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Speaker Bios - IPFD Virtual International Dog Health Workshops 2021-22



    Biographies of speakers participating in the IPFD Virtual International Dog Health Workshops 2021-22.

     

    Workshop #2 (Online) - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

    Theme: Genetic Diversity

     

    Prof. John Woolliams - Bio to come

     

     

    Hauser.jpgSamantha Hauser
    Research Scientist II, Embark Vet

    Dr. Samantha Hauser received her postdoctoral training at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PhD in Evolutionary Biology at University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and Bachelor’s in Science from Rutgers University.

    Prior to joining Embark in 2021, she worked in endangered species conservation, using genetics to guide management decisions on a multitude of species such as the Hawaiian monk seal and the Black-capped Vireo. Of note, she served as a collaborative partner with San Diego Zoo and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in their mission to incorporate genetics into pedigrees to guide breeding decisions in their conservation programs to prevent species’ extinction.

    As a conservation geneticist at Embark, Dr. Hauser sees genetics as an incredibly powerful tool for canine health and breeding. She is excited to apply her experience with genetic and pedigree management to the man’s best friend to help them live healthier and happier lives.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Katy Evans.jpgKaty Evans
    Guide Dogs, USA

    Katy Evans qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Bristol in 2001.  After almost 7 years of clinical work, she undertook a Postgraduate Studentship in Small Animal Epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, 2007-2010, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. This included working with survey data to investigate patterns of disease in particular dog breeds, while gaining an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health from the Royal Veterinary College, London.

    Katy then took up a PhD Studentship, based at the Animal Health Trust, registered with the University of Nottingham and part funded by Guide Dogs UK. This entailed working with Guide Dogs’ historical health and behavioral data to investigate the potential for estimated breeding values (EBVs) for traits of interest, to improve the accuracy of selection decisions. In January 2015 she successfully defended her thesis, entitled ‘Genetic evaluation of guide dogs in the UK’. She spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nottingham, working to turn the findings of her PhD into workable tools for Guide Dogs UK.  Two years at the Kennel Club in London as Health Research Manager followed, with the key focus of Katy’s time there being getting the ‘Breed Health and Conservation Plans’ project off the ground.

    In January 2019, Katy joined The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, as the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics, overseeing the breeding program at the oldest still existing guide dog school in the world. She has a career change Golden Retriever who decided that being a guide dog was not for her, and a young Border Collie who should never be allowed to guide anybody anywhere!

     

     

     

    Saija.jpgSaija Tenhunen
    Viking Genetics, Finland

    Saija originally worked in the movie business as a light technician, but dogs got her to change her career. She has had Japanese Akitas for almost 20 years, and health issues on her own dog got her to question why this is happening. This led her to study animal breeding and genetics 10 years ago.

    She got her BSc on Natural resources in 2016, and her graduation work was about selecting Finnhorse stallions to cryopreservation with optimal contribution selection. In 2018 she got her MSc in Animal Breeding and Genetics at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), and in her graduation work, she studied genomic relationships in Fjord Horse.

    Before graduation, Saija started to work in VikingGenetics with the inbreeding management of Nordic dairy breeds. This led her to working with her current PhD project “Balancing genetic gain and diversity in dairy cattle breeding schemes in the genomics era” at the Aarhus University in Denmark.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    pieter.pngPieter Oliehoek
    Dogs Global, Netherlands

    Pieter (P.A.) Oliehoek (PhD) has been engaged in dog breeding since the age of eleven. After high school he studied biology at the Wageningen University. During this course, he investigated population genetics of dog breeds. For the Icelandic Dog, he analyzed the entire population worldwide. He participated in the board of the Dutch breed club as well as ISIC: the Icelandic Sheepdog International Cooperation (www.icelanddog.org) during the formation of the later.

    After successfully completing his Masters, he worked for an ICT company for several years, where he extended his skills in programming and building websites. However, his passion for conservation of breeds made him return to the Wageningen University, to start a PhD research on the conservation of genetic diversity of rare domestic breeds and endangered species in captivity.

