Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Brain Health and Behaviour, Musculoskeletal Biology

Clinical Groups: Equine Medicine, Small Animal Neurology

Richard is Professor of Comparative Neuromuscular Disease at the Royal Veterinary College. He is an RCVS recognised specialist in Equine Internal Medicine and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He directs the Comparative Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory at the RVC. His clinical work mainly involves horses with neurological and neuromuscular problems.

Richard qualified from Cambridge University in 1994. After two years in private equine practice he moved to the USA and completed a residency in equine internal medicine at The Ohio State University and a Master of Science degree in muscle physiology and disease.

He returned to the UK to complete doctoral training in molecular and cellular biology of neuromuscular diseases as a Wellcome Fellow at the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, Imperial College from where he attained his PhD. 

Richard’s research interests include comparative aspects of primary muscle disorders, including exertional rhabdomyolysis, polysaccharide storage myopathy and atypical myopathy in horses, centronuclear myopathy and dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy in dogs. His laboratory also has a growing international programme of research into recurrent laryngeal neuropathy in horses ("roaring"). Most research is laboratory-based, using cell and molecular biological techniques.

In addition, with collaborators at the RVC's Structure and Motion laboratory, he has an active research interest in the use of gait analysis for objective assessment of equine ataxia, particularly in cervical vertebral stenosis (Wobbler syndrome) in horses. Richard directs the Comparative Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory, which provides a service for the histopathological assessment of muscle biopsy samples from veterinary clinical cases across Europe.

Amoasii L, Hildyard JCW, Li H, Sanchez-Ortiz E, Mireault A, Caballero D, Harron R, Stathopoulou TR, Massey C, Shelton JM, Bassel-Duby R, Piercy RJ, Olson  EN. Gene editing restores dystrophin expression in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Science. 2018 Aug 30. pii: eaau1549. doi: 10.1126/science.aau1549.

González Medina S, Hyde C, Lovera I, Piercy RJ. Detection of equine atypical myopathy-associated hypoglycin A in plant material: Optimisation and validation of a novel LC-MS based method without derivatisation. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 3;13(7):e0199521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199521.

Draper ACE, Piercy RJ. Pathological classification of equine recurrent laryngeal neuropathy. J Vet Intern Med. 2018 Jul;32(4):1397-1409. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15142. Epub 2018 Apr 24. Review. 

Hildyard JCW, Taylor-Brown F, Massey C, Wells DJ, Piercy RJ. Determination of  qPCR Reference Genes Suitable for Normalizing Gene Expression in a Canine Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. J Neuromuscul Dis. 2018;5(2):177-191. doi: 10.3233/JND-170267. PubMed PMID: 29614692.

Olsen E, Fouche N, Jordan H, Pfau T, Piercy RJ.Kinematic discrimination of ataxia in horses is facilitated by blindfolding. Equine Vet J. 2017 Aug 10. doi: 10.1111/evj.12737

González-Medina S, Ireland JL, Piercy RJ, Newton JR, Votion DM.Equine atypical myopathy in the UK: Epidemiological characteristics of cases reported from 2011 to 2015 and factors associated with survival. Equine Vet J. 2017 Apr 26

Nghiem PP, Bello L, Balog-Alvarez C, López SM, Bettis A, Barnett H, Hernandez B, Schatzberg SJ, Piercy RJ, Kornegay JN.Whole genome sequencing reveals a 7 base-pair deletion in DMD exon 42 in a dog with muscular dystrophy. Mamm Genome. 2017 Apr;28(3-4):106-113

Walmsley G, Blot S, Venner K, Sewry C, Laporte J, Blondelle J, Barthelemy I, Maurer M, Blanchard-Gutton N, Pilot-Storck F, Tiret L, Piercy RJ. Progressive Structural Defects in Canine Centronuclear Myopathy Indicate a Role for HACD1 in Maintaining Skeletal Muscle Membrane Systems. American Journal of Pathology. Am J Pathol. 2017 Feb;187(2):441-456

Maile, CA, Hingst, JR, Mahalingan, KK, O'Reilly, AO, Cleasby, M, Mickelson, JR, McCue, ME, Anderson, SM, Hurley, TD, Wojyaszewski, JF, Piercy, RJ. A highly prevalent equine glycogen storage disease is explained by constitutive activation of a mutant glycogen synthase. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta - General. Aug 31. pii: S0304-4165(16)30321-X

Scalco RS, Voermans NC, Piercy RJ, Jungbluth H, Quinlivan R. Dantrolene as a possible prophylactic treatment for RYR1-related rhabdomyolysis. Eur J Neurol. 2016 Aug;23(8):e56-7. doi: 10.1111/ene.13051. PubMed PMID: 27431030.

