ESVD Research Grants
These grants will be awarded by the ESVD for basic or clinical research in veterinary dermatology. Applicants will be expected to propose a project of scientific merit that is applicable to veterinary dermatology. The projects are expected to be of one to two year’s duration. Preference will be given to novel proposals including the development of pilot studies, but applications of ongoing research work will be also considered.
Types of research grants
one MAJOR GRANT - €15,000
for an outstanding advanced research project
one TRAINING GRANT - €5,000
for a researcher seeking to get established in the discipline and carry out a research project
one MINOR GRANT- €5,000
for a starting researcher
one PRACTITIONER GRANT - €5,000
for a veterinary practitioner working exclusively in private practice with an ambition to carry out research.
Information about grants awarded
The ESVD Research grants 2018 were awarded the following researchers:
Major grant (€15.000): Dr. Martina Dettwiler (Bern, CH)
Training grant (€5.000): Dr. Giordanna Zanna (Mila, I)
Minor grant (€5.000): Dr. Blaž Cugmas (Riga, LV)
Practitioner grant (€5.000): Dr. Millie Verschuuren-Tjoeng (Beek en Donk, NL)
Training grant 2018
“A comparison of longitudinal and transverse sections in the histological diagnosis of selected canine non-inflammatory alopecic diseases: technique standardization and correlation with dermoscopic findings”
Grant receivers: Elena Borio, DVM*, Paola Roccabianca, DVM, PhD, DipECVP †, Francesca Abramo, DVM‡, Fabia Scarampella, DVM, MSc, DipECVD**, Francesco Albanese, DVM§ , Giordana Zanna DVM, PhD, DipECVD*
*Istituto Veterinario di Novara, Strada Prov. 9,28060, Granozzo con Monticello (No), Italy, † Department of Pathology, Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health, University of Milan, Via Celoria 10, 20133, Milan, Italy, ‡ Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge 2, 56124, Pisa, Italy, ** Studio Dermatologico Veterinario, Via Sismondi 62, 20133 Milano, Italy, §Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory La Vallonea, Via Giuseppe Sirtori, 9, 20017 Rho (MI), Italy
Presentation of study: In humans, alopecia can be accurately diagnosed based on clinical presentation and progression of hair loss. Histopathology and dermoscopy are adjunctive aids through provision of further morphological information, and transversely sectioned biopsy specimens provide many advantages in the diagnosis of patients with alopecia. In contrast, only a few studies on the application of dermoscopy and/or transversal histological sections have been documented in veterinary dermatology. According with this background, the aims of the current project are first to evaluate if also in dogs, transverse skin sections can represent a more effective approach to the examination of selected cases of non-inflammatory alopecia when compared to longitudinal skin sections. Secondly, a dermoscopic-histopathological correlation between results will be performed in order to evaluate the role and usefulness of dermoscopy also in these specific canine hair loss disorders.
Minor grant 2018
"A Potential of the Culture Test Flexicult Vet for Canine Pyoderma Management"
Grant receivers: Kaja Winkler, Blaž Cugmas
Antibiotic treatment of pyoderma is often chosen empirically from the list of first-line antibiotics. However, in severe cases of pyoderma (recurrent pyoderma, rods, life threating cases) and when empirical antimicrobial therapy does not resolve the infection as expected, a culture investigation and a susceptibility test for second-line antibiotics are needed. Since the standard antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) takes a few days, so-called Point-of-Care tests for AST were introduced. They can be performed at the clinic, reducing turnaround time. One of them is Flexicult Vet, a culture test for diagnosing urinary tract infections (UTI) in dogs and cats. The test includes various antibiotics added into the agar. In the proposed project, we want to test potential of Point-of-Care culture tests for detection and AST of canine pyoderma pathogens. In parallel to AST with Flexicult Vet, all samples will be tested by standard methods. Currently, we are searching for an optimal sampling method.
