Heather Huson
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY United States

Term of service (2nd, 2019–2023)

Heather Jay Huson is an associate professor of animal genetics in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University. Huson received her BS in animal science at Cornell University (1997) and PhD in molecular genetics at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (2011). A significant part of her PhD work was done at the National Institutes of Health in the Human Genome Research Institute and her post-doctoral research was with the USDA Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory.
Huson has a diverse background combining animal breeding, veterinary technician experience, and molecular genetics across livestock, companion animals, and wildlife species. Her research aims at improving animal health and performance by investigating the genetic regulation of economically important traits. In addition, she explores population structure and admixture to better understand selection, breed development, and conservation. Her work has identified genetic markers associated with athletic performance in Alaskan sled dogs and production or adaptation measures in livestock. Huson manages both graduate and undergraduate research within her lab and teaches courses on animal genetics and applied dairy cattle genetics. She is also the director of the Cornell Raptor Program, which promotes education, conservation, propagation, and research.

Jeffrey Schoenebeck
Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
Midlothian, United Kingdom

Term of service (2nd, 2021–2025)

Jeffrey Schoenebeck received his BS in biology at The Pennsylvania State University in 1999 and his PhD in developmental genetics at the New York University of School of Medicine in 2006, where he studied zebrafish cardiac fate specification. He started his postdoctoral training at the National Human Genome Institute (Bethesda, MD) in 2007. During this time, he was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) fellowship (National Institute of Generalized Medical Sciences). He applied geometric morphometrics for use in QTL mapping of canine skull and skeletal traits. In 2014, he was awarded a University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s fellowship to pursue independent research. He was promoted to group leader in 2020. Schoenebeck is based at the Roslin Institute and cross-appointed to the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. He has long-standing interests in developmental and functional genetics/genomics and their intersection with animals’ morphological forms and conformation-related morbidities. The Schoenebeck group’s interests in animal genetics span companion and production animals. Schoenebeck led the production of ROS_Cfam_1.0, the Labrador retriever reference genome assembly. He lectures both undergraduate and graduate students.

Katharine Evans
The Seeing Eye Inc
Morristown, NJ United States

Term of service (1st, 2021-2025)

Katy Evans qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Bristol in 2001. After almost 7 years of clinical work, she undertook a Postgraduate Studentship in Small Animal Epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, 2007-2010, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. This included working with survey data to investigate patterns of disease in particular dog breeds, while gaining an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health from the Royal Veterinary College, London.

Katy then took up a PhD Studentship, based at the Animal Health Trust, registered with the University of Nottingham and part funded by Guide Dogs UK. This entailed working with Guide Dogs’ historical health and behavioral data to investigate the potential for estimated breeding values (EBVs) for traits of interest, to improve the accuracy of selection decisions. In January 2015 she successfully defended her thesis, entitled ‘Genetic evaluation of guide dogs in the UK’. She spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nottingham, working to turn the findings of her PhD into workable tools for Guide Dogs UK. Two years at the Kennel Club in London as Health Research Manager followed, with the key focus of Katy’s time there being getting the ‘Breed Health and Conservation Plans’ project off the ground.

In January 2019, Katy started her dream job as the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, overseeing the breeding program at the oldest still existing guide dog school in the world.

Robert Grahn
University of California-Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Davis, CA United States

Term of service (1st, 2019-2023)

Dr. Grahn received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Davis. He completed his doctoral training in biology from the University of Idaho, Moscow, where he studied the molecular systematics of South American rodents using retrotransposable elements. After the completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Grahn returned to UC Davis and spent 14 years investigating inherited genetic diseases and expanding available forensic resources for domestic cats with Dr. Leslie Lyons. In 2013, Dr. Grahn joined the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in order to expand the portfolio of available genetic tests in domesticated mammalian species. In 2019, he was appointed as the Associate Director of Service and Test Development at the VGL, managing the commercial testing units while continuing to actively participate in research of inherited genetic diseases across domesticated species. Additionally, as either a forensic analyst or technical reviewer, Dr. Grahn has participated in over 200 criminal cases involving domestic animals and was recently appointed as the Associate Director of the VGL Forensics Unit.

Tosso Leeb
University of Bern, Institute of Genetics
Bern, Switzerland

Term of service (2nd, 2019–2023)

Tosso Leeb received an MSc in chemistry and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Munich. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Göttingen and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In 1999, Leeb was appointed professor of molecular veterinary genetics at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. Since 2005, he has been professor of veterinary genetics and animal breeding at the University of Bern. He is director of the Institute of Genetics and the sequencing core facility at the University of Bern.

Leeb’s research interest focuses on the identification of genetic variants that control heritable variation. His group has identified more than 100 causal genetic variants for Mendelian traits in domestic animals, with an emphasis on coat color and inherited disorders of the skin. Leeb works in several species, including dogs, cats, goats, horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. He is a curator of the OMIA database and has published more than 350 original articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Nicole Tate
University of Minnesota - College of Veterinary Medicine
Isanti, MN United States

Term of service (1st, 2021-2025)

Nicole Tate received her animal science degree from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls in 2014. Soon after, Tate accepted a position as the laboratory manager of the University of Minnesota’s Equine Genetics and Genomics Laboratory and as a senior laboratory technician in the Canine Genetics Laboratory. She has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from rare urinary tract stones in dogs, cats, and goats to performance traits in horses. Her experiences and research led her to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Minnesota in the Canine Genetics Laboratory and under the advisement of Eva Furrow. Tate’s thesis work aims to identify the metabolic disturbances and genetic variants associated with hyperlipidemia in dogs. She is planning to defend in early 2022.

Wesley Warren
University of Missouri
columbia, MO United States

Term of service (1st, 2019-2023)

Dr. Warren received his B.S. degree in animal sciences from the Oklahoma State University in 1984, M.S. degree from Clemson University in reproductive physiology in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in molecular endocrinology in 1990. A post-doctoral fellowship was completed at G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical before joining Monsanto Company in 1991, where from 1992 to 1999 he held several leadership roles including group manager of genome initiatives. Prior to joining Washington University School of Medicine, he was Senior Director of Operations at Incyte Genomics. Dr. Warren joined the McDonnell Genome Institute in 2001 where he held various appointments as Assistant Director, Associate Professor of Genetics, a secondary appointment in Molecular Microbiology, both in the Washington University School of Medicine and affiliate scientist position at the St Louis Zoo. Dr. Warren is currently a Professor of Genomics, at the Bond Life Sciences Center and he is an internationally recognized expert in comparative genomics. He has received the honor of being published multiple times on the cover of Nature publications featuring the chicken, platypus, orangutan, elephant shark, and Y chromosomes and most recently the hummingbird on the cover of Nature. The application of evolutionary medicine practices toward the identification of molecular mechanisms of action for a variety of traits unique to multiple phylums remains a key research focus for Dr. Warren. Dr. Warren's research group uses various whole genome comparative and more recently single cell transcriptomic methods to examine changes in gene evolution and regulation, as a means to better understand human biology with a recent focus on comparative oncology. The identification of these species-specific gene aberrations in evolutionary time promises to engender new thoughts on the molecular workings of observed phenotypes such as cancer. Dr. Warren also leads campus-wide initiatives to adopt high-throughput sequencing technology. He is the author of four book chapters, and more than 180 peer-reviewed articles.

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