Brain Health and Behaviour - Projects
CornealCellVision: Derivation of corneal keratocytes from canine induced pluripotent stem cells to develop disease models and novel treatments for corneal disease
This project will generate corneal stromal tissue in the laboratory to pave the way to the development of an artificial cornea for future disease modelling and clinical transplantation into injured and diseased dog eyes to restore vision. . Corneal diseases are one of the most common debilitating source of visual loss that may lead to permanent blindness in humans as well as in animals.
Understanding the causes and progression of Parkinson's disease
The ASAP Collaborative Research Network is a global consortium of researchers bringing together investigators across multiple disciplines, institutions, career stages, and geographies seeking to tackle key knowledge gaps in the basic mechanisms that contribute to Parkinson’s development and progression. The RVC team are working closely with geneticists, basic biologists, clinicians and pathologists at UCL, Oxford and Cambridge to identify and characterise new genes involved in progression – with the ultimate goal of finding ways to slow down or even halt the progression of Parkinson’s.
RESET: Reducing Epileptic Seizures and improving Emotional state with behavioural Therapies
RESET is a randomised controlled trial in which participants are randomly allocated to one of three groups, including a baseline group so that different behavioural management techniques can be compared. Canine epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disease in dogs, estimated to affect 0.6-0.75% of the population, which represents approximately 60-70 000 dogs of the 10.1 million pet dogs in the UK population.
This trial investigates how behavioural therapies can work alongside medication as a method to reduce seizure frequency and anxiety in drug-resistant canine epilepsy.
Cellular mechanisms of impaired neurodevelopment following early life exposure to air pollution
UNICEF estimates that over 100 million infants worldwide are exposed to toxic air pollution. We are investigating how this alters vulnerable brain cell development during pregnancy and after birth. Air pollution is a serious common public health concern increasingly associated with morbidity and mortality and resulting in an estimated 7 million premature deaths per year. Air pollution is a mixture of several components, including particulate matter (PM) derived from traffic, fuel burning and industry. The World Health Organisation identified that over 90% of the population are exposed to levels of PM2.5 that are significantly higher than recommended levels.
Epilepsy in companion animals
Researchers and clinicians at the RVC have devoted more than a decade of work to improving our understanding of epilepsy in dogs, as well as cats. Ongoing RVC epilepsy research is improving the characterisation of this chronic disorder and its comorbidities, develops technology to aid its long-term management for vets and owners, and identifies fresh new ways to manage this age-old disorder.
Assessing and Improving Animal Welfare
Genetics and management can greatly affect the welfare of farm, laboratory, companion and wild animals. We aim to improve animal welfare by understanding how human activities and management practices affect the welfare of animals that are kept, killed or otherwise impacted by humans. Comparative research can identify practices that generally elicit poor or good welfare outcomes, providing evidence that can be used to support initiatives to improve animal welfare.