Major grant 2017
"Characterization and differentiation of canine hair follicular organoids: an important in vitrotool to study the pathogenesis of non-inflammatory alopecia "
Grant receivers: Dr Dominique Wiener, Dr Monika Welle
Presentation of the study: Non-inflammatory alopecia is a frequent problem in dogs and a frequent reason for consulting a veterinarian. The possible underlying causes are numerous; however, the pathogenesis of most alopecic disorders is still unclear. Hair follicles (HFs) cyclically renew themselves life-long through a pool of HF stem cells (SCs). Accordingly, disturbances in the HF SC pool affect HF morphogenesis, reconstitution or differentiation including the formation of the hair shaft and thus are frequently the cause of alopecic conditions. The underlying causes of an impaired SC function resulting in alopecic disorders remain however to be explored. By expansion of SCs from several adult tissues in vitro 3D “mini-organs”, called organoids, can be cultured. By using culture conditions that manipulate specific signaling pathways detailed analyses of specific pathologies can be explored. Thus besides representing an exquisite tool to eventually generate HFs in vitro, organoids established from HF SCs also bear a great potential to study functional defects in HF morphogenesis, reconstitution and differentiation leading to alopecic diseases and to establish novel therapies. Recently, we achieved to establish organoids derived from canine HFs. These organoids can be kept in culture for up to 16 weeks and can be already used to study the effect of certain signaling pathways. However, the evaluation of several HF specific markers showed that these organoids although derived from HF cells are still lacking a distinct HF signature. Therefore, the aim of this project is to differentiate organoids derived from HFs in different hair cycle stages of healthy dogs into HF organoids with a distinct HF signature. We expect that the results of the proposed project will foster our understanding of normal HF SC biology and in a follow up study these organoids will enable us to unravel the pathogenesis of SC-related alopecic disorders in dogs.
Training grant 2017
"Whole-genome sequencing and comparative genomic analysis of the Staphylococcus isolates from superficial pyoderma forms in dogs"
Grant receivers: Frane Banovic, Walt Lorenz
Presentation of the study: Superficial staphylococcal pyoderma is a common disease in the dog characterized by three clinically and histopathologically distinctive forms: superficial bacterial folliculitis (SBF), bullous impetigo (BI) and exfoliative pyoderma associated-epidermal collarettes (EC). These conditions are frequently recurrent and difficult to treat due to the worldwide emergence of methicillin and multidrug-resistant strains; Staphylococcus (S.) pseudintermedius is the major pathogen. The knowledge of genetic elements responsible for the virulence and the metabolic pathways utilized by pyoderma-associated staphylococci is limited. We propose to evaluate the molecular pathogenesis of the main staphylococcal pyoderma phenotypes; we wish to determine the whole-genome sequences and perform a detailed genomic comparison analysis between pyoderma-associated S. pseudintermedius strains collected from each of the different superficial pyoderma forms (SBF, BI, EC) to identify the genes likely associated with lesion development. These bacterial isolates represent a spectrum of antibiotics resistance from sensitive to all antibiotics to multidrug-resistant, including methicillin. To determine the staphylococcal whole genomes, a total of 12 previously acquired, stored S. pseudintermedius isolates (four different isolates from SBF, BI and EC lesions) will be sequenced at our institutional Genomics Facility using an Illumina MiSeq 600 cycle run. Whole genomes will be annotated to allow functional gene membership identification (e.g genes encoding toxins or adhesion) for all strains. To assess differences in virulence factors and metabolic pathways, whole genome circular comparative maps will be generated and differentially expressed subsystems will be clustered to reveal strain-specific subsystems. Finally, we will reconstruct strain-specific metabolic pathways for each strain. We hypothesize that the molecular characteristics of S. pseudintermedius superficial pyoderma-associated strains are different between pyoderma phenotypes, particularly the virulence factors associated with colonization fitness, disease pathogenesis and regulation of virulence factor expression.