    In 2009 he received his PhD after which he applied the theory of conservation genetics in zoos overcoming constrains of everyday practice in reality. Mean Kinship, which is used in zoos to breed for genetic diversity, was introduced and made applicable to the dog world. For this purpose he founded Dogs Global, a company that aims to improve dog health through sharing information through a website. The unique combination of his ICT skills and knowledge on genetic are the building blocks of this organization.

     

     

     

     

    sallyrickettsphoto_smaller.jpgSally Ricketts
    University of Cambridge, UK

    Dr. Sally Ricketts completed her PhD in canine immunogenetics in 2005 at the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with the University of Manchester. Following this, Dr. Ricketts moved into the field of human genetic epidemiology at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, where she was a postdoctoral researcher investigating complex diseases and traits using both genome-wide association study (GWAS) and gene-centric approaches. She returned to the field of canine genetics in late 2009, and her role within the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the University of Cambridge (and previously at the Animal Health Trust) involves leading the group’s genetic studies of complex conditions in the dog using both GWAS and whole genome sequencing approaches, with a particular focus on neurological diseases and those with an immune-component.

     

     

     

     

    Aimee.pngAimée Llewellyn-Zaidi
    IPFD HGTD Project Manager, USA

    Aimee is responsible for maintaining the quality and completeness of data in the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) database. This includes updating the generic phenes (test) information. Aimee coordinates the Breed Relevance Rating and is close communication with our Collaborating Experts.  

    In addition, Aimee fields queries from our DogWellNet.com members and breeders on issues related to genetics and genetic counselling.

    Formerly Head of Health and Research at the Kennel Club, Aimee provided bespoke advice to Kennel Club clients, and developed evidence-based canine health resources and engagement programmes for the public and professional.Aimee's experience at the Kennel Club included: development of the Health Team, active engagement and involvement with committees of the Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association (Canine Health Schemes); direct collaboration with international universities, and the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, and engagement with exciting external projects such as Vet Compass (RVC), and as a speaker at BSAVA Congress, as well as numerous publications and media engagements. Aimee was also involved in the initial development of the journal “Canine Genetics and Epidemiology,” and remains active as an editorial board member. When not working on Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs, Aimee spends her time walking her Pembroke Corgi, McDuff.

     

     

     

     


     

    Workshop #1 (Online) - Tuesday, 28 September 2021

    Theme: Standardizing Genetic Testing

     

    Danika_Bannasch.jpgDr. Danika Bannasch
    Professor in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction in the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis

    Dr. Bannasch earned her DVM degree from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and her PhD degree in mouse molecular genetics at Princeton University. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction in the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis and is the first faculty member to hold the prestigious Maxine Adler Endowed Chair in Genetics.

    An accomplished veterinary geneticist, Danika Bannasch DVM PhD focuses her research on the identification of the molecular causes of inherited diseases in dogs and horses. Her laboratory has identified the DNA changes responsible for Lethal White Foal Syndrome, Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia, Hyperuricosuria, Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy, Cleft palate, Cleft lip and palate, Spinal Dysraphism, Glioma susceptibility, chondrodystrophy, Neuroaxonal dystrophy, MPS Type I, screw tail and Saluki Spongiosis. Important research findings have also led to animal models used for similar human diseases. By studying naturally occurring diseases in animals, the Bannasch Laboratory is discovering a triad of significant advances: the development of diagnostic tests to aid animal breeders; the identification of novel genes and pathways as candidates for human disease; and an understanding of basic molecular mechanisms of disease.  

     

     

     

    Adam Boyko.pngDr. Adam Boyko
    Chief Science Officer and Founder, Embarkvet

    Adam is an associate professor in Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, focused on the genomic investigation of dogs. His research has addressed fundamental questions of dog evolution and history, disease and trait mapping, and advancing genomic tools for canine research.

    Adam has co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including research in Nature, Science, and the proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received an MS in Computer Science along with a PhD in Biology from Purdue University before completing his postdoctoral work at Cornell and Stanford.

