Confirmed speakers at IAHAIO Symposium, 24-26 October, Amsterdam

Dr Steffie van der Steen

Steffie van der Steen is assistant professor (Tenure Track) at the department of Special Needs Education and Youth Care of the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands.

After obtaining her Master’s degree at Harvard University, Steffie became an expert in micro-developmental research. Her PhD research focused on observations of children’s natural interactions, and analyzing these using time-serial techniques. These methodological skills provide a good base for several research projects on human-animal interactions.

In collaboration with the department of Anthrozoology at the Open University, Steffie is currently involved in three PhD projects on person-animal interactions with several publications in progress. Her talk will focus on the value of observational research, movement analyses, and non-linear analyses techniques when studying human-animal interactions, especially when it comes to building and testing theories.


Dr Karin Hediger


Dr Karin Hediger is a psychotherapist and researcher at the University of Basel, Switzerland, at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and a neurorehabilitation clinic, investigating effects of animal-assisted interventions. After studying psychology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, she did her PhD in Rostock, Germany, in the field of human-animal interaction. She has a certificate in animal-assisted therapy, a diploma in equine-assisted therapy and she recently founded a centre for animal-assisted psychotherapy.

Karin is president of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Human-Animal Relationship (IEMT Switzerland), secretary of the International Society for Animal Assissted Therapy (ISAAT) and gives courses on animal-assisted interventions in many different institutes.



Zenithson Ng, DVM, MS, DABVP

Zenithson Ng is a clinical assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Tennessee. He received his veterinary degree from Cornell University; then completed a small animal rotating internship at the ASPCA in NYC, followed by an American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) canine/feline residency combined with a master’s degree in human-animal bond studies at Virginia Tech. He founded the animal-assisted intervention program at Virginia Tech and now serves as veterinary advisor of the Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT), the animal-assisted intervention program at the University of Tennessee. His clinical interests include behavior, dentistry, preventive medicine, and management of chronic disease. His research interests span all aspects of the human-animal bond including the effect of human-animal interaction on both humans and animals, the veterinary-client relationship, and stress reduction in both veterinary and animal-assisted intervention settings.