The Kennel Club appoints new Genetics Research Manager

Dr Joanna J. Ilska has joined The Kennel Club in the role of Genetics Research Manager. She is a quantitative geneticist and replaces Dr Tom Lewis who now works for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Joanna was born in Poland and has lived in the UK for 15 years. From very early childhood she was obsessed with animals, particularly dogs. The topic of genetics and breeding has always fascinated her, in what she calls “both its complexity and tremendous power”. This has led to her completing her first degree in BSc Applied Biosciences (Animal Science) in 2008, followed by MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis at the University of Edinburgh in 2009.

In 2014 she completed her PhD in genomic prediction of breeding values in broiler chickens at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. Following her PhD, she worked as a Research Fellow on a number of projects in a wide range of species. Her main expertise lies in prediction of breeding values for complex traits, using large scale genomic data such as whole genome sequences.

In her private life, Joanna continues to develop her passion for dogs in a range of disciplines. Although she has shown her Russian Black Terrier, Dinastii The Phenomenal (pet name Yarpen) in conformation a few times, she found her calling in dog training. She is particularly interested in competitive Obedience and Nosework. Joanna and Yarpen were a part of a team representing Scotland in the Inter-regional Obedience competition at Crufts 2013, gaining a second place in their class. Currently, Joanna lives in Edinburgh with another Russian Black Terrier, the Polish-imported Argus Electra Petarda (pet name Falka), with whom she has dabbled in IGP, Obedience and Nosework.

Bill Lambert, Head of Health & Welfare at The Kennel Club, said: “We are delighted to welcome Joanna to The Kennel Club. With her academic and professional background in quantitative genetics and knowledge of prediction of breeding values for complex traits, coupled with her hands-on involvement as a pedigree dog owner, we feel confident that Joanna will be a great asset to The Kennel Club as well as to the wider dog world.”

For information on dog breeding, please visit The Kennel Club website
can be contacted at email.