Andreis / Modina

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PhD student: Maria Elena Andreis

Graduated in February 2015 in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan (110/110 e lode) discussing a thesis entitled “Use of the bolus tracking technique for the evaluation of the uretero-vesicular junction in dogs and assessment of dose records in multidetector computed tomography”. Main interests: small animals diagnostic imaging, anatomy and histology.

Tutor: Silvia Clotilde Bianca Modina, DVM, PhD, Ass Prof, Milan, Italy (

Graduated in Veterinary Medicine in 1985, specialist in Technology and Hygiene of Meat in 1987, PhD in Biotechnology applied to Veterinary Sciences in 1993 and Researcher in 1998. Associate Professor of Domestic Animals Anatomy at the University of Milan since 2004; member of the Ethics Committee and Animal Welfare of the Veterinary Faculty of Milan since 2009; member of the European Journal of Histochemistry Editorial board since 2010. Her research focuses on the regulation processes of mammalian oocyte growth and development. Recently her interests have been addressed on the study of skeletal development and structure in companion and experimental animals, with both anatomic and radiologic approach.

Anatomy and diagnostic imaging in the evaluation of animal skeletal remains: an ethical challenge in bone-related research.

Cadavers are largely employed in Veterinary Medicine, education and research being the most recurrent applications. In fact, a proper and thorough preservation protocol allows to obtain useful information from animal remains, and this is especially true when it comes to the bone tissue. In addition, the use of cadavers is tremendously favorable when ethical issues emerge, as it allows to spare experimental animals and perfectly embraces the 3Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement). For the realization of this project samples will therefore be collected from slaughtered animals, laboratory animals euthanized as part of unrelated experiments and companion animals donated after death or euthanasia by private owners.

The first aim of this project is to fill a literature gap in bone-related research, trying to establish what a so called “normal” bone is. In fact, since in vivo animal models are irreplaceable in this field, it is fundamental to understand that almost all of bone features differ between different species, different ages and sometimes gender within the same species, different bones within the same individuals and different parts within the same bone. The literature highlighting such differences, although extensive, is often incomplete and haphazard. In addition, bone sample processing protocols often ground o personal experience and are not tailored according to the sample. Such great variability makes it difficult to obtain reliable results and extrapolate them to clinical trials. With this project we will create a complete and exhaustive database to better define the concept of “normal” bone.

We will collect samples from both skeletally mature and immature experimental animals and evaluate basic bone features with diagnostic imaging (CT, micro-CT, DXA) and light microscopy (histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, histomorphometry). Doing this, we will also provide standardized bone processing protocols, in order to achieve reliable outcomes. The results of this study will support researchers in matching the appropriate model to their specific experimental question and overcome technical bone processing obstacles.
The second aim of this project is to study normal ossification processes in dogs and cats. The histological and diagnostic imaging techniques described above will be employed in this study as well. A chronological database of parameters directly linked to normal development will be provided, which will be a useful reference in the assessment living animals age and evaluation bone tissue changes. In addition, it will represent a powerful tool in forensic animals identification, particularly when subject's information are limited. Finally, an extended comprehension of normal bone development features will also help veterinary clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment on growing animals skeletal diseases.