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Workshop 2 – Theme: Genetic Diversity - Pre-Workshop Info

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

    Theme: Genetic Diversity


    Workshop Overview:

    Target Audience: Genetic test providers, breed-health advisors, kennel clubs, and researchers


    Pre- and Post-Workshop Resources for this session are available here in the workshop's forum (Note: This area is accessible only to those who participated in this workshop).


    Organizer Notes:

    Progress has been made and is continuing since the first virtual workshop (held on September 28, 2021-Theme: Standardizing Genetic Testing.

    Since this meeting, changes have been made to advance the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) initiative, based on the workshop’s recommendations, and we are still making progress towards more harmonized approaches to genetic testing reports.

    The focus of the second IPFD Virtual workshop is on genetic diversity (primarily from a genetic tests/tools view), and discussions will aim to identify genetic diversity tools and resources, and discuss priorities and actions for the benefit of dogs.  

    We were thrilled to have a key speaker, Prof. John Woolliams (UK) and confirmed presenters including: Samantha Hauser (Embark, USA), Katy Evans (Guide Dogs, USA), Saija Tenhunen (Viking Genetics, FI), Pieter Oliehoek (Dogs Global, NL), Sally Ricketts (University of Cambridge, UK), and Aimée Llewellyn-Zaidi (IPFD). Additional speakers may be added.
    View their bios below.

    Start Times

    The workshop was 3.5 hours in length - please refer to the table below for start times in your time zone.

    Start Times by Time Zone

    PDT (UTC -7) Seattle 7:30
    MTD (UTC -6) Denver 8:30
    CDT (UTC -5) Minneapolis 9:30
    EDT (UTC -4) Toronto 10:30
    BST (UTC +1) London 15:30
    CEST (UTC +2) Stockholm 16:30
    EEST (UTC +3) Helsinki 17:30
    AEST (UTC +9) Melbourne 12:30 (4 May)


    Pre-Workshop Resources:

    To make the most of our time together, we provided background resources and speaker presentations in advance. These are available in the forum (participant access only).


    Please contact Aimée Llewellyn-Zaidi if you have any questions about the workshop. 


    IPFD Virtual Workshop 2 : Theme: Genetic Diversity: Speaker Bios


    Prof. John Woolliams - Bio to come

    Samantha Hauser
    Research Scientist II, Embark Vet

    s hauser.PNGDr. 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
    Guide Dogs, USA

    k.evans.PNGKaty 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 Tenhunen
    Viking Genetics, Finland

    S.Tenhunen.PNGSaija 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 Oliehoek
    Dogs Global, Netherlands

    p. Oliehoek.PNGPieter (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 ( 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.

    Sally Ricketts
    University of Cambridge, UK

    s.Ricketts.PNGDr. 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.


    Aimée Llewellyn-Zaidi
    IPFD HGTD Project Manager, USA

    ALZ.PNGAimee 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 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.

    Go to: Virtual International Dog Health Workshop 2 - Post-meeting resources

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