Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs in UK Veterinary Practices: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Survival
14 May 2013
A new study conducted by RVC researchers has been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence and identify risk factors associated with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) diagnosis and survival in dogs. Further details available here.
New Marie Curie Actions Grant awarded to RVC: Can biomechanical measurements of joints predict severity of osteoarthritis?
13 May 2013
A new Marie Curie Actions Grant has been awarded to Professor Andrew Pitsillides and Dr Yu-Mei Chang. For further details about the project please see here.
Dogs Trust Canine Welfare Award for the RVC
10 May 2013
The RVC has been awarded a Dogs Trust Canine Welfare Grant for a project entitled ‘Evidence-based prioritization of canine inherited diseases’. The project is in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cambridge and Queen’s University Belfast and combines ongoing data collection within the VetCompass project (www.rvc.ac.uk/VetCompass) with welfare scoring of major canine conditions. By harnessing expertise in primary practice data collection and the impact of disease on animal welfare, the project will progress and re-focus the priorities for improving canine health. See here for further details.
Small-scale disinfections can stem large-scale spread of avian influenza in Asia
08 May 2013
Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College examining how the live bird market in Asia helps spread H5N1 avian flu have recommended targeted strategies that may help control future epidemics. The research is published this week in the journal PNAS. For further details please see here.
New Winn Feline Foundation grant awarded to Professor Virginia Luis Fuentes
08 May 2013
Professor Virginia Luis Fuentes has been awarded a grant for £15,347 to work on "Phenotypic characterization of feline cardiomyopathy in Norwegian Forest cats using echocardiography, plasma biomarkers and histopathology". Further information about the project is available here.
Royal Veterinary College research highlights the most urgent welfare issues for pet dogs
02 May 2013
Research from the Royal Veterinary College, commissioned by the RSPCA, has highlighted the most urgent issues that need to be rectified for the improvement of pet dog welfare in Britain. These include owners’ lack of awareness of welfare needs, poor health due to obesity, inherited disease or exaggerated physical features, intensive and unregulated puppy rearing and a lack of appropriate provision for behavioural needs. Further details available here.
New Leverhulme Trust grant awarded to Professors John Hutchinson and Andrew Pitsillides
02 May 2013
Professors John Hutchinson and Andrew Pitsillides have been awarded £284,288 by the Leverhulme Trust to work on "The evolutionary biomechanics of sesamoid bones in vertebrate limbs: a synthesis". Further details available here.
Mesozoic yoga: How changing body shape affected balance and posture during the evolution of dinosaurs
24 April 2013
Research led by scientists at the RVC, published in the journal Nature, uses 3D reconstructions to reveal that gradual enlargement of the forelimbs caused two-legged dinosaurs to stand and move like birds.
For more information please see the following pages:
Mesozoic yoga:... (press release)
http://whatsinjohnsfreezer.com/2013/04/24/3d_dinosaurs/ (personal blog; story behind the paper)
http://www.rvc.ac.uk/SML/Projects/Evolution3DDinos.cfm (lab website story)
Two illustrative videos on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vwQR1Rh2Q9E and http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g7FSTgX6nOY
Allen, V; Bates, KT; Zhiheng, L; Hutchinson, JR
Linking the evolution of body shape and locomotor biomechanics in bird-line archosaurs. Nature (2013), published online. doi:10.1038/nature12059
RVC article awarded runner up prize in BioMed Central's Annual Research Awards
23 April 2013
Each year BioMed Central’s Annual Research Awards celebrate excellence in scientific research published within their portfolio of open access biology and medical journals. Their aim is to recognise the achievements of particular research teams across ten subject-specific award categories spanning Biology, Medicine and Health Services research.
This year, an article written by Dr Holger Volk was a runner up in in the Animal science, Veterinary Research and Zoology category Research Award as judged by leading experts in the field.
Schmidt, MJ; Ondreka, N; Rummel, C; Volk, H; Sauerbrey, M; Kramer, M.
Volume reduction of the jugular foramina in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia.
BMC Veterinary Research (2012), 8;158.
New BPEX grant awarded to RVC
11 April 2013
Dr Mandy Nevel has been awarded a grant by the British Pig Executive to work on the "Investigation of factors influencing the prevalence of Enzootic Pneumonia (EP) - like lesions in the BPEX Pig Health Scheme". Dr Nevel explains what the project will involve: "Respiratory disease of pigs is common and has huge welfare and economic impacts on the industry. Monitoring of respiratory lesions in abattoirs by pig vets has been ongoing for a number of years and analysis has shown that since 2009, some particular types of lesions have been increasing.
The British Pig Executive (BPEX) have funded a project to investigate the reasons and to try to identify the cause for the increases being observed. Researchers at the RVC will undertake detailed investigations into the causes and pathology underlying the lesions and assist colleagues at Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) to investigate the epidemiological aspects of the trends observed. The project will link in with Veronica Brewster's PhD as she has developed diagnostic tests for some pig pathogens (not available elsewhere in UK) that are key to the investigations. Adriana Diaz will work on the project and Henny Martineau will assist with the interpretation of the complex histopathological investigations". The total grant is for £83.5k, of which the RVC will receive £55k.
