Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology

Employed as Postdoctoral Researcher investigating the role of C-type lectin receptors in innate immune responses in cattle.

1994 - BSc Biology and Biochemistry (2:1 hons)

1996 to 2010 - Employed as Research Assistant by Gray Cancer Institute, National Heart and Lung Institute, and Royal Veterinary College.

2011 - MRes (distinction) investigating the influence of DLA genes on the development of anti-insulin antibodies in diabetic dogs.

2016 - PhD investigating immunosenescence in geriatric dogs and its impact on vaccination.

2017 - Employed as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Royal Veterinary College investigating the role of C-type lectin receptors in the bovine innate immune system.

Currently investigating the role of C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) in innate immune responses in cattle. Preliminary data has demonstrated that there are substantial differences in the repertoire of CLRs expressed in different mammalian species, and in the ligands that they recognise. Therefore, species-specific detailed information on CLRs in farming livestock, particularly dairy cattle, is required.

The project involves the identification and sequencing of bovine CLRs with the intention of generating a bovine CLR atlas that will be integrated into the existing animal glycan-binding protein database (, an open-access resource currently focused on human and mouse proteins, thus making it more relevant to the veterinary community. The project will also examine the expression patterns of individual CLRs in primary bovine innate immune cells, and assess their glycan-binding capacities by utilising a glycan array.    

Recent publications:

Tombácz K, Burgess G, Holder A, Werners A, Werling D.Toxoplasma gondii profilin does not stimulate an innate immune response through bovine or human TLR5. Innate Immun. 2018; 24(7):422-429.

Holder A, Jones G, Soutter F, Palmer DB, Aspinall R, Catchpole B. Polymorphisms in the canine IL7R 3'UTR are associated with thymic output in Labrador retriever dogs and influence post-transcriptional regulation by microRNA 185. Dev Comp Immunol. 2018; 81:244-251.

Holder A, Mirczuk SM, Fowkes RC, Palmer DB, Aspinall R, Catchpole B. Perturbation of the T cell receptor repertoire occurs with increasing age in dogs. Dev Comp Immunol. 2018; 79:150-157.

Davison LJ, Holder A, Catchpole B, O'Callaghan CA. The Canine POMC Gene, Obesity in Labrador Retrievers and Susceptibility to Diabetes Mellitus. J Vet Intern Med. 2017; 31(2):343-348.

Peiravan A, Allenspach K, Boag AM, Soutter F, Holder A, Catchpole B, Kennedy LJ, Werling D, Procoli F. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in major histocompatibility class II haplotypes are associated with potential resistance to inflammatory bowel disease in German shepherd dogs. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016;182:101-105.

Holder A, Mella S, Palmer DB, Aspinall R, Catchpole B. An age-associated decline in thymic output differs in dog breeds according to their longevity. PLoS One. 2016, 10, e0165968.

Holder AL, Kennedy LJ, Ollier WE, Catchpole B. Breed differences in development of anti-insulin antibodies in diabetic dogs and investigation of the role of dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) genes. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2015; 167(3-4):130-8.

Holder AL, Price JA, Adams JP, Volk HA, Catchpole B. A retrospective study of the prevalence of the canine degenerative myelopathy associated superoxidedismutase 1 mutation (SOD1:c.118G > A) in a referral population of German Shepherd dogs from the UK. Canine Genet Epidemiol. 2014; 1:10.

Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking laboratory based research projects.

  • SweetAnimals

    The SweetAnimal project studies the presence of sugar-binding receptors in the genomes of a variety of farmed animals, how these differ between species, what ligands expressed on pathogens they bind, and how this information can be used to develop carbohydrate-based vaccines.

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