Norton EM, Mickelson JR, Binns MM, Blott SC, Caputo P, Isgren CM, McCoy AM, Moore A, Piercy RJ, Swinburne JE, Vaudin M, McCue ME. Heritability of Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis in Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racehorses Derived From SNP Genotyping Data. J Hered. 2016 Aug 3. pii: esw042.

Cheetham J, Perkins JD, Jarvis JC, Cercone M, Maw M, Hermanson JW, Mitchell LM, Piercy RJ, Ducharme NG. Effects of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Denervated Laryngeal Muscle in a Large Animal Model. Artif Organs. 2015 Oct;39(10):876-85.

Chalmers HJ, Caswell J, Perkins J, Goodwin D, Viel L, Ducharme NG, Piercy RJ. Ultrasonography detects early laryngeal muscle atrophy in an equine neurectomy model. Muscle Nerve. 2015 ;53(4):583-92

Blondelle J, Ohno Y, Gache V, Guyot S, Storck S, Blanchard-Gutton N, Barthélémy I, Walmsley G, Rahier A, Gadin S, Maurer M, Guillaud L, Prola A, Ferry A, Aubin-Houzelstein G, Demarquoy J, Relaix F, Piercy RJ, Blot S, Kihara A, Tiret L, Pilot-Storck F. HACD1, a regulator of membrane composition and fluidity, promotes myoblast fusion and skeletal muscle growth. J Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Jul 9.pii: mjv049. 

Naylor RJ, Piercy RJ. Development of a clonal equine myoblast cell line capable of terminal differentiation into mature myotubes in vitro. Am J Vet Res.  2015 Jul;76(7):608-14.

Fjordbakk CT, Revold T, Goodwin D, Piercy RJ. Histopathological assessment of intrinsic laryngeal musculature in horses with dynamic laryngeal collapse. Equine Vet J. 2014 Sep 25. doi: 10.1111/evj.12357.

Fernandez-Fuente M, Terracciano CM, Martin-Duque P, Brown SC, Vassaux G, Piercy RJ. Calcium Homeostasis in Myogenic Differentiation Factor 1 (MyoD)-Transformed, Virally-Transduced, Skin-Derived Equine Myotubes. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 22;9(8):e105971.

Anfinsen KP, Piercy RJ, Massey C, Smith KC, Kenny PJ, Garden OA. Severe systemic calciphylaxis in a young cat. J Vet Intern Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;28(4):1325-30.

Olsen E, Dunkel B, Barker WH, Finding EJ, Perkins JD, Witte TH, Yates LJ, Andersen PH, Baiker K, Piercy RJ. Rater agreement on gait assessment during neurologic examination of horses. J Vet Intern Med. 2014 Mar-Apr;28(2):630-8.

Fernandez-Fuente M, Martin-Duque P, Vassaux G, Brown SC, Muntoni F,Terracciano CM, Piercy RJ. Adenovirus-mediated expression of myogenic differentiation factor 1 (MyoD) in equine and human dermal fibroblasts enables their conversion to caffeine sensitive myotubes. Neuromuscul Disord. 2013 Nov 23. pii: S0960-8966(13)01000-6.

Massey CA, Walmsley GL, Gliddon TP, Piercy RJ. Vacuolar myopathy in an adult Warmblood horse. Neuromuscul Disord. 2013 Jun;23(6):473-7.

Petersen JL, Mickelson JR, Cothran EG, Andersson LS, Axelsson J, Bailey E, Bannasch D, Binns MM, Borges AS, Brama P, da Câmara Machado A, Distl O, Felicetti M, Fox-Clipsham L, Graves KT, Guérin G, Haase B, Hasegawa T, Hemmann K, Hill EW,  Leeb T, Lindgren G, Lohi H, Lopes MS, McGivney BA, Mikko S, Orr N, Penedo MC, Piercy RJ, Raekallio M, Rieder S, Røed KH, Silvestrelli M, Swinburne J, Tozaki T, Vaudin M, M Wade C, McCue ME. Genetic diversity in the modern horse illustrated from genome-wide SNP data. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54997.

