Plenary Abstracts


Saturday evening ISAZ opening and public lecture:

James Serpell (University of Pennsylvania):

"Humans and animals in society, past and present."

James A. Serpell is Professor of Animal Ethics & Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania where he teaches veterinary ethics, applied animal behavior and welfare, and human-animal interactions. His research focuses on the behavior and welfare of dogs and cats, the development of human attitudes to animals, and the history and influence of human-animal relationships. In addition to publishing more than 100 articles and book chapters on these and related topics, he is the author, editor or co-editor of several books including Animals & Human Society: Changing Perspectives (1994), The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior & Interactions with People (1995), In the Company of Animals (1996), and Companion Animals & Us (2000). 


 Ben Hart (University of California, Davis):

“Pets and Our Responsibilities: Perspectives on Neutering and Living Together.”

Ben Hart, DVM, PhD, joined the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis after graduating from University of Minnesota, and has been there ever since. Ben developed the first course in veterinary behavior, the first clinical behavior service and the most active research program in clinical animal behavior in the country. Combining a medical background with behavior, he developed the concepts of sickness behavior, behaviors that defend animals from parasites and pathogens, and the evolution of herbal medicine. He is now leading a research team to investigate implications of spay-neuter for joint disorders and cancers. Ben is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a founding diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. He is currently distinguished professor emeritus. In 2013 he was the recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.


ISAZ Plenaries Sunday and Monday:

Robin Gabriels (University of Colorado, Denver):

“Expanding rural intervention options for children on the autism spectrum: Results from a four-year randomized control trial of Therapeutic Horseback Riding.”

Robin Gabriels, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Professor at University of Colorado Denver, and Program Director of the Neuropsychiatric Special Care program, a psychiatric inpatient and day treatment unit for children with ASD and/or intellectual disabilities (ages 4 to 17) at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She has over 28 years of experience developing intervention programs along with assessing and treating a variety of pediatric and adult populations. Dr. Gabriels conducts treatment outcome research and is currently the principal investigator of an NIH-funded 4-year project studying the Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Children and Adolescents with Autism. She has published two edited books, Autism: From Research to Individualized Practice, (2002) Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Growing Up with Autism: Working with School-Age Children and Adolescents (2007) Guilford Press


Kerstin Meints (University of Lincoln, UK):

“Much loved and much misunderstood: How children and adults misread dogs - risks and interventions.”

Prof. Kerstin Meints completed her PhD at Hamburg University within its Cognitive Science Doctoral programme. She then worked in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford as a PostDoc and is a member of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is currently Professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Lincoln. Prof. Meints is the director of the Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab. Next to research on children’s development of language, categorisation and trust, she focuses on comparative and applied research in human-animal interaction, especially dog bite prevention, assessing interventions and investigating children’s and adults’ misinterpretations of dogs’ facial and body signaling. She has helped to create the Blue Dog DVD and has carried out the first assessment of the Blue Dog program. She has received a range of grants to investigate the causes of dog bites in children and her current research on teaching children and their parents dogs’ body language is co-funded by the NICHD and Mars-WALTHAM.


Rob Knight (University of Colrado, Boulder):

“How the microbiome links us and our companion animals”.

Rob Knight completed a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry in his native New Zealand at the University of Otago in 1996, then completed a PhD on the origin and evolution of the genetic code with Laura Landweber in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University in 2001. He conducted postdoctoral research with Mike Yarus on RNA sequence space in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado, then was the first hire in the interdisciplinary BioFrontiers Institute (then CIMB) at the University of Colorado in 2004. Since becoming a faculty member, much of his work has focused on characterizing complex microbial communities, including those that inhabit our bodies. In 2009 he became an HHMI Early Career Scientist, and in 2012 he became an AAAS Fellow. He participates in the Human Microbiome Project in several capacities including PI of the University of Colorado component of the Data Analysis and Coordination Center; he is PI of the grants funding the Earth Microbiome Project and Scientific Lead of American Gut; his lab developed the popular UniFrac and QIIME software for microbial community analyses, among other packages, and protocols for high-throughput microbial amplicon sequencing on the 454 and Illumina platforms; and he has participated in discoveries including linking gut microbes to obesity, to diet, to geography, to age and to host behavior; the individualized nature of our microbes, which even link us to objects we touch; the role of pH rather than plant community or biome in structuring soil microbial communities globally; and the deep microbial "seed bank" that occurs in marine and perhaps other ecosystems.



The days before ISAZ there is the 4th Canine Science Forum and the 1st Feline Science Forum at the University of Lincoln, UK

Poster Sessions

Poster sessions will take place on July 20th 13:30-14:15. Poster presenters should be at their posters during this time.

The posters can be on the wall from July 19th evening until July 21st, afternoon.

Poster size is A0 portrait style (841 mm x 1189 mm / 33.1 x 46.8 inches - longer side from top to bottom) 

  | Universität Wien  | Althanstraße 14  | A-1090 Vienna