Alex Brown

PhD Title

Alex BrownBiosciences KTN/DairyCo CASE Studentship: Across breed genomic evaluations in cattle

PhD Supervisor

Dr Raphael Mrode

Background

I graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences with Spanish in 2008, where I specialised in genetics. My interest in animal genetics was acquired while carrying out my dissertation on summer placement at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, where I developed a novel set of markers for parentage testing in Exmoor Ponies. I returned to the Animal Health Trust after graduation as a research assistant in equine genetics, where I worked on a Horserace Betting Levy Board funded project to identify genes inferring susceptibility to Inflammatory Airway Disease in thoroughbred racehorses, as well as assisting with other equine research projects.

In 2011 I enrolled on the MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis at the University of Edinburgh, to improve my knowledge of quantitative genetic methods and animal breeding. While completing my MSc I was involved in research on complex disease in both sheep and dogs. In October 2012 I enrolled on a 4 year PhD project here at SRUC entitled “Across breed genomic evaluations in cattle”.

My PhD project concerns the development of statistical tools to allow the commercial implementation of genomic evaluations across cattle breeds. In the UK, commercially used genomic evaluations have only been implemented in Holstein Friesian cattle, a highly popular breed that has been under considerable selection pressure. Working under the supervision of Dr Raphael Mrode and Professor Georgios Banos at SRUC, along with Professor John Woolliams from the University of Edinburgh, I aim to explore the benefits of using multi-breed and cross breed reference populations to calculate accurate genomic breeding values in both dairy and beef cattle.

Research Interests

My research interests involve the use of quantitative genetic methods within the animal breeding industry; both to help provide sufficient food for a growing population, and also for the improvement of health and welfare traits that have a genetic component.

Alex Brown

PhD Student

Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

E-mail: alex.brown@sruc.ac.uk