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Clinical research fellow/associate lecturer, University of Cambridge, UK

I am interested in how genes influence metabolism. In dogs, selective breeding has resulted in an unusual genetic architecture which makes mapping disease associated loci remarkably tractable with much smaller numbers than in human populations. We study pet dogs and use comparative genomics to identify genes that are responsible for determining obesity susceptibility in dogs and humans. The mechanism of action and physiological consequences of variants of interest are tested in the lab in cellular models, and at a whole-dog level by examining their effect on eating behaviour and physiology. Our overall aim is to better understand how genes link to obesity in both dogs and humans, in order to reveal mechanistic links and identify targets to improve obesity prevention and treatment.

I am a veterinary surgeon with specialist clinical qualifications in small animal medicine. In 2013 I set up the GOdogs Project, investigating the genetics of obesity in dogs. I am based at the University of Cambridge, currently at the Institute of Metabolic Science as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow although I will take up a University Lectureship at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience in January 2021. I have 2 young children and work 80% FTE to balance work and childcare commitments. I have benefited from having a strong mentor network myself and am happy to act as a mentor via this scheme.

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