Matthew Breen, Professor of Genomics, is the 2007 recipient of the “Asa Mays, DVM, Excellence in Canine Health Research Award” presented by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (CHF).
Named to honor the memory of longtime breeder and veterinarian Dr. Asa Mays, the award recognizes an individual researcher who, according to the CHF board of directors, “has made a profound impact in the world of canine health research.” Dr. Breen received the award during the recent biennial National Parent Club Canine Health Conference in St Louis, MO.
“Matthew is a true pioneer in the discovery and mapping of the canine genome—an invaluable tool in the fight against disease,” says Karen Mays, a CHF board member and wife of Dr. Mays. “Asa would have been so proud of the work Matthew and his colleagues continue to do on behalf of our dogs and indeed, our human neighbors as well. Our thanks to Matthew for his dedicated work, he is a true member of the Canine Health Foundation family.”
In accepting the award, Dr. Breen noted it honors “the memory of a man for whom many of us had the deepest respect; respect for his values, leadership, and above all, his commitment to dogs. On behalf of the canine health research community, I would like to thank the AKC Canine Health Foundation for their continued sterling efforts to raise awareness, to educate, and to fund research aimed at improving the health and welfare of our dogs.”
The AKC Canine Health Foundation, the largest nonprofit worldwide to fund health research exclusively for canines, is a leader in non-invasive genetic health research, stem cell research, and biotherapeutics benefiting both canines and humans.The CHF has allocated more than $20 million in canine health research through more than 75 schools and research institutions worldwide.
The CHF award announcement release outlined Dr. Breen’s career activities:
- Dr. Breen completed his PhD in cytogenetics in 1990. He then spent two years as a researcher in molecular genetics at the UK Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was responsible for developing novel ways to map genes to chromosomes as part of the Human Genome Project.
- Dr. Breen next spent four years working for the research arm of the Australian Thoroughbred industry, returning to the UK in 1996 where his laboratory developed molecular cytogenetics reagents, resources and techniques for application to canine genome mapping, comparative cytogenetics, and cancer studies. In 2002, he relocated his laboratory to NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he is Professor of Genomics and a member of the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR). He also serves as director of the CCMTR’s Clinical Genomics Resources Laboratory.
- Dr. Breen’s research continues to focus on the genomics, genome mapping, and the comparative aspects of canine cancer, including optimizing the potential of canine research in human investigations. Dr. Breen played a key role in mapping the canine genome and now uses his skills and resources to focus on the molecular cytogenetic evaluation of canine tumors as a means to discover the genes involved in the initiation and progression of cancers.
- Dr. Breen is a founding member and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium, Inc (CCOGC). The CCOGC is a national organization that gathers tumor tissues to be used for the advancement of cancer research for humans and canines. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Morris Animal Foundation and the National Canine Cancer Foundation.