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Penn Vet’s Katrin Hinrichs Receives Honorary Doctorate from Ghent University, Belgium

By: Martin J. Hackett Date: Mar 22, 2021

Dr. Katrin Hinrichs, Penn Vet New Bolton CenterGhent University in Belgium has presented an honorary doctorate to Katrin Hinrichs, DVM, PhD, DACT, whose pioneering research in the field of equine assisted reproductive technology (ART) has transformed the state of equine reproductive practice around the world.

Ghent University’s honorary doctorate degrees recognize individuals for their exceptional scientific and social merits. Hinrichs was recognized on March 19 during Ghent University’s Dies Natalis 2021 ceremony, held virtually.

In their citation, the university praised Hinrichs for her achievements in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and other ARTs in horses.

“Assisted reproduction in horses is puzzling scientists. For some unknown reason, the easiest and fastest way, in vitro fertilization (IVF), does not work in horses,” the university said in its citation. “That there is an alternative is largely due to the pioneering work of Professor Katrin Hinrichs.”

Hinrichs was awarded the honorary degree along with computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee; Dame Mary Beard, English scholar and Professor of Classics at Newnham College in Cambridge; human rights advocate John Knox, the Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law at Wake Forest University; ecologist and Professor of Biology Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex; geologist and Professor Iain Steward, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at the University of Plymouth; former CEO of Janssen Pharmaceutical Ajit Baron Shetty; and Artistic Director of the NT Gent Milo Rau.

Dr. Hinrichs is the chair of the Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center and the Harry Werner Endowed Professor of Equine Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet). She joined Penn Vet in March 2020 after 22 years at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

As a leading international authority in equine ART, Dr. Hinrichs has significantly advanced understanding of equine oocyte maturation, fertilization and early embryonic development. This foundational knowledge led her lab to develop and report on major advances that have revolutionized equine assisted reproduction, including oocyte retrieval, in vitro oocyte maturation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in vitro embryo development, preimplantation diagnosis and somatic cell nuclear transfer.

“I find Katrin’s vision enormously refreshing,” said Professor Ann Van Soom of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent and promotor of the honorary doctorate. “You don’t meet many people like that in the research world: someone who is so open and thinks along with you.”