New blog launched to share work that is being done to improve the health of broiler chickens
11 April 2013
Researchers funded by the BBSRC at the RVC and the University of Manchester have set up a new website in order to share the work they are doing to improve the health and anatomy of the 30 billion broiler chickens that are bred each year for human consumption: www.thechickenofthefuture.com
They will keep the website updated with their latest work and hope to engage in feedback and interaction with interested people. Please check it out.
For further information please also see the BBSRC news report.
New research paper published which demonstrates an open-source computer vision controlled treadmill
10 April 2013
A new RVC paper demonstrates an open-source, computer vision controlled treadmill for insects and mice. It allows the animals to run freely, whilst they are tracked with a camera by a computer, so that data collection and perturbations can be applied automatically. It means that we can examine the neuromechanics of legged locomotion much more precisely, and coupled with new technologies like optogenetics, we can uncover how the nervous and musculoskeletal systems enable animals to run quickly. This has applications in human and animal welfare, as well as prosthetics and robotics.
Spence, AJ; Nicholson-Thomas, G; Lampe, R.
Closing the loop in legged neuromechanics: an open-source computer vision controlled treadmill. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2013.
A successful SVEPM conference for the VEEPH Group!
28 Mar 2013
Once again, there was good representation from the VEEPH Group at the annual conference of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine (SVEPM). The meeting was held in Madrid from 20th – 22nd March 2013 and attended by just over 200 delegates. Members of the Group orally presented five papers and were included in two others as co-authors – a great result considering a total of 21 oral presentation slots! Group members also helped to deliver two pre-SVEPM workshops and presented a number of posters.
Another achievement was that Kristien Verheyen, a Senior Lecturer in the VEEPH Group, was accorded the Presidency of SVEPM for 2013-14.
Congratulations to all!
New research finds that cattle and badgers with TB rarely meet
27 Mar 2013
Direct contact between badgers and cattle is rare, suggesting that it may also be rare for bovine tuberculosis (TB) to be passed on through the two species meeting each other on pasture, new research led by Dr Julian Drewe of the RVC and the Food and Environment Research Agency published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection (Cambridge University Press) reveals.
See the press release: New research finds that cattle and badgers with TB rarely meet for details.
BES Poster Award
26 Mar 2013
Congratulations to Dr Vicky Cabrera-Sharp who won a 'Highly commended' poster award (from almost 400 considered) at the Annual Society for Endocrinology Conference last week. Her poster was entitled 'BMP4 induces terminal differentiation of primary trophoblast cells and increases chorionic gonadotrophin secretion'.
RVC academic researcher speaking at the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee
18 March 2013
Dr Andrew Spence has been invited by the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee to speak at a seminar on Speed, as part of National Science and Engineering Week, on Thursday 21 March. His talk is entitled "Fast Horses". Other speakers include David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, and Dr. Paul Golby, Chair of the EPSRC.
RVC Researcher wins award at European conference
14 March 2012
A Royal Veterinary College (RVC) doctoral researcher working on a fatal childhood neurological disease has won an oral presentation award at a European conference.
Kim Wager, who is jointly supervised by Dr Claire Russell at the RVC and Professor Robert Harvey of University College London's School of Pharmacy, won the award at the 2nd International Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (JNCL) PhD Symposium. The event took place in Frankfurt on March 7 and 8. As a result, Kim was asked to present his talk, entitled: ‘A Novel Zebrafish Model of JNCL’ at the 7th European ‘Brains for Brain’ meeting in Frankfurt on March 9
Further details available here.
The evolution of terrestrial locomotor performance in early tetrapod vertebrates
25 February 2013
Professor John R. Hutchinson and Dr. Stephanie Pierce have been awarded an NERC grant for £420k to expand on their prior NERC-funded studies of locomotion in the earliest tetrapods, but changing gears to focus on experimental validation of computational approaches and then specific reconstructions of likely motions used by the earliest land vertebrates, in order to reconstruct how locomotion on land first evolved. This work is in collaboration with Professor Jenny Clack (also now conducting an NERC Consortium Grant—“The Mid-Palaeozoic Biotic Crisis - Setting the Trajectory of Tetrapod Evolution”) of Cambridge University and Nadja Schilling of Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, as well as Julia Molnar, PhD student at the RVC. A summary of the work planned is available here.
A genomics approach to increasing disease resistance in dairy cows through improvements in innate immunity
20 February 2013
Professor D Claire Wathes has been awarded an EU FP7 grant (£251k) to work on “Innately Better Cows: a genomics approach to increasing disease resistance in dairy cows through improvements in innate immunity”. More information available here.
The role of MMP inhibitors in ameliorating muscular dystrophy
20 February 2013
Professor Dominic Wells and Dr Sue Brown have been awarded a grant for £360K from the MRC for a collaborative study with AstraZeneca to evaluate a potential treatment for muscular dystrophy. Further details about the project is available here.
Good disease awareness needed for early detection of African Swine Fever virus
19 February 2013
New research published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine by RVC Researchers shows the importance of having good disease awareness in all European Member States (MS) for early detection of African swine fever (ASF) virus, if it was to be introduced from neighbouring non-EU countries.
