Telomere Length and Longevity in Dairy Cattle
Prof Georgios Banos & Prof Mike Coffey, SRUC; Prof Bruce Whitelaw, Roslin Institute; and Dan Nussey, University of Edinburgh
I always wanted to become a scientist. With this intention I studied veterinary medicine at Freie Universität in Berlin (Germany). During my studies I focused on research which gave me the opportunity to participate in two distinguished summer schools. As part of the “Fundamentals of Veterinary Science Summer School” at the University of Cambridge in 2008 I pursued my first lab project on lymphomagenesis. Two years later I participated in the “Cornell Leadership Program” at Cornell University where my lab project was on canine helicobacter infections. Both summer schools confirmed my wish to pursue a PhD after graduation from vet school.
For my PhD project I am investigating leukocyte telomere length dynamics over life in dairy cattle. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes which shorten with every cell cycle and thus are believed to constitute one mechanism of ageing. Telomere length is a variable trait between individuals of the same age. The question which I seek to answer with my PhD project is if telomere length measured early in life can act as a biomarker to breed cattle for improved longevity.
I am interested in translational science, in research that is able to make a difference, because it is applicable to clinics or industry. As a veterinarian I am aware of problems in the food supply chain and also of the need to work for long- term sustainability in the food production. I consider this a very valuable application for research!
Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG