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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Lucy Davison

Dr Lucy Davison

Wellcome Trust Veterinary Postdoctoral Fellow

Genes and mechanisms in Type 1 diabetes mellitus


I qualified from Cambridge as a veterinary surgeon in 1997, having intercalated in Pathology / Immunology in my third year.  After several years in practice, where I passed my RVCS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine, I joined the Royal Veterinary College where I completed a PhD in clinical and immunological aspects of canine diabetes mellitus in 2004. This was followed by a residency in Small Animal Medicine in Cambridge, where I passed my RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Medicine and DipECVIM-CA examinations in 2006, becoming a European Specialist in Small Animal Medicine (re-accredited 2011).

After a year at Cambridge Vet school as a Clinical Physician, I undertook a 4-year Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship at the JDRF / WT Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research) with Prof John Todd. Following this, I was awarded a 3-year Wellcome Trust Veterinary Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cambridge Vet School, in collaboration with Prof Chris O’Callaghan at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford.

Research Interests

My clinical interests lie in all aspects of small animal medicine but particularly endocrinology, genetics and immunology. In my research, I am very keen to understand the relationship between genotype and phenotype in both humans and veterinary species. My current research aims to improve our understanding of the genetic basis of complex diseases such as type 1 diabetes by trying to unravel the mechanisms by which individual genes affect risk of disease.  I am currently working on the 16p13.13 region in humans, which affects risk of many autoimmune conditions including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and primary biliary sclerosis. I use a combination of techniques including global gene expression analyses, recombinant protein expression and purification, functional assessment of cells after overexpression and knockdown of genes in vitro, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and chromosome conformation capture. By understanding the function of the genes in the 16p13.13  region and their role in affecting risk of type 1 diabetes , we have the potential to reveal novel pathways for preventative or  therapeutic  intervention in autoimmune disease.


Prof John Todd (CIMR)

Prof Chris O’Callaghan (University of Oxford)


  • Genetics
  • Gene expression
  • Type -1 diabetes

Key Publications

  1. Lawrence J, Chang Y-M, Szladovits B, Davison LJ* and Garden OA* : Breed-specific hematological phenotypes in the dog: a natural resource for the genetic dissection of hematological parameters in a mammalian species PLoS ONE 2013 10.1371/journal.pone.0081288 (*equal contribution)
  2. Butter F, Davison L, Viturawong T, Scheibe M, Vermeulen M, Todd, JA and Mann M. Proteome-wide analysis of disease-associated SNPs that show allele-specific transcription factor binding. PLoS Genet 2012 8(9): e1002982.
  3. Davison LJ, Wallace C, Cooper JD, Cope NF, Wilson NK, Smyth DJ, Howson JMM, Saleh N, Al-Jeffery A, Angus KL, Stevens HE, Nutland S, Duley S, Coulson RMR, Walker NM, Burren OS, Rice CM, Cambien F, Zeller T, Munzel T, Lackner T, Blankenberg S, Gutenberg Heart Study, Cardiogenics, Fraser P, Gottgens B and Todd JA. Gene Expression and Long-range DNA looping Analyses Identify DEXI as an autoimmune disease candidate gene. Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Jan 15;21(2):322-33.
  4. Lo B, Swafford AD, Shafer-Weaver KA, Jerome LF, Rakhlin L, Mathern DR, Callahan CA, Jiang P, Davison LJ, Stevens HE, Lucas CL, White J, von Borstel R, Todd JA, Lenardo MJ. Antibodies against insulin measured by electrochemiluminescence predict insulitis severity and disease onset in non-obese diabetic mice and can distinguish human type 1 diabetes status. J Transl Med. 2011 Nov 28;9(1):203.
  5. Swafford AS, Howson JMM, Davison LJ, Wallace C, Smyth DJ, Schuilenburg H, Maisuria-Armer M, Mistry T, Lenardo M, Todd JA. An allele of IKZF1 (IKAROS) conferring susceptibility to childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia protects against type 1 diabetes. Diabetes 2011 Mar;60(3):1041-4.
  6. Davison, LJ, Herrtage, M.E. and Catchpole, B. Reactivity to recombinant canine proinsulin in the serum of dogs with naturally occurring diabetes mellitus. Res Vet Sci. 2011 Aug;91(1):58-63.
  7. Davison LJ, Walding B, Herrtage ME, Catchpole B. Anti-Insulin antibodies in diabetic dogs before and after treatment with different insulin preparations. J Vet Intern Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;22(6):1317-25.
  8. Davison LJ, Weenink SM, Christie MR, Herrtage ME, Catchpole B. Autoantibodies to GAD65 and IA-2 in canine diabetes mellitus. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2008 Nov 15;126(1-2):83-90.
  9. Catchpole B, Kennedy LJ, Davison LJ, Ollier WE. Canine diabetes mellitus: from phenotype to genotype. J Small Anim Pract 2008 Jan;49(1):4-10.
  10. Kennedy LJ, Davison LJ, Barnes A, Short AD, Fretwell N, Jones CA, Lee AC, Ollier WE, Catchpole B. Identification of susceptibility and protective major histocompatibility complex haplotypes in canine diabetes mellitus. Tissue Antigens 2006 Dec;68(6):467-476.
  11. Bexfield NH, Foale RD, Davison LJ, Watson PJ, Skelly BJ, Herrtage ME. Management of 13 cases of canine respiratory disease using inhaled corticosteroids. J Small Anim Pract 2006 Jul;47(7):377-382.
  12. Catchpole B, Ristic JM, Fleeman LM, Davison LJ. Canine diabetes mellitus: can old dogs teach us new tricks? Diabetologia 2005 Oct;48(10):1948-1956.
  13. Ristic JM, Herrtage ME, Walti-Lauger SM, Slater LA, Church DB, Davison LJ, Catchpole B. Evaluation of a continuous glucose monitoring system in cats with diabetes mellitus. J Feline Med Surg. 2005 Jun;7(3):153-162.
  14. Davison LJ, Herrtage ME, Catchpole B. Study of 253 dogs in the United Kingdom with diabetes mellitus. Vet Rec. 2005 Apr 9;156(15):467-471.
  15. Davison LJ, Slater LA, Herrtage ME, Church DB, Judge S, Ristic JM, Catchpole B. Evaluation of a continuous glucose monitoring system in diabetic dogs. J Small Anim Pract 2003 Oct;44(10):435-442.
  16. Davison LJ, Ristic JM, Herrtage ME, Ramsey IK, Catchpole B. Anti-insulin antibodies in dogs with naturally occurring diabetes mellitus. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2003 Jan 10;91(1):53-60.
  17. Davison LJ, Podd SL, Ristic JM, Herrtage ME, Parnham A, Catchpole B. Evaluation of two point-of-care analysers for measurement of fructosamine or haemoglobin A1c in dogs. J Small Anim Pract 2002 Dec;43(12):526-532.
  18. Lascelles BD, Davison L, Dunning M, Bray JP, White RA. Use of omental pedicle grafts in the management of non-healing axillary wounds in 10 cats J Small Anim Pract 1998 Oct;39(10):475-480.