Dr Eleanor Raffan MRCVS
Eleanor is a veterinary surgeon who worked in mixed (farm, equine and small animal) practice before settling on a career that could combine specialist clinical work with research. She completed specialist clinical training at the Universities of Liverpool and Cambridge before heading to the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Metabolic Science to do a PhD in the genetics of diabetes. She now combines clinical work and teaching with research as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow. She is a European Specialist in Small Animal Medicine.
She lives near Cambridge with her family and a charming cat called Loki. She leads the GOdogs project and is the first point of call if you are interested in hearing more. You can contact her using the details on this page.
Alyce is a PhD student in the Physiology, Development and Neuroscience departement at the University of Cambridge. She graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2015 studying Biomedical Science and completed a Masters at the same institute immediately after. She transitioned to research for animals through a research assistant role at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. Here she gained two years experience in molecular biology and cell culture as part of the stem cell research team investigating tendon injury in Thoroughbred racehorses.
Alyce’s project is looking at the genetic basis of obesity by comparing the genes of hungry vs. not hungry Beagles. If you have a Beagle and would like to find out how greedy they are, or even submit their DNA for our research please take our quick 10 minute survey below.
Natalie is a current PhD student in the GOdogs team. She is originally from Liverpool but studied her undergraduate degree of Animal Science (BSc) at University of Nottingham, where she then got a job as a research associate in bioethics – investigating the ethics of bioscience research. Natalie also completed a year industry placement at Mars Petcare’s WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute, where she contributed to nutrition and behavioural research in cats and dogs – research that underpins the UK’s leading pet food brands.
Based at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Natalie focuses on identifying new genetic variants associated with obesity in dogs. She investigates this using both single breed and multi-breed populations, therefore not only identifying why dogs of the same breed do/do not develop obesity but also why some breeds are more at risk of developing obesity than others. This discovery-based approach may lead to identification of novel obesity loci and provide translational benefits to human and companion animal obesity research more widely.
Jodie is a recent Animal Science graduate from the University of Nottingham. She recently completed a placement year with MARS Petcare at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition. Here she gained experience in animal behaviour and training as well as nutrition research. She recently worked on a project examining dog owner views of nutrition and feeding in relation to wellbeing, and has an interest in the human-animal bond and pet obesity.
She lives in Cambridge with her very mischievous cat named Buckbeak!
She’s keen to recruit enthusiastic Flatcoated Retriever owners to bring their dog along and get involved in our relaxed test of energy expenditure. The test is simple – dogs are taken for a walk then settled in a modified transport kennel until they’ve been resting or sleeping for about 2 hours. Owners can stay with the dogs throughout. If you’d like to volunteer, visit this page for more information.
Dr Marie Dittmann
Marie is a postdoctoral researcher on the project. She has previously studied animal behaviour (with a focus on dogs) and investigated nutrition and metabolism, so is perfectly suited to take forward the GOdogs work studying how dogs’ genes affect their behaviour and metabolism.
Prof. Sir Stephen O’Rahilly FRS, FMedSci
Prof O’Rahilly is Director of IMS-MRL and is a distinguished figure in the field of research into the genetics and consequences of human obesity. He is sponsoring the project. You can read more about his research interests here, and listen to him speaking about how different people have different fat biology in the video below.