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Katherine Megquier is enrolled in a dual degree program pursuing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Megquier’s research project “Clinical and Genomic Characterization of Canine Hemangiosarcoma”, under the advisement of Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh at the Broad Institute, included an epidemiological study, a genome-wide association study, and a gene expression study comparing tumor and normal tissue using gene microarrays. Upon graduation, Megquier plans to continue with cancer research, and through translational medicine, bring new tests and treatments to canine patients.
Having already completed a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Rebecca Csomos enrolled veterinary school to pursue a career in clinical research for dogs. Csomos is currently working with Dr. Mark Oyama to identify potential biomarkers in ventricular and valvular tissues from dogs suffering from heart disease. She is also actively involved with a study to determine the benefits of Pimobendan in asymptomatic Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Doberman Pinschers and in recruiting patients for a number of clinical trials taking place at the University of Pennsylvania. After veterinary school, Csomos plans to pursue an internship in cardiology and continue research on heritable diseases that affect dogs.
Both Emily Marcus of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Jonathan Wood of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have demonstrated exceptional academic skill and an interest in the health and well-being of all dogs.
Marcus’ research has focused on oncology, a common area of concern for dog owners and breeders alike. Specifically, she has worked on the prognostic factors of lymphoma in the hopes that owners will have the opportunity to make better treatment decisions for their canine companions. Marcus has also worked in the field of cancer stem cells, furthering her interest in developing treatment options for both human and animal cancer patients.
Wood’s research experience has included the study of various cardiac deficiencies with CHF-funded researchers Dr. Sydney Moise of Cornell University and Dr. Paula Henthorn of the University of Pennsylvania. Wood also worked with Dr. Urs Giger at the University of Pennsylvania on the development of a searchable database of inherited diseases seen in purebred dogs.
A student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Ms. Jill Schappa is already an accomplished young researcher having worked in Dr. Jaime Modiano’s lab at the Masonic Cancer Center comparing canine genotypes to phenotypes to determine their relationships to the development of hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers.
Shappa’s contribution to purebred dogs does not end with cancer research. She has also spent time shadowing Dr. Margaret Root-Kustritz, the theriogenologist (reproductive specialist) at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Fran Smith, a board certified theriogenologist in private practice in the Twin Cities.
"No matter what path I choose, I will continue to focus on breed idiosyncrasies in order to maximize the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care of specific dog breeds,” stated Schappa. “Client education can contribute to advances in research by instilling the importance of offering samples to DNA databanks or including their dogs in ongoing studies.”
Already an accomplished research, Ms. Moira Kelleher has been working in the Medical Genetics Section on juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy (JDCM) in the Portuguese Water Dog. Kelleher’s research has focused on the use of gene therapy in dogs affected with JDCM.
"Through my research work with JDCM, I have helped make a real difference both for dogs and their human caretakers," said Kelleher. "Having experienced firsthand the devastation of watching a puppy die from JDCM, I am optimistic that no owner or breeder will ever have to watch their dogs suffer as I did."
A student at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ms. April Boll is already an accomplished young researcher having worked with purebred dog DNA samples in studies related to glaucoma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Boll received notification of the award at the Iowa State Breeders Symposium (sponsored by the American Kennel Club and the AKC Canine Health Foundation) on November 17, 2007.
Boll’s involvement in the sport of purebred dogs runs the gamut. She and her Bouvier des Flandres, Legacy’s Ned Flanders Mustache have been actively involved in conformation and are in training for herding and agility as well. Busy with school and purebred dog events, April relates that she and Mustache will also begin volunteering for pet therapy at a local hospital – but, it’s in the area of research where Boll looks to make a significant impact.
"Glaucoma is one condition which is becoming more prevalent with Bouviers," stated Boll. "Soon I will be working with Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic in his lab here at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine. While he has many ophthalmologic studies that are currently running, several of them relate to the effects of glaucoma and its treatment. I look forward to learning about a disease that affects many dogs and many breeds, including Bouviers."