Scientific Committee Named

By Jed Weisberger

Three IWDBA Board Members – Bess Pierce, Hannes Slabbert and Eric Wilsson – have been announced by the IWDC 2021 Planning Committee as members of the Scientific Committee for the Oct 12-14 virtual conference.

The group will both judge submissions of papers and posters and assemble the speakers programs and obtain plenary speakers for the 2021 event. Our trio also brings international flavor and experience to the judging. Deadline for submission of papers and posters has been extended to July 31. Submit yours at

Dr. Pierce is Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions and Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, TN. She has also served as a Veterinary Corps Officer for 29 years and Senior Veterinarian in the U.S. Army Reserve. Dr. (Colonel) Pierce has served at both active and reserve duty, with worldwide assignments including California, Japan, Germany, the Military Working Dog Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the Middle East. She is currently assigned as the US Army Reserve Deputy Director of Women, Peace, and Security studies at UA Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. 

Dr. Slabbert has been breeding and training working dogs for 32 years. He managed the South African Police Service Dog Breeding programme for 12 years. His international travels included visits to police and military training institutions in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Croatia, Germany, Norway, Russia, Poland, Singapore, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zimbabwe and several other African countries. Slabbert therefore has a broad knowledge of working dog breeding, training and research projects in several parts of the world. 

Erik Wilsson earned his PhD in Ethology at Stockholm University  in1997. He has been a director at the former Swedish Dog Training Center and the Swedish Dog Training Academy. From 2005 until his retirement in 2017, he was breeding program manager for the Swedish Armed Forces, having an annual production of 250 German Shepherd Dog puppies. His main scientific interests are related to behavioral development and temperament testing in working dogs. 

A reminder that Early Bird Registration for the Conference is available through July 31 at, and through a link on our Facebook page.