The International Embryo Technology Society (IETS), formerly known as the International Embryo Transfer Society, was established in 1974 to provide scientists, professors, practitioners, students and those involved in embryo and genomic research a place to share their findings and connect with others in related fields. When Dr. Peter J Hansen joined IETS in 1996 he had no idea the impact it would have on his research and life.
Dr. Hansen grew up in Chicago, Illinois, but would travel to visit his family in Ireland. While in Ireland, he had the opportunity to work on his cousin’s farm, this sparked his interested in working with cattle. Dr. Hansen obtained a BS in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in his very first class he realized his fascination with animal genetics.
“When I took Animal Science 101, I immediately knew that I loved genetics and reproduction,” said Dr. Hansen.
At the time genetics was more so mathematics and analyzing rather than working directly with the animals so Dr. Hansen decided to focus on reproduction. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned an MS and PhD in Endocrinology Reproductive Physiology.
Dr. Hansen came to the University of Florida in the mid 80’s and worked in the College of Veterinary Medicine and later in 1986 transferred to the Department of Animal Sciences where he worked as an Environmental Physiologist. Dr. Hansen took his role as an Environmental Physiologist as an opportunity to research heat stress on reproduction in cattle. There he realized the early embryo was more susceptible to heat stress than the cow. Realizing he needed to learn more about embryos, Dr. Hansen took a sabbatical at the University of Guelfs to learn how to produce embryos in vitro. It was after this learning opportunity, he realized he needed to join a society that would connect him with other embryo transfer researchers.
Joining the society in 1996, Dr. Hansen had the opportunity to meet veterinarians, practitioners, and scientists from all over the world. When asked about what joining the society was like he said:
“I immediately loved it. It was smaller than other societies and you could meet people and get to know them,” said Dr. Hansen. “It was also international so you could meet people from all over. For example, you could read a paper written by someone from Germany and then you could actually meet that person.”
Since joining in 1996, Dr. Hansen has held many positions on the board such as:
- Member of the Board of Governors and Treasurer (2008-2010)
- Vice President (2012-2013)
- President (2013-2014)
Distinguished Service Award
The IETS Distinguished Service Award is presented to those who have provided outstanding leadership or service to the society. Dr. Hansen was nominated for the award by friend and 2015 IETS Distinguished Service Award recipient, Dr. Matthew B. Wheeler.
“When I got the email that I won the award I was shocked because I didn’t know I was nominated and I thought, well IETS has done so much more for me,” said Dr. Hansen. I am extremely grateful for receiving this award, but I am even more grateful for the society.”
During his acceptance speech, Dr. Hansen listed the reasons why he believes IETS has done so much for him and his research.
He said, “I love the science, I love the travel opportunities, but most of all I enjoy the people.”
When asked what advice he would give to students that have a current interest in reproduction and embryo transfer he responded:
“Try to get some exposure to those who involved in the field you are interested in and if they are a professor, inquire about doing an undergraduate research project in their lab. This science is hard and many face rejection and failure. You have to try it out and see if you are passionate about it.”
Dr. Hansen is currently a Distinguished Professor as well as an L.E. “Red” Larson Professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Hansen’s research or his courses, visit our website: https://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/people/peter-hansen/