Petersen JL, Mickelson JR, Rendahl AK, Valberg SJ, Andersson LS, Axelsson J, Bailey E, Bannasch D, Binns MM, Borges AS, Brama P, da Câmara Machado A, Capomaccio S, Cappelli K, Cothran EG, Distl O, Fox-Clipsham L, Graves KT, Guérin  G, Haase B, Hasegawa T, Hemmann K, Hill EW, Leeb T, Lindgren G, Lohi H, Lopes MS, McGivney BA, Mikko S, Orr N, Penedo MC, Piercy RJ, Raekallio M, Rieder S, Røed KH, Swinburne J, Tozaki T, Vaudin M, Wade CM, McCue ME. Genome-wide analysis reveals selection for important traits in domestic horse breeds. PLoS Genet. 2013 Jan;9(1):e1003211.

Naylor R, Livesey L, Schumacher J, Henke N, Massey, C, Brock K, Fernandez-Fuente M, Piercy RJ. Allele copy number and underlying pathology are associated with subclinical severity in equine type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM1). PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e42317. Epub 2012 Jul 31

Naylor R, Luis Fuentes V., Livesey L. Mobley C, Henke N, Brock K, Fernandez-Fuente M, Piercy RJ. Evaluation of cardiac phenotype in horses with type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM1). J Vet Intern Med. 2012; Sep 15. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2012.00988

van Galen G, Marcillaud Pitel C, Saegerman C, Patarin F, Amory H, Baily JD, Cassart D, Gerber V, Hahn C, Harris P, Keen JA, Kirschvink N, Lefere L, McGorum B, Muller JM, Picavet MT, Piercy RJ, Roscher K, Serteyn D, Unger L, van der Kolk JH, van Loon G, Verwilghen D, Westermann CM, Votion DM. European outbreaks of atypical myopathy in grazing equids (2006-2009): Spatiotemporal distribution, history and clinical features. Equine Vet J. 2012 Mar 26. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00556.x.

van Galen G, Saegerman C, Marcillaud Pitel C, Patarin F, Amory H, Baily JD, Cassart D, Gerber V, Hahn C, Harris P, Keen JA, Kirschvink N, Lefere L, McGorum B, Muller JM, Picavet MT, Piercy RJ, Roscher K, Serteyn D, Unger L, van der Kolk JH, van Loon G, Verwilghen D, Westermann CM, Votion DM. European outbreaks of atypical myopathy in grazing horses (2006-2009): Determination of indicators for risk and prognostic factors. Equine Vet J. 2012 Mar 13. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00555.x.

Finding E, Fletcher N, Avella C, Naylor RJ, Volk HA, Weller R, Dunkel B, Piercy RJ. Standing CT and clinical progression of equine cholesterol granulomata. Vet Rec. 2012 Mar;170(11):289.

Tulloch LK, Perkins JD, Piercy RJ. Multiple immunofluorescent labelling enables simultaneous identification of all mature fibre types in a single equine skeletal muscle cryosection. Equine Vet J. 2011; 43(4) 500-3

Priestnall SL, Schöniger S, Ivens PA, Eickmann M, Brachthäuser L, Kehr K, Tupper C, Piercy RJ, Menzies-Gow NJ, Herden C. Borna disease virus infection of a horse in Great Britain. Vet Rec. 2011 Apr 9;168 (14):380b

McCue, M.E.,Anderson, S.M., Valberg, S.J., Piercy, R.J. ,Barakzai, S.Z., Binns, M.M., Distl, O., Penedo, S.M., Wagner M.L., JR Mickelson. Estimated prevalence of the Type 1 Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy mutation in selected North American and European breeds. Animal Genetics. 2010 Dec;41 Suppl 2:145-9

Claridge, H.A.H., Parry, A., Piercy, R.J. and Weller, R. The 3D anatomy of the cervical articular process joints in the horse. Equine Vet J. Nov;42(8):726-31.

Perkins JD, Meighan H, Windley Z, Troester S, Piercy RJ, Schumacher J. In vitro effect of ventriculocordectomy before laryngoplasty on abduction of the equine arytenoid cartilage. Vet Surg. 2011 May;40(3):305-10

Perkins, J.D., Raffetto, J., Thompson, C., Weller, R., Piercy, R.J. and Pfau, T. Three-dimensional biomechanics of simulated laryngeal abduction in horses. Am J Vet Res. 2010 Sep;71(9):1003-10

Baker K., Saunders, N., Summers, B.A., Piercy, R.J., K. Smith. Hydranencephaly in a foal – a case report. Equine Vet Educ. 2010; 22 593-598

Naylor, R.J., Priestnall, S.L., Turk, A.C., Summers, B.A. Schöniger, S. and R.J. Piercy. Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy in a horse in the UK. Vet Rec. 2010 Sep 4;167(10):380-1.

