The Joan A. O'Brien Research Award Fund

Joan A. O'Brien
Joan A. O'Brien

Dr. O'Brien was a 1963 graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania - returning to this career after her children were in school. She completed an internship in 1964 stayed on the faculty at Pennsylvania until her retirement in 1989. Positions the she held there included Intern, Fellow, Instructor, Assistant and Associate Professor. During her tenure on the UP faculty she also served as Chief of Small Animal Medicine, Department of Clinical studies (1972-1986). Joan taught literally thousands of veterinary students as well as interns, residents and through numerous seminars to her professional colleagues around the world. Dr. O’Brien also held Visiting and Research Professorships at the Department of otolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia.

Joan was the wife of Bob O'Brien, mother of 3 children and grandmother to many more. She was a teacher to professional veterinary students, interns, residents and many others. She was also a friend and professional colleague to many of us in the veterinary community. Many of the current VCRS membership had the good fortune to work with her over the years.

As her adjunct appointments would suggest, her interest and efforts were centered on clinical research in the application of laryngology and broncho-esophagology in naturally occurring diseases of animals. Dr. O'Brien was author to numerous educational films, book chapters, scientific abstracts and articles in journals as well as invited seminars in the United States, England and Europe.

Dr. O'Brien was a Charter Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine which was formed in the early 1970's. In 1974 she received the Outstanding Woman Veterinarian Award and in 1975 the coveted AVMA Gaines Award as the Small Animal Clinician of the Year. She was also a founding member of the (Veterinary) Comparative Respiratory Society, which with her encouragement held the First Veterinary Respiratory Symposium at the University of Illinois in 1978.

The Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society Board of Directors established a student award fund in 1989, and renamed it The Joan A. O'Brien Research Award in 1990 in recognition of Dr. O'Brien's many accomplishments and contributions, both clinical and research, to veterinary respiratory medicine. Providing sufficient participation, there are awards given at the annual Symposium of the Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society for the best abstract (oral as well as poster presentation) made by a resident, professional or graduate student. The award consists of an engraved plaque and an unrestricted monetary gift.

2011 Joan A. O'Brien Research Award Recipients

E. Krafft, Investigation of cytokine expression in canine idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

F. ter Woort, Histopathological survey of lung inflammation in racing horses.

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Joan A. O'Brien Research Award Recipients

Previous Recipients and their Winning Abstract Titles


E. Krafft, Investigation of cytokine expression in canine idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

F. ter Woort, Histopathological survey of lung inflammation in racing horses.

2010 Raleigh, North Carolina

Kathleen Ivester, INFLAMMATORY AIRWAY DISEASE IN YOUNG THOROUGHBREDS ENTERING RACE TRAINING, Kathleen M Ivester (1), Laurent L Couëtil (1), and Neil Zimmerman (2), 1) Veterinary Clinical Sciences and 2) School of Health Sciences, Purdue University

Henna Heikkilä, CAN BIOMARKERS HELP TO DIFFERENTIATE IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS AND CHRONIC BRONCHITIS IN DOGS? HP. Heikkilä (1), E. Krafft (2), P. Jespers (3), K. McEntee (2,3), MM. Rajamäki (1), C. Clercx (2). 1) University of Helsinki, Finland. 2) University of Liège, Belgium. 3) Free University of Brussels, Belgium.

2009 Plymouth, Massachusetts

Kristina Goncalves Goncarovs, EFFICACY AND SAFETY OF A NEW TREATMENT FOR RECURRENT AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION IN HORSES USING SOUND WAVES, Goncarovs KO*, Miskovic M, Perez-Moreno C, Couetil LL, Dept. of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Purdue University

Alisha Gruntman, DIFFERENTIAL EFFECTS OF AGE ON COMPENSATORY LUNG REGROWTH AND TYPE II ALVEOLAR EPITHELIAL CELL PROLIFERATION IN MICE, Gruntman AM (1), Mazan MR(1), Nolen-Walston RD(1), Jennings SH (2), Ingenito EP (2), Hoffman AM(1), 1) Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 2) Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard University, MA

2007 Lafayette, Indiana

Johanna Hueber, University of Leipzig, Germany: "Brachycephalic airway syndrome: effects of partial turbinectomy on intranasal airway resistance".

Marybeth Misckovic, Purdue University, USA: "Protein expression patterns in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of horses with recurrent airway obstruction".

2006 Jena, Germany

Undine Christmann, Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, USA: "Lung surfactant and severity of disease in horses with recurrent airway obstruction"

Friederike Range, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany: "Cloning and molecular characterisation of eCLCA1, a putative calcium-activated chloride channel in the equine lung and its significance in equine chronic bronchiolitis"

2005 No Awards

VCRS Planning Meeting, Blacksburg, VA, USA

2004 Montreal, Canada

Christophe Desmet, University of Liège, Belgium: "Selective blockade of NF-kB activity in airway immune cells inhibits the effector phase of experimental asthma"

Susannah Norman, Centres for Equine Studies, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Suffolk, UK: "Atonomic dysfunction in horses affected by recurrent airway obstruction (RAO)"


Chris Deaton, Animal Health Trust, Suffolk, UK

Michael Leroy, University of Liège, Belgium: " Interferon alpha-induced resistance to bovine PI-3 virus is mediated through the MX pathway"


Chris Deaton, Animal Health Trust, Suffolk, UK

Lais Costa, Louisiana State University, USA: "Culture of primary and transformed equine airway cells".


Nathalie Kirschvink, University of Liège, Belgium: "Effect of chronic airway inflammation and exercise on pulmonary and systemic antioxidant status of healthy and heaves-affected horses."

Scott Pirie, Wellcome Trust Centre for Research in Comparative Respiratory Medicine, Midlothian, Scotland:


Lais Costa, Louisiana State University, USA: "Nitric oxide as an inflammatory mediator in horses with summer-pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease"

A research grant was also awarded in 1999 to Lais Costa (Louisiana State University).

Christophe Uystepruyst, University of Liège, Belgium: "Changes in respiratory mechanics measured by IOS during the first day of life in calves"


Dominque Votion, University of Liège, Belgium: "Subclinical lung inflammatory process assessed with scintigraphy"


Chander S. Celly, University of Guelph, Canada: "Hypoxemic and Cardiopulmonary effects of medetomidine and ST-91 in conscious calves"


Lynelle Johnson, University of Illinois, USA: "The efficacy of theophylline in preventing experimentally-induced bronchoconstriction in cats"


Jonathan Hare, University of Guelph, Canada: "The effect of sodium cromoglycate on racehorses with elevated mast cell numbers on bronchoalveolar lavage and reduced exercise tolerance"


Stephanie Rubie, Michigan State University, USA: "Flunixin Meglumine blocks the effect of furosemide on horse airways"


Elizabeth Rozanski, University of Illinois, USA: "Use of tidal breathing flow-volume loops for the evaluation of feline chronic bronchial disease"


Tatiana Art, University of Liège, Belgium: "Effect of strenuous exercise on the lung mechanics in thoroughbred horses"

Michele Doucet, University of Montreal, Canada

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