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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

In the Canine Genetics Centre, we are currently conducting research to identify DNA variants in dogs that are associated with the development of idiopathic epilepsy and paroxysmal dyskinesia, and are working towards developing tools to try to understand and prevent these disorders in dogs.  For this research we utilise both genome-wide association study and whole genome sequencing approaches to conduct analyses of well-defined case-control study sets of dogs sampled from the pet dog population.


I completed my PhD in canine immunogenetics in 2005 at the Animal Health Trust, in collaboration with the University of Manchester.  Following this I moved into the field of human genetic epidemiology at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge where I was a postdoctoral researcher investigating complex diseases and traits using both genome-wide association study (GWAS) and gene-centric approaches.  I returned to the field of canine genetics in late 2009 and my role within the Canine Genetics Centre at the University of Cambridge (and previously at the Animal Health Trust) involves leading the group’s genetic studies of complex conditions in the dog using both GWAS and whole genome sequencing approaches, with a particular focus on neurological diseases and those with an immune-component.


Idiopathic epilepsy

Paroxysmal dyskinesia

Immune-related diseases


Key publications: 

1. Jenkins CA, Dog Biomedical Variant Database Consortium, Schofield EC, Mellersh CS, De Risio L, Ricketts SL (2021) Improving the resolution of canine genome-wide association studies using genotype imputation: A study of two breeds. Animal Genetics, 52: 703-713.

2. Jenkins CA, Kalmar L, Matiasek K, Mari L, Kyöstilä K, Lohi H, Schofield EC, Mellersh CS, De Risio L, Ricketts SL (2020) Characterisation of canine KCNIP4: A novel gene for cerebellar ataxia identified by whole-genome sequencing two affected Norwegian Buhund dogs. PLoS Genetics 16: e1008527.

3. Granger N, Luján Feliu-Pascual A, Spicer C, Ricketts S, Hitti R, Forman O, Hersheson J, Houlden H (2019) Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 4B2 demyelinating neuropathy in miniature Schnauzer dogs caused by a novel splicing SBF2 (MTMR13) genetic variant: a new spontaneous clinical model. PeerJ 7: e7983.

4. Biasoli D, Compston-Garnett L, Ricketts SL, Birand Z, Courtay-Cahen C, Fineberg E, Arendt M, Boerkamp K, Melin M, Koltookian M, Murphy S, Rutteman G, Lindblad-Toh K, Starkey M (2019) A synonymous germline variant in a gene encoding a cell adhesion molecule is associated with cutaneous mast cell tumour development in Labrador and Golden Retrievers. PLoS Genetics 15: e1007967.

5. Oliver JAC, Ricketts SL, Kuehn MH, Mellersh CS (2019) Primary closed angle glaucoma in the Basset Hound: Genetic investigations using genome-wide association and RNA sequencing strategies. Molecular Vision 25: 93-105.

Senior Research Associate
Official Fellow, Girton College

Contact Details

Not available for consultancy


PetPlan Charitable Trust