ASF is a notifiable viral pig disease with high mortality and serious socio-economic consequences. Since ASF emerged in Georgia in 2007 the disease has spread to several neighbouring countries and cases have been detected in areas bordering the European Union (EU). It is uncertain how fast the virus would be able to spread within the unrestricted European trading area if it were introduced into the EU, although this information will be required for effective control. The researchers therefore developed a model for the spread of ASF within and between the 27 MS of the EU during the period immediately following introduction. The model can be used to identify MS which during that period are most likely to contribute to ASF spread or MS that are most likely receive to cases from other MS. This information can then be used to develop tailored control and prevention strategies which should allow minimising the adverse impact of an introduction.
Nigsch, A; Costard, S; Jones, BA; Pfeiffer, DU; Wieland, B.
Stochastic spatio-temporal modelling of African swine fever spread in the European Union during the high risk period.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2013): 108;4:262-275.
New Research Grant awarded to Dr Oliver Garden
18 February 2013
Congratulations to Dr Oliver Garden who has been awarded a new research grant (£103k) by Queen Mary University of London to work on The comparative cytological and immunoregulatory phenotypes of canine multicentric and human non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dr Garden explains what his project will involve: "Lymphoma is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in dogs, accounting for up to 24% of all cancers in this species. Relatively little is known about the way in which different cellular and immune types of lymphoma impact the diagnosis and prognosis of this important disease, which is associated with less than 20% survival at two years following a diagnosis. Nevertheless, the most common type of canine lymphoma, diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), shows many characteristics in common with the DLBCL subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in man, suggesting that it may represent an animal model for NHL. However, a critical comparison of the disease in the two species has not yet been undertaken. The goal of this project is therefore to advance knowledge of both canine and human lymphoma, comparing the cellular and molecular phenotypes of multicentric lymphoma in the dog with NHL in man. We will be focusing on the derangement of normal immune regulatory mechanisms, which are subverted by the cancer to promote its own survival in vivo". Dr Garden will be working with Dr Anneliese Stell (RVC) and Professor John Gribben, QMUL, on this project.
New MRC grant awarded
15 February 2013
Dr Rob Fowkes has recently received an MRC Project Grant (£54k) awarded jointly with the University of Bristol (£346k). The grant, entitled "Roles and interdependence of calcineurin/NFAT and ERK pathways in pulsatile GnRH effects on gonadotrophin expression" continues a long-term collaboration between the Endocrine Signalling Group at the RVC and Prof. McArdle's neuroendocrinology group and mathematicians in Bristol.
"Those of us who have been working on gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) signalling for the past 30 or so years have somehow managed to ignore the physiological way in which GnRH is released from the hypothalamus - in pulses - and it's understanding how the pituitary interprets these changes in GnRH pulsatility that controls reproductive function in most species" says Rob. "Our own contribution to this project builds on several years of investigating the pathway between membrane receptors and gene transcription in pituitary gonadotroph cells. Some of the pilot data for this project was generated by an intercalating BVetMed student at the RVC, so it's very reassuring to see this rewarded by receiving Research Council funding". The project has already yielded three publications, with a further in submission at the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
RVC PhD student appointed as BBSRC schools regional champion
13 February 2013
Congratulations to Lisa Pritchard (PhD student) who has been appointed as a BBSRC schools regional champion. Lisa is one of only 7 newly appointed champions nationally. Lisa will receive support from the BBSRC to undertake public engagement (with a focus on secondary schools) around the BBSRC’s strategic priorities. As a school regional champion, Lisa will be responsible (along with a network of other champions) for developing and sharing best practice, tools and activities. This is a great achievement for Lisa.
PhD student awarded top poster prize
13 February 2013
Rosie Naylor, PhD student within the Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory, has been awarded the top poster prize at the recent European College of Equine Internal Medicine Conference in Le Touquet France.
Rosie's poster was entitled "Development of a conditionally-immortalised equine skeletal muscle cell line" - this work forms part of her PhD looking at muscle protein synthesis in horses.
New study published looking at epilepsy in dogs in private veterinary practice
01 February 2013
Investigators at the RVC have published a new study looking at epilepsy in dogs in private veterinary practice. Analysis of clinical data from 92 primary veterinary practices within the VetCompass project (www.rvc.ac.uk/vetcompass) estimated aprevalence for epilepsy of unknown origin (EUO) of 0.62% (95% CI 0.57% to 0.67%) among UK dogs. Predisposed breeds included the Border Terrier and the German Shepherd Dog. The study highlights the clinical importance of epilepsy and also demonstrates the utility of veterinary practice data for research.
Dr Volk (Head of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Royal Veterinary College) describes this as "an exciting paper that estimates for the first time the prevalence of epilepsy in a large first-opinion clinic population of dogs".
23 January 2013
A study at the Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Institute of Education examined for the first time the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about farm animal welfare held by 14-15 year olds in the UK. Further details about the study are available here.
Scientists reassemble the backbone of life using a particle accelerator
13 January 2013
Research published in the journal Nature documents, for the first time, the intricate three-dimensional structure of the backbone in the earliest four-legged animals (tetrapods).
The international team of scientists, led by Dr Stephanie E. Pierce from The Royal Veterinary College and Professor Jennifer A. Clack from the University of Cambridge, bombarded 360 million year old early tetrapod fossils with high energy synchrotron radiation. The resulting high resolution X-ray images allowed the researchers to reconstruct the backbones of the extinct animals in exceptional detail.
For further information see the press release: Scientists reassemble the backbone of life using a particle accelerator.
7 January 2013
The RVC have recently had an article accepted by Applied Animal Behaviour Science, following research funded by Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) on whether hens develop friendships. Further information about this research is available here.