Practitioner grant 2016
"Role of elastography in the evaluation of canine skin: principles and clinical considerations”
Grant receivers: Eric Zini, Giordana Zanna, Giulia Brizzi, Edoardo Auriemma and Simona Morabito
Presentation of the study: Elastosonography is a painless, invasiveness and promising imaging method that allows the assessment of tissue elasticity. It is based on the principle that softer, normal tissue displaces more easily than harder, malignant tissue when an oscillatory pressure is manually applied by an ultrasound transducer. The variation in deformity is seen as changes in ultrasound signals which are represented on the video screen by a color map called elastogram. The increased tissue hardness appears in ascending order as red, yellow, green and blue. In human medicine, elastosonography is currently used in several cutaneous and internal organ disorders as an intriguing alternative to the traditional diagnostic tools because it provides useful information about the stiffness and the anatomic features of a lesion. In dermatology, it has been used to evaluate cutaneous neoplasms as melanoma and carcinoma or diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis and lymphedema. In veterinary, few reports are reported on the application of elastosonography on several tissues as liver, splenic and renal parenchyma or in mammary tumors. However, no studies have been performed about the use of elastosonography in veterinary dermatology. The aim of this project is to correlate elastosonographic with histopathological findings of nodular lesions in dogs, in order to identify elastosonographic criteria that may provide further information to the clinician in the morphological screening of these lesions.
Major grant 2015
"Evaluation of the cutaneous immunological milieu and leptin expression in dogs naturally affected by Leishmania infantum/chagasi before and after meglumine antimoniate treatment"
Grant receivers: Dr Antonio Di Loria, Dr Domenico Santoro
Presentation of the study: Leishmaniasis is a wide spread infectious disease endemic in the Mediterranean area for both dogs and people. Although not completely elucidated, an alteration of the cutaneous immune response has been demonstrated in affected dogs. Multiple immunological cell types have been involved in the immunological response in affected animals. It is well known that a cell-mediated response (T helper [Th] 1 type) is the cornerstone of dogs’ resistance against the parasite; however no studies have been reported on the immunological status (innate and adaptive immunity) of naturally affected dogs before and after treatment with meglumine antimoniate. In people with cutaneous leishmaniasis treated with meglumine antimoniate, it has been shown that an enhancement of the phagocytosis and TNF-α production by peripheral monocytes is present compared with monocytes not exposed to antimoniate. No information is currently available on the involvement of innate immunity in canine leishmaniasis; the only exception is the proven in vitro efficacy of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) against Leishmania parasite. In addition, very few biological markers, to rapidly identify the immunological response, are available in veterinary medicine. In people, biological molecules able to orchestrate the Th1 and Th2 immune response and their potentials for therapies against infectious agents have been investigated in the past few years. One of such markers is leptin, a hormone secreted primarily by adipocytes and immune cells. Very recently it has been shown that an increase in leptin mRNA expression is present in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in canine leishmaniasis compared with healthy dogs. This study supported the idea of leptin as possible marker of severity and prognosis in affected dogs. However, no studies have been published on the cutaneous expression of this marker in affected dogs and how leptin may orchestrate the local and systemic immune response. Thus, the specific aims of this studyare: 1) to evaluate the cutaneous and circulating expression of leptin in affected dogs before and after antimoniate administration; 2) to investigate the cutaneous presence of lymphocyte cell types (Th1, Th2, T regolatory [Treg], and Th17), dendritic cells and AMPs in affected dogs before and after treatment; 3) to evaluate the cutaneous cytokine pattern in affected dogs before and after treatment. This study will elucidate the cutaneous immune response (innate and adaptive) in canine leishmaniasis before and after antimoniate therapy and how these changes relate to the clinical response. Also it will clarify the role of leptin as suitable biomarker for severity and prognosis of canine leishmaniasis. For this purpose ten healthy control dogs and fourteen dogs naturally infected by L. infantum will be used. Skin biopsies will be taken before (in all dogs) and after 30 days of standard therapy with meglumine antimoniate (in Leishmania affected dogs). Indirect immunofluorescence will be used to evaluate the number of cutaneous dendritic cells, Th1, Th2, Treg, and Th17. ELISA will be used to determine the amount of cutaneous cytokines (INF-γ, IL-4, IL-10, TGF-β, and IL-17), AMPs (β defensin [cBD]3 like, cBD103, and cathelicidin), and leptin.
Practitioner grant 2015
"To evaluate the response to oclacitinib administered at 1 mg/kg twice daily in allergic cats and compare it to methylprednisolone given at 1 mg/kg/day."
