Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Brain Health and Behaviour, CPCS (Research Programme)

Clinical Groups: Small Animal Ophthalmology

Christiane graduated from  Freie University Berlin, Germany 2001 and became board certified in the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 2014 after completing her residency program at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, UK.

Despite her clinical work and experience she gained in small and equine ophthalmology over the years, her passion and focus has been on corneal research in dogs and cats. This includes a doctoral thesis on corneal innervation in dogs and cats (2003), followed by a post-doc establishing in vivo confocal microscopy of the cornea in veterinary ophthalmology at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in cooperation with a private ophthalmology referral clinic (2003-2005), followed by an ocular pathology fellowship (2008, Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratories of Wisconsin, Wisconsin University). She then became interested in the area of canine stem cell research and finished her PhD 2020 at the stem cell department of the Animal Health Trust (Dr. Deborah Guest lab) and the Institute of Ophthalmology and cell for sight team (Prof. Julie Daniels), University College London.

She joined the Royal Veterinary College as Lecturer in Veterinary Ophthalmology in October 2019. 

Christiane is currently a clinical Senior Lecturer of the Ophthalmology Department, Clinical Sciences and Services, Queen Mother Hospital for Animals and undertakes corneal research work in the stem cell group of Dr. Deborah Guest (CSS, RVC). 




Christiane's interests lie in basic and clinical research. She is actively involved in clinical research to improve and understand ocular surface disease and the microbiome in brachycephalic dogs, as well as being involved in basic and translational research. Christiane completed her PhD in stem cell biology and undertook this work in Professor Julie Daniels group at the internationally renowned Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL and Dr. Deborah Guest (Animal Health Trust).

In 2022 Christiane started the RVC's lead on the corneal stem cell research (“CornealCellVision”) and clinical application/translational aspect of stem cells. 

Externally, she was member of the ECVO Scientific Committee and current member of the FRAME scientific advisory board; in this role she oversees research grants and had input on scientific output from the college.

She actively collaborates with Dr. Deborah Guest (RVC), Prof. Jay Dudhia (RVC), Dr. Rowena Packer (RVC), Dr. Dan O'Neill (RVC), Professor Julie Daniels (UCL) and is a core member of the Centre for Vaccinology and Regenerative Medicine at the RVC (lead: Prof. Dirk Werling).

Christiane is also member of the RVC brachycephalic research group and current projects include understanding brachycephalic ocular conditions. She is also interested in understanding and the role of antibiotic usage in the development of resistance of ophthalmic drugs. 

Christiane has presented her work internationally, has published in scientific journals such as Veterinary Ophthalmology, Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound, Cytometry, Stem Cells and Development and  had research funding from PetPlan Charitable Trust, MSD Animal Health, German Research Foundation (DFG) and Fazit Foundation.


  • Kafarnik C, McClellan A, Dziasko M, Daniels JT, Guest DJ. Canine Corneal Stromal Cells have multipotent mesenchymal stromal cell properties in vitro. Stem Cells Dev. 2020 Jan 23. doi: 10.1089/scd.2019.0163. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Enache AE, Mitchell C, Kafarnik C, Waller AS. Streptococcus canis multilocus sequence typing in a case series of dogs with ulcerative keratitis. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2019) Sep 30. doi: 10.1111/vop.12714
  • Busse C., Kafarnik C., Linn-Pearl R. et al. Phenotype of macular corneal dystrophy in Labrador Retrievers: a multicenter study. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2019). Jan30 doi: 10.1111/vop12596
  • Paterson, Y.Z., Kafarnik C. and Guest D.J. Characterization of Companion Animal Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cytometry A. 2018 Jan;93 (1):137-148. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.23163. Epub 2017 Jul 5. Review
  • Dawson C., Naranjo C., Sanchez-Maldonado B., Fricker G.V., Linn-Pearl R.N., Escanilla N., Kafarnik C., Gould D.J., Sanchez R.F., Matas-Riera M. Immediate effects of diamond burr debridement in patients with spontaneous chronic corneal epithelial defects, light and electron microscopic evaluation. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2017); Jan; 20 (1):11-15
  • Holloway, A., Donaldson D., Kafarnik C. Imaging diagnosis: Thrombosed orbital varix in a dog. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound (2015) Sep-Oct;56 (5): E58-64. doi: 10.1111/vru.12232.
  • Busse, C., Kafarnik C., Hartley C., Pivetta M. Ocular alkaline injury in four dogs – presentation, treatment and follow-up – a case series. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2015); 2: 127-134
  • Kafarnik, C., Donaldson D., Payne R., Powell S.E., Holloway A. Intradiploic haematoma with secondary exophthalmos in a mare. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2014); 17 Suppl 1:168-173
  • Kafarnik, C., Calvarese S., Dubielzig RR. Canine mesenchymal hamartoma of the eyelid. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2010); 13: 94-98
  • Kafarnik, C., Dubielzig RR. Canine duplication of Descemet’s membrane. Veterinary Pathology (2009); 46: 464-473
  • Kafarnik, C., Dubielzig RR. Corneal stromal invasive squamous cell carcinoma: a retrospective morphological description in 10 horses. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2009); 12: 6-12
  • Kafarnik, C., Fritsche J., Reese S. Corneal innervation in mesocephalic and brachycephalic dogs and cats: assessing using in vivo confocal microscopy. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2008); 11: 363-367
  • Kafarnik, C., Fritsche J., Reese S. In vivo confocal microscopy of the in normal corneas of cats, dogs and birds. Veterinary Ophthalmology (2007); 10: 222-230.

Christiane has a great interest for Teaching in Veterinary Education and holds the PGCertificate in Veterinary Education and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 2021. 

Christiane is involved with the teaching of clinical ophthalmology to final year clinical students on their clinical rotations.  She lectures on the BVetMed Ophthalmology part of the Neurology, Ophthalmology and Special Senses lecture strand.

Christiane is actively involved in training and supervision post-graduate veterinarians undertaking specialist training, and supervises residents undergoing ECVO specialist training. 

She delivers CPD nationally and internationally and has spoken on a range of topics at national and international meetings. 

Christiane has worked in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, RVC since 2019 and has been working at the Animal Health Trust as Senior Clinician and in different referral centres in UK since 2009. She has a particular interest in ocular surface disease and ocular pathology.

Her second interest lies in inherited eye disease and established the BVA and ECVO eye test clinic for inherited eye disease at the RVC (see appointments on BVA eye panel and RVC website).


Peer Review for

  • Veterinary Ophthalmology, Equine Veterinary Journal 
  • Veterinary Science, Frontiers in Veterinary Science

External committees

  • BVA eye panel scientific member (since 2020)
  • ECVO scientific committee (2016-2021)
  • FRAME advisory board (since 2022)


  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • UK Society of Extracellular Vesicles
  • Clinical and Translational Science Award - One Health Alliance
  • British Veterinary Association (BVA)
  • European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ECVO)

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