RVC researcher awarded €3m to lead groundbreaking study of large African carnivores and their prey
12 December 2012
Professor Alan Wilson, Head of the Structure & Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, has been awarded a prestigious €3million grant to undertake a detailed study of large African carnivores and their main prey on the southern African savannah.
Professor Wilson is the first UK veterinary surgeon to be awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant, for the five year project beginning in April 2013, entitled ‘Locomotion, hunting and habitat utilisation among large African carnivores and their prey (LOCATE)’
New Petplan Charitable Trust grant awarded to RVC
03 December 2012
Dr Richard Piercy has received continued funding (£34,000) from the Petplan Charitable Trust to further investigate the pathophysiology of type 1 equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. Building on work conducted in part by PhD student, Charlotte Maile and former equine SCTS, Rosie Naylor, Dr Piercy’s group will look further into the mechanisms that cause horses to develop a painful muscle disorder, known as tying up, when they carry a mutation in a key enzyme that is normally responsible for storing glycogen in skeletal muscle. Their hope is that by understanding the mechanisms that result in abnormal regulation of this enzyme, they might develop novel treatments for this common disorder of horses in the UK.
Fighting fish "take a breather"
29 November 2012
Steven's research, carried out with colleagues from the University of Queensland, Australia, was published in Comparative Biology and Physiology Part A: "Balancing the competing requirements of air-breathing and display behaviour during male–male interactions in Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens".
RVC research published in Nature could transform the understanding and treatment of human anaemias
26 November 2012
A study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature reveals a breakthrough in understanding the molecular mechanism by which haem - the complex red organic pigment containing ferrous iron, present in haemoglobin – is correctly synthesised.
Through a comparative study starting with a specific type of Zebrafish (Pinotage) devoid of haemoglobin, Dr Michaelangelo Campanella together with research colleagues at US based centres (principally Harvard Medical School) discovered that a deficiency in the molecule Atpif1 reduces the efficiency of vertebrate Fech (an enzyme) to synthesize haem, resulting in anaemia.
Dr Campanella’s research group is the only European group involved in the study, and is a world leader in Atpif1 biology.
Shah, D; Takahashi-Makise, N; Cooney, JD; Liangao, L; Schultz, IJ; Pierce, EL; Narla, A; Seguin, A; Hattangadi, SM; Medlock, AE; Langer, NB; Dailey, TA; Hurst, SN; Faccenda, D; Wiwczar, JM; Heggers, SK; Vogin, G; Chen, W; Chen, C; Campagna, DR; Brugnara, C; Zhou, Y; Ebert, BL; Danial, NN; Fleming, MD; Ward, DM; Campanella, M; Dailey, HA; Kaplan, J; Paw, BH.
Mitochondrial Atpif1 regulates haem synthesis in developing erythroblasts.
Nature (2012): 491: 608-612.
See also our Press Release on this.
New research findings relating to Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia
22 November 2012
New research published by RVC researchers relating to Chiari-like malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM) shows that the clinical signs and morphological features of the disease change over time. Further details available here.
21 November 2012
The Royal Veterinary College have recently been very successful with FP7 funding applications. See here for details about what the projects are.
Risk factors and pathologies associated with early pregnancy loss in Thoroughbreds
20 November 2012
Dr Amanda de Mestre, Professor Claire Wathes and Dr Kristien Verheyen have been awarded just under £100k by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (TBA) for an inaugural HBLB/TBA Veterinary Research Training Scholarship in Equine Reproduction. For further details about this scholarship please see here.
16 November 2012
Further details about what the project will involve is available here.
Resolving an inflammatory concept: the importance of inflammation in equine tendinopathy
15 November 2012
A recent study, published in PLOS ONE, by Dr Stephanie Dakin and other researchers from the Royal Veterinary College's Tendon Biology group, investigated the role of prostaglandins and inflammation-resolving mediators in naturally occurring equine tendon injury. The study showed that during early stage injury, alterations in tendon prostaglandin metabolism and lipid mediator profiles were present compared to normal (uninjured) tendons. Injured tendons showed an age-associated decline in expression of the inflammation-resolving lipoxin A4 receptor with concurrent increased PGE2 levels with age. An in vitro model of tendon inflammation showed IL-1β treated tendon explants from younger but not older horses were better able to mount a protective resolving response to inflammation. The findings from this study suggest prostaglandins such as PGE2 are implicated in the development of tendon inflammation and its ensuing resolution. Furthermore, tendons from aged individuals exhibit a reduced capacity to resolve inflammation, which may contribute to the development of tendon re-injury.
Dakin SG, Dudhia J, Werling NJ, Werling D, Abayasekara DRE, Smith, RKW (2012) Inflamm-Aging and Arachadonic Acid Metabolite Differences with Stage of Tendon Disease. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48978. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048978
Probiotics as a prophylactic treatment to reduce the incidence and severity of diarrhoea in dogs receiving chemotherapy with doxorubicin
15 November 2012
Dr Karin Allenspach has been awarded £31k by Probiotics International Ltd to work on "Probiotics as a prophylactic treatment to reduce the incidence and severity of diarrhoea in dogs receiving chemotherapy with doxorubicin".
