Dr. Hannah Bender – Veterinary Pathologist
Hannah is a veterinary pathologist with a long held interest in wildlife health and conservation. After graduating from the University of Sydney’s faculty of Veterinary Science in 2005, Hannah undertook a PhD studying the genomic basis of Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) at The Australian National University. Hannah was fortunate to participate in collaborative, multi-disciplinary field trips throughout Tasmania, working alongside conservation biologists, ecologists and epidemiologists to characterise the pathogenesis of an unusual emerging disease. She used molecular cytogenetic techniques to confirm DFTD clonality, and collaborated on tumour sequencing projects to identify the DFTD cell of origin. Hannah additionally identified a novel pattern of telomere length dimorphism in dasyurid marsupials, consolidating her belief that Australian animals are some of the strangest, and most surprising and rewarding species to study.
Hannah subsequently undertook three years of residency training in anatomic pathology at Cornell University, followed by a fellowship in comparative pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. During this time she gained broad exposure to a rich variety of veterinary and zoonotic diseases in species ranging from cats and dogs, to bats and skunks. She was fortunate to participate in the 2012 AQUAVET program, nurturing a budding interest in aquatic animal pathology. Hannah’s term in the USA culminated in board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and in 2013 Hannah returned to Australia, first to a lectureship at Murdoch University, followed by a year at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, evaluating Ebola virus pathogenesis in a ferret model of disease.