Grant receivers: Drs Borio, Noli, Colombo, Ortalda, Maina
This award resulted in an article in Veterinary Dermatology (2019): Jan 17. doi: 10.1111/vde.12720
Abstract: Feline allergic dermatitis is a common disease in veterinary dermatology. Cases of allergic dermatitis not caused by food or flea allergens have been called “feline atopic-like disease” (ALD) or “non-flea, non-food induced hypersensitivity dermatitis” (NFNFIHD). Oclacitinib (Apoquel, Zoetis, Rome, Italy) has recently been registered for the treatment of allergic pruritus and atopic dermatitis in the dog and is able to quickly, safely and effectively inhibit pruritus and clinical signs of canine allergic dermatitis. Oclacitinib can be a very attractive option for the treatment of feline allergic diseases. There is scant information about the use of oclacitinib in allergic cats and a previous pilot study conducted by our group suggests that oclacitinib at a dosage of 0.4-0.6 mg/kg is able to suppress pruritus and clinical signs associated with skin allergy in cats, albeit only in less than 50% of the animals treated at the dosage used in the study. The aim of this double blinded randomized controlled study is to evaluate the response to oclacitinib administered at 1 mg/kg twice daily in allergic cats and compare it to methylprednisolone given at 1 mg/kg/day. This study will evaluate decrease of pruritus and lesional scores, as much as ease of administration, tolerability, development of adverse effects, and improvement of quality of life of cats and owners.
Training grant 2015
For "Ig based selection of elimination diets in dogs with food-induced dermatitis atopic"
Grant receivers: Dr Ramón M. Almela and Dr Ursula Mayer
Presentation of the study: Adverse Food reaction is a common skin condition that can manifest clinically as canine atopic dermatitis. Currently, the gold standard diagnosis is based on elimination - rechallenge diet trials. To date, there is a consensus between veterinary dermatologists that the best way to select the best suitable diet is to collect a detailed dietary history, as far as possible. Hence, this method is very time consuming for both the vet and the owner and in addition favours pitfalls. Therefore, it seems that alternative tests in the diagnostic workup would be of benefit. Recent evidence suggest that in vitro testing for food allergens by IgE and/or IgG reflects previous exposure to selected food ingredients, thus, indicating that IgE and/or IgG negative results may be used effectively to select the ingredients for an elimination diet. In this study we aim to verify this hypothesis by means of a prospective controlled study to compare the gold standard selection of elimination diet ingredients by food history to the results of in vitro serum IgE/IgG for food allergens. The strengths of the study are i) non-invasive method, ii) would explore the effectiveness of an alternative test of ingredient selection in elimination diets which cloud be much easier and faster to perform and less proan to errors.
Practitioner grant 2014
"For evaluation of skin diseases in bats"
Grant receivers: Anette Loeffler, David Lloyd, Kay Fountain
Presentation of the study: Many species of wild bat are declining in numbers or are endangered and may be taken into captivity as part of a conservation plan, when sick or injured, or as zoo exhibits. Although they vary in size from fruit bats with a five foot wing span down to the size of a bumble bee, they share a tendency to develop skin diseases which are often associated with bacteria. An unexplained outbreak of ear pinna disease caused the failure of a reintroduction project in New Zealand because loss of the ear pinna due to necrosis left the bats unable to echolocate. Skin disease affecting the delicate wing membranes in bats can be similarly debilitating, and spread of bacterial infection from the skin has led to deaths due to septicaemia, osteomyelitis and endocarditis.In this study we will gather information from bat keepers to better understand the type and distribution of skin disease by questionnaire. We will also obtain cytology, histopathology and bacterial samples from skin lesions of affected bats in order to study the aetiology and progression of skin disease and ear pinna necrosis. Longer-term objectives include the epidemiological study of strains of S. aureus carried by bats, and their antimicrobial resistance profiles and toxin-production, in order to establish how these relate to strains associated with humans, livestock and domestic animals. The results from this project will be of interest to veterinary dermatology, to microbial evolution studies and to wildlife conservation. This award resulted in an article in Veterinary Dermatology 28 (2017) 2019-e52: “Skin disease in captive bats:results of an online survey of zoos and rehabilitators in Europe, North America and Australasia.
