a worldwide search for faculty pursuing cutting-edge research
into the structure and function of animal genomes, the College
of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has announced that two internationally
distinguished experts in animal genomics will join its faculty
this summer. Dr. Jorge A. Piedrahita, Associate Director of
the Center for Animal Biotechnology and Genomics at Texas A
& M University, will become a professor of genomics in the
Department of Anatomy, Physiological Sciences and Radiology.
Dr. Matthew Breen, molecular cytogeneticist at the Animal Health
Trust in the United Kingdom, will take a position as associate
professor in the Department of Microbiology, Pathology and Parasitology.
Dr. Piedrahitas laboratory was among the first to clone
pigs and cattle, with the primary interest being the development
of transgenic animals for use in human and veterinary medicine,
and in agriculture. His laboratory employs techniques in cell
biology, embryo manipulation and molecular biology. Of particular
interest to the CVM is the development of technologies that
provide precise genetic modification of domestic animals such
as pigs and cattle. The technologies will allow the generation
of pigs that may provide a source of compatible organs for human
transplant, bioreactor cattle that can generate large amounts
of pharmaceuticals in their milk, and animals resistant to various
afflictions, such as Mad Cow Disease.
Dr. Matthew Breen is a recognized leader in the characterization
of the genomes of the dog and horse. In the last five years,
Dr. Breen and his colleagues have systematically catalogued
small pieces of the dog and horse genomes and employed these
gene fragments to produce the first comprehensive maps of these
species. Dr. Breens research efforts have also focused
on the identification of candidate genes whose inactivation
via mutation leads to various forms of canine cancers. The study
of such genes will provide information vital for the diagnosis
and treatment of cancers in humans as well as dogs.