Learning More About our Dogs, Learning More About Ourselves

Robin Ganzert on Pet Life Radio

Robin spends the show discussing important medical breakthroughs affecting our animals and children. She's first joined by Dr. Matthew Huentelman to discuss why dogs may be the key to understanding more about autism. Then she's joined by Mars Veterinary's Juli Warner, whose company is pioneering a DNA test that can help owners learn the heritage of their mixed-breed dogs.


Dr. Matthew Huentelman

Dr. Huentelman is an Associate Professor in the Neurogenomics Division where his research interests center around the investigation of the "-omics" (genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics) of neurological traits and disease. His laboratory's overarching goal is to leverage findings in these disciplines to better understand, diagnose, and treat human diseases of the nervous system. His laboratory focuses on the study of autism, Alzheimer's disease, and aging.

Autism. The Huentelman lab investigates autism through the use of antibody and protein microarrays. They are attempting to identify signatures in the blood of individuals with autism that could lead to earlier diagnosis in some individuals. Additionally, the lab is exploring the use of a stimulated response diagnostic (or "challenge diagnostic") in freshly isolated blood cells. This is based on the hypothesis that cells isolated from individuals with autism will demonstrate a characteristic transcriptional response to certain molecular insults or challenges.

Alzheimer's Disease. The Huentelman lab examines Alzheimer's disease with the use of next generation DNA and RNA sequencing. They are currently examining the genomic sequence of several individuals with Alzheimer's disease with the hope of identifying new risk factors and treatment opportunities.  

Aging. The process of aging is a normal developmental stage that we all must go through. Just like other developmental stages our individual response to the process of aging differs dramatically from person to person. The Huentelman lab is using genomics and transcriptomics to better understand why some individuals exhibit better cognitive aging when compared to others of the same age bracket. The hope is that through the better understanding of these differences we may someday be able to develop therapeutics that could enable a larger portion of the population to exhibit better cognitive aging.

Dr. Huentelman joined TGen in July of 2004 after completing his doctoral work at the University of Florida's Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics at the McKnight Brain Institute where he investigated the application of gene therapy in the study of hypertension. His undergraduate degree is from Ohio University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Clippinger Laboratories. Dr. Huentelman's career includes visiting researcher stints in Moscow, Russia at the MV Lomonosov Moscow State University "Biology Faculty" and in the United Kingdom within the University of Bristol's Department of Physiology.

Juli Warner

In her professional life, Juli has 15 years of both domestic and international marketing management experience including creative and media strategy, public relations, social media, and website development. She has worked in the high-tech, publishing and manufacturing industries and joined the Mars Veterinary team in 2013. She also has a decade-long background in animal welfare and owned her own pet sitting business for five years.  She is currently a shelter volunteer and animal rescue team member with national and local (Portland, OR) organizations.