Training grant 2013
For "Stem cell markers in the canine hair follicle: an approach to elucidate the location, quantity and marker expression in different hair cycle stages"
Grant receivers: Dr Wiener, Dr Welle,
Presentation of the study: Non-inflammatory alopecia is a frequent problem in dogs; however, the pathogenesis is poorly understood. A hair cycle arrest, related to an impaired function of the stem cell compartment of the hair follicle is a likely cause. Therefore we examined the expression profile of follicular stem cell markers (Lgr5, Lgr6, Nestin, CD200, Keratin 15, CD34 and Sox9) in biopsies from healthy beagle dogs by qPCR, western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. qPCR, cloning and sequencing confirmed expression of all markers in canine skin. Immunohistochemistry showed labeling of cells with Lgr5 only in the secondary germ of telogen hair follicles. CD34 stained the outer root sheath (ORS) cells of the isthmus in anagen and, to a lesser degree, in telogen hair follicles. Sox9 labeled cells in the innermost layer of the anagen ORS. K15 stained the basal cell layer of the ORS in anagen and the entire ORS in telogen, respectively. Nestin stained the dermal papilla and the lower end of the fibrous connective sheath (associated with the inferior portion) in the anagen hair follicle. Lgr6 and CD200 antibodies we tested, no specific immunostainings could be achieved.Our results provide the basis to gain new insights into the pathogenesis of alopecia in dogs. Furthermore, our results will aid to investigate the role of stem cells in the development of skin tumors. This award resulted in an article in Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry 64 (2016) 190-204: “Stem Cell-Associated Marker Expression in Canine Hair Follicles.”
Practitioner grant 2013
For “Dermoscopy in dogs: an absorbing perspective in evaluation of pattern alopecia”
Grant receivers: Giordana Zanna, Fabia Scarampella, Sara Legnani, Paola Roccabianca, Antonella Tosti
The research will be performed at Studio Dermatologico Veterinario, Via Sismondi 62, 20133 Milan, Italy
Presentation of the study: Dermoscopy is a noninvasive, in vivo technique that aids in the visualization of cutaneous morphologic features that are not visible to the naked eye. In humans, trichoscopy (hair and scalp dermoscopy) is currently widely used in the evaluation of patients with hair loss disorders such as androgenic alopecia. The perspective of this research is to generate dermoscopic criteria useful for the diagnosis of pattern alopecia in dogs comparing dermoscopic and histopathological findings. A total of 30 young-adult short-coated healthy dogs will be included in the study and matched with 30 young short-coated dogs affected by noninflammatory, nonpruritic progressive alopecia attributable to pattern alopecia. This award resulted in an article in Veterinary Dermatology 28 (2017) 161-e34: “The usefulness of dermoscopy in canine pattern alopecia: a descriptive study”
Major Grant 2013
Clinical trial of photodynamic therapy with glycolysis inhibition for equine sarcoids.
Grant receivers: Dr. Jon Golding and Dr. Jane Dobson.
The award resulted in an article published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology DOI 10.1111/vco.12299: “Glycolysis inhibition improves photodynamic therapy response rates for equine sarcoids.”
Practitioner grant 2012
"For examination of the role of antimicrobial peptides in skin defense in healthy and atopic canines"
Grant receivers: Dr Chrisi Simou, Dr Eleni Dotsika, Dr Elpida Vingopoulou, Dr MN Saridomichelakis
Presentation of the study: The aim of this study is to clarify the role of antimicrobial peptides in the skin defense in healthy and atopic canine skin and to examine whether there is an interaction among antimicrobial peptide production from keratinocytes and skin microbial flora. The importance of the research is highlighted by the rise of resistant bacteria in canine pyoderma. We believe that we need to examine the intrinsic defense mechanisms of the skin and learn how to modify them in order to fight infections. In the long term we could clarify the reason for the susceptibility of the atopic canine skin to infections and whether a manipulation of the normal flora could act as a therapy for them.