Dr Allenspach explains what the study will involve: "Roughly one dog in three will suffer from cancer during their lives and although great advances have been made in treating cancer, there are side effects associated with these treatments. A common and potentially debilitating side effect is diarrhoea. There is increasing interest in the use of probiotics to treat diarrhoea in both humans and animals and they have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea in people and stress-induced diarrhoea in dogs and cats. A prospective, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial will be starting in the RVC’s referral hospital to assess the efficacy of probiotics. The treatment will be given as a prophylactic supplement to dogs with cancer, who will be receiving doxorubicin therapy. Doxorubicin commonly causes diarrhoea, which can be severe, and it is hoped that prophylactic supplementation with probiotics will reduce the incidence and severity of this diarrhoea and thus enhance the quality of life of the dog."
HBLB Launches Racehorse Health: a resource for information on equine veterinary science
14 November 2012
The RVC are pleased to report that the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has launched an online resource, aimed at those interested in research and the thoroughbred racing and breeding horse. The site contains brief summaries describing recent and current research on diseases and injuries of the thoroughbred, including research projects being undertaken by the RVC. The resource can be found at racehorsehealth.hblb.org.uk
14 November 2012
Researchers at the RVC have recently identified an important interaction between cPLA2 and prion-diseases.
The findings suggest that cPLA2 plays a vital role in the action of human prion proteins/peptides and that the colocalisation of p-cPLA2 with beta III tubulin, a component of the cellular skeleton could be central to the progress of neurodegeneration caused by prion peptides.
Further details available here.
Good living conditions for backyard chickens in London, but flock keepers risk spreading disease through lack of knowledge
09 November 2012
Research from the Royal Veterinary College published this month in the journal British Poultry Science, has revealed that chicken-keepers around Greater London have a lack of disease knowledge and insufficient awareness of laws, which could potentially have implications on disease control and animal welfare. The main findings were:
- Research finds that three quarters of flock owners do not realise that feeding kitchen waste to their chickens is not permitted
- Limited awareness is present around serious poultry and zoonotic diseases
- Disease prevention measures such as vaccination are rare
Further details available here.
31 October 2012
Dr Thomas Witte, Lecturer in Equine Surgery and co-applicants Dr Thilo Pfau and Professor Alan Wilson have been funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) to work with the British Racing School (the centre of excellence for training in the UK racing industry) to study the influence of jockey technique on Thoroughbred racehorse locomotion. Further information about the project available here.
New PetPlan Charitable Trust award
25 October 2012
RVC academics, Dr Michelangelo Campanella and Professor Ken Smith have been awarded £70k by the PetPlan Charitable Trust for "Defective autophagy pathways in the canine and feline mammary tumours: the role of the 18Kd protein TSPO"
Dr Campanella explains what the project will involve: "Autophagy is the process whereby cells remove damaged organelles and is abnormal in human cancer. Aberration of autophagy is thus an acknowledged priming feature in human cancer. In this grant, we will investigate whether the same occurs in canine and feline mammary tumours, which are common in both species. This will be characterized via the molecular and pharmacological modulation of the 18Kd mitochondrial Translocator Protein (mTSPO) and its association with canine and feline mammary tumour grade, evasion of apoptosis and deregulation of the mitochondrial quality control via selective autophagy: mitophagy. The research will improve our understanding of cancer cell biology and may develop into novel diagnostic or therapeutic strategies for dogs and cats with mammary tumours. In light of the similarities between human breast cancer and mammary tumours in dogs and cats, this work may also benefit human medicine"
New BBSRC grant awarded for "Foundations of Neuromechanical Systems Biology"
24 October 2012
Dr. Andrew Spence, RCUK Academic Research Fellow, has been awarded a £822k BBSRC grant for a 3-year project entitled “Foundations of Neuromechanical Systems Biology.” With co-investigators Prof. John Hutchinson and Prof. Dominic Wells, this project will use a technique from the frontier of molecular genetics, optogenetics, to tease apart the contributions of the nervous and mechanical systems to fast legged locomotion. Further details about the project are available here.
RVC PhD student wins prize
23 October 2012
Congratulations to Rebecca Terry who won one of the four Elsevier Prizes for the best oral or poster presentations by young scientists at the 17th International World Muscle Society Congress in Perth, Australia. Her poster was entitled “Treatment with oral metformin significantly improves muscle function in mdx mice”.
RVC researcher helps to lead pioneering study offering new hope to owners of dogs with fatal heart disease
18 October 2012
A major international study published online today (Thursday 18 October) in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine has for the first time, revealed a clear survival benefit associated with the administration of a drug in the preclinical phase of a common canine heart disease. Further information available here.
RVC have another highly accessed paper
17 October 2012
The RVC have had another paper identified as being "highly accessed" by BioMed Central. This means that it has been identified as an article that has been especially highly accessed, relative to its age, and the journal in which it was published.
Volume reduction of the jugular foramina in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia
Schmidt, MJ; Ondreka, N; Rummel, C; Volk, H; Sauerbrey, M; Kramer, M
BMC Veterinary Research.(2012): 8;158:
This paper was recently featured on Research News as the results of this research demonstrated that King Charles Spaniels affected by syringomyelia have a smaller jugular foramina than non-affected dogs
Strengthening Food Security through Family Poultry and Crop Integration in Eastern and Southern Africa
11 October 2012
A grant has recently been awarded to the Royal Veterinary College to provide support for a Small Research Activity (SRA) project relating to increased poultry and crop value chain efficiency and household food security. Further information here.