     

     


     

    Jonas Donner.pngDr. Jonas Donner
    Wisdom Panel

    Since receiving his doctorate in 2012, Jonas has worked at the forefront of canine genetic testing—shaping the future of personalized pet care and veterinary medicine through state-of-the-art genetic tests. Inspired by the Finnish tradition of studying disease in isolated populations, his research interests include exploring the distribution and prevalence of inherited diseases and traits in dogs and cats across breeds. Jonas also belongs to the dog breeder community, as he and his wife actively breed Shetland Sheepdogs.

     

     

     

     

     

    jo4.jpgDr. Joanna Ilska
    Genetics Research Manager at The Kennel Club (UK).   

    Joanna has always been interested in animals and more specifically, the power, complexity and ethics of breeding animals to suit human needs. This has led to her completing her first degree in BSc Applied Biosciences (Animal Science) in 2008, followed by an MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis at the University of Edinburgh in 2009. In 2014 she completed her PhD in Genomic Prediction of Breeding Values in Broiler Chickens at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.

    Following her PhD, she worked as a Research Fellow on a number of projects in a wide range of species, before joining The Kennel Club in 2021.

    Her main expertise lies in prediction of breeding values for complex traits, using large scale genomic data such as whole genome sequences. In private life, Joanna is a “dog person”, keenly involved in dog training and dog sports with her Russian Black Terrier, Falka.   

     

     

     


     

    Aimee.pngAimée Llewellyn-Zaidi
    IPFD HGTD Project Manager, USA

    Aimee is responsible for maintaining the quality and completeness of data in the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) database. This includes updating the generic phenes (test) information. Aimee coordinates the Breed Relevance Rating and is close communication with our Collaborating Experts.  

    In addition, Aimee fields queries from our DogWellNet.com members and breeders on issues related to genetics and genetic counselling.

    Formerly Head of Health and Research at the Kennel Club, Aimee provided bespoke advice to Kennel Club clients, and developed evidence-based canine health resources and engagement programmes for the public and professional.Aimee's experience at the Kennel Club included: development of the Health Team, active engagement and involvement with committees of the Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association (Canine Health Schemes); direct collaboration with international universities, and the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, and engagement with exciting external projects such as Vet Compass (RVC), and as a speaker at BSAVA Congress, as well as numerous publications and media engagements. Aimee was also involved in the initial development of the journal “Canine Genetics and Epidemiology,” and remains active as an editorial board member. When not working on Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs, Aimee spends her time walking her Pembroke Corgi, McDuff.

     

     

     

    Cathryn Mellersh_2021.jpegDr. Cathryn Mellersh
    Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

    Cathryn completed a BSc in genetics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1984, followed by a PhD in developmental genetics from the University of Leicester in 1991. She stayed in Leicester for her first post-doctoral position during which she identified some of the first canine genetic markers. Her next role was at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (Seattle, USA), in Elaine Ostrander’s laboratory, where she played an integral role developing the first maps of the canine genome.

    Cathryn took up her position at the Animal Health Trust in 2001 where she developed a research team whose primary aim is to investigate the genetic basis of inherited canine diseases which are painful, blinding, require surgical or medical intervention or otherwise reduce the quality of life of affected dogs.

    An immediate-term objective of Cathryn’s research is the development of DNA tools that dog breeders can use to reduce the prevalence of disease in future generations of dogs and that veterinary surgeons can use to help diagnose disease. A longer-term aim is to improve our understanding of disease aetiology in dogs and other species.

    Cathryn and her team, who collaborate closely with many different canine stakeholder groups, including fellow canine geneticists, veterinary surgeons, the Kennel Club, dog Breed Clubs and the dog-owning public, have identified over 30 different mutations that are responsible for inherited diseases in over 50 breeds of dog.

    In 2021 Cathryn and her team moved to the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, where they continue to investigate inherited diseases in dogs and, from Autumn 2021, will also offer a commercial DNA testing service.

    In 2015 Cathryn was recognised for her contributions to veterinary science and canine health as the co-winner of the International Canine Health Awards (International Prize), run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and in 2016 was awarded the PetPlan Charitable Trust Scientific Award.

    Cathryn is a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Hereditary Disease Committee, the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, and the Kennel Club Health Screening & Genetics Sub-Group.

     

     


     

     

     


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