University of Minnesota iCOMOS/African Swine Fever Webinar Series

Animal health aspects related to African swine fever is a three-webinar series which will explore the unknowns and less obvious negative consequences of global disease pandemics using African Swine Fever as a model and begin a conversation about the need for preparedness and development of contingency plans when or if it occurs in the U.S. and elsewhere. The first webinar takes place on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 7:00 AM Central Standard Time.

Animal health aspects related to African swine fever

African Swine Fever (ASF) is difficult to control for many reasons, and affected countries have tried a range of strategies, with varying degrees of success. This webinar will host a conversation between University of Minnesota swine group faculty members and world-class experts on ASF control, including one of the leaders of the research program that resulted in the ASF vaccine that was recently licensed and registered in Vietnam (Dr. Borca), the coordinator of the global ASF control program led by the World Organization for Animal Health, WOAH (Dr. Torres), one of the U.S. veterinary services team members helping with the coordination of the response in the Dominican Republic (Dr. Antognoli), and two practitioners with field experience in the control of ASF in China (Drs. Spronk and Wu).

Webinar participants will have an opportunity to listen to the conversation of these experts working at the forefront of ASF control worldwide and will also be allowed to interact indirectly with the experts by sharing their own questions and comments during the webinar.

Attend this webinar and learn:

  • The unknowns and less obvious negative consequences of global disease pandemics
  • The need for preparedness and development of contingency plans around ASF
  • Why the animal health aspects of ASF serve as a valuable global health model


Gregorio Torres

Gregorio Torres
Head of Science Department
World Organization for Animal Health

Dr. Gregorio Torres is Head of the Science Department of the Word Organization for Animal Health (OIE), based in Paris. He oversees the OIE’s science system arising from the development and review of international standards on animal health and global animal disease control programs.

Gregorio supervises the technical secretariat of the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases and Biological Standards Commission, being also actively involved in a range of activities that address swine diseases, including African swine fever. He is a member of the FAO-OIE foot and mouth disease (FMD) working group for the implementation of the FMD Global Control Strategy and serves as the OIE Focal Point for the Global elimination of dog-mediated rabies under the auspices of the WHO/OIE/FAO Tripartite Secretariat.

Gregorio obtained his veterinary degree from Cordoba University (Spain) and continued his postgraduate education at the Universities of Glasgow and London where he specialized in veterinary epidemiology. After some years working as a large animal practitioner in the UK, he joined the Spanish Veterinary Services where he worked for the Epidemiology Department and was involved in the design and management of official disease control programs with regular participation in technical working groups and field missions at the national and international levels. In 2013, he was commissioned to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as an Animal Health Officer with special focus on FMD. Since 2014 he has worked for the OIE.

Celia Antognoli

Celia Antognoli
Swine Health Senior Staff Officer

Dr. Maria (Celia) Antognoli is a Swine Health Senior Staff Officer with the Aquaculture, Swine, Equine, and Poultry Commodity Health Center in APHIS Veterinary Services. She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, obtained her DVM degree from Buenos Aires University and a PhD in epidemiology from Colorado State University. Since September 2022, Celia holds the position of Deputy Incident Commander for the APHIS Incident Management Team located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she oversees multiple operational aspects of the response.

Gordon Spronk

Gordon Spronk
Pipestone Veterinary Services

Dr. Gordon Spronk is a native of the Pipestone, Minnesota agricultural community. He is a co-founder of the “Pipestone System”of pig production. Additionally, he is co-founding partner in Spronk Brother III, a fourth generational diversified crop and livestock family farm marketing over 250,000 hogs per year.

Manuel Borca

Manuel Borca
Veterinary Microbiologist

Manuel Borca, a veterinary microbiologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is recognized as an international leader in veterinary virology in foreign animal infectious diseases. His research on African swine fever (ASF) and classical swine fever (CSF), has influenced animal health researchers worldwide and made significant contributions towards developing veterinary medical countermeasures critical to controlling foreign animal diseases.

Dr. Arkin Wu

Dr. Arkin Wu
Pipestone Nutrition & Riverstone Farms (China)

Dr. Arkin Wu is from China. Arkin got his degrees from Kansas State University and University of Minnesota. In 2019, Arkin joined Pipestone as a nutritionist and recently he transitioned to an international position and is now in charge of nutrition and tech service for Pipestone’s operation in China, named Riverstone.

Andres Perez - Moderator

Andres Perez – Moderator
University of Minnesota

Andres Perez holds a DVM from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario and a PhD from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty in January 2014. Dr. Perez has held the Endowed Chair in Global Animal Health and Food Safety since 2015 and has served as director of the University of Minnesota (UMN) Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) since 2017. CAHFS is a collaborating center for the World Organisation for Animal Health and a reference center for the Food-and-Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for veterinary public health. Prior to his position at the UMN, Dr. Perez spent 10+ years at the University of California, Davis, where he served as director of the UC Davis Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance. He is also currently an advisor on epidemiology for the Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit of the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and a member of the Standing Group of Experts on African Swine Fever (ASF) for the Americas. Dr. Perez has published more than 230 scientific publications and has collaborated on capacity building activities related to food animal health epidemiology in more than 30 countries. He supervised, co-supervised, or served as an external evaluator for more than 50 graduate students in the areas of epidemiology and public health. He has developed and delivered multiple training programs in epidemiological tools, both in person and online for veterinary in service, both to private industry and in service veterinarians of Official Veterinary Services. He serves as editor in chief of the Frontiers in Veterinary Science journal, the third most-cited veterinary science journal.

Jerry Torrison - Moderator

Jerry Torrison – Moderator
Sr. VP of Animal Health
Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics

Dr. Torrison is a veterinarian and diagnostician with over 30 years of post-graduate experience. He recently joined Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics, Ltd. as Senior Vice President of Animal Health after leading the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory as Director since 2016. He continues to serve as an adjust professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. His research has focused primarily on diagnostic approaches and disease surveillance and control methods for viral diseases of pigs. He has served on multiple regional and national animal health and agriculture boards as well as industry advisory panels. He has worked in private practice and industry, including extensive international veterinary consulting.

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