BVetMed student makes front cover of Anatomical Science Education
09 October 2012
Congratulations to Francesca Braid, BVetMed student, who has made the front cover of Anatomical Science Education - the highest ranked journal in medical education. She is with a group of third-year undergraduate veterinary medicine students, and two RVC academics, demonstrating to them equine anatomy using "Anato-Rug" - an innovative tool depicting topographical anatomy and key areas for lung, heart and gastrointestinal auscultation on a live horse.
(2012), Anatomical Sciences Education Vol. 5, Issue 5, 2012 Cover Image. Anat Sci Ed, 5: C1. doi: 10.1002/ase.1319
NEAT -Networking to enhance the use of economics in animal health education, policy making and research in Europe and beyond
05 October 2012
Congratulations to Dr Jonathan Rushton, Barbara Haesler and Jeanette Mueller (accelopment) who have been awarded an EU Erasmus Lifelong Learning scheme grant to support a network (NEAT) to develop training materials for the use of economics in animal health.
The aim of the consortium is to share how to improve the use of economics in animal health, due to an increasing demand for disease impact assessment, improvement of the allocation of resources for disease surveillance and control and discussions on who should meet animal health costs with a cost-sharing framework.
The NEAT consortium links different sectors covering higher education, research, industry, private consultants, public bodies and international organisations. Further information about the consortium is available here.
RVC have "Highly Accessed" article in BMC Neuroscience
04 October 2012
A recent article by the RVC has been categorised as "highly accessed" by BioMed Central. This means that it has been identified as an article that has been especially highly accessed, relative to its age, and the journal in which it was published.
In the article researchers of the RVC were able to demonstrate that cPLA2, a key-enzyme involved in the generation of inflammatory mediators, plays a vital role in the action of specific prion-peptides. Furthermore, they were able to show that colocalisation of the active form of cPLA2 with specific components of the cytoskeleton is central to the progress of neurodegeneration caused by prion peptides, and this effect could be partially blocked using cPLA2 inhibitors, leading to the protection of neurons from prion peptide-induced neurodegeneration.
Inhibition of cytosolic phospholipase A2 prevents prion peptide-induced neuronal damage and co-localisation with Beta III tubulin
Victoria Last, Alun Williams and Dirk Werling
BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:106, doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-106
24 September 2012
Julian Drewe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the RVC, has been awarded funding from the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) to work on "field approaches to identifying Mycobacterium bovis infection in badger populations". Further information about the project is available here.
New research involving RVC researcher demonstrates that King Charles Spaniels affected by syringomyelia have a smaller jugular foramina than non-affected dogs
21 September 2012
Around 70% of cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCSs) older than 6 years of age can be diagnosed with syringomyelia. In research that has been recently published we were able to demonstrate that CKCS affected by syringomyelia have a smaller jugular foramina than non-affected dogs. Further information available here.
21 September 2012
The Royal Veterinary College has been awarded funding, to work in collaboration with other institutions, on the following One Health projects:
- US UK Collaboration: Ecological and Socio Economic Factors Impacting Maintenance and Dissemination of Antibiotic Resistance in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem funded by NSF-BBSRC
- Epidemiology, Ecology and Socio-Economics of Disease Emergence in Nairobi funded by MRC-ESEI
- Rapid assessment of potential benefit to human health and nutrition from research on livestock and fish market chains in Asia and Africa funded by ILRI
Further details of the projects are available here.
Petplan Charitable Trust PhD Project - Degenerative mitral valve disease in dogs attending UK practices
18 September 2012
Petplan Charitable Trust has awarded the RVC £133,141, over three years, for a PhD studentship to look at degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) within the VetCompass project. The study will evaluate the survival characteristics of dogs with degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) attending a large cohort of primary practices and determine the prognostic role of clinical and biochemical indicators. The RVC practice electronic record project, VetCompass (www.rvc.ac.uk/VetCompass), works with over 100 UK practices, routinely recording animal clinical data. The project will evaluate in this broad population, the survival characteristics of dogs with DMVD and will determine the predictive value of specific clinical and major biochemical indicators on death improving veterinarians’ assessment of their DMVD patients and their advice to clients. It will document the current prevalence of the disease and will assess current DMVD treatment to allow improvement in the management of an important condition seen in practice.
Dr David Brodbelt comments: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to build on continuing work within the VetCompass project as well as Prof Adrian Boswood’s work following the clinical and biochemical progression of DMVD in dogs attending two central London primary practice. It will complement other VetCompass projects by focusing in detail on canine mitral valve disease and linking routinely collected epidemiological data with biochemical samples in dogs with the condition. We are grateful to the Petplan Charitable Trust for supporting this novel project.’
New research published relating to Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated vascular inflammation
17 September 2012
New research involving RVC researchers shows that antibodies to Apo-A1, a major component of the high-density lipoprotein complex ("good cholesterol") helping to clear cholesterol from arteries, bind because of a molecular mimicry effect to the innate immune receptor Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2. The interaction of these auto-antibodies with the TLR2/CD14 receptor complex promote inflammation, which may contribute to atherosclerosis-related complications in patients with coronary heart-diseases.
