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Team members

    Dr Cathryn Mellersh



    Cathryn completed a BSc in genetics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1984, followed by a PhD in developmental genetics from Leicester University in 1991. She stayed in Leicester for her first post-doctoral position where she spent four years developing some of the first genetic markers for the dog, followed by five years at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (Seattle, USA), where she played an integral role developing the first maps of the canine genome.
    Cathryn took up her position at the Animal Health Trust in 2001 and since then she has considerably developed and expanded the Canine Genetics Group by initiating and securing funding for many successful studies.  Cathryn’s  research team investigates the genetic basis of clinically important canine diseases, which are defined as those that are painful, blinding, require surgical or medical intervention or otherwise reduce the quality of life of affected dogs.  The team identifies the mutations that underpin the diseases they investigate and develop DNA tests that dog breeders can use to reduce the prevalence of disease in at-risk breeds and clinicians can use to confirm diagnosis. 
    Cathryn and her team also collaborate with fellow UK-based and international canine geneticists as well as working very hard to build and maintain good relationships with the Kennel Club, dog Breed Clubs and the dog-owning and breeding community in general.
    In 2015 Cathryn was recognised for her significant contributions to veterinary science and canine health as the co-winner of the International Canine Health Awards (International Prize), run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and in 2016 was awarded the PetPlan Charitable Trust Scientific Award.
    As well as being a member of the WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee Cathryn is also a  member of the scientific committee of the International Conference on Advances in Canine and Feline Genomics and Inherited Diseases (, the UK Kennel Club Dog Health Group, the UK Kennel Club Health Screening & Genetics Sub-Group and is a member of Eye Panel Working Party of BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme (


    Hereditary Diseases Committee(HDC): Member