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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Dr David Sargan

Dr David Sargan

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Pathology

Director of Graduate Education

- Canine and comparative genetics and genomics

- Genetics of eye diseases

- Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

- Breed predispositions to cancer

David Sargan is accepting applications for PhD students.

David Sargan is available for consultancy.

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 337686

Subject groups/Research projects

Genetics and Oncology:

Comparative inherited disease genetics and oncogenetics

Departments and Institutes

Cambridge Cancer Centre:

Research Interests

My lab is interested in comparative genetics of disease and in particular in genetic diseases of dogs. We believe that understanding canine models will throw light on human disease, whilst also allowing us to develop veterinary insights and better advice for breeders.


  • Pathogenesis of retinal and other ocular inherited disease.
  • Canine breed predispostion to “complex” genetic diseases, especially cancer.
  • Comparative genomic mapping in companion animal species.
  • Technical development of mapping and genetic analysis methods.
  • Genetic aspects of welfare issues for the breed.





Current projects focus on a canine cone rod dysplasia, for which we have very recently shown that the primary locus is subject both to genomic and translational modifiers, and mapped a modifying locus; on lens luxations in terrier breeds for which we have recently identified the causative mutation, and on breed predispositions to a variety of soft tissue sarcomas and a single type of carcinoma. In the last year I have also begun to work on projects on brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome. I am also working on modelling the effects of CoI on prevalence of diseases with complex inheritance.


Other interests:. I collate the web site Inherited Diseases in Dogs, which aims to provide a breed specific guide inherited diseases covered in the scientific literature..In the last few years I have taken an increasing interest in welfare issues raised by the inherited diseases that I study culminating in co-authoring the RSPCA report “Pedigree Dog Breeding in the UK: a major welfare concern” and in submitting evidence to other inquiries and giving a variety of talks and presentations on this subject both in the UK and abroad.

I am a council member of the Advisory Council on Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding (often  called the Dog Advisory Council, or DAC), and a trustee of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.


I am have a long standing interest in educating new scientists and am the department’s Director of Graduate Studies, as well as having a number of external roles..

External Collaborators

The Eurolupa consortium: esp. C Andre; L Kennedy; K Lindblad-Toh; G Rutteman; M Starkey and their laboratory groups.

DJ Gould (Davies Veterinary);

GS Johnson and co-workers (U Missouri);

CS Mellersh and co-workers (Animal Health Trust);

E Ostrander and co-workers (NIH Bethesda);

Research Supervision

Nai-Chieh Liu: Use of baryometric plethysmography to measure respiratory function in BOAS affected and other dogs


  • Genomics
  • miRNA expression profiles
  • Canine sarcomas
  • Canine
  • miRNA
  • Sarcoma
  • Immunogenetics

Key Publications

Peel AJ, Sargan DR, Baker KS, Hayman DT, Barr JA, Crameri G, Suu-Ire R, Broder CC, Lembo T, Wang LF, Fooks AR, Rossiter SJ, Wood JL, Cunningham AA. (2013) Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates transmission of potentially zoonotic viruses. Nat Commun. 4:2770. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3770.

Bateson P, Nicholas FW, Sargan DR, Wade CM.(2013) Analysis of the canine genome and canine health: Bridging a gap. Veterinary J. 196(1):1-3. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.11.021. All authors contributed equally to this paper.

Miyadera K, Brierley I, Aguirre-Hernández J, Mellersh CS, Sargan DR. (2012) Multiple mechanisms contribute to leakiness of a frameshift mutation in canine cone-rod dystrophy. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51598. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051598.

Bateson Sir P* and Sargan DR*. (2012) Analysis of the canine genome and canine health: A commentary. Veterinary J, epub 23.10.12. DOI information: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.09.001  Both authors contributed equally to this paper

Miyadera K, Kato K, Boursnell M, Mellersh CS, Sargan DR. (2012) Genome-wide association study in RPGRIP1 (-/-) dogs identifies a modifier locus that determines the onset of retinal degeneration. Mammalian Genome. 23 (1-2): 212-23

Nicholas FW, CrookA, Sargan DR (2011) Internet resources cataloguing inherited disorders in dogs (Review) Veterinary J. 189(2):132-5

Sargan DR (2011) Chapter 8: The genetics of canine cancer.:in Canine Genetics, 2nd Ed., Ruvinsky A. and Ostrander OE. (eds). CABI, Oxford. pp161-188

Gould DJ, Pettitt L, McLaughlin B, Holmes N, Forman O, Thomas A, Ahonen S, Lohi H, Sargan D, Mellersh CS (2011) ADAMTS17 Mutation Associated With Primary Lens Luxation Is Widespread Among Breeds. Veterinary Ophthalmology 14(6):378-84.

Farias FH, Johnson GS, Taylor JF, Giuliano, E, Katz ML, Sanders DN, Schnabel RD, McKay SD, Khan S, Gharahkhani P, O'Leary CA, Pettitt L, Forman OP, Boursnell M, McLaughlin B, Ahonen S, Lohi H, Hernandez-Merino E, Gould DJ, Sargan DR, Mellersh CS (2010) An ADAMTS17 Splice Donor Site Mutation in Dogs with Primary Lens Luxation  Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 51(9):4716-21.

Aguirre-HernándezJ, PoltonG, Kennedy LJ, SarganDR (2010) Association between anal sac gland carcinoma and DLA-DQB1 in the English cocker spaniel. Tissue Antigens. 76(6):476-81

Rooney NJ and Sargan DR (2010) Welfare concerns associated with pedigree dog breeding in the UK. J Animal Welfare 19, S1: 133-140.

Miyadera K, Kato K, Aguirre-Hernández J, Tokuriki T, Morimoto K, Busse C, Barnett K, Holmes N, Ogawa H,  Sasaki N, Mellersh CS and Sargan DR (2009) Phenotypic variation and genotype-phenotype discordance in canine cone-rod dystrophy with an RPGRIP1 mutation. Molecular Vision 15:2287-2305

Aguirre-Hernandez J, Milne BS, Queen C, O'Brien PCM, Hoather T, Haugland S, Ferguson-Smith MA, Dobson JM and Sargan DR (2009) Disruption of chromosome 11 in canine fibrosarcomas highlights an unusual variability of CDKN2B in dogs BMC Vet Res. 5:27. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-5-27