Pagano, S; Satta, N; Werling, D; Offord, V; DeMoerloose, P; Charbonney, E; Hochstrasser, D; Roux-Lombard, P; Vuilleumier, N
Anti-apolipoprotein A-1 IgG in patients withmyocardial infarction promotes inflammation through TLR2 ⁄ CD14 complex
Journal of Internal Medicine.(2012); 272; 344-357. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2012.02530.x
12 September 2012
4 September 2012
An expert on animal locomotion from the RVC has appeared on the popular Planet Earth Podcast to discuss what the first creatures to walk on land would have been like.
Professor John Hutchinson was interviewed along with anatomist Stephanie Pierce from the University of Cambridge for the online broadcast. John Hutchinson is professor of evolutionary biomechanics at the RVC.
The scientists were asked to talk about the pivotal moment in evolution 370 million years ago when the first creatures emerged from the water and stepped onto land.
Listen to the podcast at 'Early tetrapods, upland rivers, North Anatolian Fault'.
The webpage also includes a full transcript of the interviews.
Understanding the disease mechanisms in horses that lead to a common form of exertional rhabdomyolysis
16 August 2012
Rosie Naylor and Richard Piercy and other members of the Royal Veterinary College’s Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory, collaborating with veterinary surgeons from the University of Auburn, have recently published a research study that sheds light on the mechanisms that lead to muscle damage in horses with an intermittent form of muscle disease (exertional rhabdomyolysis, or tying up), known as type 1 Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM1). Further information is available here.
30 July 2012
A team led by Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Liam Good have received a DEFRA grant award and are working with Westpoint Veterinary Group to develop a framework for the assessment of the risk of exposure to E. coli O157of visitors to open farms. It is envisaged the framework will serve as a tool for individual farms to establish bespoke risk control strategies and prevent further disease outbreaks. Further details available here.
26 July 2012
Latest findings from RVC researchers, Dr Rob Fowkes and Dr Imelda McGonnell, provide the first evidence of the potential role of natriuretic peptides in the regulation of the human pituitary gland. Their recent study, published in Endocrine Related Cancer, reveals that C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) and its' associated receptor, guanylyl cyclase B (GC-B) are expressed in human pituitaries during fetal and adult life. Further details available here.
Integration of novel treatments, vaccines and diagnostics into Animal African Trypanosomiasis control programs: situation analysis and field investigation
24 July 2012
Congratulations to Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Richard Selby who have been awarded a grant by GALVmed to do a baseline study for the integration of novel treatments, vaccines and diagnostics into Animal African Trypanosomosis control programs. Further details of the project available here.
23 July 2012
Professor Alan Wilson, Professor of Locomotor Biomechanics and leader of the Locomotion (Muscle, Tendon and Biomechanics) Research Group, has been awarded a BBSRC grant of £600k, to study the dynamics and energetics of hunting in the cheetah, in order to identify what enables cheetahs to sprint so fast. Further information about what the project will involve is available here.
16 July 2012
The Royal Veterinary College is working with a small animal health and wellness company to confirm the efficacy and safety of a novel diet in the management of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy being treated with phenobarbitone and/or potassium bromide. More details available here.
10 July 2012
The Veterinary Biomedical & Pharma Sciences (VBMPS) Congress will be the first gathering of its kind ever to be held in the UK. This unique meeting recognises the intrinsic links and interdependence between human and veterinary biomedical science. Further details available here.
28 June 2012
The award recognises the achievements of young scientists who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of animals. It is open to postgraduate students, anywhere in the world, currently studying for a doctoral degree or in post-doctoral work within six years of their PhD.
Dr James Kirkwood, chief executive and scientific director of UFAW with Charlotte Burn
Dr Burn joined the RVC as a research fellow in 2008 and became a lecturer in 2010. She obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford's Department of Zoology and an MSc in applied animal behaviour and animal welfare from the University of Edinburgh. Her doctoral research focused on the effects of husbandry regimes on rat welfare.
Dr Burn received her award, which came with a prize of £1,000, at the federation's 'Recent advances in animal welfare science' conference in York on June 21. The citation accompanying the award alludes to her doctoral work and also refers to her recent study of tail-chasing behaviour in dogs and owners' reactions to it, based on clips on YouTube. This has been published in the journal PLoS One.
High speed galloping in cheetahs and racing greyhounds
26 June 2012
A team from RVC's Structure & Motion Laboratory have had an article published in The Journal of Experimental Biology about a project investigating factors behind the speed of cheetahs.
Their research compared the motion of cheetahs with racing greyhounds to investigate why the fastest land animal exceeds the galloping capacities of other mammals. The team, composed of Penny Hudson, Alan Wilson and Sandra Corr, conducted their research at Whipsnade Zoo and The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa.
RVC Success at the International Pig Veterinary Society Congress
14 June 2012
Congratulations to Pablo Alarcon who has won a IPVS travel award for his 2 oral presentations given at the International Pig Veterinary Society Congress held in Korea earlier this week. One presentation was on the PMWS economic model (cost of PMWS to the industry) and the other covered the models assessing control options for PMWS at farm level. The conference is targeted at pig practitioners and scientists worldwide and therefore this award acknowledges the quality and relevance of Pablo's recent work.
The RVC was very well represented at the Congress with a total of 6 oral presentations and 2 posters!