Major grant 2012
"To determine the role of TLRs in the clinical outcome of L. infantum infection in dogs, characterizing TLRs and immune cytokines expression in skin from dogs with different stages of disease and immune responses."The award resulted in an article published in Veterinary Parasitology 209 (2015) 157-163: “Histopathological findings and detection of Toll-like receptor 2 in cutaneous lesions of canine leishmaniosis"
Grant receivers: Laura Ordeix i Esteve, Laia Solano-Gallego, Sergio Villanueva Saz, Dolors Fondevila
Project title: Characterization of Toll-like receptors and immune cytokines in cutaneous lesions from dogs with different stages of leishmaniosis and immune responses.
Presentation of the study: A broad range of immune responses and clinical manifestations have been described in canine Leishmania infantum infection. This variability ranges from "resistant" dogs displaying a protective Th1- cell- mediated immune response which induces anti- Leishmania activity in macrophages to severely sick dogs displaying a marked humoral immune response accompanied by reduced cell mediated immunity and a high parasite burden that is detrimental to the animal. Recent studies have shown that specific mediators of the innate immune system, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs), activate pro-inflammatory responses in Leishmania- infected macrophages resulting in elimination of the parasite in mouse models and in human beings. However, there is limited data available concerning the role that TLRs play in canine L. infantum infection. The general aim of this study is to determine the role of TLRs in the clinical outcome of L. infantum infection in dogs, characterizing TLRs and immune cytokines expression in skin from dogs with different stages of disease and immune responses.
PhD grant 2012
I am writing this email to deeply thank the ESVD for its help by granting me the research scholarship for 2012. Thanks to it I have been able to do all the studies that ended with the works that have allowed me to recently (November of 2018) obtain the PhD degree. Thank you immensely from the bottom of my heart, Please submit this email to the board of the ESVD and to you believe it is convenient. Below I detail the studies that have been part of my thesis:
• Esteve LO, Saz SV, Hosein S, Solano-Gallego L. Histopathological findings and detection of Toll-like receptor 2 in cutaneous lesions of canine leishmaniosis. Vet Parasitol. 2015 Apr 30;209(3-4):157-63.
• Ordeix L, Dalmau A, Osso M, Llull J, Montserrat-Sangrà S, Solano-Gallego L. Histological and parasitological distinctive findings in clinically-lesioned and normal-looking skin of dogs with different clinical stages of leishmaniosis. Parasit Vectors. 2017 Mar 13;10(1):121.
• Ordeix L, Silva JEDS, Llull J, Quirola P, Montserrat-Sangrà S, Martínez-Orellana P, Solano-Gallego L. Histological and immunological description of the Leishmanin Skin Test in Ibizan hounds. J Comp Pathol. 2018 Jan;158:56-65.
• Ordeix L, Martínez-Orellana P, dos S. Silva JE, Lima T, Martínez L, Llull J, Montserrat-Sangrà S, Solano-Gallego L. High prevalence of papular dermatitis suggestive of Leishmania infantum infection in Ibizan hounds: A cross-sectional study from an endemic area. Under revision in Veterinary Dermatology.
• Ordeix L, Montserrat-Sangrà S, Martínez-Orellana P, Solano-Gallego L. Toll-like receptors 2, 4, and 7, interferon-gamma, interleukin 10 and programmed death ligand 1 transcripts in skin from dogs with different clinical stages of leishmaniosis. Submitted to Parasites and Vectors.
• Ordeix L, Montserrat-Sangrà S, Martínez-Orellana P, Solano-Gallego L. Toll-like receptors 2, 4, and 7, interferon-gamma, interleukin 10 and programmed death ligand 1 transcripts in leishmanin skin test positive reactions of Ibizan hound dogs. In preparation for Journal of Immunology Research.
My best wishes, Laura (Ordeix Esteve)
ESVD grant 2011
"Risk factors for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius infection in dogs and cats"
Grant receivers: Georg Lehner, Anette Loeffler, Ross Bond, Monika Linek, David Lloyd
Collaborators: Nina Thom, Ellen Prenger-Berninghoff, Iris Straube
The award resulted in an article published in Veterinary Microbiology168 (2014) 154-160: “Case-control risk factor study of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) infection in dogs and cats in Germany”.