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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School
 

 

Professor Allen BVSc (Syd)  PhD (Cantab) ScD (Cantab)  DSc (h.c.mult) DESM Dip ECAR FRAgSE FSB FRCVS CBE

Professor Allen died in Dubai on 6th June 2021 after a very short illness. He was Jim Joel Professor of Equine Reproduction at the University of Cambridge, 1996 – 2007 when he retired from the Department of Veterinary Medicine. He was a notable expert in equine reproduction, pioneering many of the advances that are regarded as normal equine practice today.

Twink was a veterinary graduate from the University of Sydney (1965); he was awarded his PhD from Cambridge in 1970 having studied Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotrophin. He was supervised by Dr Roger Short FRS. He worked at the Animal Research Station, Huntingdon Road and the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA) Equine Fertility Unit until he retired from it and the University in 2007, having been Director since 1988. He was subsequently Honorary Director of The Paul Mellon Laboratory of Equine Reproduction until 2015 and then Director of The Equine Reproduction Laboratory, Sharjah Equine Hospital to the present.

Twink worked closely with a number of scientific leaders in comparative reproduction, including Roger Short, Tim Rowson and Bob Moor, focusing on specific aspects of the equine placenta and the hormonal control of its development and function – and indeed the hormonal and genetic control of equine pregnancy. With his colleagues, he undertook the first embryo transfers in horses and donkeys. He created a number of genetically identical horse embryos which subsequently played a major role in the advancement of equine genetic research. In a wide ranging career, among other things, he played a key role in the early development and practical application, with a number of Newmarket veterinarians, of transrectal ultrasonography in horse breeding for the accurate visual assessment of reproductive state. He published widely, and led a number of international symposia in equine reproduction.

Professor Allen was awarded a Fellowship of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) by thesis, Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Krakow, Gent and Helsinki and he was elected to the Polish Academy of Sciences and to the Hall of Fame for Equine Research in America and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Symposia of Equine Reproduction Committee. He was awarded a CBE in 2002.