RVC researchers are key contributors to animal health surveillance research
11 June 2012
Selected papers of the International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance (ICAHS) were recently published in a special edition of Preventive Veterinary Medicine. RVC researchers contributed to almost half of the papers, documenting their outstanding contributions to the development, implementation and evaluation of surveillance systems. Research into surveillance systems including risk-based approaches will continue to be a strategic priority for the RVC’s Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health group.
08 June 2012
Clinicians at the RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals are celebrating after becoming the first team in the UK to successfully use a hypophysectomy to treat acromegaly in a cat. Removing the pituitary gland and the associated tumour that causes acromegaly or hyperadrenocorticism is the gold standard treatment in humans, but previously, the only treatments for acromegalic cats in the UK were radiation therapy or treatment of the resulting diabetes mellitus. Further details available here.
RVC researchers assess potential of live bird markets to act as reservoirs of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus
08 June 2012
A study led by RVC researchers, Guillaume Fournié, Javier Guitian and Dirk Pfeiffer, was recently published in PLoS ONE, assessing the potential of live bird markets to act as reservoirs of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.
The survey was conducted in Vietnam and Cambodia in collaboration with local veterinary authorities. Some live poultry traders were shown to engage in practices that were likely to promote conditions favourable for maintaining H5N1 in markets. Market characteristics, including type and location, could be used to predict the profiles of traders frequenting the market and, thus, the risk of a given market becoming a virus reservoir. These results show that easily collected, basic information can be used to identify markets which could potentially sustain H5N1 viruses. Control strategies could potentially be targeted to these specific market groups. This is particularly important in resource-scarce settings where the live bird market system is extensively developed.
Fournié G., Guitian J., Desvaux S., Mangtani P., Ly S., Vu Chi C., San S., Do Huu D., Holl D., Pfeiffer D.U., Vong S., Ghani A.C. (2012) Identifying Live Bird Markets with the Potential to Act as Reservoirs of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus: A Survey in Northern Viet Nam and Cambodia. PLoS ONE 7(6): e37986. http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037986
RVC PhD student receives Society for Comparative Endocrinology award at ACVIM Forum
07 June 2012
Congratulations to Tim Williams, who received the Society for Comparative Endocrinology award for the best resident/student abstract in the Endocrinology stream, at the 2012 ACVIM Forum in New Orleans held last week. This was for his abstract on “Restoration of euthyroidism in medically treated hyperthyroid cats with iatrogenic hypothyroidism improves renal function.”
Tim is part of the clinical team led by Professor Jonathan Elliott and Dr Harriet Syme who are investigating three common problems of elderly cats: Chronic kidney disease (CKD), Hypertension and Hyperthroidism.
Petsavers Award 2012 for best clinical research paper published in 2011 in the Journal of Small Animal Practice
07 June 2012
Congratulations to Ana Mateus, RVC PhD student, who was awarded the Petsavers Award 2012 for the best clinical research paper published in 2011 in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, for the paper “Antimicrobial usage in dogs and cats in first opinion veterinary practices in the UK”. The award was announced at the BSAVA/FECAVA/WSAVA annual congress in Birmingham, in April. Further information available here.
RVC Researcher contributes to LIDC blog on rabies
06 June 2012
Following the recent death of a British woman in a London hospital, after contracting rabies while on holiday in South Asia, RVC researcher, Dr Barbara Haesler, was asked to contribute to a London International Development Centre (LIDC) blog, to provide advice on rabies: Rabies – an ancient disease continues to claim thousands of lives every year, but there is hope on the horizon.
This is an excellent piece and is well worth a read.
IRIS AWARD 2011
06 June 2012
Congratulations to Dr Rosanne Jepson, who has been selected by the IRIS Board as the recipient of the 2011 IRIS Award. The award is presented on behalf of IRIS and Novartis Animal Health to an individual early in his/her research career for outstanding fundamental or clinical research performed in veterinary nephrology. Dr Jepson won this award for her work has advanced veterinary nephrology and helped veterinary practitioners better diagnose, understand and treat kidney disease in cats and dogs.
This award is a very great achievement by Rosanne, as it is the most prestigious career development award in veterinary nephrology, and is a great honour.
Rosanne was presented with her award at the 2012 ACVIM Forum in New Orleans on Friday 1st June by Dr Larry Cowgill (president of IRIS), where she also gave a brief overview of her research directions in nephrology "Feline kidney disease; pressure, proteinuria and proteomics".
HR Excellence in Research Award - Royal Veterinary College achieves ‘HR Excellence in Research’ Award
06 February 2012
The Royal Veterinary College has been recognised by the European Commission for its 'HR Excellence in Research'. This award recognises the positive actions that the College has taken and will continue to take to support the career development of researchers and the actions in place to implement the principles of the Concordat to Support the Development of Researchers.
The College is one of only 50 UK higher education institutions to be recognised in this way.
This is a UK-wide process, overseen by Vitae, enabling UK HEIs to gain the European Commission’s ‘HR Excellence in Research’ badge, which acknowledges their alignment with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The UK process incorporates both the QAA Code of Practice for Research Degress Programmes and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers to enable institutions that have published Concordat implementation plans to gain the ‘HR Excellence in Research’ badge. The UK approach includes ongoing national evaluation and benchmarking.
For more information about this significant achievement and to view our Concordat implementation strategy action plan, please visit the Research Staff web-page.
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