Motivational Interviewing” techniques.

Whilst in the UK, I attended policy workshops at the Royal Society of Medicine in London and the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, meeting with a variety of stakeholders from farmers and government officials to the president of the British Veterinary Association. I also attended a number of Farmer Action Group meetings in Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset with Bristol researcher, Ms Lisa Morgans. At the University of Bristol Veterinary School, I presented Austrian research into antimicrobial use on dairy farms and explained how our national antimicrobial reporting system is run.

Farmers reported how they are now much more aware of which antimicrobials they can use as a first-choice treatment and which should be reserved for use in human medicine.

Group meetings concentrated on prevention rather than cure, and all aspects of farm management were open for discussion. Farmers were highly motivated to make changes on their own farms, and were also

interested in the Austrian situation.

The Short-Term Mission has allowed me to gain significant insight into how to set up, run and moderate a participatory approach to prudent antimicrobial use and this understanding will be essential in implementing such

projects, which are currently being planned in Austria.

The first figure shows Clair Firth and Lisa Morgans at the University of Bristol's Veterinary School in Langford. Below are photos giving an impression of the farm walks during Farm Action Group meetings.






The Med-Vet-Net Association held their fifth international scientific conference entitled ‘One Health: Zoonoses - Emerging Threats’, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK at the end of June 2017.


Med-Vet-Net 2017  addressed a number of new and emerging threats under four main symposia:


  • Epidemiological surveillance and outbreak control of zoonoses
  • (re-)Emerging and neglected zoonotic agents
  • Big data and digital information
  • Antimicrobial resistance


The conference attracted a great deal of interest and approximately 150 delegates attended from as far afield as North Carolina and Thailand. 




As well as a full and varied programme of talks there were a number of good poster presentations.

Anne Ridley (APHA), Kitty Maassen (RIVM), Hendrik-Jan Roest (WUR), Karin Artursson (SVA) and Karen Krogfelt (SSI) undertook the unenviable task of having to choose just three from among the students and young scientists presenting either talks or posters that were all of a high standard. Prizes were considered under the following categories:


  • Best overall poster;
  • Best student/young scientist poster; and
  • Best student /young scientist presentation (across all sessions)

In the event, all three prizes went to either a young scientist or student and all were on the theme of Epidemiological Surveillance and Outbreak Control of Zoonoses.

The award for best presentation by a young scientist or student went to Ewa Bilska-Zając, a young scientist from PIWET, who spoke about the ‘Current epidemiological situation of trichinellosis in Poland’ (ES02).


The two prizes for best poster were awarded to:

Magdalena Włodarczyk-Ramus, another young scientist from PIWET for her nicely presented poster on ‘Parasitological threats associated with organic fertilizers used in agriculture’ (ES12); and

Huifang Deng, a PhD student from RIVM.  Her poster on the ‘Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women and livestock in the mainland of China’ was a beautiful example of One-Health ES07). 




Conference delegates and prize-winners with Med-Vet-Net Association President, Professor Roberto La Ragione:  (Left to right: Dr Monika Tchórzewska; Prof Roberto La Ragione; Ewa Bilska-Zając; Agnieszka Jodełko;  Magdalena Włodarczyk-Ramus;  Dr Weronika Korpysa-Dzirba and Anna Czubkowska.




From left to right: one of the judges, Dr Anne Ridley (APHA), Med-Vet-Net Association President, Prof Roberto La Ragione, Ewa Bilska – Zając, Agnieszka Jodełko, Magdalena Włodarczyk - Ramus, Dr Weronika Korpysa – Dzirba, Anna Czubkowska.