AETA 2018 Scholarship Winner Report: Paul Riedel

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Published on: December 27, 2018

Attending the 2018 AETA Convention was a great experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have gone. Having little instruction on embryo transfer (ET) in veterinary school and minimal field experience, it was extremely helpful to hear the ET101 seminar with John Hasler and Rueben Mapletoft. This was a great way to kick off the convention because it summarized points I already knew and introduced new concepts that would come up again. One of the topics I found interesting was the various ways to you can time follicular waves to initiate follicle-stimulating hormone superovulation. I had only been aware of gonadotropin-releasing hormone-based Presynch protocols and did not know about using follicle ablation or estradiol for this purpose. It was particularly interesting to hear about estradiol because it is not available in the United States. This international aspect of the convention was intriguing and introduced me to ET techniques used in places like Brazil. I didn’t know that heat stress has much less of an effect on ET than artificial insemination success, making ET more viable in Brazil. The Brazilian embryo collection technique of reflushing cows was also a new concept to me and gave me something to think about. At one point, John Hasler suggested that washing out a recipient’s uterus before introducing embryos can help prevent infertility caused by subclinical endometritis. I thought of this later during Mario Binelli’s seminar on the effect of uterine environment on fertility. I asked him how long it would take the uterus to return to its most fertile state after washing. The ET101 seminar did a great job of prompting these types of questions during the rest of the convention.

Many of the other seminars throughout the convention were a great benefit my education and sparked my curiosity. I thought the student/technician seminars were a great overview of the more technical side of ET. They provided some new ideas for things I would like to try in my future practice. For instance, Angelika Stock suggested pouring liquid nitrogen into a large Styrofoam lid and dropping the embryo/semen straws in there for easy viewing and sorting between tanks. Jonathan Lehouiller’s talk on his mobile ovum pick up lab also gave me some interesting ideas for potential projects of my own.

The student/mentor lunch was a fantastic place for me to spend some time with a small group of seasoned practitioners and recent grads. I picked their brain for advice, made new connections, and found out just how small this ET community is. I found they personally knew or were familiar with many of the same people I have worked with. It was good to place to get a lay of the land between DVM private practitioners, PhD embryologists, and corporate partners.

The numerous meals and social events included with my registration were also good places to network with my future colleagues. The more I got to know these folks, the more comfortable I felt asking them questions and learning from them. I really appreciate how welcoming everyone was at the convention and it was obvious how much effort was put into making students part of the community.

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