Isgren, C.M., Upjohn, M.M., Fernandez-Fuente, M., Massey, C., Pollott G., Verheyen, K.L.P., R.J. Piercy. Epidemiology of Exertional Rhabdomyolysis Susceptibility in Standardbred Horses Reveals Associated Risk Factors and Underlying Enhanced Performance. PLoS One. 2010 Jul 14;5(7):e11594.

Naylor RJ, Perkins JD, Allen S, Aldred J, Draper E, Patterson-Kane J, Piercy RJ. Histopathology and computed tomography of age-associated degeneration of the equine temporohyoid joint. Equine Vet J. 2010 Jul;42(5):425-30.

WALMSLEY G, ARECHAVALA-GOMEZA V, FERNANDEZ-FUENTE M, BURKE MM, NAGEL N, HOLDER A, STANLEY R, CHANDLER K, MARKS SL, MUNTONI F, SHELTON GD, PIERCY RJ. A Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Gene Hot Spot Mutation in Dystrophin-Deficient Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is Amenable to Exon 51 Skipping. PLoS One. PLoS One. 2010 Jan 13;5(1):e8647

IVENS P, PIERCY RJ. ELIASHAR, E..  Inguinal herniation of large colon in a cob gelding four weeks post-castration. Vet Rec. 2009 Sep 26;165(13):380-1

PERKINS JP, SALZ RO, SCHUMACHER J, LIVESEY L, PIERCY RJ, BARAKZAI SZ.. Variability of Resting Endoscopic Grading for Assessment of Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy in Horses. Equine vet. J. 2009; 41, 342-346

Piercy RJ, Walmsley G. Muscular dystrophy in Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Vet Rec. 2009 Jul 11;165(2):62

UNT VE AND PIERCY RJ. Vertebral embryology and equine congenital vertebral anomalies. Equine vet. Educ. 2009; 21, 212-214

STANLEY RL., M E MCCUE, S J VALBERG, J R MICKELSON, I G MAYHEW, C MCGOWAN, C N HAHN, J C PATTERSON-KANE, R J PIERCY. A glycogen synthase 1 mutation associated with equine polysaccharide storage myopathy and exertional rhabdomyolysis occurs in a variety of UK breeds. Equine vet. J. 2009; 41, 597-601

ACKROYD MR, SKORDIS L, KALUARACHCHI M, PRIOR S, GODWIN J, PIERCY RJ, MUNTONI F, BROWN SC. Reduced expression of fukutin related protein (FKRP) in mice results in a model for FKRP related muscular dystrophies. Brain. 2009 Feb;132(Pt 2): 439-51. PubMed ID 19155270

STANLEY, R, MAILE, C, PIERCY RJ. Storage associated artefact in equine muscle biopsy specimens. Equine Veterinary Journal. Volume 41, Number 1, January 2009 , pp. 82-86(5) PubMedID 19301587

M FERNANDEZ-FUENTE, E AMES, M WAGNER, H ZHOU, M STROM, P ZAMMIT, J MICKELSON, F MUNTONI, S BROWN, RJ PIERCY. Assessment of the transformation of equine skin–derived fibroblasts to multinucleated skeletal myotubes following lentiviralinduced expression of equine myogenic differentiation 1. Am J Vet Res 2008;69:1637–1645 PubMedID 19046012

BROWN SC., PIERCY RJ, MUNTONI F, SEWRY C. Investigating the pathology of Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy. Biochem Soc Trans. 2008 Dec;36(Pt 6):1335-8. PubMed 19021551

FERNANDEZ-FUENTE M; TERRACCIANO CMN; PIERCY RJ. (2008). Dose-dependent effect of caffeine on intracellular calcium concentration of cultured skeletal myotubes derived from equine skin. J Vet Intern Med. 22:753-754.

PIERCY, R. J., ZHOU, H., FENG, L., POMBO, A., MUNTONI, F. & BROWN, S. C. (2007) Desmin immunolocalisation in autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. Neuromuscul Disord 17, 297-305. PubMed ID 17329105

DRANCHAK, P. K., LEIPER, F. C., VALBERG, S. J., PIERCY, R. J., CARLING, D., MCCUE, M. E. & MICKELSON, J. R. (2007) Biochemical and genetic evaluation of the role of AMP-activated protein kinase in polysaccharide storage myopathy in Quarter Horses. Am J Vet Res 68, 1079-1084. PubMed ID 17916014

JOSE-CUNILLERAS E; PIERCY RJ. (2007). Advanced diagnostic imaging options in horses with neurological disease that localises to the head. Equine Vet Educ. 19:179-181.

