Local Veterinary Student Wins International Award For His Latest Research

David Singleton, 25, from Neston, Cheshire, has won the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award as part of one of the largest and most prestigious veterinary awards in the world, to help further his research in to antimicrobial resistance.

Some bacteria are able to evade antibiotics, making existing treatments ineffective, which is a health issue not only for dogs but many other animals, including humans.

David, who is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Liverpool and working with the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET), has won the coveted Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award of the International Canine Health Awards for his work to tackle this issue. He has been awarded £5,000 towards his future work.

The awards, run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and underwritten by a major gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill of Metro Bank, highlight those individuals who go one step further to promote the health and wellbeing of dogs through their work in the world of veterinary science.

This year’s awards were presented to winners by Steve Dean, recently appointed Chairman of Trustees of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, on Friday 15th April 2016 at the Kennel Club in London, on behalf of the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation.

The awards were for the International Award, which was awarded a prize of £40,000; the Lifetime Achievement Award, which received a prize of £10,000; and Undergraduate and Postgraduate Student Inspiration Awards, with the winners of each awarded £5,000.

David Singleton won the award for the research he is doing into antimicrobial resistance, a health issue that affects animals and humans alike. He hopes his future work will lead to a world-first for canine health, by linking real-time electronic results via SAVSNET with state of the art laboratory analysis from his lab work in Liverpool.

His current PhD research is focusing on national surveillance of antimicrobial prescription and resistance in companion pet animals including dogs, and will help the veterinary industry have a greater understanding of the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance to treatments such as antibiotics, and how best to prescribe these important medicines. 

Today’s award is David’s latest achievement following a string of professional successes. David has previously been awarded funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, completed an intercalated master’s degree in Veterinary Science, had his work published on the front page of veterinary trade publications, and has presented findings at highly-esteemed conferences including the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress.  

Speaking about winning the award, David said: “I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award. This will enable me to pilot real-time epidemiological and advanced laboratory-based antimicrobial resistance surveillance in dogs and other companion animals in the UK.  Antimicrobial resistance is a significant issue of increasing importance to both human and animal health, which will need a truly collaborative approach to tackle.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with several veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and it is great to see organisations like the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, SAVSNET, BSAVA, the University of Liverpool, and now through this award, the Kennel Club, committing to support research in this crucial area.”

The awards were judged by a panel of influential representatives from the veterinary profession and the world of scientific research. These included Nick Blayney, Veterinary Surgeon and veterinary advisor to the Kennel Club; Professor Robin Franklin, Professor of Stem Cell Medicine at Cambridge University; Professor Alan Kelly, Emeritus Dean, Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Donald Kelly, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Pathology, University of Liverpool; Professor Bennie Osburn, Emeritus Dean, UC Davies School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr Andrew Higgins, Honorary Editor-in-Chief at the Veterinary Journal; Professor John Innes, UK Referral Director at CVS; and Steve Dean, Chairman of Trustees, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

Steve Dean, recently appointed Chairman of Trustees of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which runs the awards, said: “David represents everything that this award is about. He has shown passion and commitment to advancing dog health and has gone the extra mile to not only share his knowledge and expertise with the rest of the veterinary profession, but also by ensuring that his research helps to make a real difference clinically to dogs’ lives.”

Vernon Hill, Founder and Chairman of Metro Bank, and Shirley Hill, whose foundation underwrites the Awards commented: “Congratulations to David. We hope this award helps him become all he can be.”

Nominations are currently being sought for the next awards which will be presented at a ceremony at the Kennel Club in London on 24th May 2017. With a prize fund totalling £65,000, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust is urging people to nominate themselves or their peers by 13th February 2017. The awards will be judged by representatives from the veterinary profession and the world of scientific research, including experts in each of the nominees' selected fields. For more information about how to apply visit the Kennel Club website now.

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