2018 Veterinary Research Fellowship

Sian Durward-Akhust, BVMS, MS, DACVIM (LAIM), MRCVS
University of Minnesota

2018 Research Fellow

Left to Right: Richard Mitchell, DVM, EQUUS Foundation Board Member and Chairman, AAEP Foundation Advisory Council, Sian Durward-Akhust, BVMS, MS, DACVIM (LAIM), MRCVS, and Nat White, DVM, MS, DACVS, AAEP Past President

Doctoral candidate, Sian Durward-Akhust, BVMS, MS, DACVIM (LAIM), MRCVS, at the University of Minnesota, received the 2018 EQUUS Foundation Research Fellow by the AAEP Foundation for her research in equine genetics.

The aspiring clinician-scientist was recognized December 3rd prior to the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the AAEP's 64th Annual Convention in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Durward-Akhurst's research is focused on identifying potential causative mutations for highly detrimental-likely Mendelian-diseases in the horse by developing and using the first database of genetic variation across the equine population. Dr. Durward-Akhurst's research is aimed to help veterinary professionals understand genetic variants and allow them to group genetically similar patients together, ultimately improving management options and treatment outcomes. "Sian has chosen an incredibly ambitious project, and has made exceptional progress," said Dr. Durward-Akhurst's advisor, Molly McCue, DVM, MS, Ph.D., ACVIM. Dr. Durward-Akhurst notes that precision medicine is becoming a mainstay of human medicine and believes, "When available for the equine population, it will improve patient management—from basic pharmacogenomics, to diagnosis and assessing prognoses based on genetic variants." A 2009 honors graduate of the University of Glasgow College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Durward-Akhurst went on to receive a master's in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2016 and anticipates the completion of her Ph.D. in the fall of 2019.