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Members of the CDGP

The Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership is a group of expert clinicians and scientists investigating the genetic basis of diabetes mellitus in pet dogs. We are based at a number of different institutions, primarily within the UK.

Members: Lab Members

Professor Brian Catchpole

Brian graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1992 and after a period in clinical practice, returned to London to complete a PhD in immunology. Following a two year post-doctoral fellowship, he took up a position as Lecturer in Veterinary Immunology, being promoted to Professor of Companion Animal Immunology in 2014. Brian’s role combines teaching and research. He is Deputy Head and Teaching Coordinator for the Department of Pathology and Population Sciences. He is also the Director of Assessment (pre-clinical). His research efforts focus on companion animal immunology/immunogenetics and immune-mediated disease and he is currently supervising a number of PhD students working on diabetes, Addison’s disease and canine leptospirosis.

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Professor Lucy Davison

Lucy graduated from Cambridge Vet School and after several years in practice, undertook a PhD in canine diabetes at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). This was followed by a residency in small animal medicine in Cambridge, where she passed the European and RCVS Diploma in small animal medicine.  Lucy was awarded a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2007 and undertook a 4-year postdoctoral position at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research with Prof John Todd,  studying the immunogenetics of human type 1 diabetes. This was followed by a second Wellcome Trust funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford with Prof Chris O’Callaghan. Lucy combined this with a University Lectureship in Small Animal Medicine and Genetics at the University of Cambridge from 2014 – 2017. Lucy was recently awarded a 5-year MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship, based at the RVC and the University of Oxford.


Dr. Alice Denyer

Alice graduated from the University of Cambridge Veterinary School in June 2015. She worked for two years in small animal veterinary practice before pursuing a love for research. Alice successfully applied for the competitive London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Programme and began her PhD at the Royal Veterinary College in September 2017. Within the first year of her PhD, Alice won the Postgraduate Inspiration Award of the 2018 International Canine Health Awards. She is now working full time on the CDGP projects, supervised by Professors Brian Catchpole and Lucy Davison.

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Professor Michael Herrtage

Mike Herrtage graduated from the Liverpool University and is now Emeritus Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a Life Fellow of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge.  He is a former Dean of the Cambridge Veterinary School and was in charge of the small animal medicine and diagnostic imaging services at the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital.  His clinical interests include all aspects of small animal medicine and diagnostic imaging, but he has a particular interest in endocrine and metabolic disorders. Mike is an RCVS and European Specialist in Small Animal Medicine, has been president of several veterinary societies and has won numerous prozes for his contributions to veterinary medicine.


Dr. Kate Hughes

Kate undertook her veterinary training at the University of Liverpool. She then worked as a clinical veterinarian before undertaking a residency in veterinary anatomic pathology at the University of Cambridge. Following her residency, Kate studied for her PhD in the Department of Pathology, funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship. During this time, Kate was awarded the 2012 Royal College of Pathologists gold research medal for trainees. Kate is currently a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, devoting 50% of her time to pathology research and 50% of her time to service as a veterinary pathology diagnostician. Kate is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.


Dr Cathryn Mellersh

Cathryn completed a BSc in Genetics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, followed by a PhD in Developmental Genetics from Leicester University. She stayed in Leicester for her first post-doctoral position before moving to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (Seattle, USA), 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 and her research team investigate the genetic basis of inherited canine diseases. Cathryn’s research involves the development of DNA tools to reduce the prevalence of disease in of dogs, as well as improving understanding of disease aetiology. In 2015, Cathryn won the 'International Award' at the International Canine Health Awards (ICHA).

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Professor Chris O'Callaghan

Chris trained in medicine in Oxford and then worked as a junior doctor in various London hospitals including Guy’s, St Thomas’, the Hammersmith and the Brompton. He returned to Oxford to do a DPhil in molecular immunology and then spent a number of years at the University of California, San Francisco and then at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He returned to Oxford in 2002 and was awarded a Medical Research Council Senior Fellowship. He is now Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, a Consultant Physician and Dean of The Queen’s College. His research interests are in the role of immunity and inflammation in disease and how these might be modified for clinical benefit.


Androniki is a Lecturer in Clinical Veterinary Genetics at Royal Veterinary College and an Honorary Scientific Associate at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. She is a quantitative geneticist interested in the dissection of the genetic architecture and the study of the underlying molecular mechanism of resistance to important animal diseases and zoonoses.
After receiving her veterinary degree at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, she pursued her PhD in quantitative and molecular genetics of scrapie in sheep, funded by the European Commission (FP5 programme), which she completed in 2010. She continued her scientific training as a Postdoctoral Fellow, initially in Greece and then at the Roslin Institute. She joined the RVC in 2017, while she continues collaborating with the Roslin Institute. Currently she is involved in twelve BBSRC, European Commission, Charity and Industry funded research projects, aiming to control disease in different species.


Professor Ian Ramsey

Ian is the Professor of Small Animal Medicine at Glasgow University Veterinary School and editor of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (BSAVA) Canine and Feline Formulary. He graduated from Liverpool in 1990, completed his PhD at Glasgow on feline leukaemia virus in 1993 and his residency at Cambridge in 1997. He is a British (RCVS) and European diplomate in small animal medicine. He was awarded the BSAVA Woodrow Award for contributions to small animal medicine in 2015 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2016. He is currently the vice-president of the BSAVA.


Dr. Sally Rickets

Sally completed her PhD in canine immunogenetics at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in collaboration with the University of Manchester.  Her PhD involved detailed sequencing and characterisation of the canine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II region. She then moved into the field of human genetic epidemiology within the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge where her postdoctoral role involved conducting large-scale genomic epidemiological analyses using genome-wide association study (GWAS) and gene-centric approaches to investigate complex diseases and traits. In 2009 Sally moved back into the field of canine genetics at the AHT. Her current role is Complex Disease Team Leader within the Kennel Club Genetics Centre.


Ellen Schofield

Ellen completed her undergraduate degree at Durham University before undertaking a MSc in Bioinformatics at Leicester University. She has spent 10 years working as a Computer Associate with Professor John Todd, helping develop and support the T1DBase and ImmunoBase websites for researchers in human auto-immune diseases. In 2016 she moved the Animal Health Trust to take up her current position as Bioinformatician, supporting and developing tools for the Canine Genetics group there.


Dr. Marsha Wallace

Dr. Marsha Wallace obtained her PhD in Genetics from Cornell University.  There, she was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for her work on genetic susceptibility and genomic drivers of breast cancer.  She became a postdoctoral research scientist in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Oxford where her research focused on functional and inherited genomics for the prediction and treatment of human disease.  She received the University of Oxford’s Outreach Award for her contribution to public engagement and scientific outreach activities.  Her recent work in the Nuffield Department of Medicine centered on elucidating the origins and mechanisms of type 1 diabetes.  Now she works with the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Oxford as part of the CDGP.


Dr Penny Watson

Dr Penny Watson is Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, Cambridge, UK. She graduated from Cambridge in 1989 and spent 4 years in very mixed practice before returning to Cambridge to undertake a residency in Small Animal Medicine. She has been there ever since and now helps run a very busy referral clinic. She is an RCVS and European Recognised Specialist in Small Animal Medicine. She holds the RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Radiology and Diploma in Small Animal Medicine and is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM).
She became a Fellow of the RCVS in 2016. Penny is current ECVIM Past President and a former chair of the ECVIM Internal Medicine Diploma examination committee and former Honorary Secretary of BSAVA. Penny Watson’s research focuses on liver
and pancreas disease in dogs and cats, particularly chronic disease and fibrosis.


Greg Williams

Greg graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1999 and spent 8 years in first opinion veterinary practice. He joined Dechra Veterinary Products in 2007 as UK Technical Services Manager. In 2013 he became European Technical Services Manager, looking after the clinical and scientific affairs of Dechra's key companion animal therapy areas. Greg currently holds the position of Senior Business Manager, responsible for the business performance of the European Dechra endocrine portfolio.

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Dr. Dong Xia

Dong graduated from Shandong University in China followed by MSc by research training in biomedical sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He undertook a PhD in the School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool on infection biology using omics techniques. After completing his PhD, Dong has led and been involved in various bioinformatics and wet lab based projects such as developing informatics tools for mass spectrometry data analysis, and characterising molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in several important veterinary and human diseases. In 2017, he was appointed to a lectureship at the RVC, where he continues his research in understanding the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions using multi-omics platforms coupled, bioinformatics and machine learning.


Dr Nancy Zimmerman

Nancy received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1995 and spent ten years as a clinical veterinarian in mixed animal, emergency and small animal practices in Colorado.  Four years of which were as a practice owner, and she was a founding member and shareholder of a small animal emergency hospital for 15 years. Nancy went on to become the Director of Medical Quality Assurance for Banfield Pet Hospital for five years.  She then entered the animal health pharmaceutical industry as the Director of Professional Marketing at Putney, Inc. She joined Dechra Veterinary Products in 2012 as their Director of US Marketing then moved to her current position of Group Director of Companion Animal Products.

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Dr. Valeria Bergomi

Valeria graduated from the RVC in July 2019, after also having completed an intercalation degree there in Comparative Pathology in 2016. In the summer of 2018 she took part in the Cornell Leadership Program where she developed an interest in research. After graduating as a vet, she worked in small animal first opinion practice for a couple of months before starting her MPhil as part of the CDGP. She is hoping to pursue a career in pathology and research.

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