Student profile
Jack Whitehouse, PhD Veterinary Medicine and Science

Jack Whitehouse

"I’m investigating the cause and pathobiology of Alabama rot, a disease that damages dogs' skin and kidney blood vessels. To do this, I’m gathering microbiological, clinical pathology and metabolite data."

Research project

The role of the microbiome and circulating endothelial cells in the pathobiology of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV).

Why I chose Surrey

I chose Surrey for my PhD as I wanted to become part of an inclusive community that welcomes students from all backgrounds, working alongside approachable, supportive researchers, who are more than happy to explain things. I wanted somewhere that gave me access to the latest equipment and facilities, as well as being away from the hustle and bustle of city life, in a countryside environment, like my upbringing.

The most important factor was the project itself – Surrey had the perfect project for me, considering my previous experience studying for an MRes Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Birmingham and my background in human biosciences. Since I made my decision, I haven’t looked back.

My research project

I’m investigating the cause (aetiology) and pathobiology of Alabama rot, a disease that damages dogs' skin and kidney blood vessels, more commonly known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV). I’m gathering microbiological, clinical pathology and metabolite data from dogs to identify the cause of CRGV and better understand the disease.

I’m passionate about my area of research as I’m a dog owner and this disease could easily affect my own pet. I want to prevent the suffering and early deaths of dogs, from CRGV, across the world. As a researcher, I find it fascinating to investigate the unknown - we don’t currently know much about this disease and there’s limited pathobiological data available.

"I want to prevent the suffering and early deaths of dogs, from CRGV, across the world."

I’m really enjoying the opportunity to collaborate and discuss CRGV with other researchers. My project is funded by the Alabama Rot Research Fund and is in collaboration with Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, so this gives me the chance to form relationships outside of the University of Surrey and build my professional network, helping with my employability. With both of their support, we can help reduce the impact of Alabama rot.

My supervisor, Professor Roberto La Ragione, and the rest of the research team, including Professor Mark Chambers and Dr David Walker, are incredibly pro-active and supportive. Their experience is second to none and this have helped give my research project structure. They’ve made me feel welcome within the research community and have inspired me to work harder to make the most of the time I have during my PhD.

I’m looking forward to using the Veterinary Pathology Centre, home to microscopy suites, pathology laboratories, and a post-mortem examination room. Despite only just starting my PhD, I’ve had a great experience with the research community so far and I’m looking forward to making a widespread impact with my findings.

My career and development

So far, I’ve had some great careers support and completed a wide range of online development courses in data management, health and safety training, and much more. These have given me additional skills, outside of my PhD, that I can apply to a range of roles. After I finish my PhD, I’m planning on carrying on my research as a Postdoctoral Researcher.

My advice

Don’t give up, work hard, and always take criticism constructively. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!

 

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