STANLEY R; PIERCY RJ. (2007). Breed susceptibility in equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. Equine Vet Educ. 19:143-145.

MUNTONI, F., BONNE, G., GOLDFARB, L. G., MERCURI, E., PIERCY, R. J., BURKE, M., YAOU, R. B., RICHARD, P., RECAN, D., SHATUNOV, A., SEWRY, C. A. & BROWN, S. C. (2006) Disease severity in dominant Emery Dreifuss is increased by mutations in both emerin and desmin proteins. Brain 129, 1260-1268. PubMed ID 16585054

SCHWARZ B; PIERCY RJ. (2006). Cerebrospinal fluid collection and its analysis in equine neurological disease. Equine Vet Educ. 18:243-248.

MERCURI, E., BROWN, S. C., NIHOYANNOPOULOS, P., POULTON, J., KINALI, M., RICHARD, P., PIERCY, R. J., MESSINA, S., SEWRY, C., BURKE, M. M., MCKENNA, W., BONNE, G. & MUNTONI, F. (2005) Extreme variability of skeletal and cardiac muscle involvement in patients with mutations in exon 11 of the lamin A/C gene. Muscle Nerve 31, 602-609. PubMed ID 15770669

LEE, J. A., HINCHCLIFF, K. W., PIERCY, R. J., SCHMIDT, K. E. & NELSON, S., JR. (2004) Effects of racing and nontraining on plasma thyroid hormone concentrations in sled dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 224, 226-231. PubMed ID 14736066

PIERCY RJ; POMBO A; STEWART CL; MUNTONI F; BROWN SC. (2003). Does an association of nuclear replication and transcription sites with the nuclear matrix underlie the pathogenesis of the laminopathies? Neuromuscular Disord. 13:658-658.

PIERCY, R. J., HINCHCLIFF, K. W. & REED, S. M. (2002) Folate deficiency during treatment with orally administered folic acid, sulphadiazine and pyrimethamine in a horse with suspected equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Equine Vet J 34, 311-316. PubMed ID 12108754

PIERCY, R. J., HINCHCLIFF, K. W., MORLEY, P. S., DISILVESTRO, R. A., REINHART, G. A., NELSON, S. L., SCHMIDT, K. E. & MORRIE CRAIG, A. (2001) Association between vitamin E and enhanced athletic performance in sled dogs. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33, 826-833. PubMed ID 11323556

PIERCY, R. J., HINCHCLIFF, K. W., MORLEY, P. S., DISILVESTRO, R. A., REINHART, G. A., NELSON, S. L., JR., SCHMIDT, K. E. & CRAIG, A. M. (2001) Vitamin E and exertional rhabdomyolysis during endurance sled dog racing. Neuromuscul Disord 11, 278-286. PubMed ID 11297943

PIERCY, R. J., HINCHCLIFF, K. W., DISILVESTRO, R. A., REINHART, G. A., BASKIN, C. R., HAYEK, M. G., BURR, J. R. & SWENSON, R. A. (2000) Effect of dietary supplements containing antioxidants on attenuation of muscle damage in exercising sled dogs. Am J Vet Res 61, 1438-1445. PubMed ID 11108194

PIERCY, R. J., SWARDSON, C. J. & HINCHCLIFF, K. W. (1998) Erythroid hypoplasia and anemia following administration of recombinant human erythropoietin to two horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc 212, 244-247. PubMed ID 9448829

LA PERLE, K. M., PIERCY, R. J., LONG, J. F. & BLOMME, E. A. (1998) Multisystemic, eosinophilic, epitheliotropic disease with intestinal lymphosarcoma in a horse. Vet Pathol 35, 144-146. PubMed ID 9539369

Richard’s teaching interests include the subjects of muscle physiology and exercise physiology particularly comparative aspects between species. He teaches vet students equine neurology in the clinical parts of the course and in the clinic.

Richard runs the Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory which receives diagnostic neuromuscular samples sent in by vets across Europe from pets with neuromuscular conditions. In the clinical hospital, Richard consults on equine neuromuscular diseases, including exertional rhabdomyolysis (tying up), gait abnormalities, spinal ataxia (Wobbler syndrome), seizures and other neurological and muscular problems of horses.

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