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Alice Denyer - Student Inspiration Award (Postgraduate)

Alice Denyer

Alice Denyer is young veterinary surgeon who relishes the challenge of finding out about the complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors as a cause of clinical disease in dogs. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2015 and spent two years in practice in her home county of Kent where she developed a particular interest in the management of endocrine diseases in her canine patients, notably diabetes.

Alice successfully applied for a prestigious London Interdisciplinary Doctorate programme and in September 2017, she began studying for PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, under the supervision of RVC professors Brian Catchpole and Lucy Davison. Her project will investigate the genetic basis for differences in susceptibility to pancreatic disease between the Samoyed breed (which has a high prevalence of diabetes mellitus) and in Boxers (which are resistant to diabetes but are prone to developing insulinoma, a malignant tumour affecting the same type of pancreatic cells).

Funding from the International Canine Health Awards will allow Alice to carry out a detailed analysis of the whole genome in these two particular breeds. She also hopes to be able to extend the study to look at the genes that determine the risk of developing pancreatic disease in two other common breeds, Tibetan and Cairn terriers. Understanding the genetic causes of different forms of diabetes and insulinoma will have a profound impact on dog welfare by speeding up the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods.